Five Reasons To Be Careful About Cannabis

Sorry to kill your buzz.

Pot may not seem as bad for you as booze and cigarettes, but it isn’t risk-free. And while smoking every other weekend might be a nice way to take the edge off, the more you toke, the greater the risk of complications. Marina Goldman, an addiction expert from the University of Pennsylvania’s Treatment Research Center, shares five potential side effects.

Slow reaction time. “Visual perception and motor speed may be impaired not only while you smoke, but for up to 28 days afterward,” says Goldman. “So if you’re driving and a car starts to come toward you, your reaction time to both perceive what’s happening and then to react appropriately may be slowed.”

Effects on memory. When ingested, marijuana binds to receptors in the brain meant for the body’s naturally occurring feel-good chemicals. “There are a large number of these receptors in the hippocampus, the part of the brain associated with memory, and during and after smoking, memory may be affected,” says Goldman. “How long the memory impairment lasts is still unknown, but studies have shown the effects can last at least as long as a few weeks after smoking.”  

Numerous cancers. In addition to lung cancer, marijuana puts you at increased risk for cancers of the head and neck, and it’s been linked to breast cancer in mice, Goldman says.

Heart damage. “Smoking marijuana can actually change your blood pressure,” says Goldman. “In those who have pre-existing heart disease, it’s been shown to increase the risk of arrhythmias and heart attack, and it ups the chance of heart attack immediately post-administration by four times.”  

Addiction. “People may have a predisposition to becoming addicted to marijuana, just like people have a predisposition to becoming addicted to cigarettes or alcohol,” says Goldman. “On average, about nine percent of pot smokers become addicted, while 30 percent of people become addicted to cigarettes and 15 percent to alcohol.”

  • Derek

    Slow reaction time – perhaps, but studies show that it doesn’t translate to higher accident rates. It stops affecting you about 6 hours after smoking, NOT 28 days later! That’s ludicrous

    Effects on memory – in controlled studies with people given tests, those who smoke marijuana score no differently than controls!

    Numerous cancers – lung, neck, head = FALSE – see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GJmQ16cGBHU

    Heart damage – OK, so it does raise blood pressure a little. People should be careful.

    Addiction – cannabis is not physically addictive. What can happen is dependence, which is a significantly different and specific property. Stop conflating the two!

  • Derek

    Slow reaction time – perhaps, but studies show that it doesn’t translate to higher accident rates. It stops affecting you about 6 hours after smoking, NOT 28 days later! That’s ludicrous

    Effects on memory – in controlled studies with people given tests, those who smoke marijuana score no differently than controls!

    Numerous cancers – lung, neck, head = FALSE – see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GJmQ16cGBHU

    Heart damage – OK, so it does raise blood pressure a little. People should be careful.

    Addiction – cannabis is not physically addictive. What can happen is dependence, which is a significantly different and specific property. Stop conflating the two!

  • Patrick

    Good day! I think your article is very interesting. Is it possible for you to provide citations to peer-reviewed journals on the specific effects discussed? Thank you so much for your attention!

  • Matt

    So many points in this are incorrect. There are studies out disproving some as well.

  • cool

    You’re feeding into the same inane propaganda machine that started this ridiculous prohibition on the grounds of racism and idiocy. In the 20′s would you have been one of the church-goer imbeciles defending “The Noble Experiment” whilst gangsters profited wildly off your stupidity?

    Do a little research before you start vomiting this ignorant bullshit.

  • Janet

    Dear All, Yes, it is an addicting drug. If you would read the increasingly large volumes of research into the endocannabinoid system and the neurochemical interactions with cannabis, you would learn how wrong you are. Additionally, the chemical effects result in loss of motivation to engage in self-care taking activities and place one at risk of harm as well as neglect even if not addicted.

  • Heather

    There have been several recent studies that suggest that, not only does cannibis NOT cause lung cancer, but it also inhibits due to the ingredient THC.

    http://www.webmd.com/lung-cancer/news/2007041

  • matthew

    your parents do not count as research

  • matthew

    your parents do not count as research

  • matthew

    your parents do not count as research

  • Robert

    I smoked weed everyday for 10 years, since I started college. It was a lot of fun, and the immediate affects are far less dangerous than alcohol. I was always a passionate supporter of legalization.

  • Robert

    But like alcohol or gambling, it can be very addictive to some people. Alcohol and gambling are legal, and I believe weed should be, too.

  • Robert

    But psychological addiction, without physical withdraw, is possible (gambling;overeating;sex).I am a weed addict, and it sucks.

  • Rich

    Kids want to believe they are invincible and that they know what they are doing. Promoting any kind drug use or not talking about the risk is a huge mistake. There are clearly major risks as pointed out in this article.

    If you just look at the number of people that experiment or use in their teens and then how many continue to use this drugs after 25, 30, 40, it should tell you that people naturally drift away from these drugs. I suggest for all the reasons outlined in the article.

    We need to be clear in most states Pot is illegal, I have seen several kids life derailed, college scholarships lost or being black balled as “druggies” by athletic programs.

    Is the benefit of getting high worth the risks?

    In the end, 99% percent of the supporters of Pot will stop using by the time they are 25.

    Think about it…

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h751zi0DRDQ Douglas

    watch and learn