The long-term effects of marijuana may not be a concern to someone who is trying this type of drug for the first time. An individual who has only smoked marijuana once or a few times in life will likely assume that no lasting effects will occur; however, for many people, what starts as one smoke can easily turn into a handful, and eventually someone can become prone to smoking a consistent amount on a daily basis.
The short-term effects of marijuana differ from person to person, and range from mild to severe reactions. Some of the most common short-term effects include hallucinations, slower reaction time, panic and increased heart rate.
For those who have been ingesting marijuana for longer periods of time, there is the possibility that they will experience much more severe effects. If you or someone you know is experiencing any of these symptoms, visiting a treatment center might be a beneficial decision.
The following are some of the long-term effects of marijuana:
Long-Term Memory Loss
Marijuana effects many parts of the brain, including the hippocampus, which is the center for memory, emotion and the autonomic nervous system. When an individual ingests cannabis, it has the ability to prevent the brain from creating new memories; when there is heavy ingestion, the brain can even begin to create false memories. This is often the reason why smoking marijuana has the ability to create feelings of anxiety and mistrust.
Individuals who begin regularly smoking Marijuana in their early years are even more susceptible to worsened memory loss as adults, and are likely to have abnormally-shaped hippocampal regions.
Individuals who do not smoke cannabis on a regular basis in their youth are likely to have much better cognitive responses in adulthood, as well as a better ability to learn and perform complex tasks.
Though not incredibly common, one-in-ten people will become addicted to cannabis; that number rises to one-in-six if the individual began using during adolescence. With enough usage, individuals may also experience symptoms of withdrawal that can include loss of appetite, anxiety and depression.
Poor Heart Conditions
Marijuana comes from the cannabis plant, but what many people don’t know is that it is also made up of a range of toxic chemicals, including hydrogen cyanide and ammonia. The long-term effects of ingesting these chemicals can have serious effects on the heart, as they can cause damage to the lungs and bronchial passages.
Individuals who have been ingesting cannabis for a long time may notice a persistent cough, excess phlegm and troubles breathing. The effects have been compared to those of the results from smoking tobacco.
Another one of the long-term effects of marijuana to be taken very seriously is the effect of cannabis on unborn children. Marijuana use during pregnancy is said to have long-lasting effects on the child’s memory, and ingesting the drug during infancy may result in the chemicals being passed to the child through breastfeeding.
Depending on the individual, some of the other long-term effects of marijuana may include a serious decline in IQ, lower quality of life, financial difficulties, poor sexual performance and relationship problems.
While not all individuals will experience the same effects, long-term ingestion of cannabis can be very dangerous. If you’re trying to kick your habit, consider doing some personal research to find out about local treatment centers that can help you.