Known to the general public as weed or pot, marijuana or cannabis originated north of the Himalayan mountain ranges in India. As a kind of hemp, it was traditionally cultivated for non-drug purposes. It is the dried and shredded leaves of the cannabis along with its seeds and stems. It may also come in the form of the dried flowers, resin or the different extracts known as hash oil.
However, aside from the fact that marijuana is addictive, research has shown that prolonged use will result in multiple harmful side effects. Complications associated with long-term smoking of marijuana include respiratory problems such as cough, phlegm, chronic bronchitis, chest colds, and pneumonia as well as other lung infections.
Marijuana also contains cancer-causing chemicals that may bring about conditions such as testicular cancer and lung cancer. Moreover, marijuana can have a drastic effect on the heart as it increases heart rate for as long as three hours. Thus, this increases the risk of heart attack by up to eight times. It may also cause high blood pressure.
Marijuana can also affect the lungs. Marijuana relaxes the bronchial passage and enlarges it. This increases blood flow. Smoking a joint may expand the eye’s blood vessels, making them look red. Moreover, marijuana smoke is a strong irritant to the lungs, which may result in similar problems associated with cigarette smoking. With marijuana users inhaling the smoke much more deeply than when using cigarettes, the risk is practically doubled.
Another problem with marijuana is that it can alter social behavior. Longitudinal research on the effects of marijuana on young people showed that those taking marijuana had lower academic achievements, more delinquent behavior, greater aggression and rebellious tendencies, poorer relationships with family members and greater significant association with other marijuana users.
However, one of the worst complications associated with marijuana use is cannabis psychosis. Although more men than women tend to get affected by this problem, psychosis affects both genders. Psychosis is characterized by mild symptoms such as loss of motivation, decreased socialization, or difficulties expressing one’s emotions. However, it may also be characterized by acute symptoms like delusions, paranoia, severe depression or mania, and even violent tendencies.
Marijuana may have rumored benefits proven by scientific research, but its potentially harmful effects have also been confirmed by medical science and actual cases of people. Marijuana causes addictive behavior and cancer. Long-term use may also result in complications as well as psychosis.