If you use marijuana, you may think it’s generally safe or that frequent use is not harmful. Unfortunately, there are risks involved with cannabis consumption that most people may not be unaware of. In this article, we take a look at marijuana use and how it may impact your health.
Not Your Grandma’s Weed – Marijuana Potency
Marijuana’s potency is determined by delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the psychoactive compound in the drug. Before the 1990s, THC potency was less than 2%. THC potency increased to about 4% around 1995, and in 2017 strains with 17-28% THC could be found. Today, several THC products can achieve concentrations of over 95%, including oil, shatter, dab, and edibles.
Whether smoking or consuming it in other forms, this highly potent marijuana can have is long-term impact on the body. For example, regular marijuana use can affect brain, heart, and lung health. It can also lead to addiction. Origins Recovery Center offers treatment for men of all ages who want to begin recovery from marijuana addiction.
Marijuana and Teens
Marijuana is a substance commonly used by teens, whether regularly or when experimenting with different types of drugs. As the adolescent brain is still developing, regular use of marijuana can alter normal brain development. The effects can continue as a teen matures into adulthood as the brain develops until age 25. Some common outcomes of routine marijuana use on teens’ brains are a change in coordination, difficulty maintaining attention, difficulty with thinking and problem solving, and problems with memory and learning.
The belief that marijuana is a “safe” drug can lead people to dismiss the notion that it is addictive. The risk for addiction is especially high among teenagers and young adults. Common signs of marijuana use disorder include:
• Using more of the drug to get high
• Struggling to quit using
• Experiencing cravings
• Giving up favorite activities to use it
• Using it in high-risk situations
• Experiencing withdrawals when not on marijuana
Marijuana and Brain Health
Marijuana’s short-term use impact on thinking, attention, memory, coordination, movement, and the perception of time can be especially harmful to brain health. These changes can come within 24 hours of marijuana use. Long-term effects can become apparent later on, especially in people who started using it at a young age. Their ability to remember information and experiences, learn new things, and sustain attention can be disrupted by regular marijuana use.
Marijuana and Heart Health
Regular marijuana use affects the heart by speeding up the heart rate and increasing blood pressure. Over time, harmful impacts on the heart can lead to heart attacks and strokes, primarily in people who smoke the drug. Other vascular diseases can develop, too. These include diseases of your arteries, veins, and lymph vessels to blood disorders that affect circulation.
Marijuana and Lung Health
Smoking marijuana regularly can cause significant changes to your lung health. For example, smokers who use bongs, blunts, joints, or bowls are harming their lung tissues. It can damage small blood vessels and lead to scarring. Some risks, similar to smoking cigarettes, are a threat, too. They include higher chances of coughing, bronchitis, and mucus production.
Marijuana and Mental Health
A change in mental health is another way that makes marijuana harmful to a user. For example, a high-enough dose of THC can cause panic attacks, and psychotic breaks have occurred in some who consume too much. The symptoms of heavy marijuana use can appear as anxiety, paranoia, hallucinations, and more. In addition, regular marijuana use can lead to depression and social anxiety, leading some marijuana users to have suicidal thoughts or attempt acts of self-harm.
Marijuana and Driving
Driving under the influence of marijuana can be a safety threat to you and others. Reaction time is slowed down, and your decision-making ability is also affected. Coordination behind the wheel can be reduced, and what you perceive in the environments around you can be distorted. Furthermore, someone mixing drugs, such as alcohol and marijuana, may be more significantly affected.
Marijuana and Poisoning
Poisoning is possible with edible forms of marijuana. Edibles can be food or drink infused with marijuana. Since the effects take longer to be felt, 30 minutes to 2 hours, a person may ingest more to achieve a high before the initial dose effects are felt. Once the effects are fully felt, the amount can affect breathing and perception, create anxiety, and affect the ability to walk and move.
Due to the lack of withdrawal syndrome, marijuana of old was classified as a hallucinogen and was not thought to cause addiction. This has changed with the increased potency of THC.
Recognized withdrawal symptoms include:
• Increased anger
• Loss of appetite
• Severe cravings
According to reports, 9% of experimenters will become addicted; 17% of teenagers who start using marijuana will become addicted, and 25-50% of daily users will become addicted.
Ending Marijuana’s Hold at Origins
Origins Recovery Center offers help and hope to men who want to break the cycle of their marijuana use. At residential treatment, a person with a marijuana use disorder can learn strategies to replace drug use with healthier habits and begin planning for continuing care to sustain sobriety.
Origins Recovery Center is a well-known care provider offering a range of treatment programs targeting the recovery from substance use, mental health issues, and beyond. Our primary mission is to provide a clear path to a life of healing and restoration. We offer renowned clinical care for addiction and have the compassion and professional expertise to guide you toward lasting sobriety.
For information on our programs, call us today: 561-841-1019.