Is Marijuana Bad For You?
Marijuana is becoming less and less stigmatized. Though at times you may need legal help for drug possession, using marijuana is becoming more safe over time.
In fact, recreational marijuana has been decriminalized in 27 states and the District of Columbia—over half of the US.
So more people are trying it out for the first time.
But just because smoking marijuna is becoming increasingly legal doesn’t mean it won’t have negative effects on your health.
What is Marijuana?
Sometimes called weed, pot, dope, or grass, marijuna comes from the cannabis plant, aka hemp. The cannabis plant has more than 100 compounds known as cannabinoids, which include tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD).
To turn cannabis into marijuana, usually the leaves, stems, or seeds of the plant are dried so they can be smoked.
Smoking marijuana gets you “high” by releasing dopamine in your brain. The high can come as quickly as 15 minutes and can last up to 3 hours.
Other times, people drink or eat cannabis in various forms. However, this creates a more gradual high that is longer lasting.
The Health Risks of Marijuna
Now that you know what marijuana is, let’s go over the health risks involved in using it as a drug.
Among other things, using marijuana can lead to an increased risk of depression and suicide among teens, birth complications among pregnant women, and lung problems among second-hand smokers.
But in this post, we’ll go over the body parts that are impacted by smoking marijuana most:
Smoking marijuana accelerates your heartbeat. This can not only increase your risk of heart attack fivefold within an hour but increase the risk of heart failure, atrial fibrillation, and a stroke.
Anybody who already has heart problems should definitely avoid using marijuana.
Studies show that smoking marijuana may reduce bone density, which raises the risk of osteoporosis and bone fractures.
But the research is not conclusive since other studies show that marijuana may also accelerate bone healing after a fracture.
If you are concerned about your bone health or have a prior condition, it’s better to play it safe and not use marijuana.
Though marijuana is less harmful to your lungs than tobacco, it can still irritate them. In fact, smoking marijuana can create phlegm in your throat and lead to acute bronchitis, chronic coughing, shortness of breath, and wheezing.
If you are sick or at risk of a chronic lung condition, avoid smoking marijuana just like you would avoid smoking tobacco.
Perhaps most concerning of all, smoking marijuana can damage your mental health. It can make you feel anxious, afraid, panicked, and even paranoid.
It also clouds your senses and increases the risk of delusions, disorganized thinking and speech, and even hallucinations.
Most of all, there’s a high 1-in-10 chance that your brain will get addicted to using marijuana. Among teens, that risk increases to 1 in 6. And among those who use marijunaa every day, the risk rises to 1 in 2.
So if you want to evade the mental, physical, emotional, and social damage that comes with addiction, it’s best to avoid marijuana completely.
As you can see, marijuna poses some serious health risks, even if it’s one of the softer drugs out there.
Not only could it lead to addiction but it could set off a downward spiral that leads to more serious problems later on. There’s a reason it’s often called a “gateway drug.”
Users, and especially young users, should be very clear on what the risks are before deciding to use this harmful drug.