While most of us are pretty familiar with the short term effects of THC by now, many people are justifiably concerned about the long term effects of marijuana on the body. As a country, we’re mostly past the point of widespread fear mongering related to this plant. Countless articles containing misinformation continue to spread in this modern era, but the facts are finally coming to the forefront. While many people on the far left side of this issue would tell you that cannabis is a wholly beneficial product, those on the far right would argue the opposite and lead you to believe that THC is melting your brain and destroying society. This article is meant to break out of that binary mindset and present you with only the facts.
Now don’t get us wrong, we still hold true to the belief that cannabis can positively impact everyone’s lives, but the benefits and proper consumption methods vary from person to person.
With greater access to the plant than ever before, scientists are conducting studies and laying several rumors to rest. With that being said, access and legality still limit many researchers from carrying out all of the tests they’d like. We’re still at the early stages of learning how cannabis reacts with the body, but we’re quickly making progress.
Marijuana’s effect on memory
One thing that we do know is that THC does have effects on memory. While there are still more studies needed to completely figure out this relationship, THC has been proven to reduce short-term memory and new memory formation while under the influence, but those effects almost completely disappear 24-48 hours after use. Other studies show evidence that regular smokers can develop tolerances to these symptoms. Furthermore, there is significant evidence that shows that CBD counteracts these effects and can even improve cognitive ability, promote brain growth, and protect the brain from losing memory functions. It’s easy to overlook that even the detriment to short-term memory can have benefits to those who need it most. People that struggle from PTSD and severe anxiety are able to take great advantage of THC’s ability to help them forget. Where many may see a negative quality, others find a saving grace.
Smoke is generally bad
Another thing we know for sure is that smoke, no matter the origin, is not healthy for our lungs. While the effects from burning cannabis can be highly beneficial, inhaling any combusted material has adverse effects. People that smoke regularly are prone to a greater risk of bronchial damage and persistent coughing. One other negative effect of any kind of smoke is periodontal health. Your gums are sensitive tissues that don’t react well with smoke. While you aren’t guaranteed to experience poor gum health, it is more likely with the inhalation of smoke. Luckily, cannabis can be consumed without any combustion, essentially eliminating any long term effects of marijuana that would arise from smoking. Using vaporizers heats THC to the temperature of vaporization, rather than combustion, which makes for a less harsh experience for your lungs. Additionally, edibles and concentrated products, like tinctures and RSO, exist for easy, safe consumption.
Don’t smoke while pregnant
Other minor factors to consider with regards to the long term effects of marijuana relate to pregnancy and heart disease. While there isn’t any concrete evidence, it is generally assumed that consuming cannabis in any form is harmful to developing fetuses. Additionally, nursing mothers who smoke are likely to have traces of THC in their breast milk for three days after consumption, which could impair the child’s developing brain. As far as heart disease goes, you don’t have to worry about cannabis causing heart disease, but the change in heart rate should be noted. THC can potentially cause an elevation of 50 beats per minute, so those with known heart disease should be wary of an increased chance of heart attacks.
The benefits of THC aren’t entirely quantifiable
Up to this point it may seem like THC has no proven long-term benefits, but that is far from the truth. While there are some physiological red flags that need more investigating, there are countless incidences where THC’s psychological benefits have completely turned lives around. One of the greatest long term effects of marijuana is its ability to help individuals overcome something negative in their life. Whether that be the aforementioned PTSD and anxiety, debilitating insomnia, chronic pain, or crippling addiction to opioid painkillers, THC provides an avenue to make a new routine. People are able to break out of their toxic mental cycles and reliances thanks to the psychological effects of THC. While they may not continue to consume down the road, it is the ability to help develop a new lifestyle that will stick with them for years to come.
More cannabis research must be conducted
That’s the real, honest, no BS rundown on what we know about the long term effects of marijuana on the body. While there isn’t enough evidence to say that THC and cannabis as a whole are completely beneficial to the body, we can say that the long-term effects aren’t overwhelmingly concerning and some are greatly beneficial. When it comes down to it, we really just have to wait until researchers are allowed to explore every possibility of this plant without negative backlash from governing bodies. Until then, we’ll do our best to provide medicine to those who need it most and educate smokers about every potential pro and con that comes with this plant. We continue to learn every single Diem, and we’re thrilled to be able to pass that along to you.