As marijuana has become legal for recreational use in various states across the nation, there’s no denying the increasing acceptance of the drug. From a medical standpoint, marijuana has proven helpful in relieving chronic pain and symptoms caused by chemotherapy and aids. Because of its effectiveness, 35 states allow medical use of cannabis.
However, mixed opinions regarding the drug remain ever-present in society. When used appropriately, many believe cannabis is a great aid for pain and depression. But people often abuse the drug in recreational ways that are a cause for concern.
No matter how you decide to use it, you should know the side effects of the drug. Continue reading to learn about the seven harmful side effects of smoking marijuana.
It’s a common practice for doctors to use cannabis on patients to help their depression or anxiety. In some instances, however, the drug has an opposite effect and worsens the patient’s condition.
Many experience severe anxiety and paranoia after use, depending on the levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) the marijuana contains. For example, high THC levels are often associated with increased anxiety, while high levels of cannabidiol (CBD) lessen anxiety.
When using cannabis as a treatment for depression and anxiety, it is crucial to get input from a physician. The treatment won’t work well unless you receive a proper diagnosis and seek help to find the best option for your specific problem.
It seems that in every movie or television show that includes a scene about marijuana, the characters suddenly have a ravenous appetite, also known as the “munchies.” Unfortunately, while cannabis effectively treats patients who lack appetite, particularly cancer or AIDS patients, hunger is not always a positive side effect.
If you plan to use cannabis for medical treatment, your physician should warn you about how harmful the hunger side effect can be to your health. In addition, it is important to track calories and monitor your weight to avoid obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes.
5. Sedation or Impairment
With pretty much any medication, there is always a chance of feeling drowsiness or slightly sedated. The same goes for cannabis use. It relaxes your entire body and slows reaction time. As a result, activities such as driving can be very dangerous.
According to a Consumer Reports article, car accidents have increased in states where marijuana is legal compared to neighboring states. The article also mentions how a survey of medical marijuana patients in Michigan indicated that 56.4% have driven within two hours of using marijuana, and 21.5% said they were “very high” at the time.
4. Dry Mouth
Dry mouth or “cotton” mouth is common for those who use marijuana by smoking it. You may wonder how this side effect is harmful to health because it seems to be a small nuisance that can be dealt with.
Well, oral health is more important than you think. Your mouth must be moist to maintain gum and dental health. When the oral cavity is dry, gum regression can occur, and there is a chance of decaying teeth. In the worst-case scenario, teeth can fall out.
3. Nausea and Vomiting
Nausea and vomiting are some of the more severe side effects associated with marijuana. It is commonly diagnoses as cannabis hyperemesis syndrome. Although it is usually seen with daily users, it can happen to anyone.
Treatment includes IV fluids and anti-nausea medications. Hot showers are also helpful for less extreme cases. However, avoiding cannabis altogether may be the best option for some patients.
2. You Might Develop Psychiatric Health Concerns
While cannabis helps treat mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety, data suggests it can cause problems for patients with other psychiatric illnesses such as schizophrenia. According to some studies, there is a direct correlation between teenagers who frequently use cannabis and the development of schizophrenia later on in life.
1. You Might Foster Decreased Sperm Health
If you’re a man who frequently uses cannabis, you should know that reduced sperm viability is a possible side effect. One study found that weekly use of cannabis was found to reduce the number of sperm. Other studies have found a correlation between cannabis use and sperm that are unable to make contact and fertilize the female egg.