Weed Risks: When to Avoid Smoking and Why | CAC
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Weed Risks: When to Avoid Smoking and Why

Risks of Smoking Weed

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Marijuana use is on the rise, both medical and recreational, and while cannabis is seen as a mostly safe therapeutic option, when abused recreationally, it can pose certain risks 1. It’s not all bad news, though. Medical cannabis has been legal in the UK since 2018, and almost all studies looking into its therapeutic application have shown a very high safety rating  – as long as this application is overseen and monitored by a medical professional.

Many studies point not only to its high safety profile when applied in medical settings, but also the dangers when abused. For instance, around one out of every ten recreational weed users might get addicted. This shows why it’s crucial to know the risks of using it

Starting to smoke weed in your teens makes addiction more likely. In fact, daily users have a 50% chance of becoming dependent. Young men between 16 and 25 appear to face a higher risk of developing mental illnesses from heavy use.

While smoking marijuana smoke poses less risk than smoking tobacco, it does carry some of the same harmful elements. Smoking weed can lead to bronchitis and harm the lining of your airways, and many people using weed recreationally mix the two together.

These health issues might cause chronic cough, phlegm, wheezing, and bronchitis. They also affect reproductive health and pregnancy, raising more questions about its safety2.

Smoking weed might also make surgery and recovery harder. Users often need more anaesthesia and may need to take higher dose of opioids after the operation. This can lead to opioid addiction, although medical cannabis administration has been shown to cut rates of opioid addiction in many cases.

Mixing weed with alcohol and tobacco makes it even trickier to understand its unique risks. More research is needed to fully grasp these dangers.

Risks of Smoking Weed

Key Takeaways

  • About 1 in 10 marijuana users may develop cannabis use disorder
  • Young male users are at a higher risk for mental conditions like schizophrenia when starting marijuana use in their teens
  • Marijuana smoke is less harmful than tobacco smoke in terms of toxins and carcinogens, but still comes with health risks.
  • Chronic marijuana users may need more anaesthesia during surgeries
  • The effects of marijuana are often intertwined with those of tobacco and alcohol, complicating their isolation in studies.

Physical Health Risks of Smoking Weed

Health experts are looking more closely at the risks of smoking weed. They’re worried about the damage it can do to our lungs, much like how tobacco causes issues. In the UK, it is illegal to smoke medical cannabis even if you have a legal prescription, as the health risks posed by smoking anything are just too high. Dried cannabis flower that has been prescribed is most often vaporised, which is a safer alternative to smoking.

Smoking marijuana can hurt the lungs and cause problems like bronchitis and COPD. Plus, it might lead to cancer because of the changes it makes to our airways. More and more users are facing breathing issues, which shows how big the problem is.

Recent studies have found that smoking weed can really mess up our lung function. In 2021, over 11 million young adults smoked weed. This is a big risk group for these health problems. Also, in 2022, a third of 12th graders smoked marijuana, and many vaped it too. This shows how vital it is to educate young people about the harm smoking weed can do to their lungs.

Using marijuana for extended periods can cause Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome. This syndrome can make people feel extremely sick and cause excessive vomiting.

Plus, heavy marijuana use during the teen years may lower your IQ by as much as 8 points. And this IQ drop might not get better, even if you stop using marijuana. So, it’s clear that smoking weed doesn’t just hurt your breathing. It could also affect how smart you are and how well you can think in the long run.

Risks of Smoking Weed

Mental Health Risks from Cannabis Smoking

Smoking cannabis can seriously affect our mental health. It makes some people calm, but others feel very anxious. How you feel can change due to where you are, your mood, and the type of cannabis you use, as well as your own individual cannabinoid tolerance level, the amount of THC you have consumed, and your mental health history.

Using stronger cannabis may increase the risk of mental illnesses like schizophrenia4. If someone in your family has a history of mental illness, you might be more at risk. Starting to use cannabis when you’re young could lead to more mental health problems later on, but this evidence is also somewhat disputed.

It can also mess with your memory, mood, and sleep, and make you feel sad. If you smoke a lot, you might find it harder to learn and remember things. These effects might last even after you stop smoking.

