Marijuana continues to become increasingly popular as more laws are passed to legalize medical and recreational use of the drug. While many people find relief from chronic diseases and disorders with it, many others end up stuck in the vicious cycle of addiction after they begin to abuse the drug. Marijuana abuse happens when people use increasingly high doses to feel the same effects, use the drug more often than usual, and even become mentally and physically dependent on it. Unfortunately, these people are at a higher risk of health problems caused by marijuana abuse.
If you or a loved one struggle to stop using marijuana, there is no better time to find help than now. Quitting early may help avoid some of the negative impacts the drug can cause with long-term use. The team at Northpoint Seattle knows how important it is to break the grips of substance abuse early with compassionate care. Get started today by calling 425.414.3530.
9 Side Effects of Chronic Marijuana Use
Short-term marijuana use may have some acute effects, like memory problems, bloodshot eyes, and impaired coordination. But what about long-term effects?
1. Increased Risk of Heart Attack
With long-term marijuana use, the risk of a heart attack increases. This increase is likely because the active ingredient in marijuana, THC, increases heart rate. This can be dangerous and even life-threatening for those with preexisting heart conditions.
2. Breathing Problems
Chronic marijuana use can also lead to lung problems. Because smoking is the most popular way to use the drug, many users end up with symptoms similar to cigarette smokers, such as bronchitis and lung infections. One study even found that marijuana smoking doubled the risk of developing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
3. Psychological Problems
The use of marijuana can cause or worsen a number of psychological problems, especially in young people. These include anxiety, depression, and even psychosis. One study found that people who used marijuana had a higher risk of developing schizophrenia.
4. Increased Risk of Obesity
Marijuana use has been linked to an increased risk of obesity. This increase may be because the drug increases appetite, leading people to eat more calories than they need. For people who are trying to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight, this can be a real problem.
5. Sexual Dysfunction and Fertility Issues
Experts have also discovered possible links between marijuana and sexual dysfunction and fertility issues in men and women. In men, marijuana use can cause erectile dysfunction and reduced sperm count. It can interfere with ovulation and make it difficult to become pregnant in women.
6. Memory Loss
One of the most well-known effects of marijuana is its impact on memory. Short-term use of the drug can cause problems with recalling and learning new information. Long-term use may lead to more permanent changes in the brain, such as impaired executive function, which is the ability to plan and organize.
Marijuana use has also been linked to high blood pressure, or hypertension. This effect is likely because the drug raises heart rate and can constrict blood vessels. For people who already have hypertension, this can be dangerous.
8. Cognitive Functioning
Studies have found that marijuana use can impair cognitive functioning, especially in young people. This includes attention span, memory, and learning. One study even found that regular marijuana use in adolescence was linked to a decrease in IQ.
9. Substance Use Disorder and Addiction
People who use marijuana regularly can develop a substance use disorder. This means they feel they need to use the drug to function and may have difficulty quitting. Those who struggle with a substance use disorder are at risk of developing an addiction.
Marijuana Abuse Treatment at Northpoint Seattle
If you or someone you love is struggling with marijuana abuse, it’s important to get help as soon as possible. The team at Northpoint Seattle is here to provide compassionate care and support. We offer a variety of treatment options, including detox, individual therapy, group therapy, and more. Call us today at 425.414.3530 to get started.