What Smoking Marijuana Every Day Does to Your Body
With medical marijuana legal in states like California, Colorado, Illinois and a growing list, adoption of the drug is becoming more and more commonplace—as is consumption. We consulted doctors and medical resources to discover what happens if you smoke marijuana every day. (Note: do not use marijuana without consulting a medical professional first.)
First, The Positive Effects
Marijuana has been shown to be an effective treatment for a variety of health issues. Read on to discover how it can be used best.
It Can Relieve Your Pain
Marijuana is often used as a source of pain relief, as you can get a medical card for it to treat issues like cancer or inflammation. “German researchers found that marijuana-based remedies increased the number of people who reported a 50% or more reduction in pain relief,” says WebMD . “In a small study of 47 patients with Parkinson’s disease, Israeli researchers found a 27% improvement in pain with marijuana use.”
It Can Lead to Less Anxiety
“I found Marijuana at the age of 19,” says Peter Pryor, M.D. “It has always been a bit of a godsend for me because it helps me daily with anxiety and many other benefits.” (Read on to discover how marijuana can also increase anxiety for some.)
It Can Regulate Blood Sugar
Insulin is which regulates the amount of glucose in the blood. Insulin resistance is linked to a greater risk of diabetes. However, according to Mary Clifton, M.D , marijuana offers “less insulin resistance.”
It Can Lower Your Cholesterol
Millions of Americans live with high cholesterol, which can increase the risk of developing heart disease or having a stroke. However, according to Dr. Clifton, “people who use cannabinoid formulations regularly are found to have lower overall cholesterol.”
It Can Lower Your BMI (If You Don’t Snack)
Despite the common feeling of having “the munchies” after using marijuana, cannabis users tend to weigh less and are less likely to be obese. They have a “lower BMI,” says Dr. Clifton. According to the CDC , BMI (aka body mass index) “is a screening tool used to identify individuals who are underweight, overweight, or obese.”
Now, The Negative Effects
“Your mileage may vary,” as the expression goes, but using marijuana every day may have negative effects, also. Here are a few noted by the doctors.
You Can Develop Cannabis Use Disorder (CUD)
“This means that these users develop such an ironclad tolerance to marijuana that they have to consume increasing amounts to feel the same euphoric sensations,” says Dr. Sal Raichbach . “This leads to decreased reactivity to dopamine, which suggests a possible correlation to the dampening of the reward system of the brain and an increase in negative emotion and addiction severity.”
It Could Increase Your Cardiovascular Risk
“Marijuana has been shown to cause a fast heartbeat and elevated blood pressure, which can be dangerous for people with heart disease,” says Dr. Sanul Corrielus . “It may also aggravate other pre-existing heart conditions in long-term users and those who are older—placing them at greater risk of a cardiovascular event,” says Dr. Norris.
It Can Tamper Your Coordination and Response Issues
“Coordination and response time are adversely affected and short term memory is often impaired,” says Dr. Jason Levine . “Coordination issues in conjunction with an altered experience of time are likely to blame for impaired driving and an increase in car accidents.”
It Can Lead to Respiratory Issues
“While smoking cannabis daily has less of an impact than smoking cigarettes,” says Dr. Carey Clark, “some people who smoke cannabis can end up with issues like chronic cough and excess mucus or phlegm production.” “The most deadly aspect is that it increases your risk of lung cancer 7% per year,” says Osita Onugha, MD . “However,” says Dr. Lili Barsky, “these symptoms can improve with cessation.”
It Can Cause Memory Issues
“Long-term marijuana use can decrease an individual’s performance on memory-related tasks and cause a decrease in motivation and interest in everyday activities,” says Dr. Chris Norris . “The effect of cannabis temporarily prevents the brain from developing new memories and learning new things, which is a form of short-term memory.”
It Can Affect Your Developing Brain
“The brain continues to develop through adolescence and into adulthood, and those areas of the brain that control executive functioning, processing, judgment, and decision making are the last to develop,” says Dr. Randall Dwenger . “Marijuana use can impair this brain development and have a long-lasting impact on the individual’s future.”
It Can Increase Your Anxiety
“A 2017 national survey of more than 9,000 Americans found that 81 percent believed marijuana had one or more health benefits. Nearly half of these respondents listed “anxiety, stress, and depression relief” as one of these potential benefits,” reports Healthline. “But there also seems to be just as many people who say marijuana makes their anxiety worse.” As for yourself: To get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don’t miss these 35 Places You’re Most Likely to Catch COVID .
We consulted doctors to discover what happens to your body if you smoke marijuana every day. There's good news and bad news to report.
9 Things Smoking Weed Does to Your Body
When it comes to polarizing health topics, few subjects spark more debate than weed (except maybe CrossFit or the Paleo Diet). Can it improve your health? Lower stress? Make you more forgetful? Even make you thinner?
The science is still, well, hazy—but some research is starting to give us an idea of what exactly weed does to the human body.
Can CBD Live Up to the Hype?
For instance: Toking up regularly could dull your emotional response and cause addiction, according to a marijuana study from the University of Michigan Health System. Researchers analyzed 108 people in their early 20s (69 men and 39 women), all of whom were taking part in a larger study of substance use. In the study, participants sat in an MRI while they played a game, in which they pressed a button when they saw a target on a computer screen cross in front of them. Before each round, they were told they could win 20 cents or $5—or they might lose that amount, or have no reward or loss. Scientists assessed the moment of anticipation (a.k.a. when volunteers knew they could get a few dollars richer).
Now, you’d think getting free money would be cause for excitement, but scientists found the more marijuana use volunteers reported, the less their reward centers were activated.
“Over time, marijuana use was associated with a lower response to a monetary reward,” study author and neuroscientist Mary Heitzeg, Ph.D, said in a press release. “This means that something that would be rewarding to most people was no longer rewarding to them, suggesting but not proving that their reward system has been ‘hijacked’ by the drug, and that they need the drug to feel reward—or that their emotional response has been dampened.”
That’s not all. Smoking weed might also be more addicting than you think.
Marijuana Can Relieve Pain and Improve Athletic Recovery. So Why Isn’t It Legal .
“Some people may believe that marijuana is not addictive or that it’s ‘better’ than other drugs that can cause dependence,” Heitzeg said. “But this study provides evidence that it’s affecting the brain in a way that may make it more difficult to stop using it. It changes your brain in a way that may change your behavior, and where you get your sense of reward from.”
To be fair: Even if one scientific study suggests that marijuana might help your bones grow or hurt your short-term memory, that doesn’t necessarily make it true. All this research is still developing, and it’ll be a long time before we know anything for sure about weed’s effects on the human body. Still, it’s good to know where the science is heading.
Find out all the other ways—good and bad—marijuana could be influencing your health.
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Find out 9 ways marijuana could be influencing your health. The science is still hazy—but research is giving us an idea of what weed does to the body.