Harmful effects of cannabis use

Cannabis is one of the most widely used illegal drug. There are several health risks associated with cannabis use, including dependency problems, mental health problems and lung damage. Though occasional use is not usually harmful, pot can affect your body and mind any time it gets into your system. Here’s what you need to know.

Cannabis (marijuana) has an active ingredient called THC that makes a person feel high. THC and other compounds in marijuana can also affect the way a person’s body works. Most people smoke the plant's dried leaves, flowers, stems, and seeds. But marijuana can also be mixed into food (like brownies, cookies, and lollipops), brewed as a tea, or inhaled with a vaporizer.

The effects of cannabis vary:

(1) Some people may feel chilled out, relaxed and happy, while others have one puff and feel sick.

(2) Others get the giggles and may become talkative.

(3) Hunger pangs are common and are known as 'getting the munchies'.

(4) Users may become more aware of their senses or feel that time is slowing down. These feelings are due to its hallucinogenic effects.

(5) A stronger joint may have more powerful effects. Some users may moderate these effects by using less cannabis. Others may find it becomes tempting to binge smoke.
Risks of Marijuana Use

Smoking cannabis can be addictive. Nearly 10% of people who use it become dependent on it. It is not clear whether marijuana is a gateway drug that makes people more likely to try harder drugs like cocaine and heroin.

The amount of THC in marijuana has gone up in recent years. Most leaves used to contain between 1% and 4% THC. Now most have closer to 7%. Experts worry this might make it easier to become dependent on or addicted to marijuana -- and it also strengthens many of the drug’s mind-altering effects.

Marijuana can also cause more health problems if you have a condition like liver disease, low blood pressure, diabetes, lower your testosterone levels, and sperm count and quality. Research shows a link between marijuana use and mental health problems like depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, short-term psychosis, and schizophrenia. While it’s not clear if cannabis causes these conditions, it can make them worse.

You may find you have difficulty stopping regular use, and you may experience psychological and physical withdrawal symptoms when you do stop. Withdrawal symptoms can include cravings for cannabis, irritability, mood changes, appetite disturbance, weight loss, difficulty sleeping and, in some people, sweating, shaking and diarrhea.

If you've only been using for a short while there should be no problem stopping, but after continued regular use of cannabis, stopping can become more difficult. You’re also at risk of getting addicted to nicotine if you roll your spliffs with tobacco....