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What Are the Side Effects of Long-Term Marijuana Use?

A man wondering, "What are the side effects of long-term marijuana use?"

Recently, there has been a great deal of scientific study about what are the side effects of long-term marijuana use. Previous to this time, little was confirmed about the consequences of smoking pot long term. However, we are now beginning to get a clearer picture of the negative effects associated with years of marijuana use. It’s also possible to see the need for marijuana addiction treatment. Anyone who takes a relaxed view of marijuana would do well to consider what weed does before espousing its use.

Symptoms of Long-Term Marijuana Use

Here are some long-term effects of marijuana use you should know about:

A High Risk of Cancer

When smoked, marijuana contains high concentrations of the same cancer-causing compounds found in tobacco-based cigarettes. Studies have shown that five joints contain the same amount of toxic chemicals as a full-pack-of-cigarettes-a-day habit.

Damage to Your Immune System

Long-term marijuana use has been proven to inhibit the ability of T-cells in the lungs to fight off viral illnesses. Considering the importance of T-cell count in the lungs and throughout the body as a whole, this is a considerably negative consequence of smoking marijuana over a long period.

Problems with Breathing and the Lungs

The act of smoking marijuana involves taking long, deep breaths after taking a “hit” of the drug. These long breaths expose the lungs to the carcinogens in the smoke for a longer period of time, thus damaging the lungs even more severely than the act of smoking cigarettes.

Loss of Memory

Those who use marijuana over the long haul are at risk for memory loss issues. The ability to form memories or recall events are both serious symptoms of heavy marijuana use.

Marijuana Addiction

As the marijuana user continues to use, he becomes habituated to the drug. That means it will continue to take more and more marijuana to achieve the desired “high.” Under the definitions of the DSM-III, this habituation is classified as an addiction. Other behaviors, such as a desire to use the drug again as soon as one session is over, also qualify as addictive behavior and can be found in many long-term users of marijuana.

Social Issues Related to Long-Term Marijuana Use

Over time, those addicted to marijuana become more interested in the drug than their friends and family. Often, these individuals will replace their old friend with an entirely new set of peers -who are most likely to be pot smokers themselves. Also, many old friends will drift away over time as the marijuana user loses motivation to go out and engage in group activities, exercise, and other previously shared events.

If you know someone who has been using marijuana for a long period of time, urge them to seek professional help. And if you have children, talk to them about the long-term (and short-term) dangers of the drug before they ever have a chance to use it.

Do You Need Marijuana Addiction Treatment?

It’s important to seek professional help when struggling with marijuana addiction. Keep the following in mind:

There are Many Types of Treatment Available

There are various types of treatment available for those suffering from marijuana addiction. These include inpatient or outpatient programs, support groups, and individual counseling sessions. Each type of treatment offers a unique approach to helping individuals overcome their addiction.

Seeking Treatment Brings Benefits

Getting treatment for marijuana addiction can lead to long-term positive effects. Not only does it help individuals overcome their addiction, but it also allows them to address underlying issues that may have contributed to their substance abuse. Treatment can also provide a supportive environment and tools for managing cravings and avoiding relapse.

Early Intervention Is Important

Early intervention is crucial when dealing with marijuana addiction. The longer an individual continues to use the drug, the more difficult it can be to break the addiction and reverse any negative effects. Seeking treatment as soon as possible can help prevent further damage and improve the chances of a successful recovery.

Get the Help You Need Today from Michael’s House

Michael’s House understands the unique problems presented by long-term marijuana use. Through programs that engage individuals and make them an active part of their own recovery, Michael’s House is able not only to help break the cycle of addiction but also provide the tools needed to move forward and enjoy a drug-free life. Contact us today at 760.548.4032 to begin your journey toward recovery.