Cannabis is a useful, enjoyable substance that makes many people’s lives better. However, no compound is entirely free of potential side effects. Like most medicines and even foods, regularly consuming cannabis can sometimes lead to long-term health effects. Here’s what you need to know about the long-term effects of cannabis and how they may affect you.
Possible Temporary Reduced Attention Span
If you consume cannabis regularly in moderate to large amounts, studies suggest that you may be at risk of a reduced attention span. Studies have reviewed data on people who use cannabis chronically or in large amounts and found that they have a moderately shorter attention span than people who use less cannabis or use it less frequently.
While this shortened attention span may be inconvenient, it’s unlikely to be permanent. For most adults, this effect will go away in a few months of reduced cannabis use. However, teenagers who consume cannabis frequently and in large amounts may experience a permanently-reduced attention span.
Possible Temporary Reduced Memory
Cannabis may do more than just affect your attention span. The same frequent, regular, and high-quantity use that can make it harder to pay attention to things can also make it harder to remember things. Studies have found that this type of chronic use can make it harder to use your verbal memory, so you may have trouble remembering words.
As with your attention span, the effects on your memory should go away after a few months of reduced cannabis use. However, people under the age of 21 should use caution with cannabis because this effect seems to last longer or even be permanent in underage people who use cannabis often.
Increased Risk of Lung Disease
Your lungs are a vital, delicate organ. Any type of smoke inhalation can increase your risk of lung disease. While studies don’t suggest that cannabis smoke is more dangerous than other types of smoke, simply inhaling smoke of any kind can cause damage.
However, studies find that inhaling cannabis smoke and then holding that smoke in your lungs for a long time can cause more damage than simply inhaling and exhaling. Some studies have found that using water pipes, vaporizers, and edible forms of cannabis negate many of the lung-health risks of smoking cannabis.
Possible Links to Birth Problems
Finally, early research has identified smoking cannabis as a potential risk to unborn babies. Mothers who smoke cannabis while pregnant may put their pregnancy at risk. Furthermore, babies born to mothers who smoked cannabis while pregnant can face cognitive delays and lower birth weight. Just like cigarettes, alcohol and caffeine, medical experts advise pregnant women to avoid cannabis during their pregnancy for the sake of their child.
Cannabis is an important substance to many people, both medicinally and recreationally. However, frequent use of large amounts of cannabis can have health effects. Understanding how the long-term effects of cannabis might affect you allows you to make better health decisions. When you know what to be aware of and how to offset those risk factors, you will be able to enjoy a safe and informed cannabis experience.