Changes In Public Perception Have Made Americans Forget The Dangers of Marijuana
Marijuana use runs rampant in the United States and around the world. According to statistics reported by the United Nations, an estimated 160 million people internationally use marijuana regularly. Hundreds of millions more use the drug socially.
Perception of marijuana use has changed drastically in the past decade. Where Americans used to believe weed was a dangerous gateway drug that led to the use of harder substances, the popular vote in this country has swung the other way. This is evidenced by the number the eight states (including Nevada, California, Oregon, and Maine) and Washington D.C., which have legalized pot for recreational use. Twenty-nine states and the Washington D.C. have legalized it for medicinal use.
While we would rather have marijuana legalized than see hundreds of thousands of addicted people incarcerated for having a substance abuse problem, we believe this change in public perception has been problematic. Now that marijuana is legalized in so many places, people are losing sight of the dangers of marijuana.
In this blog, we discuss nine serious health problems associated with marijuana.
Weed Is A Potent Substance That Delivers A Powerful High
Marijuana—also called pot, weed, cannabis, herb, bud, grass, ganja, Mary Jane, and green – is derived from the flower of the plant Cannabis sativa. It is a weed that grows in fields around the world in warm climates. More and more, however; marijuana is being cultivated indoors by people who grow the stuff under artificial lights.
Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the active ingredient in marijuana that causes the user to get a sedating high that alters consciousness. Marijuana is a powerful substance that is typically smoked, although it can also be mixed into food like brownies or candy called “edibles.” More recently, people are using what are called “dabs,” which are concentrated doses of THC in the form of an oil that is burned using special equipment.
When someone uses bud in any form, THC and other chemicals from the marijuana plant are released into the bloodstream and quickly carried to the brain. The effects of grass are experienced almost immediately and last for about two hours.
Short-Term Effects of Bud
When someone uses marijuana, they experience a rather short-lived high that causes them to use more of the drug to maintain their buzz. Here are some of the short-term effects of pot:
- Bloodshot eyes
- Dry mouth (known as “cotton mouth”)
- Difficulty thinking and making decisions
- Impaired coordination
- Short-term memory loss
- Slowed reaction time
Although weed does not cause the same level of intoxication as alcohol, it does lower a person’s ability to function and process information. Someone who uses pot should not operate a motor vehicle after they have used the stuff.
Chronic Use of Marijuana Leads To Health Problems
In recent times, the American public has been led to believe that marijuana is safe and without its negative effects. Furthermore, there has been a lot of information put out there about the medicinal health benefits of grass. The drug has been prescribed to cancer patients, people with mental health disorders, and those who suffer from chronic pain.
While we don’t dispute that weed can be helpful in treating a number of conditions, it is important to recognize that bud also roses a number of health risks and creates physical problems.
Here is a list of nine health problems caused by marijuana abuse.
#1 Those Who Abuse Cannabis Increase Their Risk Of Heart Attack
Can you imagine kicking back and smoking a joint and planning to chill for the evening, only to wind up being taken by ambulance for having a marijuana-induced heart attack? It happens – you just don’t hear about it on the news.
Most people don’t realize it, but marijuana is actually a stimulant that causes an increase in heart rate. Every time someone uses the drug, their heart rate increases for up to three hours after the drug wears off. Don’t believe us? If you use marijuana, take your heart right the next time you use the stuff. You will be surprised at the results.
As reported by ABC News, “a new study from Boston’s Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School says marijuana increases the risk of having a heart attack within the first hour of smoking to five times that of non-smokers.”
This study shocked the world. So much for pot being a harmless drug.
# 2 Bud Causes Breathing Problems
Thus far, there has been no known link between marijuana and lung cancer. Weed doesn’t contain the harmful carcinogens (cancer-causing agents) found in cigarettes, so it is quite possible that pot doesn’t cause lung cancer. However; inhaling any kind of smoke into the lungs is not healthy.
Furthermore, people use marijuana by smoking a pipe. When they do this, they are inhaling butane from the lighter they are using to light the stuff. This is a toxic chemical that can cause lung damage.
While smoking pot may not necessarily cause lung cancer, chronic marijuana use can lead to Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). According to the COPD foundation, “COPD is an umbrella term used to describe progressive lung diseases including emphysema, chronic bronchitis, refractory (non-reversible) asthma.” Most people who smoke pot regularly have difficulty breathing and develop a chronic smoker’s cough.
# 3 Pot Can Cause Psychological Problems
Experts say that the pot available on today’s marketplace is more potent than ever and has high levels of THC. Continued use of powerful marijuana can cause the user to experience disturbing psychological problems.
Pot is a psychoactive drug that plays tricks on the mind. It distorts the user’s perception of reality and creates an illusory world that is not based in factual evidence. Studies suggest that continued pot use can actually induce incidents of psychosis. When someone experiences a psychosis, they lose complete touch with reality and become delusional.
Chronic use of weed can cause the user to become paranoid and believe people are out to get them. They may have bizarre thoughts like their apartment is being bugged by the FBI or that they are under surveillance by extraterrestrial beings. They can hallucinate and see things that are not there like bugs crawling on their skin, for example.
