This question along with the question is weed addictive is something that continues to divide people the world over. Just as some people insist cannabis is not addictive while others insist it is, we also have the same argument as to the long term effects of its use.
Some people say there are no long term side effects. Well I for one certainly disagree and I’m going to tell you why. Firstly let me say I speak from experience. I am not some anti cannabis head I am just someone who used to smoke far too much and now have quit for good.
What you will find when you smoke excessive amounts over a long period of time is that your quality of life will change dramatically. Now for most people this will happen over a few years of use. OK it’s not like heroin or cocaine that you can become addicted to after one or two times and can take over your life in a matter of weeks. No it is much slower than that but it does have long term effects.
So what happens is eventually it becomes less effective and it stops being the enjoyment it was and you realize it is a burden on your finances, is hindering your judgement and your ability to make rational decisions.
Long term users often have feelings of paranoia and this is just accepted as a side effect when using but after quitting some people still report that they still have the feelings of paranoia and for some they even escalate into full blown panic attacks. Now that is only a very small percentage of people but it is a fact none the less and that is just one effect.
Me personally I have noticed a loss of both short term and long term memory. While using cannabis the short term memory goes (obvious really, I mean if you’re always stoned how are you going to remember everything what happened?) Countless times I would be in a conversation and would feel stupid because I was unable to recall the simplest details and sometimes I have even completely forgotten what the thread of the conversation was. I thought this was a short term thing but then after quitting I noticed my ability to recall things and remember simple things like a short shopping list or an appointment date was lost maybe forever.
There are a few similar effects to those mentioned that it can have on the brain. This is because the active chemical (THC) bonds to the receptors in the brain..the same receptors that effect memory, co-ordination, pleasure and pain, and that is why it is common to experience long term side effects in any of these areas of your social life.
The problem is worsened today because cannabis today is much stronger than it was 5 or more years ago. This is another point that some do not agree on and will say it has always been the same strength. 5 or 10 years ago it was mostly available as resin. Today it is much more common as pure bud. Pure bud contains more THC than resin by far. Then on top of that fact you have to take into account the new strains and hybrid plants that are being created are many times stronger, that is another reason why quitting weed can be hard.
So so far I have covered the effects on the brain, and that alone should be enough to make most people want to quit smoking weed but now I will quickly go over the effects on other parts of the body. Firstly smoking of any kind starves the skin of oxygen which leads to premature ageing of the skin. Then also as you already know smoking of any kind is not good for the lungs, but with cannabis smokers this is magnified because of the tendency to inhale deeper and hold the smoke in longer ( obvious the effects will be worse isn’t it?) Next there is the Heart. Marijuana causes and increase in heart rate a very significant increase of up to 50 beats a minute. That combined with lower blood pressure cause by the THC hugely increases the chances of a heart attack. When you quit smoking pot your heart rate can go back to normal and if you are healthy your blood pressure should return to normal too but you have already placed you heart under pressure who knows how that will effect you in the future.