Legal in nineteen states, marijuana is one of America’s most commonly used drugs. It’s often touted as a drug of relaxation, making it popular among the general public. It’s so popular that millions of people use it regularly – but that doesn’t mean it’s safe.

Whether considered dangerous or not, marijuana is still a drug. This means that addiction is always a possibility. Recreational drug use might seem harmless in the interim, but over time it can be life-threatening.

How Does Marijuana Affect the Body?

An active ingredient in marijuana, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) stimulates the brain and produces a rush of dopamine. This dopamine rush triggers the part of the brain that responds to pleasure, providing users with a relaxed and happy feeling. Quickly absorbed into the bloodstream, the effects of THS can last up to three hours.

Marijuana can be taken in many forms. Some people might smoke it while others will choose to combine it with food or drink. This can often make it difficult to determine its potency, leading to heightened side effects.

Some common side effects of marijuana include:

  • Heightened sense of smell and sight
  • Warped sense of time
  • Inhibited motor skills
  • Drowsiness and lethargy

Though medical marijuana is often prescribed to treat conditions like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), and chronic pain, many people use it to self-medicate. 

Unless a medical professional has prescribed marijuana, it’s best not to use it. As with any drug, it’s easy to become addicted. If you use marijuana regularly, you’ll start to crave the rush of dopamine that marijuana releases. This can make it difficult to stop, leading to withdrawal symptoms if you quit cold turkey.

Effects of Long-term Marijuana Use

No one is immune to addiction, and the consequences of long-term substance abuse can have a significant impact on your life.

Aside from developing a serious addiction, long-term marijuana use can also lead to:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Damaged lungs
  • Greater risk of heart attacks
  • Stroke

If you have been using marijuana for a prolonged time, attempting to give it up alone and go cold turkey can do more harm than good. However, medical professionals will be able to help you come off marijuana steadily. In turn, this will decrease the severity of withdrawal symptoms. They will additionally provide you with a personalized treatment plan to help you get back on the path to sobriety.

The Benefits of Stopping Marijuana

Overcoming marijuana addiction will benefit your life in many different ways. As well as help you overcome your addiction, you’ll be avoiding some of the long-term consequences of sustained drug abuse.

Whether you’re a regular marijuana user or have only tried the drug once, we have shared some of the benefits of stopping marijuana below.

Improve Your Respiratory Health

Smoking marijuana can affect your respiratory and cardiovascular health. Smoke from marijuana is similar to that of tobacco and features many of the same toxins.

These toxins affect lung health, essentially damaging the lining of the airways and increasing your risk of chronic cough and bronchitis. Unlike tobacco smokers, those who smoke marijuana often hold the smoke in their lungs for longer, increasing the risk of tar entering the body.

Stopping marijuana will help improve your respiratory health. While it can’t reverse the damage already done to your lungs, it can prevent serious issues such as lung cancer and pulmonary fibrosis from developing. You’ll also lower your risk of infections and illnesses like pneumonia.

Greater Mental Clarity

Since marijuana releases a rush of dopamine, it directly affects the brain’s cognitive functioning. This can lead to a foggy head, lack of concentration, and memory loss. Sustained abuse can also make conditions such as anxiety and depression worse. Unfortunately, the longer you use marijuana, the more cognitive deficits you’ll sustain.

However, stopping marijuana as soon as possible will lead to a better chance of recovery. You’ll find that your cognitive abilities start functioning much better over time, and your foggy head will eventually be replaced with greater mental clarity, making it easier for you to concentrate and get things done.

Improved Mental Health

Though marijuana is often used to help people relax, sustained use can increase anxiety and depression. This is especially true for adolescents and young people who use the drug regularly.

As well as intensifying conditions such as anxiety and depression, sustained drug abuse can also lead to psychosis. Though the link isn’t fully understood, there’s a strong correlation between long-term marijuana use and psychotic illness like schizophrenia.

Quitting marijuana with the help of a medical professional will improve your mental health and reduce the risk of developing more severe conditions in later life. Since you’ll have greater mental clarity and cognitive functioning, you’ll be able to perform better, leading to a greater sense of accomplishment.

Better Relationships With Family and Friends

Any drug addiction can impact relationships. Those dependent on marijuana might find that they push friends and family away to spend more time on their habit. They might also befriend other marijuana users. This can be distressing to loved ones, as they want to see you succeed and get better.

Once you stop taking marijuana, you’ll find that your relationships will start to improve. You can work on rebuilding your relationships with friends and family, focusing on what’s most important.

To Conclude

Though popular, regular marijuana use can lead to addiction. You might think you can control your habit, but drug dependency can happen to anyone. The long-term side effects of marijuana abuse can be serious and sometimes life-threatening. It may seem fun in the moment, but it’s important to remember how it could affect your future.

Stopping marijuana will greatly benefit you, opening up doors to build better relationships with loved ones and improve your own sense of self-worth.

If you’re battling a marijuana addiction, it’s best to seek help as soon as possible. As well as support groups and therapy, you’ll be able to detox from the drug under the guidance of medical professionals.

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