There has historically been a big focus on how cannabis can lead to, or worsen, psychosis. Smoking or consuming cannabis with high levels of THC may trigger an episode of psychosis in someone with a vulnerability to it. However, the evidence is still not entirely conclusive on this front either.

Because of these risks, it’s crucial to think about the effects of cannabis on our minds. Knowing about these risks helps us make better choices. It also encourages us to be more careful and informed, which can lower the risks.

Social and Legal Implications of Cannabis Use

Cannabis mixing with tobacco can lead to a need for nicotine. Smoking these mixtures not only raises the health dangers, but also the chances of addiction to tobacco and cannabis. It can also lead to long-term cognitive impairment, which affects how well we think or make decisions. This can harm our personal and professional lives, as well as our relationships.

Understanding the legal side of using marijuana is also very important. In the UK, recreational cannabis use, possession, production, and supply is illegal. Possession could lead to up to five years in prison, an unlimited fine, or both. Supply and production can lead to a maximum of 14 years in prison, an unlimited fine, or both. This shows how strict the laws are and that using marijuana carries serious legal implications.

But medical cannabis is now totally legal. Starting in November 2018, specialist doctors have been able to prescribe medical marijuana in the UK. However, many doctors are still hesitant to do so, and patients may face difficulties accessing it through the NHS. Thankfully, there are many private medical cannabis clinics available, and the specialists working with these clinics have the legal ability to prescribe medical marijuana for a range of conditions, many more than the NHS.

There is more support now for making recreational cannabis legal, with about 32% of people aged between 25 and 50 supporting this change in the UK.

Risks of Smoking Weed

The Good That Cannabis Can Bring

While we have focused on the downsides of heavy, unregulated, unsupervised cannabis use, it’s important to acknowledge the potential benefits of responsible and controlled use of medical marijuana.

Medical cannabis has been used for centuries to treat various health conditions, including chronic pain, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, and chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting. It can now legally be prescribed for a huge range of health concerns here in the UK, and is making a massive difference to the lives of many.

Not only can medical cannabis help with physical illnesses, but it is also being considered as a potential treatment for mental health conditions like anxiety, PTSD, and depression. Studies are ongoing, and early results show promise in using medical marijuana as a tool to manage symptoms and improve overall wellbeing.

CBD, the non-intoxicating cousin of THC, is also being used in various forms to help individuals manage pain, anxiety, and other health concerns. This cannabinoid does not produce a high and is considered safe for many people to use. CBD oil popularity is at all all-time high here in the UK.all-time

Cannabis also has potential economic benefits if it were to become legalised for recreational purposes. It could create jobs, generate tax revenue, and perhaps even decrease the black market for cannabis. However, careful considerations must be made in terms of regulations and restrictions to ensure responsible use and prevent any potential negative impacts on society.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, while there are certain risks associated with smoking marijuana, especially for young people and those with pre-existing mental health conditions, it’s essential to have a balanced understanding of this fascinating plant. Most things come with both positives and negatives, and we have to weigh the potential benefits against the risks. By staying informed, cautious, and responsible in our cannabis use, we can minimise any negative interactions and outcomes.

Here at CAC, we strive to offer a platform free from bias. A place where medical cannabis patients can come to find real, balanced information. And a place where all UK citizens can come to see verified reviews of all the private medical cannabis clinics out there. If you have had a negative experience with cannabis, you may be able to relate to the above blog. You may also want to share your experience in the review section of the clinic you got your cannabis from, to help others avoid the same experience.

We hope this article has helped you better understand the implications of using marijuana and the importance of responsible use. If you have any further questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us. Our team at CAC is dedicated to providing accurate, up-to-date information on all things related to medical cannabis.

Source Links

  1. https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/addiction/marijuana-use-and-its-effects
  2. https://www.lung.org/quit-smoking/smoking-facts/health-effects/marijuana-and-lung-health
  3. https://nida.nih.gov/publications/drugfacts/cannabis-marijuana
  4. https://www.rethink.org/advice-and-information/about-mental-illness/learn-more-about-coeditions/cannabis-and-mental-health/
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6890535/
  6. https://www.statista.com/statistics/977043/support-for-legalizing-cannabis-in-the-uk/

 

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