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What are the risks of cannabis use?

What are the risks of cannabis use?

Cannabis is one of the most popular medicinal and recreational remedies in the world. You can smoke it, apply it as an oil and even add it to the food you eat. No matter how you make use of cannabis, it does have both short and long term effects on your body. When cannabis enters your bloodstream, two common immediate effects are increased heart rate and changes in perception. While it does have long term impacts on health, studies have not yet demonstrated the exact extent and nature of those effects. With that in mind here is a look at the effects of cannabis on your body. 

What is the effect of cannabis on your respiratory system?

Cannabis smoke contains several toxic chemicals, which can irritate your lungs and the air passages leading to it. Cannabis smoke can also cause existing respiratory conditions, such as asthma, to aggravate and cause major problems for you. The irritation in your lungs may cause coughing, phlegm, or wheezing. Although cannabis smoke does contain carcinogens, there has been no direct link between the drug and lung cancer. 

What are the effects of cannabis on the circulatory system? 

Cannabis has an almost immediate effect on your circulatory system. As soon as THC moves to your blood and then to your brain, your heartbeat could show a jump of 20 to 50 beats per minute. This increased heart rate might last for up to three hours. This places extra stress on your heart. The risk of a heart attack could be aggravated if you have an underlying heart condition. It is very important to remember that if you are generally healthy, with no underlying health conditions, then the temporary increase in heart rate will not contribute to cardiac events.

Your blood vessels also expand, which is the main cause for bloodshot eyes after taking cannabis. However, cannabis can also ease pressure in your eyes. relieving symptoms of glaucoma. 

What are the effects of cannabis on the central nervous system?

Cannabis has a prominent effect on the central nervous system throughout the body. It eases inflammation, pain, and can help control seizures and body spasms. It can also trigger the release of dopamine, a hormone that makes you feel better. Dopamine also heightens your sense of time and perception while giving you that high feeling. However, the release of dopamine can contribute to feelings of dependence. 

Cannabis also affects other parts of your brain. It can impair information processing, balance, movement and coordination. Cannabis can heighten some mental conditions such as anxiety, and it is especially harmful if you have a history of schizophrenia and your family. 

Is cannabis withdrawal real?

Cannabis withdrawal is definitely real, although certainly not as damaging or dangerous as other types of withdrawal. Some symptoms of cannabis withdrawal include insomnia, irritability, loss of appetite. 

What are the effects of cannabis on the digestive system?

Cannabis’ effect on the digestive system starts from the mouth and throat where it can cause a burning sensation when inhaled. It usually increases appetite and gives you the munchies. However, if you become dependent on weed, you might find that your appetite decreases when you are not stoned.

What is the effect of cannabis on the immune system?

Cannabis is known to suppress the immune system which may prove to be harmful to people. However, it can also help people living with autoimmune conditions – particularly those associated with pain from inflammation. 

Does cannabis have any risks related to mental health?

Anecdotally, many people find that cannabis use has a positive impact on their anxiety or depression symptoms. However, studies show that long-term cannabis use actually has a negative impact on one’s mental health baseline. 

The two largest meta analyses on the subject of mental health and cannabis use have shown that cannabis use is associated with a worse not better course of the underlying mood or anxiety disorder. These studies also show that the magnitude of cannabis use corresponds with that trajectory – meaning the more you use, the more likely it is that your underlying mental health state will be in worse condition than if you were not using cannabis.

But then why do I feel anxious when I don’t smoke weed?

Many people report that their anxiety gets worse in between them smoking. This effect is called interdose withdrawal; where you feel worse because you need more cannabis. That happens with other drugs as well. With prescription psychotropics, particularly drugs like Xanax people start to feel bad as it wears off. And so what do they want to do? They want to take more Xanax. 

The concern there, of course, is that the pharmacologic pattern is self perpetuating, and might mean you have to dose ever more frequently to avoid that icky feeling of withdrawal. Obviously withdrawal symptoms from drugs like Xanax or alcohol are significantly more dangerous than withdrawal from cannabis – but it’s important to know what you’re doing to your body regardless.

So is cannabis too risky to use?

As with every substance you put into your body, there are risks to using cannabis. It’s not a magical cure-all drug that has only a neutral or positive impact. Be aware of the risks, but don’t let that stop you from having a little fun! 

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