Cannabis sativa, also referred to as hemp, is a species of the Cannabinaceae family. The plant contains THC(delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol), which is believed to be responsible for the psychoactive effect of cannabis, causing highness when consumed. While many people enjoy consuming cannabis either for medical or recreational purposes, it still doesn’t change that an overreliance on it or using it without a prescription can lead to some health effects down the line. You can learn more about medical marijuana here.
Meanwhile, listed below are the health effects of cannabis and cannabinoids.
Effect on Brain
Excessive Cannabis intake can have harmful impacts on the brain, particularly the part responsible for memory, learning, decision making, reaction time, coordination, and attention. The degree of impact of marijuana is dependent on various factors. These factors include; the frequency, age of first use, and if you use it in combination with other substances(tobacco and alcohol) at the same time.
Smoking marijuana before the age of 18 can affect the development of the brain for functions like attention and learning; This is why many high schoolers using marijuana find it difficult to remember things in school. As a result, their performance in school can be negatively affected.
Effect on Heart
Another area of human health where cannabis and cannabinoids can significantly affect is the cardiovascular system. When taken in large quantities over an extended period, it can cause an increase in heartbeat and blood pressure immediately after use.
Frequent use of Cannabis and Cannabinoids increases the risk of stroke, heart disease, and other vascular diseases.
Significantly, most scientific reports linking cannabis to heart disease and stroke are based on those fond of smoking and not on people who consumed it via other means. So how you consume the substance could also determine your risk levels. Smoking cannabis delivers tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and other cannabinoids into the body system. It also delivers other substances found in tobacco harmful to the body system.
Reports have also shown that it is difficult to separate the effects of marijuana chemicals on the heart from those caused by the irritants and other chemicals found in smoke.
Effect on Lungs
Smoking of any kind can harm the lung tissues, causing scarring and damage to small blood vessels. So whether you are smoking tobacco or cannabis, you are at risk of lung damage.
Smoked cannabis also has carcinogenic substances. So it can cause cancer of the lungs. Taking cannabis can also lead to an increased risk of bronchitis, cough, and mucus production. More research is needed to establish if the smoking of cannabis causes respiratory diseases like emphysema and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Effect on Pregnancy
As a pregnant woman, taking cannabis can be very harmful to your child’s health. The chemical in cannabis, especially tetrahydrocannabinol, could pass through your body system into that of your child and can be harmful to your kid. However, more research has to be done to establish the effect of cannabis on pregnancy. Still, some research has shown that taking cannabis during pregnancy can cause a reduction in birth weight and abnormal neurological development. It has also been said that the intake of cannabis during pregnancy could cause problems with attention, behavior, memory, and problem-solving skills.
Also, because cannabis passes through the placenta, it can impact the growth of the fetus and increase the growth of premature death, stillbirth, leukemia, deformities, or need for intensive care after birth.
It may also affect children’s intelligence and cause emotional defects when they grow up.
Breastfeeding mothers are also advised to stay away from cannabis because cannabis passes into the breastmilk and stays there for about six weeks, even after you have stopped using it. The chemicals released can slow the growth of your kid. You should avoid cannabis by all means if you are planning to breastfeed.
Effect on Mental Health
Frequent or daily use of cannabis in high doses can lead to disorientation and unpleasant thoughts or increased anxiety and paranoia.
Those who use cannabis can develop a short state of psychosis. They may find it hard to differentiate between difficult and not; they may experience hallucinations and lasting mental disorders. A common mental illness experienced by such people is schizophrenia. It would help if you kept in mind that the connection between schizophrenia and cannabis is strong in those who started consuming cannabis at an early age.
Other mental effects that have been linked to cannabis include depression, thoughts of suicide, suicide attempts, social anxiety, and suicide.
Cannabis has been linked with several health effects that can affect an individual’s healthy living. Thus, individuals must control their intake of cannabis to avoid developing health issues from its consumption.
The best way to consume cannabis safely is to speak to a marijuana doctor. They can help you determine the safest form and dosage for your needs.