Marijuana is now legal in more states than ever before, with medical marijuana proving an essential tool to relieve symptoms caused by chemotherapy and AIDS, or for those in chronic pain. Others just use it to relax, especially during stressful times (like the ones we're going through now). But it's important to note that smoking marijuana doesn't come without risks, particularly if you do it every day. Here is what could possibly happen, so you can be aware of the risks as well as the rewards. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus.
You Might Impair Your Senses&Have Mood and Behavior Changes
Daily marijuana use can lead to "feelings of fatigue or apathy; feelings of anxiety, paranoia, or panic; temporary hallucinations," says Dr. Jenna Liphart Rhoads. As well as, "trouble taking care of oneself and lack of hygiene practices; disconnecting from activities or people they once enjoyed; impaired memory and confusion."
You Put Yourself at Risk for Respiratory Diseases
"Chronically inflamed airways that result in a chronic cough, sore throat, or runny nose, and put the user at a higher risk for respiratory diseases or illnesses," says Dr. Rhoads.
You Might Develop Marijuana Use Disorder
"Make no mistake about it, smoking marijuana daily carries with it very real potential for addiction. The National Institute on Drug Abuse estimates that between 9% and 30% of those who use regularly will develop marijuana use disorder," says Dr. Mary Gay. "I have observed significant negative effects on clients who habitually use marijuana including reduced academic performance, job loss, legal consequences, depression, anxiety, and in several cases, psychotic symptoms requiring hospitalization."
You May Have an Increased Risk of Heart Issues
"Compared with placebo, marijuana cigarettes cause increases in heart rate, systolic and diastolic blood pressures, and forearm blood flow via increased sympathetic nervous system activity," says Dr. Kim Langdon. "In addition, marijuana has been associated with triggering heart attacks in young male patients. Smoking marijuana has been shown to increase the risk of MI onset by a factor of 4.8 for the 60 minutes after marijuana consumption, and to increase the annual risk of MI in the daily cannabis user from 1.5% to 3% per year."
You Might Cause Functional and Structural Changes in Your Brain
"Functional MRI studies have also revealed functional and structural changes in brain areas involved in reward processing after chronic cannabis use and in the processing of emotion," says Dr. Langdon. "Some studies show a higher incidence of schizophrenia in chronic adolescent and teenage use of marijuana."
You Might Have Changes in the Homeostasis in Your Body
"Daily use of cannabis can desensitize the endocannabinoid system and override its natural capacity to maintain homeostasis. In layman's terms, using medical marijuana too frequently can knock your endocannabinoid system out of whack a bit, which can have an effect (though not always a negative one) on some of your body's natural processes, like your sleeping habits, mood, appetite, memory, and fertility," says Dr. Daniel Whitelocke, M.D., Founder of AR MMJ Cards. "Because the endocannabinoid system was only identified as recently as the 1990s, experts are still working toward fully understanding it."
You Might Have Pregnancy Issues
"Marijuana use during pregnancy can be harmful to your baby's health. The chemicals in marijuana (in particular, tetrahydrocannabinol or THC) pass through your system to your baby and can harm your baby's development," says the CDC. "Some research shows that using marijuana while you are pregnant can cause health problems in newborns— including low birth weight."
You May Have Fertility Issues
Smoking daily increases the chances of having "problems with decreased fertility in both males and females," says Dr. Rhoads. It can also be a factor in erectile dysfunction and premature ejaculation.
What About Withdrawal?
"Withdrawal from cannabis seems to induce a lack of motivation. Cognitive dysfunction and memory problems are other potential problems such as abnormal response to stress," says Dr. Langdon. "A clinical diagnosis of cannabis withdrawal includes irritability, anger or aggression, nervousness or anxiety, sleep difficulty, decreased appetite or weight loss, restlessness, depressed mood, and physical symptoms causing significant discomfort such as shakiness or tremors, sweating, fever, chills, and headaches."
On the Other Hand…
"Marijuana is said to be a fantastic muscle relaxant, and people swear by its ability to lessen tremors in Parkinson's disease. I have also heard of its use quite successfully for fibromyalgia, endometriosis, interstitial cystitis, and most other conditions where the final common pathway is chronic pain," says Peter Grinspoon, MD, writing for the Harvard Health Blog. "Marijuana is also used to manage nausea and weight loss and can be used to treat glaucoma. A highly promising area of research is its use for PTSD in veterans who are returning from combat zones. Medical marijuana is also reported to help patients suffering from pain and wasting syndrome associated with HIV, as well as irritable bowel syndrome and Crohn's disease."
So use it in good health, and to protect your life and the lives of others, don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.