7 Positive & Adverse Effects of Marijuana

7 Positive & Adverse Effects of Marijuana

Adverse effects of marijuana

Marijuana has been on a steady climb towards legalization in many states of the USA and across numerous other countries. Many people see this as an opportunity to boost revenue from marijuana sales and businesses or a chance to create new jobs.

Like most things in life, marijuana too has its positive and negative aspects. As countries across the world and more specifically many states in the USA legalize marijuana for medicinal or even recreational purposes, its consumption is bound to increase. This article will explore some of the positive and negative impacts of marijuana use.

What are some of the adverse effects of marijuana?

The Risk Of Addiction

Although there are some debates over the addiction potential of marijuana, evidence suggests that prolonged use of marijuana could lead to increased dependency. In fact, about 9 percent of those who try marijuana become addicted to it within three years. [1] This number rises to 1 in 6 of those who first begin smoking marijuana in their teens and 25-50% of users who regularly smoke marijuana. [2]

It is also recognized that there is marijuana withdrawal disorder with symptoms such as sleep disturbances, irritability, craving, dysphoria, and anxiety, making cannabis consumption withdrawal difficult and leading to relapse. The use of marijuana by adolescents is highly problematic. The increased risk of adverse long-term consequences from marijuana usage may be because the brain and the endocannabinoid system undergo active development in adolescence. [3]

Indeed the early and frequent marijuana utilization is associated with a higher chance of addiction to marijuana and, in turn, an increase in the risk of consuming other illicit substances. Compared to those who start to use marijuana during adolescence are about 2 to 4 times more likely to experience signs of dependence on cannabis within two years of their first use. [4]

Impaired Driving

The Driving Under the Influence (DUI) laws aren’t restricted to alcohol. Driving while under the effects of drugs, such as marijuana, is hazardous and illegal. Driving requires complete focus to remain secure and alert.

Marijuana alters the regions of the brain that regulate your body’s movement, balance, memory, coordination as well as judgment. Marijuana use can impair the essential abilities needed to drive safely. This is due to slowing down your reaction time and your ability to make choices, affecting coordination, and creating distortions in perception.

Several studies have already proven the association between marijuana use and road accidents. It’s not easy to determine the connection between the use of marijuana or the concentration of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). This substance is responsible for marijuana’s psychoactive effects on a person’s impaired driving ability. Research has demonstrated that using several substances (such as alcohol and marijuana) simultaneously could increase impairment. [5]

Mental Illnesses

Regular use of marijuana is linked to an increased risk of anxiety and depression. Marijuana can also be linked to psychoses (including schizophrenia-related psychoses), particularly among those with a genetic vulnerability that can exacerbate illness progression for patients who have schizophrenia.

A higher dose of marijuana, increased potency of the drug, and early exposure in life could all harm the overall health of a person. [6]

It is, however, difficult to determine causality in these types of studies because other factors besides marijuana use could be directly linked to the risk of developing mental illnesses. It is therefore difficult to determine the higher risk of developing cognitive diseases to the use of marijuana.

Risk Of Cancer

Risk of Cancer | Adverse Effects of Marijuana

Marijuana and cannabinoids in their forms are currently being studied to control the adverse effects of cancer and other treatments (like chemotherapy). Cannabis may help alleviate the negative consequences or side effects of chemotherapy such vomiting and nausea. However, research has not demonstrated that marijuana or specific cannabinoids will help cure cancer. Like many other medications, marijuana may also cause problems and side effects. Delaying or avoiding conventional medical treatment for cancer or relying exclusively on marijuana to manage or treat the effects of cancer could result in severe health consequences. [7]

Smoking marijuana supplies THC and other cannabinoids into the body. It also releases harmful substances, which include numerous of the same toxins along with carcinogens (cancer-causing chemicals) that are found in tobacco smoke. These carcinogens can be detrimental to the lung and the cardiovascular system. But, there is no evidence to suggest the connection between current, frequent, or even chronic marijuana use and the development of testicular cancer. Since marijuana is used in various ways, with different amounts of active compounds, it can affect every person differently. It is essential to conduct more research to determine the full effects of marijuana on cancer.

Heart Issues

Heart Issues from marijuana | Adverse Effects from weed

Marijuana could make your heart beat faster, and it can cause blood pressure to increase immediately after use. It can also lead to a higher risk of having heart disease, stroke, and other cardiovascular diseases.

Most research studies that link marijuana to strokes and heart attacks result from reports of individuals who have smoked marijuana. Smoking marijuana delivers tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and other cannabinoids into the body. Marijuana also contains several chemicals which scientists have observed in tobacco too. These substances are harmful to your lung and cardiovascular system.

It’s hard to differentiate the effects of marijuana-related substances on your cardiovascular system from the ones resulting from the chemical compounds found in other substances such as tobacco. It is necessary to fully understand the effects of marijuana on the heart and find if its consumption increases the chances of dying. [8]

Lung Diseases

Lung diseases from weed | Adverse effects of marijuana

Smoking marijuana, no matter in what way it is smoked, can cause lung damage and result in scarring and injury of the blood vessels.

Acute bronchial effects from smoking tobacco and cannabis differ. Smoking tobacco causes acute constriction of the bronchial duct, while smoking cannabis triggers rapid bronchial dilation due to the amount of THC. This effect is reported by marijuana users across the United States, where cannabis used to be smoked independently. People in various parts of the world often smoke tobacco and cannabis together (especially in the case of cannabis resin being used). The combination could cause different acute bronchial effects. [9]

Further research is required to better understand the particular impact that smoking marijuana can have on lung cancer and other respiratory conditions such as Emphysema (lung condition which causes breath shortness) and chronic obstructive pulmonary illness ( COPD).

Problem In Coordination

Cannabis causes severe impairment to several parts of the brain. These include the most significant adverse effects on short-term episodic and working memory, decision-making and planning. Excessive use of marijuana can alter the response speed, precision, and latency.

People who consume cannabis for the first time have more intense intoxication effects than those who’ve consumed it before. The effects include lack of concentration and attention. Cannabis also affects the motor coordination which can further influence driving skills and increase the risk of accidents.

Evidence suggests that marijuana smoking has been linked with a significant impairment in driving. This is observed more in case of occasional users as they become less attentive and concentrated to safely drive a vehicle. The performance of humans can be affected for as long as 24 hours after consuming moderate amounts of Cannabis.

Additionally, the person who is smoking it may not be aware of the impact of the drug.

Marijuana is widely used in the medical field to aid patients with a range of ailments.

Cannabinoids, the active ingredients in medical marijuana, affect the hormones that regulate hunger, memory, movement, and pain in the body.

Marijuana, according to research, helps:

  • Reduce your anxiety levels and assist with sleep management.
  • Relieve pain and reduce inflammation.
  • Kill cancer cells, and slow down tumor development.
  • Stimulate appetite and help cancer and AIDS patients gain weight.
  • Prevent epileptic seizures.
  • Reduce your blood pressure.
  • Prevent relapse in drug and alcohol addictions.

Read more about – The Health Benefits of Marijuana


Marijuana is a drug, and like most medications have both positive and adverse effects. The question isn’t whether there are negative consequences of marijuana use, but rather whether the positives outweigh the negatives. 


[1]- https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3069146/

[2]- https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4827335/#R4

[3]- https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4827335/#R6

[4]- https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19022584/

[5]- https://www.cdc.gov/marijuana/health-effects/driving.html

[6]- https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24345517/

[7]- https://www.cdc.gov/marijuana/health-effects/cancer.html

[8]- https://www.cdc.gov/marijuana/health-effects/heart-health.html


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