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What are the Long Term Side Effects of Marijuana?

Long term effects of marijuana continue to be disputed by advocates and opponents who have supporting studies for their respective positions on use of the drug. Most effects of marijuana are short term with varying psychological and physical experiences. Other contributing factors such as mental health disorders and co-addictions add to the controversy of this topic and much remains to be concluded. Studies of long term mental health effects associate marijuana use with mental disorders such as bi-polar disorder, schizophrenia, or increased risks for other psychotic disorders. These studies differ in causes and whether the use contributes to other addictions. Studies of physical effects associate marijuana with impairments to lung functions and cerebral impairments in the brain or central nervous system.

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Physical Side Effects

Physical impairments relating to marijuana use have been associated with impaired brain and nervous system functions for memory, cognitive, and motor skills as well as impairments to the lungs and heart. Increased subjectivity to carcinogens and irritants in the marijuana smoke may contribute to other lung diseases such as cancer and increased risks of tumors or bacterial infections. This smoke may also contribute to reduced T-cell activity in the lungs and their ability to fight infections which can result in problems with the immunity system. Cardio problems as well as lung impairments are noted to be increased with users who also smoke tobacco products. Some instances of stroke or heart attacks may be 4 times higher while under the intoxication of marijuana because it lowers the blood pressure while increasing the heart rate.

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Psychological Side Effect

There have been studies to suggest mental impairments resulting in anxiety, depression, psychosis, bi-polar disorders, and schizophrenia in long term chronic abusers. There is a wide array of psychological side effects, subject to experience, that result in short term stimulation, euphoria, tranquility, sedation, or dissociative senses. Compulsive use and disruption to emotions may lead to other mental health issues including anxiety, depression, disinterest, with the possibility of incidental episodes occurring intermittently. Memory impairment and reduced cognitive functions may contribute to other issues regarding lack of self acceptance, guilt, inferiority, and confidence.

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