Marijuana and its consumption have been the center of several debates in the health industry over the years. The most peculiar discussion about the subject always tends towards its presumed benefits and adverse effects on the body.
Experts, researchers and enthusiasts have had exhaustive forums on the impacts of marijuana on the body. So much so that the statement “Marijuana affects your health” is starting to sound cliche.
However, it’s a sensitive subject, and there’s no denying marijuana certainly affects the body in some ways. And while the positive impacts are notable, we need to pay more attention to the side effects of marijuana abuse. Because, as is often the case, widespread speculations suggest that the negative impact of marijuana far outweighs its positives. So, we shouldn’t in any way attempt to downplay these undesirables.
Then again, the legalization of Marijuana use for recreational purposes across Canada in 2018 also necessitates reviews like this. The point is to remind you and other users that while cannabis use may be legal in the country, it’s still capable of destroying your body. So, you shouldn’t take the liberty to damage yourself with the substance.
Marijuana Abuse Statistics Canada
It’s worth noting that the legalization of marijuana in Canada never significantly affected its consumption. A report from statsCanada shows that the Cannabis use rate among 19-25 years olds remained around 33% even after legalization. Statistics recorded the exact number in 2017, pre-legalization. Although, the consumption rate among individuals over 25 years has slightly increased from 13% in 2017 to 15% in 2019.
There’s little statistical information regarding the effects of marijuana use. However, a report by the CDC indicated 30% of people who take marijuana have substance use disorder. In other words, they’re dependent on the substance and will find it difficult to quit using it. Plus, the compounding effect of the daily consumption of marijuana can harm the user’s physical and mental health. The abuse of a thing is never healthy.
How Does Marijuana Affect Your Health?
We’re also diving into the ever-raging debate of how marijuana affects your health. However, we’re taking the side focused on sensitizing you and others on the negative side effects of marijuana. Like we said earlier, you shouldn’t downplay marijuana’s ability to ravage your body and leave you in a sorry state. And if you’re already de-emphasizing these effects, we suggest you peruse the points below to get a fresh perspective on the dangers of marijuana.
Physical Effects of Marijuana on the Body
The physical effects are the noticeable impacts of marijuana use on your body. Or you may think of it as the ways cannabis changes your body functions and organs’ efficiency. Needless to say, these changes are so great and can even be drastic.
Cannabis Effects on Your Respiratory System
Primarily, smoke, exhaust, and fumes are harmful to your respiratory system. However, cannabis is even more dangerous. Marijuana smoke comprises a variety of toxic compounds such as THC, hydrogen cyanide, ammonia and carcinogens. In mild cases, these chemicals often irritate the lungs and bronchial passages.
The irritation to your lungs and bronchial passage is why you wheeze, cough and produce phlegm while or after smoking. But those are the nicer effects. Unfortunately, long-term marijuana smoking increases your risk of lung infections and bronchitis. Plus, cannabis can aggravate existing respiratory illnesses such as Asthma and Cystic fibrosis.
Many researchers speculate the carcinogens present in cannabis cause lung cancer. However, there’s no conclusive evidence to support this claim. Nonetheless, it’s worth keeping in mind.
Cannabis Effects on Your Circulatory System
On the positive side, many researchers claim that marijuana can ease pains and inflammations. They also believe it has properties that can help to control spasms and reduce seizures. These points provide the foundation and backing for the various applications of medical marijuana. And we don’t dispute or refute them in any way. However, these claims don’t alleviate the concerns over how marijuana affects your health negatively in the long term.
First, when you take recreational marijuana, it releases Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) into your bloodstream. Most people know this compound to be responsible for the euphoric effects of cannabis. The THC creates the said effect by releasing large amounts of dopamine and other feel-good neurotransmitters into the bloodstream. So you feel pleasantly high, and it may increase your focus for the time being depending on the activity you’re participating in.
However, what you don’t know is that THC is the primary psychoactive agent responsible for cannabis use disorder. I.e. It’s the primary culprit which causes addiction. And when you become a cannabis addict, you’ll find it hard to stop using it. In addition, you may experience withdrawal symptoms like insomnia, anxiety, irritability, etc., when you try to stop. In such cases, it’s imperative you seek professional marijuana addiction treatment.
Another lesser-known truth about smoking is what it does to your blood vessels. A research report by the American Heart Association showed that secondhand smoke could particularly affect your circulatory system. Their report indicated that inhaling secondhand tobacco and cannabis smoke can reduce the arteries’ ability to carry blood efficiently for a while.
This effect is temporary, and the blood vessels will resume efficient functionality after some time. However, this temporary situation can result in long-term complications if it occurs often enough. So, you stand a risk of developing clogged and hardened arteries, according to Mathew Springer, Ph.D. author of the study.
Cannabis Effect on Your Digestive System
Ingesting marijuana can also affect the operations of your digestive system. Some researchers believe THC helps to relieve nausea and vomiting. However, almost paradoxically, recent reports show that heavy use can cause a condition known as Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome. This condition causes users to experience regular bouts of nausea, vomiting and dehydration.
