Is Smoking Marijuana as Safe as People Think?

Last Updated on May 15, 2023

Smoking Marijuana

Marijuana, weed, pot, dope, and grass. The substance that originates from the cannabis plant goes by various names. It can be consumed or vaped, smoked, or vaporised. Marijuana is mostly used for enjoyment and recreation. But an increasing number of medical professionals are prescribing it for particular illnesses and signs. The chemicals in marijuana have psychedelic effects on the body as well as the mind. It has the potential to be addicting and could be bad for certain people’s health.

Potential Health Risks of Smoking Marijuana

It May Affect Your Mental Health

Not everyone has a positive marijuana experience. You may experience frequent feelings of anxiety, fear, panic, or paranoia. Cannabis usage on a regular basis is thought to make bipolar disorder symptoms worse in those who already have it. However, there is little proof that cannabis use increases the risk of bipolar disorder.

The use of marijuana may increase your risk of developing clinical depression or exacerbate the signs of any existing mental problems. Yet, scientists are unsure about the precise cause. In excess, it might cause paranoia or a loss of reality, causing you to hear or see things that aren’t really there.

It Could Lead to Addiction

One in ten marijuana users will develop an addiction. That implies you must continue using it even if it compromises your relationships, career, health, or financial situation. The risk increases with marijuana usage, both in terms of age and intensity. For instance, if you smoke marijuana in your teens, your chances of developing an addiction are 1 in 6. Among people who take it daily, it may be as high as 1 in 2.

Cannabis use may potentially cause physical dependence. When you don’t use it, your body can experience withdrawal, making you agitated, restless, unable to sleep, and unwilling to eat. Find out more about how to recognise marijuana addiction’s warning signals.

It May Harm Your Heart

Your heart has to work harder since smoking marijuana increases your heart rate. These effects raise your risk of having a heart attack and begin within 15 minutes and extend for up to three hours. In fact, according to a study, your chance of having a heart attack might rise up to five times in the first hour after consuming marijuana.

Additionally, the compounds in marijuana are associated with a higher risk of heart failure and atrial fibrillation, a heart rhythm disease. Young people who use marijuana frequently have a higher risk of stroke than those who don’t use the drug.

It May Impair Your Brain

You may find it more difficult to concentrate, study, and recall after using marijuana. This appears to be a transient impact that persists for at least 24 hours after quitting smoking.

However, heavy marijuana use, particularly during your teen years, may have longer-lasting impacts. Cannabis may physically alter the brains of some adolescents, but not all, according to imaging examinations. In particular, they have fewer connections in the brain’s attention, learning, and memory-related regions, and tests reveal lower IQ scores in some individuals.

It Could Damage Your Lungs

Although smoking marijuana has negative effects on the lungs, it may not be as toxic as smoking tobacco. Many of the same dangerous compounds found in tobacco smoke are also present in marijuana smoke. And just like smoking tobacco, using marijuana occasionally can still result in symptoms including acute bronchitis, persistent coughing, and shortness of breath.

Your lungs may get inflamed and itchy from marijuana use. Infections may spread more quickly to your lungs. That’s partially because THC appears to impair the immune systems of some users.

Read: Dispelling Myths About the Science of Weight Loss

Marijuana vs Tobacco

Given the well-known adverse effects of smoking tobacco, it becomes sensible to assume that marijuana use could have a similar negative impact on physical health. Although marijuana smoke doesn’t contain nicotine, it nonetheless irritates the lungs. And given that smoking tobacco has been related to respiratory damage, cancer, emphysema, heart disease, pregnancy difficulties, low birth weight, and other illnesses, it is logical to be concerned about the possibility that marijuana use could be just as hazardous.

Scientists have compared marijuana use with tobacco use based on a variety of variables, but they have not been able to come up with conclusive proof that one substance is more harmful to health than the other. Compared to tobacco cigarettes of comparable weight, marijuana joints have been demonstrated to transmit at least four times as much tar to the lungs.

Joints lack filters, and marijuana smokers often inhale more smoke and breathe it deeper into their lungs than tobacco smokers do. These two factors account for the disparity. Smokers of marijuana also frequently inhale for longer periods of time before inhaling, which exposes the lungs to higher concentrations of cancer-causing substances.

On the other side, commercial cigarettes produce more smoke than hand-rolled joints due to their tighter packing. This means that over the course of a day, most tobacco users inhale significantly more smoke than persons who only consume marijuana. This is in addition to the fact that most tobacco users typically smoke more cigarettes per day than their marijuana-using peers. Therefore, it is impossible to draw exact parallels between the harm that smoking marijuana and smoking tobacco does to one’s health.

Are There Medical Benefits?

Research over the years has produced findings that point to the possibility that cannabis may be helpful in the treatment of certain ailments.

Chronic pain

Cannabinoids may lessen pain by changing the brain’s neural pathways that deal with it. This may be useful in treating diseases like migraine, fibromyalgia, endometriosis, and arthritis that produce persistent pain.

Additionally, it might lessen negative side effects of cancer treatment like appetite loss. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen, which might have significant side effects, are often said to be replaced with medical marijuana in some cases.

Sleep management

The cannabinoids in cannabis may lessen pain by changing the brain’s neural pathways that deal with it. This may be useful in treating diseases like migraine, fibromyalgia, endometriosis, and arthritis that produce persistent pain.

Additionally, it might lessen negative side effects of cancer treatment like appetite loss. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen, which might have significant side effects, are often said to be replaced with medical marijuana in some cases.

Neurological and mental disorders

The majority of individuals don’t even realise they have depression, despite it being extremely common. Cannabis contains endocannabinoids that can help stabilise moods and lessen depression.

Anxiety, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and Tourette syndrome are among the other mental illnesses for which it is recommended.

Conclusion

It’s crucial to be aware of the potential effects of marijuana use. While marijuana has been shown to be beneficial for some medical ailments, it is dangerous in other circumstances. Additionally, remember that vaping marijuana is harder on the lungs than smoking it, despite the common misconception that the latter is safer.

Speak with your healthcare provider if you have any worries regarding marijuana use and its possible negative effects.

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