So you would like to decriminalize and make marijuana legal in the U.S. huh. After all, people believe it’s much safer taking a few tokes than drinking alcohol all of the time which contributes to hundreds of thousands of deaths yearly, three million globally and accounts for thousands of driving fatalities yearly. Sure marijuana is commonly believed to be safer than alcohol which is legal in the U.S. but with lots of inaccurate information circulating around deceiving people and creating different views on the subject, it’s important to get the facts straight especially when pot use is on the rise. The underlying truth is that smoking weed is subject to abuse similarly to the way alcohol and other substances or drugs are used and abused, causing problems in peoples lives and could actuate detrimental societal issues overall. This articles’ objective is to review the side effects of weed and allow you the ability to recognize, intervene or reduce marijuana misuse which could hinder the quality of living well if abused.
Though research and evidence has shown marijuana helps treat some debilitating diseases or illnesses, if misused there are risks and side effects associated with smoking or using to much of it. Although the repercussions of using marijuana are usually low for the most part, research has also shown that users have the possibility of experiencing a certain amount of short and long term side effects.
Though every persons tolerance, metabolism and body works differently, some of the short-term effects of smoking weed affect the body and mind similarly and all commonly involve marijuana triggering parts of the brain. The short-term effects of weed which usually last a few hours from the time the drug is ingested can include changes in mood, altered sense of time, impaired judgment or reasoning skills, difficulty problem solving or thinking and impaired memory. Some of these psychoactive effects vary from person to person and also depend on the method the marijuana was used.
When smoked the effects can appear within seconds and last for several hours, 1 to 3 depending on a persons tolerance and the type of weed they smoked. One of the first effects some people experience is increased heart rates and cardiovascular issues such as fluctuations in blood pressure. Smoking marijuana can raise your heart rate depending on the person and can increase the chances of having a heart attack which some actually do right after smoking some pot. The elderly and people with cardiovascular problems are usually the one’s at a higher risk of being susceptible to these cardiovascular effects though.
After a person smokes weed and becomes stoned or gets high, their sense of time can be dramatically altered. Seconds may seem like hours and you may experience a plethora of ideas and thoughts in a short amount of time when you’re stoned. Having an altered sense of time is a very common side effect of weed.
Along with distorted perceptions of time users may experience lightheadedness and disorientation when under the influence of marijuana. Lightheadedness or dizziness and feeling stupefied are commonly experienced and reported by pot users. In the addition to feeling this way the active ingredient in cannabis, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) modifies the levels of neurotransmitters in the brain and can actuate feelings of paranoia and anxiety as well. These two are the most common side effects pot users often complain about.
The changes in levels of different neurotransmitters associated with marijuana use generally cause psychoactive effects and create the feelings experienced as euphoria, giddiness or a relaxed, mellow, stress free feeling or increase sensations, creativity and even libido. Scientific research has suggested that THC plays a significant role in marijuana’s psychoactive effects and the drug can be categorized similarly to those of stimulants, depressants or hallucinogenics.
Some other common short-term side effects often reported are dry mouth, red eyes, fatigue and feeling tired or exhausted at times. A strong strain of cannabis will get you red eyed and put you to sleep.
If you’ve been smoking weed or using marijuana for a long time and still frequently use it, its probable that you’re experiencing some of it’s long-term effects or will eventually encounter them especially since the active ingredient in marijuana is now higher and strains much stronger than ever. The long-term effects can have physiological and psychological consequences and result in adverse developments to body and mind notably when used as a teen or young adult.
One of the most notable, especially in long time users, is the respiratory and pulmonary issues pot smokers experience similar to those of cigarette smokers. Though studies haven’t proven that smoking weed can be linked to it causing lung cancer, many of the lung related issues such as tar buildup, coughing, wheezing, lung infections, chest colds, breathing and other respiratory problems like bronchitis have often been reported by pot smokers. Depending on how long a person has been smoking cannabis there has been studies documented that indicate some level of respiratory or lung related health issues in long time smokers compared to those that have never smoked or used marijuana.
The second long-term effect which usually takes place and is possibly the most controversial subject when marijuana discussions are held is whether the drug is addictive or if one can become dependent to it. Contrary to popular belief, studies have shown that people become dependent on marijuana and even addicted to it.
Scientists performed various studies and found that animals which were stimulated with marijuana’s mind-altering THC ingredient formed new connections in their brains adapting to the unnatural reward system where as natural rewards that usually prompt dopamine release, like food, sex, being social, communication with others, the usual stimuli, were much less gratifying. These are the same results that cause higher dopamine blasts when drugs are used and drug abusers seek, becoming dependent and even addicted to. For the people who believe a person cannot become addicted or dependent to marijuana, you are completely wrong! Almost all of the things which are abused by a person in their lifetime, can one way or another be detrimental to them somehow throughout their life. If you smoke weed everyday there’s a high probability of becoming dependent and even addicted to it. That’s the truth! And it’s been scientifically proven.
So in addition to the lung problems, dependency or addiction issues faced with pot use, abusers should be aware of the brain abnormalities that marijuana may cause as stated in a Northwestern University & Harvard Medical study. With other numerous findings from different studies that have been completed for decades now, many of them provide some kind of evidence that suggests marijuana abuse can cause brain irregularities and other mental issues as memory problems, learning or problem solving concerns, impaired decision making skills, low concentration troubles and lower IQ or intelligence consequences. Many studies suggest that smoking weed as a teen or a young adult could have negative repercussions on brain functions and pose greater risks for acquiring brain associated diseases than non-smokers. While much of the supporting data isn’t solid the overall agreement is that there’s a possibility marijuana could harm a person’s brain in comparison to someone that’s never used it all.
So as you’ve read marijuana has numerous side effects that can interfere with a users well being. The overall consensus is that marijuana abusers could be subjective to a lower quality of life, be susceptible to poorer health, lower physical and mental standards, have more relationship and societal issues than people who don’t smoke pot or use it all. When at the end of the day all the research is reviewed the truth is that marijuana should only be used for medicinal purposes and only prescribed to those that have legitimate illnesses. If you feel that you’re addicted, dependent or have issues in your life due to marijuana use and are looking for help, contact a licensed professional in your neighborhood or seek assistance from online sources such as drugabuse.com.