Recently, many have called for the legalization of marijuana so it can be used to treat pain and nausea in some medical conditions, such as cancer and HIV. Like with most drugs, you have the potential to suffer from marijuana side-effects that are both short-term and long-lasting. Here are some marijuana side effects you might expect to suffer from.
Short-Term Side Effects
One short-term marijuana side effect is paranoia. Some users find an increase in anxiety after the THC enters their system, experiencing delusional thoughts of persecution and the unwarranted fear that someone is attempting to harm them. Paranoia happens to nonusers as well, though marijuana users experience this type of paranoia more often than nonusers. In fact it is up to three times more likely in marijuana users.
Some of the more common and less harmful side-effects of marijuana use are dry mouth and increased appetite. In our bodies, there is a system that has a number of receptors, which are binding spots for plant cannabinoids. These receptors are located all over the body, including the glands under the tongue that produce saliva. Cotton mouth is caused when THC binds to the receptors in the mouth and prevents the production of saliva. Increased appetite can be a beneficial side-effect for users who have a lower appetite due to sickness. This can help control weight loss in patients who have cancer or AIDs.
As with any prescription drug, marijuana can be addictive. Signs of addiction include cravings, irritability, trouble sleeping and a lower appetite when attempting to stop. Addiction happens when the body’s endocannabinoid system has been overstimulated over time. Avoided extended long time use is the best way to preventing this.
Long-Term Side Effects
Smoking marijuana can cause harmful damage to internal organs after prolonged use. Like with cigarettes, marijuana can damage the lungs and cause lung cancer. The smoke of marijuana contains harmful chemicals like tar, carbon monoxide, ammonia and hydrogen cyanide that can cause long-term damage.
Users should not operate heavy machinery when under the influence of marijuana, as it lowers your reaction time. Like alcohol, marijuana can impair your motor coordination and reaction time. It is best to avoid driving a vehicle while under the influence, as it can increase your chance of getting into an accident.
Memory Loss and Addiction
Other effects of the drug include problems with memory, distorted sense of time, depression and random thoughts. These effects will usually lessen after a few hours have passed. Less problematic symptoms include red eyes and dilated pupils.
While the drug can cause adverse side-effects, many users have experienced the drug without any harmful results. The real medical benefits of marijuana have been shown to alleviate pain with patients who suffer from medical conditions. When used correctly, marijuana side-effects won’t outweigh the usefulness of marijuana as a medicine.