Short- and Long-Term Effects of Marijuana
The Physical and Mental Repercussions of the Nation’s Most Popular Drug
In a 2013 survey conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), 19.8 million Americans reported being current users of marijuana. Considering the total number of reported illicit drug users in the study was 24.6 million, marijuana represents an overwhelming majority of respondents—roughly 80%.
The popularity of marijuana use has long been apparent, particularly as social attitudes about the drug have shifted. Some use marijuana to treat the symptoms of conditions like arthritis, MS, PTSD, and epilepsy. Others use it recreationally, viewing its consumption as no different from drinking alcohol. Yet, even with states beginning to legalize and regulate the sale and use of marijuana, questions of short- and long-term risks remain.
The Potential Short-Term Effects of Marijuana
The short-term effects of smoking or vaping marijuana can be felt almost immediately, while the effects of consuming it in food can take about 30 minutes to an hour. The effects of marijuana typically last somewhere between 1-3 hours.
Short-Term Physical Effects
- Muscle relaxation
- Reduction of pain
- Increased heart rate
- Heightened senses (colors might seem brighter, for example)
- Increased appetite
- Loss of balance and coordination
- Slowed reaction time
Short-Term Psychological and Behavioral Effects
- Relaxed, peaceful feelings
- Altered sense of time
- Laughter (being generally “giggly”)
- Anxiety, paranoia (usually occurs with higher doses)
- Acute psychosis (can occur with very large doses)
- Memory problems
The Potential Long-Term Effects of Marijuana
After months and years of repeated regular use, marijuana use can have much more lasting, damaging effects. Effects may vary by type of use; smoking marijuana, for example, poses different risks than using a smoke-free vaporizer.
Long-Term Physical Effects
- Lung damage, increased risk of lung cancer (if smoked)
- Worse disease treatment outcomes when used exclusively in lieu of modern medicine
- Diminished production of endocannabinoid neurotransmitters, leading to physical addiction
- Possible increased risk of testicular cancer (limited evidence)
Long-Term Psychological and Behavioral Effects
- Increased risk of behavioral and mental health issues
- Substance abuse
- Possible impairment of functions like memory and learning (limited evidence)
Has Marijuana Taken Over Your Life? Yellowstone Recovery Can Help
Even if you’re using marijuana legally, for medical purposes and without symptoms of physical addiction, you can still develop a damaging psychological addiction. If marijuana is a constant companion and you’re shirking responsibilities to use it, you may have begun misusing it as an escape without even knowing it.
At Yellowstone Recovery in southern California, our inpatient and intensive outpatient treatment programs are well-suited to the treatment of marijuana addiction. Through a combination of medical care, individual counseling, group therapy, 12-step meetings, and other therapeutic techniques, we help clients from all walks of life regain control and build happier healthier futures.
Call us today at (888) 418-4188 to learn more.
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