Top 10 Negative Effects of Marijuana – The number of states that permit the use of medicinal and recreational marijuana has been steadily increasing. For this reason, in many areas of the country, people have easy access to it. Despite this new, more relaxed state legislation, and a copious amount of criticism, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) has chosen to keep marijuana classified as a Schedule I drug.
This scheduling indicates that the drug has a high potential for abuse and no accepted medical purpose. While many people would argue that the latter is false, the truth is a bit more complicated than that. Any potentially addictive substance will likely be associated with some adverse effects. Moreover, it is these effects that prompt users to quit using marijuana and seek professional help.
A significant downside to the DEA’s decision is that it does nothing to promote research aimed at examining the possible side effects of marijuana use. Because the federal government classifies marijuana as having no medicinal value, funded studies related to its use and potential health impact are few. Even without much research, experts do know that marijuana use is not without side effects related to a person’s health and well-being.
The Top 10 Negative Effects of Marijuana
Experts have long debated whether marijuana is chemically addictive. There is little doubt, however, that even if this isn’t the case, cannabis most definitely has the potential for emotional or psychological addiction. Young people and those who use marijuana long-term may be at a higher risk for some level of dependence. Addiction is also characterized by compulsive drug-seeking, despite the incurrence of adverse consequences.
2. Memory Loss
One study from 2016 followed more than 3,000 American marijuana pot users over a 25-year period. They found that people who used the drug on a daily basis for five years or longer had poorer verbal memory in middle age than occasional or non-smokers.
3. Social Anxiety Disorders
A committee selected by the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine examined data related to the use of marijuana. They found that that regular use can result in mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, and schizophrenia.
The University of Oxford conducted a study that found that THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, can cause paranoia as a result of a person’s altered sensory perceptions. Most users experience this symptom at one time or another.
5. Heart Damage
Although marijuana is stereotyped as a “mellow out” drug, it can also elevate a person’s heart rate for as long as three hours. One study revealed that people who use marijuana are “26% more likely to have a stroke at some point in their lives than people who didn’t use marijuana.”
6. Lung Problems
According to the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Institute (ADAI), marijuana contains chemicals similar to those in tobacco. The institute reports that long-term use increases the risk of severe respiratory problems. These may include airway inflammation, wheezing, and coughing up mucus from the respiratory tract.
7. Low Testosterone
High levels of THC, which can be found in many of the more recent strains of marijuana, may cause the body to generate lower levels of testosterone. Low testosterone can result in lethargy, weight gain, and a reduced sex drive, among other side effects. Fortunately, testosterone levels should return to normal after marijuana use is stopped.
8. Appetite Problems
Cannabinoids affect cells in the brain responsible for appetite. These cells, which generally will report fullness to the brain, are altered and, instead, produce feelings of hunger. These feelings can result in overeating, poor dietary choices, and weight gain. Also, some regular smokers state that they experience a lack of appetite unless they’re under the influence of marijuana. This effect, over time, could eventually lead to weight loss and inadequate nutrition.
9. A Decrease in Motor Skills
The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) states that “marijuana significantly impairs motor coordination and reaction time.” This effect is usually a detriment and can be dangerous, especially while driving or operating machinery. It can be a factor in other types of avoidable accidents as well.
10. Poor Decision-Making
There’s no question that the use of marijuana can cause a user to think differently than they do when they’re sober. This change may result in the user making poor decisions, such as driving while high or eating too much food.
Treatment for Marijuana Addiction
Although marijuana is accepted as being much safer than alcohol and other drugs, it can still result in many health problems. Most marijuana users will acknowledge that they have experienced some or many of these adverse side effects at one point in time.
Harmony Treatment and Wellness offers comprehensive partial-hospitalization and outpatient treatment programs that help people free themselves from substance abuse. Our center employs evidence-based services, including psychotherapy, counseling, group support, and more. We aim to provide patients with all the tools they need to experience a full recovery.
If you are trying to quit using marijuana and find yourself struggling, contact us today! We can help you break the cycle of drug abuse and addiction for life!