Healthy Living

Cannabis Dangers: Long-Term Effects Of Marijuana On Brain And Body

There’s a lot to be said about that Socratic statement “Everything in moderation. Nothing in excess,” especially when it comes to tripping out on weed.

Marijuana or cannabis is psychoactive, meaning it’ll screw your mind if you take too much in excess and don’t exercise moderation. You’ve got to get the “high” right and this means self-discipline.

Long-term weed use is a lot more dangerous than it is fun. Ask doctors and they’ll tell you the same thing. A lot of medical studies show the long-term effects on the brain and body make marijuana dangerous to a lot of people.

These long-term issues with weed have to do with THC or tetrahydrocannabinol. THC, which triggers the marijuana high, mimics substances called endocannabinoids the human body naturally produces.

Endocannabinoids control the production of neurotransmitters in the human brain. Neurotransmitters are chemical substances that facilitate communication between the brain and the central nervous system.

Endocannabinoids also relax our muscles, reduce inflammation, protect damaged tissue and regulate appetite and metabolism, among other beneficial functions.

Now here’s where the problem lies. Because THC mimics endocannabinoids, the same physiological effects that arise from the normal application of endocannabinoids are triggered with the use of marijuana, especially in the brain.

This explains why marijuana smokers have memory-loss issues, feel higher levels of pain, have to cope with altered emotions and suffer movement control problems. In other words, THC screws the communication between the brain and the CNS.

One of the most deleterious effects of long-term weed use is loss of memory. This is because cannabis temporarily prevents the brain from creating new memories and learning new things. This type of memory loss takes place in the hippocampus, the region of the brain that regulates short-term memory.

Heavy cannabis users are also at risk of developing false memories, even if these users haven’t smoked pot for over a month, said a study published in journal Molecular Psychiatry.

This finding is one among many suggesting that people who were regular marijuana smokers in their teenage years are more likely to have memory problems as adults. Along this line, another study found teenagers that smoked pot every day for three years had “abnormally shaped” hippocampal regions when they reached their early 20s.

These people “performed around 18 percent worse in long-term memory tests” compared to other test subjects who had never smoked marijuana.

Medical researchers are surprised that there was “such a consistent association with verbal memory for chronic exposure to marijuana,” even when other factors (like cigarettes and alcohol) were accounted for.

The key lesson: moderation in smoking weed will keep you thinking straight.

There’s also a ton of research suggesting that people who smoke marijuana daily for a number of years struggle with cognitive tasks more than those who either don’t smoke cannabis, or who do so infrequently or for shorter periods of time.

Research shows that people who occasionally smoke marijuana and then give up the habit have a lower risk of developing problems with their thinking power and memory.

The body pays a hefty price for long-term weed use. Long-term exposure to smoking can damage the bronchial passages and the lungs, as well.

Studies show regular pot smokers are more likely to have persistent coughs (like tobacco smokers), have trouble breathing and produce excess phlegm and mucus. What marijuana smoking does to respiratory health “has some significant similarities to that of tobacco smoking,” said a study in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.

THC can increase the heart rate by as many as 50 beats per minute, which can last as long as three hours. That’s a lot of unwanted stress on the heart.

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