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The Effects of Marijuana Use

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Is Marijuana Harmful?

Marijuana is the most commonly abused illicit drug in the United States. It is normally smoked as a joint or in a pipe and can also be smoked as a blunt. Marijuana can be mixed with food, brewed as tea or used in the form of hash oil. There is no simple answer to what the marijuana high is like, as this varies for each individual.

This dry mix of green and brown mixed flowers, seeds, stems and leaves comes from the hemp plant called Cannabis sativa. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the main active chemical in the plant.

Although it is illegal in most states, marijuana may be used in medical programs in some states. Patients may have access to the drug for medical purposes only. This program is used to help those with serious conditions untreated by other medications.

The Dangers of Marijuana

Marijuana may indeed be harmful. There is a link between long-term marijuana use and increased rates of schizophrenia, depression and anxiety.

Marijuana also increases a person’s heart rate for up to three hours after use, putting users at risk for heart attack during that period.

Additionally, addiction and withdrawal can be common with marijuana use.

Short-Term Effects of Marijuana

The short-term effects of marijuana occur because THC rapidly moves from the lungs into the blood. This chemical acts on cannabinoid receptors, leading to a “high” for users. These receptors are found in the parts of the brain that influence concentration, thinking, sensory and time perception, pleasure, memory and coordination.

Short-term effects of marijuana normally cease shortly after use.

Dependency can form after marijuana use, even when it is used as a short-term drug.

Did You Know?
Many people are using a dangerous synthetic drug thinking it’s marijuana.
Learn more about the dangers of drugs like “Spice” and “K2” now.

Side Effects

When a person is high on marijuana, the side effects of marijuana include:

  • Temporary memory loss.
  • Lack of coordination.
  • Altered perception of time.
  • Changes in mood.
  • Difficulties thinking or problem solving.

If you or a loved one would like more information about marijuana use and side effects, call our 24-hour hotline at . Our staff can guide you get help for marijuana use you need to stay clean and live a drug-free lifestyle.

Video: Physical Effects of Marijuana

Credit: Howcast

Long-Term Effects of Marijuana

The long-term effects of marijuana can lead to an adverse effect on memory and learning. Those who smoke marijuana consistently when young may experience cognitive impairment as adults even when no longer using the drug. The long-term effects of marijuana can be unpredictable.

Long-term use can also lead to a number of other unwanted effects, such as respiratory issues, and may cause learning and problem-solving in children born to mothers who smoked marijuana during pregnancy.

Additionally, marijuana use has been associated with certain mental health issues such as depression and anxiety and may even worsen symptoms in those with schizophrenia.

Marijuana Addiction

Marijuana addiction is possible. In fact, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), 25-50% of users who take this drug daily will become addicted at some point.

Marijuana may be used in some states of the U.S. for medical treatment. This is only a treatment available by prescription and is not regularly given without serious consideration of the patient’s health.

Marijuana Withdrawal Treatment

Marijuana abuse can lead to dependence and withdrawal upon cessation of use. Withdrawal symptoms may include:

  • Irritability.
  • Sleeplessness.
  • Decreased appetite.
  • Anxiety.
  • Aggression.

The symptoms will begin within a day of abstinence. These symptoms then peak after 3-6 days and will subside within 2-3 weeks.

Marijuana addiction can be treated by a rehabilitation center or in outpatient treatment. Behavioral interventions, which may include cognitive-behavioral therapy, are used to help during rehabilitation therapy.

For more information on how marijuana addiction is treated, contact our 24-hour hotline at .

Substance Side Effects

Learn about the short-term and long-term effects of substances on the body and mind:

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Eric Patterson, MSCP, NCC, LPC, is a professional counselor who has been working for over a decade to help children, adolescents, and adults in western Pennsylvania reach their goals and improve their well-being.

Along the way, Eric worked as a collaborating investigator for the field trials of the DSM-5 and completed an agreement to provide mental health treatment to underserved communities with the National Health Service Corp.

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