menu

A case against MaryJane

A case against MaryJane January 12, 2014

Willie Nelson before long-term marijuana use

Willie Nelson: After long-term marijuana use.

Word to the young: Be careful before you toke

And for further consideration:

Marijuana use and the maltreatment of children: Parents who use marijuana, for example, may have difficulty picking up their babies’ cues because marijuana dulls response time and alters perceptions. When parents repeatedly miss their babies’ cues, the babies eventually stop providing them. The result is disengaged parents with disengaged babies. These parents and babies then have difficulty forming a healthy, appropriate relationship. https://www.childwelfare.gov/pubs/usermanuals/substanceuse/chapterthree.cfm

Marijuana use and driving imparied: http://articles.latimes.com/2012/feb/10/news/la-heb-marijuana-car-crashes-20120210

Long-term health effects: http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/marijuana-abuse/how-does-marijuana-use-affect-your-brain-body

As people age, they lose neurons in the hippocampus, which decreases their ability to learn new information. Chronic THC exposure may hasten age-related loss of hippocampal neurons.

Within a few minutes after inhaling marijuana smoke, an individual’s heart rate speeds up, the bronchial passages relax and become enlarged, and blood vessels in the eyes expand, making the eyes look red. The heart rate—normally 70 to 80 beats per minute—may increase by 20 to 50 beats per minute, or may even double in some cases. Taking other drugs with marijuana can amplify this effect.

Limited evidence suggests that a person’s risk of heart attack during the first hour after smoking marijuana is four times his or her usual risk. This observation could be partly explained by marijuana raising blood pressure (in some cases) and heart rate and reducing the blood’s capacity to carry oxygen. Such possibilities need to be examined more closely, particularly since current marijuana users include adults from the baby boomer generation, who may have other cardiovascular risks that may increase their vulnerability.

Consequences of Marijuana Abuse

Acute (present during intoxication)

  • Impairs short-term memory
  • Impairs attention, judgment, and other cognitive functions
  • Impairs coordination and balance
  • Increases heart rate
  • Psychotic episodes

Persistent (lasting longer than intoxication, but may not be permanent)

  • Impairs memory and learning skills
  • Sleep impairment

Long-term (cumulative effects of chronic abuse)

  • Can lead to addiction
  • Increases risk of chronic cough, bronchitis
  • Increases risk of schizophrenia in vulnerable individuals
  • May increase risk of anxiety, depression, and amotivational syndrome*

Browse Our Archives