Long Term Effects of Marijuana Use
5 Sep 2019
Have you ever wondered what the long term effects of marijuana use are? I mean, we’ve all been at that point in our lives when we simply enjoyed the high we got from the herb. However, the more savory you get with cannabis, the more questions may arise as to extended use.
When it comes to the effects of marijuana on the brain, the field for big data research remains humble. Despite the fact that in many countries marijuana is legal for medicinal purposes, the green goodness would have to be acknowledged by authorities as a plant with strong healing properties and extremely low potential for abuse in order to be thoroughly examined by researchers.
There are only a few high-quality studies regarding long-term cannabis consumption. What is already known about the herb’s effect on the mind is, least to say, intriguing. Here’s what clinical evidence has to say about the long term effects of using marijuana on your brain.
Long Term Effects of Smoking Cannabis
A lack of big-data clinical trials makes it harder to make any firm statements about long term cannabis consumption. As such, we don’t have much to go on regarding any negative health results. So scientists have yet to come to a firm agreement on this subject. Nevertheless, there are some proven long-term effects of using marijuana as to the condition of a human’s brain. Let’s take a peek at them!
1. Increased Tolerance
As with any substance that interacts with your brain, you may develop a tolerance to THC over time. Your body will most likely develop increased tolerance to other cannabinoids, too.
We can observe this tolerance in certain cells sites, better known as cannabinoid receptors. As they begin to downregulate, they become less sensitive to THC or the effects of other cannabinoids. A similar phenomenon occurs with caffeine and insulin.
As for the latter, people who struggle with type 2 diabetes feel the urgent demand for insulin. After receiving the increased amount of this hormone that shuttles excess sugars into fat cells for storage, cells will get used to it. This results in a greater amount of sugar circulating in the blood. Essentially, this leaves a patient with high blood sugar.
This situation can be reflected in the case of cannabis. With marijuana, an identical reaction happens with THC and cannabinoid receptors. When you consume too much THC, your body downregulates the cannabinoid receptors, making you less sensitive to the effects of the herb. Given this, you will have to consume more cannabis to achieve the same state of mind.
Some people find themselves a little moody or even irritated after abstaining from marijuana. Others have difficulties falling asleep before the cannabis receptors return to their previous tolerance level.
2. Impaired Cognitive Abilities When Used As an Adolescent
Source: Medical Marijuana Blog
Rather than cannabis addiction, I prefer to use the term “cannabis use disorder”, as marijuana is hardly addictive and chances you will abuse it are close to zero. Yet, there is a hot debate on whether or not cannabis may be harmful to adolescent consumers.
A pair of twin studies conducted in 2016 revealed that teen marijuana use is not linked to long-term IQ decline. Why twin studies? Well, they give researchers a chance to tell the actual difference between environmental triggers and innate factors. The above studies concluded that those who used cannabis had lower scores in IQ tests in general, but their non-consuming twins noted the equal drop over time. Therefore, we can say that those results were pretty ambiguous.
On the other hand, a different study in 2014 suggested that there IS a correlation between the constant marijuana use and cognitive impairment in adolescents. The study found an association between chronic adolescent cannabis consumption and changes in the white matter of the brain. With that in mind, chronic marijuana use before reaching 16 may trigger troubles with impulsivity and attention
Despite those results, we have to take into account that these results came from participants who began to use cannabis after the age of 16. This study simply suggests a link between the two phenomena, rather than proving the thesis.
3. Bad News For Those Predisposed To Psychotic Disorders
Source: Lucida Treatment Center
It’s a subject broadly discussed throughout history. There is some evidence that those who are naturally prone to certain types of mental health disorders shouldn’t use cannabis. Although the herb itself has not been officially proven to be the only cause of schizophrenia, there are studies that underline the link between chronic cannabis consumption with the increased risk of schizophrenia.
On the other hand, there is also some scientifical evidence that adult cannabis consumers suffering from mental health disorders may experience improvements in the cognitive functions of their brains when compared to the healthy control group.
4. Let’s Talk About Life
As you can see, the limited field for research in the context of long-term effects of using marijuana makes it difficult to dig deeper into the subject. The above examples of such effects are actually mild if you keep things in moderation. Actually, it’s a far cry from what you can experience after abstaining from alcohol or tobacco.
All the scientific talk aside, I’d like to shed light on what you can anticipate from using marijuana on a regular basis. If you’re a responsible stoner, then you’ll most likely become the savvy one. You’ll start to explore the different health benefits of weed, pay more attention to how you consume it and, above all, be the role model for the future generation of cannabis users.
Since the progress our society has made is exceptionally promising, we must do all we can to make sure the positive legal procedures continue to go in our favor. Only then will researchers be able to explore the possible long-term effects of using marijuana.
What’s your story, guys? Do experience any long-term effects from smoking weed?