#4 Using Marijuana Regularly Can Lead To Obesity
People who use weed are famous for getting the “munchies.” This is because pot stimulates the appetite and causes the user to experience extreme hunger.
When someone is under the influence of green, they will go on a food binge and consume a large number of calories in one sitting. Needless to say, they won’t make healthy food choices and binge on food like broccoli, salads, and broiled fish. When someone has the munchies, they typically consume foods high in carbs, calories and sugar and often drink massive quantities of alcohol. This kind of high caloric food intake can lead to weight gain.
Many chronic marijuana users are overweight or obese because they make poor nutritional choices when they are under the influence of the drug. Although pot itself does not cause someone to gain weight, their weed-induced food binges will.
#5 Weed Can Cause Sexual And Fertility Issues For Men And Women
Pot has a negative affect on sexual performance for men and can cause fertility issues for men and women. Some chronic pot users say the drug lowers their sex drive.
Many men report that chronic marijuana use can lead to erectile dysfunction and can cause them not to be able to get or keep an erection. For men, this is especially frustrating and embarrassing. Furthermore, marijuana can lower a male’s sperm count and make it difficult for him to have children later in life if he wants to have a family.
Pot can also directly interfere with a woman’s ability to conceive a child. Research studies indicate that marijuana can interrupt the hormone production in a woman’s body to the point that she will not produce the natural body chemicals needed to facilitate pregnancy.
# 6 Marijuana Is Notorious For Memory Loss
Marijuana is known for memory loss. Studies have shown that people who use weed on a regular basis have ongoing memory issues.
According to an article in the Washington Post, “Professor Reto Auer of the University of Lausanne led a team of researchers who examined data on the marijuana habits of nearly 3,400 Americans over a 25-year period. At the end of the study period, the subjects took a battery of tests designed to assess cognitive abilities — memory, focus, ability to make quick decisions, etc.
“The study found that people who smoked marijuana on a daily basis for a long period of time — five years or more — had poorer verbal memory in middle age than people who didn’t smoke, or who smoked less. This association remained even after researchers controlled for a variety of other factors known to affect cognitive performance, including age, education, use of other substances and depression.”
#7 Chronic Pot Smoking Can Lead To Hypertension
We’ve already established that marijuana can increase the risk of a heart attack. Recent studies have also shown that marijuana can cause hypertension. Hypertension is a fancy term for high blood pressure. Because smoking pot raises heart rate and increases the force of blood pumping through the user’s veins, this can lead to high blood pressure.
Hypertension is a serious medical condition that happens when the force of the blood pumping through the arteries is too strong. This can lead to a number of other dangerous health conditions including heart attack or heart failure. This is just more proof that weed is not a harmless drug without its negative consequences.
# 8 Green Destroys Brain Functioning
While bud may make the user feel good temporarily, the short-lived high comes with long-term negative effects on the human mind.
Marijuana significantly impacts the brain and affects its ability to function properly. Not only does the drug destroy the mind’s ability to effectively process memories, studies have shown that pot has a direct effect on the parts of the brain responsible for learning, attention span, decision-making, coordination, and emotions regulation.
Although the brain has an incredible power to heal itself, many of the affects of weed are long-lasting. Some scientists suggest that some of the long-term effects of marijuana on the brain are irreversible.
# 9 Compulsive Use Of Grass Can Lead To Marijuana Use Disorder And Addiction
Many people who use marijuana are said to have Marijuana Use Disorder, also known as Cannabis Use Disorder. This condition develops when someone uses weed on a regular basis, they become dependent on the drug, and use it compulsively.
If a chronic user stops using the drug, they will experience withdrawal. Although withdrawal from weed is nowhere near as intense as that of opioids, the experience is very unpleasant. Symptoms include irritability, mood swings, insomnia, decreased appetite, cravings for more pot, restlessness, and anxiety.
According to the National Institute On Drug Abuse (NIDA), 30 percent of those who use marijuana may have some degree of marijuana use disorder. It is possible for someone who has Marijuana Use Disorder to develop a full-blown addiction to marijuana. Marijuana addiction is present when someone cannot stop using weed even though it is causing negative consequences in their daily life and they have a desire to quit.
Do You Have A Problem With Marijuana? MA Can Help
If you are using weed on a regular basis, chances are you have a problem. If you do, you’ve probably already tried quitting on your own and found that you are unable to do so. Addiction is a disease that can only be arrested through complete abstinence and a strong support system.
Have you ever considered attending a Marijuana Anonymous meeting? MA is a 12-Step fellowship of men and women for whom marijuana has become a major problem. There are thousands of MA meetings happening around the United States. You can search for a meeting here. If you want to get help for your problem, MA can help.
Heart Attack. Breathing problems. Psychological problems. Obesity. Sexual performance and fertility issues. Memory loss. Hypertension. These are all serious problems caused by the chronic and continued use of pot. These should give you plenty of reasons to quit. Need more reasons to stop using marijuana? Here are seven reasons why being sober is the best decision you’ll ever make.