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Sober Nation

Putting Recovery On The Map

06-10-13 | By

Long Term Effects of Marijuana

Marijuana is a controversial drug that’s been receiving a lot more attention lately as some states in the U.S. legalize it for medical or recreational purposes. The long term effects of marijuana use are significant concerns that are widely debated. Proponents of marijuana say it has little to no long term effects, while opponents say the long term effects are significant and severe.

Much more scientific research and long term studies need to be done in order to more conclusively determine the long term effects of marijuana. Past studies have had mixed findings, but there is a lot of data that suggests that some long term effects of marijuana use are apparent. All this being said, let’s look at some of the potential long term effects of marijuana.

long term effects of marijuana

Long Term Effects of Marijuana on the Body

The most undisputed long term effects of marijuana on the body are related to the act of smoking marijuana. Smoking marijuana can have many of the same long term effects of smoking cigarettes, including various forms of cancer and lung disease. Long term marijuana smoking can cause a persistent cough, breathing difficulties, and wheezing.

Marijuana can also compromise the immune system. Marijuana can cause some damage to cells and body tissue that can result in a lowered immune system and higher propensity to catch communicable diseases.

It’s also been said that the drug can affect fertility in both men and women. It can interfere with the ovulation cycle, as well as lower sperm count. This can lead to irregular periods, difficulty getting pregnant, and erectile dysfunction.

Long Term Effects of Marijuana on the Brain

Some studies have shown that long term marijuana use can affect a person’s ability to remember, concentrate, and think critically. A person can experience these effects when they’re high, and long term marijuana use can cause slight brain damage that can affect a person in those areas on a more persistent basis.

Marijuana can also cause feelings of depression after its high starts to wear off. It’s possible that marijuana damages the brain’s pleasure center in a way that can cause chronic depression. Some long term marijuana users have also experienced anxiety, paranoia, and psychosis.

Factors Influencing the Long Term Effects of Marijuana

There are many different factors that can influence the long term effects a person experiences from their marijuana use. The more marijuana a person uses in their lifetime, the more significant the long term effects to their brain and body will be. The age that a person starts smoking marijuana can also make a difference. People who start using the drug at a young age when their brains and bodies are developing may experience more long term effects.

Whether or not a person already has a mental illness also makes a difference. The long term effects of marijuana on a person who already has a depressive disorder or other mental illness will be different, and often more severe, than on a person who does not.

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