Should I Stop Smoking Marijuana? Examining the Effects

by | Aug 8, 2023 | Addiction, Recovery | 0 comments

Marijuana, also known as cannabis, has gained significant attention in recent years because of shifting attitudes toward its use and legalization in several regions. As the debate surrounding marijuana continues, it’s essential to consider its potential impact on your health. Gaining a comprehensive understanding of marijuana’s addictiveness and how it can affect the brain and body can provide valuable insights to help you make an informed decision regarding marijuana use.

Is Marijuana Addictive?

While it may not possess the same physical addictiveness as opioids, marijuana can still exert a psychological pull. The primary psychoactive compound in marijuana, delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), stimulates the brain’s reward system, releasing dopamine and generating feelings of euphoria. Over time, the brain develops a tolerance to THC, leading to an increased need for higher doses to achieve the desired effect. This psychological dependence can make it challenging for you to quit or reduce marijuana use.

Short-Term Effects Of Marijuana

When you consume marijuana, whether by smoking or other methods, it produces immediate effects on your body and brain. Some of the most common short-term effects you may experience include:

  • Altered Perception. Marijuana can influence your perception. An altered perception can also cause impaired judgment, poor coordination, and an increased risk of accidents. A distorted perception can make concentrating, focusing, and retaining information challenging.
  • Impaired Memory and Concentration. THC also affects the hippocampus, a brain region involved in memory formation, making remembering recent events, conversations, or information challenging. Absorbing new information, understanding complex concepts, and integrating new knowledge may become more difficult.
  • Increased Heart Rate. Marijuana use can elevate your heart rate, potentially causing strain on your cardiovascular system. A strained cardiovascular system can lead to high blood pressure, reduced blood flow, decreased ability to exercise, and increased risk of heart disease.
  • Bloodshot Eyes and Dry Mouth. Typical physical manifestations of marijuana use include bloodshot eyes and dry mouth due to increased blood flow and reduced saliva production.

How Can Marijuana Affect Your Body Long-Term?

Long-term marijuana use can have various effects on the body. Some of the most significant include:

  • Respiratory Issues. Frequent marijuana smoking can irritate your respiratory system, leading to chronic coughing, bronchitis, and other respiratory problems. The inhalation of smoke and toxic byproducts can lead to chronic bronchitis, persistent coughing, and an increased risk of respiratory infections. It may also contribute to developing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or lung cancer.
  • Mental Health Implications. Although the relationship is complex, long-term marijuana use has been associated with an increased risk of mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, and psychosis, particularly in susceptible individuals.
  • Impaired Cognitive Function. Prolonged marijuana use during adolescence may impact brain development, potentially impairing cognitive functions such as memory, attention, and executive functioning.
  • Dependence and Addiction. While not everyone who uses marijuana becomes addicted, long-term and heavy use can lead to dependence and addiction, making quitting challenging without professional help.

How Can Quitting Marijuana Improve Your Quality Of Life?

Quitting marijuana can have several benefits for both the body and mind. Some of the most significant ways quitting marijuana can help improve your quality of life include:

  • Better Respiratory Health. Smoking marijuana, particularly in joints or blunts, can lead to respiratory issues. Quitting can help improve lung function and reduce the risk of respiratory infections.
  • Improved Cognitive Function. Chronic marijuana use has been associated with cognitive impairments, particularly in memory, attention, and learning. Quitting marijuana can allow the brain to recover and improve cognitive abilities.
  • Enhanced Mental Health. Although marijuana may temporarily relieve anxiety or stress, long-term use can exacerbate mental health conditions like anxiety, depression, and psychosis. Quitting can improve mental well-being and reduce the risk of developing or worsening these conditions.
  • Better Motivation and Increased Productivity. Marijuana can affect motivation and productivity levels, making it challenging to accomplish goals and engage in daily activities. Quitting can help restore motivation, increase productivity, and enhance overall life satisfaction.
  • Improved Sleep Quality. Marijuana use can disrupt sleep patterns and lead to difficulties falling asleep or staying asleep. Quitting can help regulate sleep cycles and improve the quality of sleep.
  • Legal and Social Benefits. In some jurisdictions, marijuana use is still illegal, and quitting can help avoid legal consequences. Moreover, it can improve relationships and social interactions, as some people may be uncomfortable with or opposed to marijuana use.

It’s important to note that quitting marijuana can also come with certain withdrawal symptoms and challenges, especially if you have been using it regularly or heavily. That’s why it’s important to seek support from healthcare professionals, support groups, and counselors who specialize in addiction and substance abuse.

Making an Informed Decision

To determine whether you should stop smoking marijuana, it’s crucial to consider several factors and make an informed decision. Be honest about whether your usage has become problematic or interferes with other aspects of your life. If you find it challenging to quit or reduce marijuana use alone, consider contacting professionals or support groups specializing in substance abuse. You should also evaluate the short and long-term effects of marijuana on your physical and mental health, personal relationships, work, or academic performance. Then ask yourself, can eliminating marijuana positively impact these areas of your life?

Let Us Help You Say Goodbye To Marijuana

While the addictiveness of marijuana may not be as severe as other substances, it can still exert a psychological pull. The short-term and long-term effects can significantly affect your cognitive function, respiratory health, and mental well-being. Ultimately, the choice is yours to make. But if you’re ready to stop using marijuana, we can help.