Marijuana Effects of Long-Term Use

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Recently, there has been a great deal of scientific study on the effects of long-term marijuana use. Previous to this time, little was confirmed about the consequences of smoking pot over a long period of time, but now we are beginning to get a clearer picture of the negative effects associated with years of marijuana use. Here are the long-term effects of marijuana use.

A high-risk of cancer

Marijuana contains high concentrations of the same cancer-causing compounds found in tobacco-based cigarettes. Studies have shown that smoking 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 of time.

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.


As the marijuana user smokes, 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 use loses motivation for going out and engaging in group activities, exercise, and other previously shared events.

If you know someone who has been using marijuana over 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.

Michael’s House understands the unique problems presented by long-term marijuana use. Through programs that engage the individual, and make him an active part of his 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 Michael’s House today for more information at 760.548.4032.