Cannabis and my health – Tribune Online

By Dr. Wale Okediran

 

I am a long term Cannabis user. Even though I don’t have any problem using it, I want to know if there are any potential health issues associated with its long term use.

Ken (by SMS)

 

Marijuana refers to the dried leaves, flowers, stems, and seeds from the Cannabis sativa or Cannabis Indica plant. The plant contains the mind-altering chemical THC and other similar compounds. M Marijuana use may have a wide range of effects, both physical and mental. Marijuana smoke irritates the lungs, and people who smoke marijuana frequently can have the same breathing problems as those who smoke tobacco. These problems include daily cough and phlegm, more frequent lung illness, and a higher risk of lung infections. Researchers so far haven’t found a higher risk for lung cancer in people who smoke marijuana. Marijuana raises heart rate for up to 3 hours after smoking. This effect may increase the chance of heart attack. Older people and those with heart problems may be at higher risk. If a pregnant woman uses marijuana, the drug may affect certain developing parts of the fetus’s brain. Children exposed to marijuana in the womb have an increased risk of problems with attention, memory, and problem-solving compared to unexposed children. Some research also suggests that moderate amounts of THC are excreted into the breast milk of nursing mothers. With regular use, THC can reach amounts in breast milk that could affect the baby’s developing brain. Other recent research suggests an increased risk of preterm births. Regular, long-term marijuana use can lead to some people to develop Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome. This causes users to experience regular cycles of severe nausea, vomiting, and dehydration, sometimes requiring emergency medical attention. Long-term marijuana use has been linked to mental illness in some people, such as: temporary hallucinations, temporary paranoia, worsening symptoms in patients with schizophrenia—a severe mental disorder with symptoms such as hallucinations, paranoia, and disorganized thinking. Marijuana use has also been linked to other mental health problems, such as depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts among teens.

 

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