Are There Long-Term Effects From Prolonged Marijuana Use?

long term effects of useVery rarely in our lives do our actions not meet with consequences. If we don’t do our homework, we may fail our classes in school. If we don’t go to work, we may lose our jobs. If we spend too much money during the month, we don’t have enough left over to pay our bills. The concept of cause and effect is scientific fact, as explained by Newton’s Third Law of Motion – for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. In the case of marijuana, the action of smoking or ingesting cannabis results in the reaction of psychological, physical and emotional damage.

Long-Term Physical Effects From Prolonged Marijuana Use Include Addiction

The long-term physical effects of marijuana are, on the surface, similar to those of smoking cigarettes. These may include chronic cough, shortness of breath, and even chronic bronchitis, according to the Drug and Alcohol Services of South Australia. In addition to these symptoms, marijuana use over time can result in difficulty conceiving a child for both men and women. Various types of cancer can also develop from smoking marijuana.

Another long-term effect may not manifest in the actual user of the drug but in her children. Smoking marijuana while pregnant can cause birth defects that the child will have to live with for the rest of his or her life.

Perhaps the most profound and underestimated physical effects of marijuana use is the disease of addiction. Even if an individual does not use any other type of drug, addiction can still manifest and change everything about a person’s life. The disease of addiction has specific symptoms, just like any other disease. The difference is that the symptoms of addiction are more behavioral than they are physical. These behaviors might include:

  • Disregarding family- and work-related responsibilities in order to get high
  • Spending money on drugs rather than meeting one’s financial obligations
  • Placing oneself in dangerous situations to obtain marijuana
  • Driving or otherwise operating dangerous equipment while under the influence of marijuana
  • Using marijuana even though it causes fights or other problems with family members and friends

Psychological Effects From Prolonged Marijuana Use Includes Learning Disabilities

Each year, the University of Michigan conducts a study – Monitoring the Future – which asks students in the 8th, 10th and 12th grades about their use of and attitude towards various drugs. Since 1975, they have asked kids about marijuana. The response among high school seniors regarding whether they have ever used marijuana in their lifetime hovers in the mid range, with the lowest point occurring in 1992 when only about 32 percent of students in that age group reported they had used it. The highest level of use occurred in 1979 and 1980, with more than 60 percent of high school seniors admitting they had used the drug. Almost half of high school seniors of the class of 2013 say they have smoke or otherwise consumed marijuana.

Why is this significant?  The long-term use of marijuana often starts during adolescence. The human brain continues to grow and develop until well into the 20s, and the use of marijuana during this formative period can have serious long-term consequences. Psychology Today reported on a study that followed a number of individuals from birth to the age of 38, with data received at midpoints in between. For 25 years, from the age of 13 to 38, the participants took part in interviews and tests to measure, among other things, their IQ. Those individuals who used marijuana regularly tested with an IQ of 8 points, on average, less than their non-indulging counterparts.

A newer study, as described by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, has found that there are other influences in the lives of the participants that could contribute to the reduced IQ measurement. While this is intriguing, the director of the NIDA has stated that the original study took into account these many factors, such as socioeconomic status, mental illness, and whether the individuals were using any other drugs besides marijuana.

Emotional Issues Related to Prolonged Marijuana Use

Think for a moment what you’re life might be like without the people you love. Think about what might become of you, or your family, if you weren’t able to provide financial support, emotional consistency and a stable environment to those you love. Before an individual begins regular, prolonged use of marijuana, they may have a good job, a loving spouse or significant person in their life, children who adore them, and a loving home to return to each and every day. Life without these things can be bleak, indeed.

Rather than risk the emotional devastation of losing so many of the wonderful aspects of your life due to addiction, consider the benefits of seeking professional, compassionate help for a better future than the one pictured here. Contact us at Axis today so we can answer your questions about the new decisions you want to make in your life.