Side Effects of Smoking "Too Much" Marijuana Say Doctors

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There’s no doubt that medicinal marijuana has significant health benefits. It’s been well proven that marijuana can help treat symptoms of cancer patients going through chemo, as well as relieving pain and nausea from Crohn’s disease, reducing seizures in certain severe epileptic conditions and more. That said, smoking too much can cause negative side effects and Dr. Tomi Mitchell, a Board-Certified Family Physician with Holistic Wellness Strategies shares five ways marijuana can impact your life. Before using medicinal marijuana, please always consult with your physician. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don’t miss these Sure Signs You’ve Already Had COVID.


Marijuana Stats

Woman with a cannabis leaf in front of her face.

Dr. Mitchell tells us, “While marijuana smoking is certainly not as common as cigarette smoking, many people still regularly partake in this activity. In fact, according to a recent study, an estimated 16% of Americans smoke marijuana. While most people who have tried marijuana do not go on to become regular users, there is still a significant minority who smoke regularly. For many people, marijuana smoking is a way to relax and unwind after a long day. Others use it as a means of coping with anxiety or stress. Whatever the reason, it is clear that marijuana smoking is still reasonably common in the United States.

While there is no definitive answer to this question, some general guidelines can be useful in determining whether or not someone is smoking too much marijuana. First, it is essential to consider the frequency with which one uses the drug. Those who smoke a day or multiple times a week may smoke too much. Second, it is also essential to look at the amount of marijuana consumed each time it is used. Those who smoke large quantities of the drug at once may smoke too much. Finally, it is also important to consider the effects that marijuana use has on one’s life. Those experiencing negative consequences due to their use, such as problems with work or school, may be considered smoking too much.” To learn about proper consumption for health reasons, check this OK medical card online portal.


​​Lung Cancer

Patients lying on hospital bed with mask, looking at lung x-ray film during doctor reading result and advice a treatment

Dr. Mitchell explains, “Marijuana smoke contains many of the same harmful chemicals as tobacco smoke, including carcinogens. While the jury is still out on whether smoking marijuana increases your risk of lung cancer, there is evidence that it can contribute to other respiratory problems, such as bronchitis and lung infections. Additionally, marijuana smokers tend to inhale more deeply and hold their breath for longer than tobacco smokers, which increases the amount of tar and other toxins that reach the lungs. Given these factors, it’s not surprising that marijuana smoking has been linked to an increased risk of lung problems. As a regular marijuana smoker, you must be aware of the potential risks and take steps to protect your lungs. For example, quitting smoking or switching to a less harmful method, such as vaping, can help reduce your risk of developing lung problems.”


Increased Risk of Heart Attack

Businesswoman feeling chest pain while working in the office.

Dr. Mitchell states, “Marijuana smoking has been shown to have similar effects on the cardiovascular system as tobacco smoking. Both marijuana and tobacco smoke contain harmful chemicals that can damage the lining of the blood vessels, leading to inflammation and an increased risk of heart disease. In addition, marijuana smokers tend to inhale more deeply and hold their breath for longer than tobacco smokers, which increases the number of harmful chemicals that reach the lungs. Several studies have found that marijuana smoking increases the risk of heart attacks and other cardiovascular problems. Therefore, it is important to be aware of the potential cardiovascular risks of marijuana use, especially if you have a history of heart disease in your family.”


Increased Risk of Mental Health Problems

Thoughtful girl sitting on sill embracing knees looking at window, sad depressed teenager spending time alone at home, young upset pensive woman feeling lonely or frustrated thinking about problems

According to Dr. Mitchell, “Some studies have shown a correlation between smoking marijuana and developing mental health problems. This is believed to be because of the active ingredient in marijuana, THC, which can negatively impact the brain. THC has been shown to change how the brain processes information, leading to memory, learning, and decision-making problems. Additionally, THC can interfere with how the brain regulates stress and anxiety, exacerbating existing mental health conditions or causing new ones to develop. For these reasons, it’s essential to be aware of the risks associated with smoking marijuana, especially if you are already struggling with mental health issues.”


Impaired Brain Development: Regular Marijuana Use Can Impair Brain Development, Particularly in Young Adults

Portrait of a woman with cannabis leaf near her face

“It is well-known that smoking marijuana can negatively affect the brain,” Dr. Mitchell emphasizes. For example, studies have shown that it can impair memory and learning and reduce reaction time. Recent research has also suggested that smoking marijuana may be linked to problems with brain development. One study found that people who smoked marijuana regularly during adolescence were more likely than non-users to experience a decrease in the size of the hippocampus, a region of the brain critical for memory and learning. Frequent marijuana use was associated with reduced efficiency in the connections between brain regions involved in learning and memory. While more research is needed to confirm these findings, they suggest that smoking marijuana may be harmful to brain development, especially during adolescence. As a result, people need to be aware of the potential risks before deciding to smoke.”


Legal Problems

Dr. Mitchell says, “Even though marijuana is becoming increasingly legalized across the United States, several risks are still associated with its use. One of the most significant dangers is the potential for legal problems. In states where marijuana is not yet legalized, possessing even small amounts of the drug can lead to arrest and prosecution. Furthermore, because marijuana is still classified as a Schedule I substance by the federal government, it is possible to face federal charges even if possession is legal in your state. Additionally, marijuana use can result in impaired driving, leading to accidents and injuries. Therefore, knowing the potential legal risks associated with marijuana use is essential before deciding to smoke.”

Dr. Mitchell says this “doesn’t constitute medical advice and by no means are these answers meant to be comprehensive. Rather, it’s to encourage discussions about health choices.”

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