Currently, there is an increased focus on testing the effects that marijuana has on users both long term and short term. With legalization already in effect in many states and being considered in many others – as both a medicinal and recreational substance – more testing a natural result and can be very important for users and potential users.
As with any substance, it is important to understand any side effects that you may encounter while using cannabis. Remember, no matter if you're using marijuana for medical or personal use, it is important to be informed for your own safety.
Also you may not experience every one of the below side effects as everyone reacts differently to drugs, but these are commonly reported reactions.
Short Term Effects
Marijuana contains THC which has several effects on your brain. Chemically, it resembles a naturally occurring brain chemical anandamide.
Anandamide controls memory, appetite, sleep, and mood – which THC alters when introduced to the brain. Thinking is altered because neuron activity is increased, which keeps you focused on your overall perception of things around you or your train of thought.
When your concentration is altered, complex skills such as driving or operating heavy machinery should not be performed. Also, like many other substances, weed increases your dopamine levels leading to an increased feeling of relaxation.
When smoking, it's not uncommon to start coughing as smoke of any type irritates the lungs, throat, nasal, and bronchial passages. Other physical responses include an increased heart rate of 20 to 50 beats per minute that can last up to three hours after use – so, if you have any type of heart condition, be cautious.
This increased blood flow leads to the bloodshot eyes which many people associate with weed use.
Lastly, the most well-known of marijuana's physical effects is increased hunger. This is by no means a bad thing as an increase in appetite can be quite beneficial if you have trouble eating or having an appetite due to health issues such as cancer or AIDS.
Long Term Effects
The study of long term effects of marijuana is still ongoing and the research is still relatively new. That said, there are well documented studies with a large focus group of users that have produced the following results.
Long Term Effects on Cognitive Abilities
There has been much debate about the effects prolonged weed use has on your cognitive abilities. A 25-year test done by CARDIA with 4,000 subjects found that prolonged use does reduce verbal memory, but there was no reduction in its cognitive speed or the ability to plan, solve problems, pay attention, or perform other functions.
Reports on Marijuana’s Effect on Adolescent Intelligence are Conflicting
A New Zealand study found that marijuana use early in life could lower overall IQ. Adolescents who used marijuana were found to permanently lose 6 to 8 IQ points, in comparison to those who started using as adults, in which no such reduction was found.
However, other studies showed no such link and theorized that overall lower IQ could be the product of other issues such as environment or genetics.
In summation, data sets are not yet well developed and results often lack important factors such as the effects of other drugs that test subjects may be using have on brain development.
Longer term and more detailed testing on adolescent brain development and marijuana use is currently ongoing.
Much like smoking tobacco, smoking marijuana can have an effect on your lungs. Among the many ways of consuming marijuana (vaping, eating, etc.) smoking has the most damaging physical effects. Aside from the above noted coughing, regular smoking can cause phlegm, wheezing, and can increase the odds of severe lung ailments such as lung infections.
Concerning lung cancer, scientific results are currently mixed and more research is needed to show if there is a link between smoking marijuana and developing lung cancer.
Are There Any Dangers?
Medical Marijuana for Depression
Studies show that many teenage marijuana users reported depression and related symptoms. Other studies showed that marijuana use was not a strong factor in predicting depression and that while anxiety was a predictable symptom, overall, depression was not.
In general, the difficulty in testing for depression as it relates to marijuana use as a cause is that in many cases people smoke weed to treat their depression.
Average marijuana use does not cause you to have hallucinations. However, high concentration substances such as oils, dabs, and some edibles can have THC amounts as high as 60 percent, which when consumed in an unsafe way can cause you to start hallucinating.
Thus, it is crucial to always be aware of the amount you're taking and your normal usage habits.
It is possible to get addicted to weed, but addiction instances are far lower when compared to other substances. Marijuana has an addiction rate of roughly 9 percent.
In comparison, tobacco’s rate of addiction is 32 percent, cocaine’s is 20 percent, and alcohol is 15 percent of overall users.
If you have a medical marijuana ID/card, you can definitely go to dispensaries near you and inquire to get know more about wellness guide and strains.
As the above information shows, legalization of marijuana is leading to greater understanding of its effects on the human body.
Short term effects are relatively well known and many can be quite beneficial to overall health.
Long term effect studies currently offer conflicting results with more long term studies being needed.
We at DaVinci Vaporizer know that it’s important to understand the effects of marijuana and other substances in relation to your personal health, so they can be used safely and wisely.