Marijuana Long Term Effects
What are the long-term effects of marijuana? Marijuana is often seen as a harmless drug, which explains why 95 million Americans have tried the drug at least once, according to the Office of National Drug Control Policy. While marijuana’s effects may not be as severe as those associated with other drugs, the drug cannot be classified as harmless.
According to Canada’s Center for Addiction and Mental Health, the following long-term effects are associated with persistent marijuana use:
- Cancer. It is believed that the tar associated with smoking marijuana and other ingredients increase the risk of lung and smoke cancer. The fact that typically people smoke marijuana unfiltered increases this risk.
- Memory issues. Not only is it believed that marijuana results in issues with memory and concentration long term, individuals feel less motivated when it comes to keeping up with their responsibilities.
- Respiratory problems. The smoke from marijuana can cause issues with the lungs and respiratory system. It has also been linked to bronchitis.
- Schizophrenia. Although it is not fully understood, there is a link between schizophrenia and marijuana use.
Short-Term Effects of Marijuana
The long-term effects of marijuana use are debated; however, the short-term effects are better supported, and these include:
- Increased awareness of the body
- Increased perception of sounds (like music) and smells
- Short-term memory and concentration issues
- A sense of relaxation
Is Marijuana Addictive?
Individuals who use marijuana need to worry about the potential long-term effects, but they also need to concern themselves with their potential addiction. Those who use marijuana often hold the belief that marijuana is not an addictive drug. Data published by the National Institute on Drug Abuse shows that in many circumstances this is not true. They report that approximately 9 percent of individuals who use marijuana become addicted. This may seem minimal compared to those who use other drugs, however, this still proves that there are risks of addiction regardless. It is believed that marijuana is not physically addictive, but instead it is associated with psychological addiction. Individuals come to desire the effects of the drug, even if they do not develop physical withdrawal symptoms when they stop using.
There is treatment available for marijuana addiction. However, those who seek treatment have typically been using for more than 10 years and often used other drugs in conjunction with marijuana, says the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Long-term success rates for marijuana addiction recovery are about 50 percent.
*Overcoming Marijuana Addiction
Marijuana addiction can be overcome by utilizing the following tips:
- Find support. Even if an addict does not have a physical addiction to marijuana, they may struggle with the idea of going without the drug. A support group can help addicts overcome their desire to use and help them recognize that this compulsion is normal.
- Find alternative activities. Marijuana is often used to fill a void in an addict’s life. Instead of turning to drug use, an individual can simply find alternative activities that productively occupy their time. Having the distraction can stop them from thinking about marijuana use.
- Understand the addiction. Despite the misconceptions about marijuana addiction, a physical dependency can be formed. Understanding this can help you find appropriate treatment options.