Long Term Effects of Marijuana

Marijuana is a controversial drug that’s been receiving a lot more attention lately as some states in the U.S. legalize it for medical or recreational purposes. The long term effects of marijuana use are significant concerns that are widely debated. Proponents of marijuana say it has little to no long term effects, while opponents say the long term effects are significant and severe.

Much more scientific research and long term studies need to be done in order to more conclusively determine the long term effects of marijuana. Past studies have had mixed findings, but there is a lot of data that suggests that some long term effects of marijuana use are apparent. All this being said, let’s look at some of the potential long term effects of marijuana.

long term effects of marijuana

Long Term Effects of Marijuana on the Body

The most undisputed long term effects of marijuana on the body are related to the act of smoking marijuana. Smoking marijuana can have many of the same long term effects of smoking cigarettes, including various forms of cancer and lung disease. Long term marijuana smoking can cause a persistent cough, breathing difficulties, and wheezing.

Marijuana can also compromise the immune system. Marijuana can cause some damage to cells and body tissue that can result in a lowered immune system and higher propensity to catch communicable diseases.

It’s also been said that the drug can affect fertility in both men and women. It can interfere with the ovulation cycle, as well as lower sperm count. This can lead to irregular periods, difficulty getting pregnant, and erectile dysfunction.

Long Term Effects of Marijuana on the Brain

Some studies have shown that long term marijuana use can affect a person’s ability to remember, concentrate, and think critically. A person can experience these effects when they’re high, and long term marijuana use can cause slight brain damage that can affect a person in those areas on a more persistent basis.

Marijuana can also cause feelings of depression after its high starts to wear off. It’s possible that marijuana damages the brain’s pleasure center in a way that can cause chronic depression. Some long term marijuana users have also experienced anxiety, paranoia, and psychosis.

Factors Influencing the Long Term Effects of Marijuana

There are many different factors that can influence the long term effects a person experiences from their marijuana use. The more marijuana a person uses in their lifetime, the more significant the long term effects to their brain and body will be. The age that a person starts smoking marijuana can also make a difference. People who start using the drug at a young age when their brains and bodies are developing may experience more long term effects.

Whether or not a person already has a mental illness also makes a difference. The long term effects of marijuana on a person who already has a depressive disorder or other mental illness will be different, and often more severe, than on a person who does not.


Tarcules - June 10, 2013.

In my opinion it is not so much the effects on the user but the effects on society as a whole. Here are a few examples that I see In my case, I have many marijuana smokers in my family as in most of the country does. For some reason the few that have smoked the most and longest all have children with scizophrenia.Most smoke and drink Alcohol on a regular basis, many can not go without, in fact I can not remember when I ever seen many of them at a function without being high.This to me would say that the feeling of being high is extremely important and the thought of addiction is a mere glimpse of thought somewhere hidden away. I also know that this type of lifestyle has to be determental to our economic health as a country, for I see so many homeless in bad times yet still seem to aquire the monies for their high times. Another point is the criminal aspect of any drug, many say that if marijuana was 100% legal crime would drop,..I question this for many crimes are committed when the good folks are high. Nevertheless we as a society have changed and will keep changing. God Bless us all.

Beebus - June 10, 2013.

Tercules, your facts are very skewed. Not too many people high on Marijuana want to commit crimes. Get your facts straight. Your last sentance summed up everything. "God bless us all.".....Ha. When was the last time he did that. NEVER.

Dan Murrow - June 10, 2013.

Now lets look at the long term effects of chemotherapy.

NameJughead - June 10, 2013.

Message Any drug that saturates the body the way marijuana does is going to have adverse effects on long term as well as short term memory loss,has been proven to be a major contributer to gum disease.Nerve cells fire and communicate through electrical pulses,when the thc attaches itself to them,it then acts as an insulater to prevent proper firing of the neorotransmitters.As far as chemical depency is concerned,there is not enough research that proves this,however,it is very much a mental obsession that is attributed to marijuana because of the immediate euphoric effects,a so called cure all for every thing from headaches to nausea.All other pshycoactive drugs will exit the human body in just a matter of days,not so with marijuana,a chronic user of marijuana may test positive for months through the urine,even longer with blood test.So good luck to all of you whom think that this drug is harmless

TG - February 14, 2014.

MORAL PANIC. no evidence... Been watching reruns of Reefer Madness Tarrcules?

pmoseman - May 18, 2014.

Marijuana does not replace chemotherapy. It helps people with pain and nausea. The harmful effects will be researched and people will hopefully have some new or better medicines. Overall, medical use does nothing to alter criminality. It has been decriminalized for years in states that do not even allow medical use. A large portion of "medical" use is unnecessary and that issue is not isolated to marijuana.

pmoseman - May 18, 2014.

Obviously there is an affect on personal views based on medical use etc., so there is an indirect effect and medical use states have chosen to decriminalize possession. I meant to say that having a medical use had no direct effect on the legal status. You can have a legal and useful medicine with the same penalties for illicit use and sale. (poor word choice)

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