With all of the people extolling the benefits of Marijuana and Oprah’s recent admission that she smoked Marijuana for the past thirty years plus, many are probably wondering, “How bad can this drug be?” I decided it was time to inform you of the adverse effects of the drug. Marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug in the North America. Since 2007, its use has increased among young people and today more teenagers smoke Marijuana than cigarettes, according to annual survey data. To make matters worse, the amount of delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in Marijuana samples, confiscated by police, has been increasing steadily over the past few decades. In 2009, THC concentrations in marijuana averaged close to 10 percent, compared to around 4 percent in the 1980s. Here are 24 negative effects of Marijuana use.
What are the short-term effects of marijuana?
- Distorted perception (sights, sounds, time, touch)
- Memory, thinking and learning challenges – The active ingredient in marijuana,THC, disrupts nerve cells in the brain. A large prospective study showed that people who began smoking marijuana heavily in their teens lost as much as 8 points in IQ between age 13 and age 38.
- Anxiety, fear, distrust, or panic
- Loss of coordination
- Lowered reaction time
- Increased heart rate, reduced blood pressure – Marijuana can cause the heart beat to increase by 20 to 50 beats per minute. Researchers found that users’ risk for a heart attack is four times higher within the first hour after smoking marijuana, compared to their general risk of heart attack when not smoking.
- Burning, stinging of the mouth and throat, coughing, more frequent chest and lung infections – One major research study reported that a single cannabis joint could cause as much damage to the lungs as up to five regular cigarettes smoked one after another.
- After the initial elevated mood, depression and/or sleepiness kicks in
When smoked, Marijuana affects users almost immediately and the effects can last for one to three hours. When it is baked in brownies or cookies, its effects usually last even longer.
When high doses of marijuana are used, users can experience the following symptoms:
- Impaired memory
What are the long-term effects of marijuana?
- Lowered immune system – Many studies showed that THC increased the risk of colds and bronchitis. Another study found that THC increased the risk of developing bacterial infections and tumors.
- Increase of abnormally structured cells in the body
- Reduction of male sex hormones
- Rapid destruction of lung fibers
- Permanent lesions (injuries) to the brain
- Reduced sexual capacity
- Apathy, drowsiness, lack of motivation
- Personality and mood changes
- Deformation of sperm cells and sterility challenges in men
- Irregular menstrual cycle in women
Because Marijuana smoke contains 3 times more tar and 50% to 70% more cancer-causing substances than tobacco smoke, it would make sense that smoking Marijuana would increase the risk of lung cancer although researchers have not been able to prove this because of all of the other factors that increase the risk.
Contrary to common belief, Marijuana is addictive. Estimates from research suggest that about 9 percent of users become addicted to marijuana; this number increases among those who start young (to about 17 percent, or 1 in 6) and among daily users (to 25-50 percent). Also, Marijuana use often leads to other drug use, with even more perilous results. My brother and best friend in the whole world started smoking Marijuana at the age of fifteen and went onto other more potent drugs, eventually dying of a drug overdose at the age of 31. Please do everything in your power to understand and meet the needs of your child; we must prevent our children from masking their pain with drugs.
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Until next time,
Sources: Foundation for a Drug-free World and National Institute of Drug Abuse