Negative Health Effects May Be Linked to Recreational Marijuana Use
As a few states begin to revel in their freedom to use marijuana legally, experts caution people to consider some of the negative health effects that may occur when using marijuana regularly and heavily. Researchers and public health officials have studied how the body reacts to heavy use of marijuana, compared the effects of smoking marijuana and tobacco, and discovered connections between using marijuana and other health conditions of which users should be aware.
Smoke-free Lungs are Healthier
Smoke is not healthy for the lungs-not any kind of smoke cautions Roland Lamarine, professor of public health at California State University, Chico. Some researchers suggest that marijuana smokers inhale smoke more deeply than those who smoke cigarettes. The National Institute on Drug Abuse asserts that marijuana smoke is filled with chemicals that may cause cancer. Dr. Donald P. Tashkin, a researcher at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, agrees. Dr. Tashkin says the thousands of toxic and noxious ingredients found in marijuana smoke have great potential to cause lung damage. While a 2012 study in the Journal of the American Medical Association reported that those who used marijuana lightly did not suffer lung damage, experts want to caution those who use marijuana heavily or over a long period of time. The Dangers of Self-Medication
Researchers acknowledge that marijuana can have healing affects, yet can be damaging to the body if used excessively and improperly. People have turned to marijuana for such things as helping them control pain, controlling their appetite, and improving their mood.
Some individuals with mental health disorders use marijuana in an attempt to control their moods. Researchers caution that this self-medication can be dangerous for those who are trying to chemically manage their mental illness. Researchers have discovered connections between multiple mental illnesses and marijuana use, including schizophrenia, anxiety, panic attacks, bipolar, and depression.
Risks of Temporary Brain Impairment
Through researching studies on marijuana use, Lamarine found that individuals who used marijuana had brain impairment immediately after using the marijuana. Within 20 to 40 minutes after using marijuana individuals suffered from temporary brain impairment that left a person vulnerable to making poor safety choices. Akin to someone who becomes intoxicated with alcohol, the individual is at risk for injuring themselves or others. If this individual is already suffering from a mental health disorder, the effects could be more dangerous and more unpredictable. Using marijuana regularly and heavily over a longer period of time may affect the memory and impair thinking skills, according to some researchers.
More research on negative health effects of using marijuana needs to be done. Until then, researchers advise that each human body is its own chemical machine. Some individuals will be more tolerant of substances and others will not. Depending on how people use marijuana and how strong of a dose they take will also alter the affects between individuals.