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What Happens If You Smoke Marijuana?

Reactions with pot can vary widely

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Steven Gans, MD is board-certified in psychiatry and is an active supervisor, teacher, and mentor at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Sean Gallup Collection / Getty Images News

The reaction you may have when trying marijuana can vary dramatically based on many factors.   Some people report not feeling anything at all when they smoke marijuana. In other cases, people report feeling relaxed or “high.”

Some people who use marijuana report having sudden feelings of anxiety and paranoid thoughts and that might be caused by trying a higher potency marijuana, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.  

Research also shows that regular use of marijuana is linked to an increased risk of depression, anxiety and a loss of motivation or drive.   You may feel “dopey” on the drug, which is when you begin to lose interest in activities that you might have previously enjoyed or you may lose the ability to grasp concepts easily.

Short-Term Discomforts of Using Weed

The effects of using marijuana can be unpredictable, especially when it is mixed with other drugs, research shows. You may feel relaxed on the drug, but other things you might not be expecting with pot use can include rapid heart rate and other unpleasantries.  

  • Dry mouth
  • Swollen eyelids
  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Loss of coordination
  • Accelerated heart rate

Short-Term Hazards

As with any drug or substance that can alter perception, logic and usual behavior, there are several short-term hazards of using marijuana from impairing driving abilities to memory loss.  

  • Learning difficulties
  • Lack of attention and focus
  • Poor driving skills
  • Anxiety and paranoia
  • Impaired memory
  • Difficulty in thinking

Long-Term Hazards

Any drug that is taken over a prolonged period of time can have an effect on your health. Several of the physical barriers that can occur range from infertility problems to overall brain functions.  

  • An increased risk of developing lung, head, and neck cancers
  • Lack of motivation
  • Decreased sperm count in men
  • Irregular menstruation in women
  • Respiratory problems
  • Heightened risk of infections, especially the lungs
  • Poor short-term memory recall
  • Inability to shift attention normally
  • Inability to understand complex information​

Unpredictable Reactions

The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that marijuana can affect each person differently according to their own body chemistry and the type of pot used.   Some people can use weed and never have any negative reactions while others may try it and get entirely freaked out by the experience.

  • Your biology (genetic makeup)
  • Marijuana’s strength (amount of active ingredient THC)
  • Previous experience with the drug
  • How it’s taken (smoked versus ingested)
  • Whether alcohol or other drugs are taken too​

Not Your Grandfather’s Pot

Studies have found that the marijuana available today is much different in terms of potency compared to what was generally available in the 1960s when the use of the drug became widespread in the United States.  

Today’s strains of the plant contain much more of the active ingredient in marijuana: tetrahydrocannabinol or THC, researchers say.   That makes today’s weed much more potent than that smoked by the hippies and flower children of the Woodstock generation.

How marijuana affects the individual user depends on many different factors, including body chemistry and the potency of the drug.

Son, We Get It, You Smoke Weed

By Lucas Passarella | August 31, 2018

T his is an open letter to our teenage son,

We get it… you smoke weed. And we wanted to tell you, with all our heart that we don’t fucking care.

Growing up we told you that we would love you no matter who you turned out to be. What we meant is that we were open to you being cis or trans, straight or gay, a doctor or a plumber. What we didn’t mean was that you could be some loser who likes to brag about how high he is with a 1-10 scale on some internet forum

We are not oblivious to what weed is, you were conceived while your father and I binged on edibles for 3 days straight during a Spike TV Star Wars marathon. So when you text us every afternoon at 4:20 saying the skunk under the porch is out, we know that’s not true! By the way, skunks are nocturnal you’d know that if you watched something educational like Planet Earth while stoned rather than waste your time rewatching Adventure Time over and over again.

Your worst offense so far is the marijuana leaf merchandise you purchase to wear and decorate your room. Why do you have a modified Canadian flag that’s green and replaces the maple leaf with a marijuana leaf when you’re too unmotivated to leave the United States or even get a valid passport? What’s the point in the shirt that says “legalize it” every day when we live in Colorado?

We were always told that parenting will be a thankless job and that the real reward will come later. Honestly we don’t see it and are hoping you emancipate from us or get into some real drugs. Be more interesting, like your cousin Eric. He’s addicted to heroin!

Son, We Get It, You Smoke Weed By Lucas Passarella | August 31, 2018 T his is an open letter to our teenage son, We get it… you smoke weed. And we wanted to tell you, with all our heart