The Dangers of Cannabis

In Britain, the most widely used illegal drug is Cannabis. There are multiple health risks associated with the use of cannabis. These can include lung damage, mental health problems and dependency issues. The following information will provide an overview of the health risks associated with cannabis use.

Side Effects of Using Cannabis

The effect cannabis has on a person will vary by individual. However, some of the common side effects are:

  • Some people will get a euphoric feeling of relaxation and happiness. Others may take one puff and become instantly ill.
  • Users may become very talkative and get the giggles easily.
  • “Getting the munchies” or hunger pains are very common.
  • Some users feel time slow down or become more conscious of their senses. These feelings are because of the hallucinogenic effects of cannabis.
  • Stronger strains such as sinsemilla or skunk can have more powerful side effects. Some users tend to moderate the effects by using less of the drug. On the other hand, other users find it fun to binge smoke.

Becoming Addicted to Cannabis

The same as with other drugs, cannabis dependence is determined by many factors, including: How much you use, whether you are prone to addiction and how long you have used it.

The truth is that you may find it hard to stop, leaving you to experience physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms if you stop. Withdrawal symptoms can include mood changes, irritability, sleeping difficulties, decrease in appetite, diarrhoea, shaking, sweating and weight loss.

The good news is that if you’ve only been using for a short time, then you should not have that hard of a time quitting. However, after regular use, quitting can be more difficult.

Risks Associated with Cannabis Use

The risks also vary from person to person, but some common risks associated with cannabis use are listed below:

  • It can leave even regular smokers feeling suspicious, anxious, paranoid or panicky.
  • Cannabis use can affect your coordination skills. Due to this fact, drug driving is compared to drunk driving – and both are illegal.
  • Many people think cannabis is not harmful because it comes from a plant, but it can be harmful. Like tobacco, cannabis has many chemical ‘nasties’ that can potentially lead to cancer and lung diseases with heavy or long-term use. Your risk of developing such issued will be increased if you smoke tobacco and don’t use a filter.
  • Cannabis can increase complications due to asthma, and can even cause wheezing in people who don’t have asthma.
  • The drug affects many parts of the body, even the heart. It can affect blood pressure, as it increases heart rate.
  • Cannabis is not a good idea for people who suffer from a history of mental health issues. In the short term it can cause paranoia, but for those people with pre-existing psychotic illnesses, like schizophrenia, cannabis can bring on relapses.
  • You may by at a higher risk of developing one of many psychotic illnesses if your family has a background of such illnesses and you use cannabis.
  • It has also been reported that regular cannabis use can reduce a man’s sperm count and motility. In women, the drug can affect fertility by suppressing ovulation.
  • For pregnant women who use cannabis, it can cause their children to be born smaller than first thought.
  • Heavy, regular cannabis use can make it difficult to concentrate and learn. Additionally, some people will begin to feel unmotivated as they are tired all the time.
  • A percentage of users buy stronger herbal cannabis, called “skunk”, to get a “bigger” high. However, unpleasant reactions can be stronger when you use more potent cannabis. It is also said that the possibility of dependence and mental health issues is increased with repeated use of strong cannabis strains.

Additional Risks of Cannabis Use

Driving Under the Influence

You should never drive while high on cannabis. The drug impairs your ability to concentrate, slows your reaction time, and distorts your perception of time and distance. This significantly increases the risk of getting into an accident. Even a small amount of cannabis can put you over the legal limit for impaired driving in most places. The effects can last for several hours after use. Don’t take the risk – have a sober driver take you where you need to go.

Long-Term Effects on the Brain

While the short-term effects of cannabis fade relatively quickly, there is evidence that long-term or heavy use can have more lasting impacts, especially on the developing brains of teens and young adults. Studies show cannabis can impair memory, learning, and cognitive function over time. It may also increase the risk of developing anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues, particularly in those with a family history. The cannabis available today is also far more potent than it was decades ago, possibly amplifying these effects. Until we know more, it’s wise to avoid heavy cannabis use, especially if you are young.

Secondhand Smoke

Like cigarette smoke, secondhand cannabis smoke is also harmful. It contains many of the same toxins and carcinogens that can increase the risks of lung disease and cancer in nonsmokers exposed over time. Children are especially vulnerable. The psychoactive THC from cannabis smoke can also cause unwitting exposure and intoxication in nonsmokers nearby. To avoid endangering others around you, cannabis should only be used responsibly in a private, well-ventilated area.

Photo: “Cannabis” by Anthony Cunningham for Zoom Testing

Zoom Testing is a leading UK drug testing company and a supplier of Drug Test Kits.

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