Smoking cannabis may be something you enjoy, but cutting it down a bit is always a good idea. There are many long-term side effects of marijuana use you may not know. Smoking never really had a good public image, to begin with, primarily because of the health problems it can bring.
When we think about smoking, nicotine is usually the first thing that comes to mind. Nicotine poses a lot of risks, but so too does weed. In fact, the lungs of weed smokers are different from those who don’t smoke, and it doesn’t look good.
Why Smoke Weed in The First Place?
According to a recent survey, 49% of adults in the U.S. tried marijuana sometime in their lives. That’s at least half of the U.S. adult population. 12% of those remain as regular smokers.
Marijuana in the U.S. comes in two categories: medical and recreational. Those who consume medical marijuana use it for obvious reasons. Physicians recommend these variants for patients to help treat various health conditions like chronic pain.
On the other hand, recreational cannabis is purely for private enjoyment. People use it for indulgence or to unwind and relax. This type of weed is what cannabis enthusiasts around the world enjoy. But, there are other downsides to using it apart from health concerns. Remember the time you have to hurry along for a detox just in time for your employment-mandated drug testing?
Just How Addictive is Marijuana?
Like nicotine, alcohol, or just about any other drug, marijuana is addictive. Studies show that 1 in 10 adults can develop dependency. For those below 18 years old, chances of addiction go up to 1 out of 6.
There is a severe form of addiction known as marijuana use disorder. The sufferer has already developed a strong dependency on the drug, which is extremely tough to break, and in worst cases, may need medical intervention.
The Pros and Cons of Marijuana Use
As of this writing, recreational marijuana is now legal in 18 states. If you’re still asking, “is it bad to smoke weed every day,” well, the health risks that come with usage should be enough to keep you off by now. But, marijuana may also have some upsides. Here we’ll look at the advantages and disadvantages of using weed to help you decide whether to use it, cut some of it down, or lay it off entirely.
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Long-Term Side Effects of Marijuana
As mentioned, marijuana side effects can be long-term, ranging from physical, psychological, and emotional complications. Here are some of the most prevalent side effects of smoking weed.
|Physical Side Effects||Mental Side-Effects|
Does Weed Permanently Damage Your Brain?
So, is weed bad for your brain? It turns out that it can be. Studies have shown that some of these side effects can be irreversible. Apart from distorting your thinking and increasing your vulnerability to mental disorders, going through the cycle of addiction can make it a lot harder for you to avoid these unpleasant cognitive drawbacks.
You might have heard of these side effects, particularly in the cannabis community. If you’re also wondering, “does marijuana kill your brain cells?” The answer is it could. As you already know, THC exposure alters the brain’s cognition and memory. Scientists have found that early marijuana use hampers brain development, leading to a low IQ at older ages.
Are There Benefits of Smoking Weed?
Now that we’ve gone through common marijuana negative effects, let’s go over some of the actual good use for weed. As mentioned above, THC is used to help treat various health conditions. Here are some of the issues that prompt physicians to recommend medical marijuana to patients:
- Mental Disorders (Depression, Anxiety, and PTSD)Now, you might be thinking that these are supposed to be side effects. They are, but doctors also use cannabis to help combat these mental issues. The key here is dosage. Remember that marijuana triggers dopamine, which can lift low moods. This natural effect makes it ideal for supporting a more extensive treatment program.
- Chronic PainDoctors also recommend marijuana to patients with chronic pain from illnesses such as arthritis, HIV, and cancer. According to a 2017 NASEM report, cannabis reduced pain for severe chronic sufferers by 40% during randomized clinical trials.
- Muscle Spasms Such as Multiple SclerosisNearly one million Americans live with severe muscle spasms such as multiple sclerosis. More than half of them use medical marijuana to tackle some of the symptoms. There is enough scientific evidence showing that THC has properties that lessen the effects of MS.
- Other Health ConditionsApart from helping treat the conditions above, doctors may also recommend medical cannabis for many other issues. However, studies that prove the effectiveness of cannabis for the following health concerns remain substantial.
Medical cannabis may also be used to assist in the treatment of:
- Sleep issues
- Any other chronic or persistent medical condition that impedes one’s ability to conduct essential day-to-day activities or causes detrimental effects if left untreated
How to Use Marijuana Safely and Responsibly
Many people will tell you that the safest way to use marijuana is not to use it at all. There are, after all, harmful side effects you’d rather not have. But, if you’re really into it, make sure to practice safe and responsible use.
- Watch out for your use frequency. You’ll risk developing dependency or addiction if you won’t keep your usage in check. Being a responsible user means not letting the substance get the best of you. Remember that marijuana negative effects are more likely to happen to you the more frequently you consume.
- Buy cannabis only from legal sources. Legal cannabis products undergo lab testing to ensure safety and to let users know the contents of the product such as THC levels. This transparency lets users become aware of the effects that the product will have on their bodies. Cannabis from illegal sources may not undergo appropriate testing and can be risky to the user.
- Get help if you think you have a high marijuana dependency. If think you’ve develop a strong addiction, it’s best to seek immediate help. Marijuana, like alcohol and nicotine is a highly-addictive drug. Marijuana use disorder is a serious condition and must be treated immediately to lessen cannabis’ long-term effects on your body.