Risks of long-term marijuana use
The risks of single cannabis use, even if the dose is exceeded many times, are not particularly terrible, and all the consequences go away after a few hours. But what if cannabis has been a constant partner in life for many years? What dangers could that entail?
The effect on the lungs
The effect of marijuana on the lungs is the same as that of regular cigarettes. The combustion process always leads to the formation of carcinogens. Another question is that the amount of daily joints used is probably not even close to the number of cigarettes consumed by the average smoker.
There is also a curious fact. The researchers have noticed that any type of regular inhalation of various herbs causes certain mutations in cells, which ultimately make them cancer. In the case of cannabis, the mutations usually do not overcome the “cancer threshold”. According to the main hypothesis, it is that the action of cannabinoids blocks tumor formation processes.
The effect on the brain
Research also shows that hemp can affect the structure of the brain. In 2014, Neuropsychopharmacology published information on how cannabis affects the brain in long-term, permanent use. The study noted a decrease in the amount of gray matter with regular long-term use of cannabis. Most of the brain neurons are contained in gray matter.
It was also noted that CB1 receptors are present in the medial temporal cortex, temporal pole, parahippocampal gyrus, and orbitofrontal cortex. Namely, in those areas which play an important role in motivation, emotion, and affective information processing.
At the same time, scientists themselves note that research does not give an unambiguous answer to the question of whether marijuana changes the structure of the brain. The fact is that a couple of weeks after the abandonment of daily use of cannabis all indicators of subjects returned to the absolute norm.
The effect on learning, memory, and attention
Some studies claim that cannabis can affect memory and learning ability. How this happens, however, is not entirely clear.
A 2016 study published in JAMA Internal Medicine found a strong link between long-term exposure to marijuana and worsening verbal memory in people aged 18 to 30 years. More than 5000 people were asked to report on their use of marijuana and then take part in verbal memory, processing speed, and executive tests. The results showed that participants remembered 1 wordless for every 5 years of regular cannabis use.
In this case, scientists also questioned the results of their research. The fact is that it is more statistical than medical. It’s a routine survey.
However, the lab tests on mice say the opposite. For example, cannabinoids helped “elderly” rodents to reduce the effects of age-related cognitive impairment.
The effect on mental health
Yes, some studies show that marijuana can affect mental health. However, the connection between cannabis and mental illness is not very clear. Cannabis was previously thought to cause psychosis and schizophrenia, but it does not seem to be so. Instead, some researchers argue that cannabis can stimulate the onset of mental illness in people who are initially predisposed to it. However, no one still has reliable and corroborated data on the subject.
So, now you know the risks of long-term cannabis use. If you’re feeling chronic discomfort that means you are abusing and it is time to take a week or two breaks. Either way, your physical condition will get back to normal anyway.
However, this only applies to adults whose brains are already fully formed. In the case of teenagers whose nervous system is not yet fully formed, you may face the risk of earning a mental disability.
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