The Long Term Effects of Marijuana Use

Marijuana use can have long-term effects on your physical, mental, and emotional health. You might use marijuana legally in your state, depending upon the laws. In Colorado, marijuana use has been legalized for years. Although marijuana may be legal to use, you might still experience adverse long-term effects due to marijuana use. The legality of a substance does not necessarily mean that the substance is safe. For example, both alcohol and cigarettes are legal throughout the United States. Both of these substances can lead to health and lifestyle issues when used excessively. 

Marijuana, like any legal substance, can become used as a maladaptive coping mechanism for stress, anxiety, depression, and other underlying issues also present in other addictions. You may become addicted to marijuana if your use goes well beyond typical recreational or medicinal use. For those struggling with underlying problems at the root of their addiction, marijuana might mask these issues. Healing and change in recovery might require that you rid yourself of anything that merely “masks” your more profound matters.

Unhealthy Long-Term Effects

Marijuana could have unhealthy long-term effects. You might experience effects on your physical, mental, and emotional health. These effects can lead to significant detriments to your overall quality of life. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “about 1 in 10 marijuana users will become addicted. For people who begin using before the age of 18, that number rises to 1 in 6.” Addiction to any substance might result in unhealthy long-term effects. Marijuana can significantly affect certain cognitive functions in the brain over long-term use, such as:

  • Issues with memory
  • Short attention spans 
  • Difficulty focusing or concentrating
  • Difficulty learning

Marijuana can also result in other mental health issues, like:

  • Increased paranoia 
  • Anxiety
  • Disorientation
  • Unpleasant or distressing thoughts
  • Increased likelihood of experiencing psychosis or seeing, hearing, or sensing things that are not real

Physically, you may have an increased risk of lung or cardiovascular issues. Marijuana smoke may be harmful to your lungs. The use of marijuana can increase your heartbeat, leaving you vulnerable to other cardiovascular problems. 

Developing Healthy Coping Skills

If you are addicted to marijuana due to underlying issues or other stressors, you might benefit from developing healthy coping skills. Addiction can be a way of self-medicating other problems that we are avoiding or numbing ourselves from. By experiencing life’s obstacles and challenges, you can grow and change in healthy ways. You may need to consider alternatives to work through your addiction if you are using marijuana to cope. Recovery from addiction is possible, and there is hope for a better future free of your addictions! You may want to try some of the following strategies to deal with daily stress, such as:

  • Going out for a walk or hike
    • Being outside in nature can reduce stress and anxiety
    • A quick walk around the block or at a park can have a calming effect on you when feeling anxious
    • Exercise can help you feel happier when you are feeling down by releasing your brain’s “feel-good” chemicals
  • Meditation and mindfulness
    • Meditation can help you relax and feel less stressed
    • Being mindful can help you get out of your head and into the present moment when feeling overwhelmed
  • Journaling
    • Keeping a journal can help you to understand yourself and your triggers for addiction thoroughly – you can foster a deep understanding of yourself by journaling daily
    • You can also try gratitude journaling to help you focus on the positive things in your life
  • Getting together with friends
    • Being around other people can help lift your mood when you are feeling low
    • Find time to spend with friends engaged in activities that are not related to using substances
    • Having fun is an integral part of a successful recovery!

You may also benefit from outside and professional help if your addiction causes significant disruption to your life. Marijuana can affect your life in many ways, and determining your addiction might require you to look at how much of your life revolves around marijuana use. If you are struggling to cope with on-the-job stress and use marijuana all day long, you might have an addiction. Experiencing physiological issues, like difficulty sleeping without using marijuana, may also indicate problematic usage. Depending on how severely the use of marijuana impacts your life, you may want to explore the root causes of your addiction. Dealing with trauma and healing from other mental health issues is possible. You can find effective ways of managing your struggles!

Marijuana use can have various long-term effects that may be detrimental depending upon your usage. While many states are legalizing marijuana, the safety of a substance is not dependent upon legality. For example, alcohol and nicotine are known to have damaging effects on the mind and body, but both are legal. Marijuana can affect your ability to concentrate, learn, focus, or create issues with memory. You may feel anxious or paranoid while using marijuana. Marijuana, like any substance, can be addictive – especially when used to cope with daily stressors or other underlying issues.

If you are using marijuana to cope with life or are experiencing difficulty due to physical dependence, you may benefit from treatment at a recovery center. Choice House is here for men struggling with a wide range of addictions. We can help you or a loved one with their addictions and identify root causes. Call us today at (720) 577-4422 to learn more about our unique treatment program.

Table of Contents

Questions About Treatment?

Choice House is your comprehensive guide to lasting sobriety and wellness. Reach out to us today to see how we can support you on your journey toward sustainable well-being.