That said, marijuana often results in an appetite increase in most users. People call it the munchies when you suddenly feel hungry after taking anything containing THC. While this may seem unharmful or cool, it can contribute to weight gain. If you’re a perfectly healthy person, having the munchies will make you eat more than usual which will cause you to add calories.
Of course, increased appetite is a welcome development for people trying to gain weight. However, it’ll be a considerable disadvantage if you’re looking to lose weight. Fortunately, there are no reports or suggestions that cannabis use increases the risk of diabetes.
Then again, smoking cannabis can create a stinging or burning sensation in your mouth and throat when eating. Thus, it can ruin the taste in your mouth and prevent you from enjoying your meal.
Related Article: How to Help Boyfriend Quit Smoking Weed
Psychological Effects of Marijuana
Due to the nature of the substance, marijuana affects your psychological health more profoundly than your body. We’re not downplaying the rate at which cannabis damages your lungs. Nonetheless, cannabis smoke always gets to your brain quickly and influences your cognitive functions. And like that, marijuana consumption can damage your brain in the following ways.
Marijuana Effect on Judgment
The THC affects different aspects of your brain when you take it. One of the main places it has a very noticeable effect on is the hippocampus. The hippocampus is the brain region that you use to process information and store memories. So, when the THC gets to that part of your brain, it affects how you process information.
In simple terms, THC impairs your perceptions and judgement. But not only that, but it can also make it difficult for your mind to form new memories. Which leads us to our next point;
Reduces Learning Ability and Causes Memory Loss
Stoners have a reputation for being forgetful. Studies by a group of scientists from Northwestern University showed that marijuana causes short-term memory loss. They discovered that former weed smokers develop brain abnormalities in the region responsible for short-term memory. As such, they perform poorly on memory-related tests.
Not only that, but some other studies also suggest that continued marijuana intake adversely affects the user’s ability to learn. The pot affects how the brain builds passages between the brain regions necessary for cognitive functions like learning, thinking and information processing.
Can Aggravate Depression and Anxiety Symptoms
Several reports also link regular use of cannabis to increased risk of anxiety and depression. Although, the more conclusive evidence focuses on cannabis and how it can induce psychosis.
The popular opinion is that continued use of marijuana increases the risk of developing a psychotic illness in the future. Several studies support this opinion. However, this assertion requires more research as scientists are yet to fully understand the link between cannabis use and the state of psychosis.
Then again, it’s not everyone who uses cannabis who’ll end up developing adverse mental health conditions. In the same vein, not everyone who experiences psychosis or other disorders like schizophrenia takes cannabis. However, that doesn’t discredit that you stand a higher risk of developing these conditions by taking weed. And even if you don’t, there are still other ways marijuana can affect your health mentally and physically.
Other Ways Marijuana Affect Your Health
Marijuana consumption generally influences the parts of the body discussed above. I.e. The systems discussed above are the ones that are more susceptible to damage from continuous cannabis use. However, Incessant smoking can also affect the following parts of the body.
Burning marijuana leaves releases free radicals that can damage the skin’s DNA. Not only that, but it’s also capable of depriving the skin of oxygen and cause your skin to age faster. But, it doesn’t even end there; marijuana smoke contains a high amount of hydrocarbons which breaks down collagen production in human skins.
Collagen is an enzyme that protects the skin against air pollutants. When your skin can no longer produce collagen, it begins to lose elasticity. That’s why the skins of long-term smokers often look like leather.
Health practitioners associate marijuana use with lower testosterone production in men. According to reports, THC, the primary psychoactive compound in cannabis, prevents the release of gonadotropin-releasing hormone. With a reduction in the production of GnRH, the Leydig cells in the body will not produce sufficient levels of testosterone.
A study from the national cancer institute also posited that THC could suppress the immune system. So theoretically, continuing to smoke pot can make you more susceptible to diseases. And on the flip side, this can be advantageous for people with autoimmune conditions.
The human heart speeds up when it’s exposed to marijuana. I.e. smoking forces your heart to work harder, and the effect can last for up to 3 hours. Consequently, the faster your heart works, the higher your chances of having a heart attack.
Not only the smoke, but researchers also believe the compounds present in Cannabis increase the risk of heart rhythm disorder or atrial fibrillation. This disorder is often responsible for heart failure and stroke in many people.
Heavy cannabis use can also reduce your bone density in the long term. Researchers have discovered that, on average, people who used marijuana more than 5,000 times in their lifetime have a 5% lower bone density than non-users. A drop in bone density increases the risk of bone-related ailments such as osteoporosis.
But on the flip side, other studies suggest some of the compounds present in cannabis help accelerate bone healing. Some even went as far as to claim they make the bone stronger upon healing from a fracture.
Related Article: What is the Easiest Way to Quit Smoking Weed?
Marijuana affects your health in numerous ways, some are positive, and most are negative. We strongly recommend against indiscriminate consumption of cannabis. If you have a health condition that warrants the use of medical marijuana, adhere strictly to the recommended dosage. Consider what weed does to the body and your long-term health before you smoke up.
Do you have a marijuana use disorder? Do you need help breaking free of your cannabis dependence? We’d love to help you with that.
Speak to our marijuana addiction experts at Inspire Change Wellness Centre today. Our specialists will design a unique treatment plan to ensure long-term recovery.