Is Marijuana Really That Dangerous?
Marijuana supporters have made strong claims about the beneficial effects of the drug and have raised the idea of legalizing it. Marijuana may seem less harmful than other illegal drugs, because the number of deaths and life-threatening overdoses caused directly by marijuana are relatively low. The other reason marijuana seems harmless is because there is no proven evidence that the drug is physically addictive. However users can develop a psychological addiction to the drug just as they can with substance or activity. Whether the drug is made legal or not, the fact does not change that there are proven dangers associated with marijuana use.
Dangers While under the Influence of Marijuana
Marijuana acts as both a stimulant and a depressant depending on the user and the specific drug’s contents. The drug can be a mild hallucinogen and provoke euphoric-like feelings. Common side effects include the following:
- Impaired coordination and balance
- Impaired perception causing lack of judgment
- Loss of inhibition
- Impaired short-term memory
- Anxiety, panic attacks and paranoia
- Lack of motivation and energy
Many of these symptoms are similar to alcohol and impair the brain and body. For this reason it can be incredibly dangerous to drive with under the influence of marijuana. Impaired perception and lack of inhibitions can cause people to make decisions they would never consider sober. Some outcomes are STDs, unplanned pregnancy, accidental injury and death.
Health Consequences of Long-Term Marijuana Use
Chronic marijuana use can lead to a number of serious health concerns such as the following:
- Respiratory problems. Smoking marijuana can lead to chest colds, bronchitis, emphysema and asthma.
- Chronic users are prone to severe lung damage which greatly increases the risk of cancer.
- Immune system complications. Marijuana can weaken the immune system making it harder to fight off infection and disease.
- Delayed puberty. Marijuana affects the hormones, and chronic use can slow the development of puberty.
- Pregnancy complications. Regular marijuana use reduces male sperm count. For women marijuana disrupts the menstrual cycle and may prevent ovulation. Using marijuana while pregnant can cause severe health risks to the baby.
Marijuana restricts the brain from absorbing and retaining information. While under the influence users are unable to focus, sustain attention or organize information. Chronic marijuana use can cause permanent brain damage to the portions of the brain that control memory and learning.
End the Dangers of Marijuana Use
If you or someone you know needs help ending a marijuana habit, please call our toll-free helpline today. We can answer questions and provide you with information on recovering from substance abuse or addiction. We are here 24 hours to assist you in your recovery needs. Please call now.