Marijuana activists achieved several notable legal victories over the past 10 years, including legalization in numerous states for medical and recreational use. Although buying, selling and using marijuana is now openly accepted in many communities, it is still a dangerous psychotropic drug whose abuse can lead to life-threatening effects. Here is why staying off marijuana is still the wisest course of action.
Marijuana Is Dangerous to Your Health
Although it is true that marijuana can relieve uncomfortable side effects from diseases such as cancer and fibromyalgia — hence its legalization for medical purposes — it is also proven to cause serious health and wellness issues. They include:
- Harm to your heart. The relationship between marijuana and heart attack is under investigation, but early research suggests individuals who smoke are more likely to have a heart attack.
- Harm to your respiratory organs. Most marijuana users smoke the drug, and unfiltered marijuana smoke contains toxic and carcinogenic chemicals that include hydrogen cyanide and nitric oxide. Chronic inhaling of marijuana smoke inflames the lungs, causes the body to produce excessive sputum, results in chronic coughing and could cause cancer in the airway.
- Harm to your reproductive system. Marijuana reduces the body’s production of testosterone, according to the Journal of Clinical Pharmacology. It also lowers sperm count and increases the risk of male breast enlargement.
- Poor brain development in younger users. Smoking marijuana prevents the adolescent brain from maturing fully.
- Depression and anxiety. Even though many people smoke marijuana because of its temporary relaxing effect, chronic abuse impacts mental health disorders such as schizophrenia, depression and anxiety.
- Changes in behavior. Marijuana abuse is linked to hallucinations, paranoia and anger.
Marijuana Is Addictive
Many people who abuse marijuana believe it isn’t addictive. Yet medical professionals have found that chronic marijuana abuse leads to addiction in roughly 10 percent of users, in addition to withdrawal symptoms. Heavy smokers who try to quit marijuana alone might find themselves feeling:
- The brain has learned it cannot relax without marijuana.
- Addicted people may experience insomnia or sleep too much.
- Unpredictable. Users can alternate between periods of aggression or excitement and depression or irritability.
- This may include lack of appetite.
- In denial. Many marijuana users falsely believe the drug isn’t addictive, yet daily smokers are far more likely to become hooked on pot. Denial is one of the most common characteristics of an addicted person, so don’t let a convincing argument fool you into thinking a problem doesn’t exist. If it causes a problem, it is a problem.
Marijuana Leads to Harder Drugs
Not everyone who smokes marijuana every day will go on to use other drugs such as heroin or cocaine, but some users — particularly adolescents who get high on pot — are more likely to use other drugs later in life.
There is also evidence that suggests marijuana may “prime” the brain for reactions to other kinds of drugs, according to DrugAbuse.gov. Individuals who smoke pot are highly likely to drink excessive amounts of alcohol, however — and that can lead to even more serious problems down the road.
Call 12 Keys for More Information
For more information about marijuana addiction and treatment, call 12 Keys today.