Long-Term Side Effects of Pot Smoking


Marijuana is a drug that remains illegal in the United States, but is still widely available and regularly used. Marijuana is a drug that is made by shredding the dry leaves, flowers and stems of a marijuana plant. It is usually brown, green or gray in color. The main active chemical in marijuana is delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). However, it also contains over 400 other chemicals.

Respiratory Damage

  • Regular marijuana smoking can damage bronchial passage cells which makes you more susceptible to getting pulmonary infections. Marijuana can contribute to chronic bronchitis, lung inflammation and possibly lung cancer. However, the link between marijuana and lung cancer has not yet been proven irrefutably.

Weakened Immune System

  • Marijuana has been shown to be an immuno-suppressant in some research studies. It can weaken immune mechanisms.

Brain Injury

  • Long-time marijuana users may develop brain abnormalities (see Resources below). Specifically, marijuana use may shrink the hippocampus, which regulates emotion and memory.

Mental Health Effects

  • Smoking marijuana may trigger panic attacks, delusions, paranoia and other mental illnesses.

Memory and Learning Problems

  • Marijuana use may impair memory for up to six weeks after having smoked or consumed the marijuana. This can inhibit learning.

Addictive Problems

  • Individuals who smoke marijuana on a regular basis may experience withdrawal symptoms when the drug is not available.

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