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What Smoking Marijuana Does to Your Body Every Day

Doctor explains the positive and negative effects of smoking marijuana daily. 
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek

Marijuana is one of the world's most used drugs and the push for legalization continues. Although it's not legal yet in every state, marijuana is becoming more accepted and has been making its mark in the medical world. It's been well proven that there's many benefits and can help patients with a variety of health issues such as seizures, anxiety, inflammation and more. But there's also some negative side effects and risks involved when smoking it daily. Eat This, Not That! Health spoke with  Dr. Tomi Mitchell, a Board-Certified Family Physician with Holistic Wellness Strategies who explains the positive and negative effects of using marijuana every day.  Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.


The Pros and Cons of Smoking Marijuana Daily

Portrait of a woman with cannabis leaf near her face

Dr. Mitchell states, "Marijuana has long been a subject of debate. Some legalization proponents argue that marijuana can have positive medicinal effects, while others contend that the drug is harmful and addictive. There is no easy answer, and both sides of the argument have merit. However, a thoughtful discussion of the pros and cons of smoking marijuana can help shed light on the issue. On the one hand, marijuana has been shown to relieve pain and nausea in cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy. On the other hand, it has also been effective in treating glaucoma and epilepsy.

On the other hand, marijuana smoking has been linked to an increased risk of lung cancer. Additionally, marijuana use can result in cognitive impairments, including memory problems and difficulty concentrating. Ultimately, whether or not to smoke marijuana is a personal decision. However, before deciding, one must be aware of the potential benefits and risks."


The Positive Effects


Dr. Mitchell says, "While marijuana use comes with some risks, there are also potential benefits to be considered. For example, marijuana has been shown to help improve symptoms of conditions like anxiety, depression, and chronic pain. In addition, marijuana use has been linked to increased creativity and productivity. Some research even suggests that marijuana use may reduce the risk of certain cancers. But, of course, more research is needed to understand the potential benefits of marijuana use fully. However, the available evidence suggests that there may be some real benefits to smoking marijuana."


Reduces Pain

Young upset stressed woman suffering from abdominal and stomach pain during menstruation, PMS in room at home. Inflammation and infection. Food poisoning

According to Dr. Mitchell, "Marijuana effectively reduces pain in various medical conditions, including cancer, HIV/AIDS, multiple sclerosis, and chronic pain. While the mechanisms behind this pain-relieving effect are not fully understood, it is thought that marijuana may work by interacting with the body's endocannabinoid system. This system is responsible for regulating various functions, including pain perception. By binding to cannabinoid receptors, marijuana can modulate the perception of pain. Additionally, marijuana has anti-inflammatory properties, which may also contribute to its ability to reduce pain. For many people suffering from chronic pain, smoking marijuana every day can help to provide significant relief."


Reduces Inflammation

body inflammation

Dr. Mitchell explains, "Smoking marijuana has been shown to have several positive side effects, one of which is reducing inflammation. Inflammation is a natural body response to injury or infection, but it can also contribute to several chronic health conditions. When the chemicals activate cannabinoid receptors in marijuana, they help to reduce inflammation by inhibiting the release of inflammatory neurotransmitters. This can provide relief from symptoms like pain, swelling, and redness and can also help to protect against some of the damaging effects of chronic inflammation. In addition, marijuana smokers tend to have lower levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), a marker of inflammation, than non-smokers. These anti-inflammatory effects of marijuana may be one of the reasons why it is effective in treating conditions like arthritis, Crohn's disease, and multiple sclerosis."


Increase Appetite & Decrease Nausea in Cancer Patients


Dr. Mitchell shares, "Smoking marijuana daily has a positive effect of increasing appetite and decreasing nausea in cancer patients. There are several reasons why this is the case:

  1. Marijuana contains chemicals that mimic the body's own endocannabinoids. Endocannabinoids are molecules that help to regulate appetite, and by simulating their effects, marijuana can help to increase appetite.
  2. Marijuana can help decrease nausea by reducing inflammation in the digestive tract.
  3. Inflammation is a common cause of nausea, and by lowering it, marijuana can help to ease this symptom.
  4. Marijuana contains CBD, a compound that has been shown to have anti-nausea effects.

Combining all these effects, smoking marijuana daily can help increase appetite and decrease nausea in cancer patients."


Decreases Anxiety

woman sitting on floor in home dealing with panic attack

"There is some clinical evidence that marijuana might help with anxiety symptoms," says Dr. Mitchell. "CBD is a pharmacologically broad-spectrum drug that has shown great promise as a treatment for various neuropsychiatric disorders. This review aims to evaluate the evidence from preclinical, human experimental, and clinical studies to determine CBD's potential as a treatment for anxiety-related disorders. The evidence from preclinical studies suggests that CBD has anti-anxiety, anti-depressant, and anti-inflammatory properties. Human studies have shown that CBD can reduce anxiety and improve sleep quality. Clinical trials are ongoing, but the results thus far have been promising, with patients reporting reductions in anxiety symptoms. Overall, the evidence suggests that CBD is a good treatment for anxiety-related disorders, and further research is warranted.

So, the next time you complain about someone's marijuana habit, and they say it "helps them relax," there is likely some merit to this comment."


The Negative Effects


Dr. Mitchell says, "As mentioned before, it's essential to have a balanced view on any topic and say the positive and negative impacts of smoking marijuana.There are four main adverse side effects of smoking marijuana: impaired memory and learning, increased anxiety and paranoia, impaired coordination and motor skills, and increased risk of lung problems."


Impairs Your Memory

Sacred mature woman.

Dr. Mitchell states, "While marijuana use is often associated with several positive effects, such as relaxation and euphoria, it can also cause some adverse side effects, including memory problems. Numerous studies have shown that smoking marijuana can impair both short-term and long-term memory. In the short-term, marijuana use can interfere with a person's ability to remember new information or concentrate on tasks. In the long-term, regular marijuana use can lead to deficits in working memory – that is, the ability to retain data for a brief period – and episodic memory, which refers to remembering past events. These memory problems can persist even after people stop using marijuana. Therefore, it is essential to be aware of the potential risks of smoking marijuana before deciding to use it."


May Increase Anxiety and Paranoia

woman with anxiety biting nails

"While marijuana use has been shown to provide some medical benefits in some instances, it also has several adverse side effects," says Dr. Mitchell. "One of the most well-known side effects of smoking marijuana is paranoia. Paranoia is defined as an irrational fear or distrust of others. For example, people who smoke marijuana may experience paranoia because the active ingredient in marijuana, THC, affects the part of the brain responsible for emotion and memory. THC can interfere with the brain's ability to process information correctly, causing people to feel paranoid or anxious. This paranoia can sometimes lead to panic attacks or even delusions. While not everyone who smokes marijuana will experience paranoia, it is a potential side effect that should be considered before using it."


May Impair Your Coordination & Motor Skills

Woman assisting an injured man on the running track at garden

According to Dr. Mitchell, "There are several reasons why smoking marijuana can impair your coordination. One reason is that marijuana affects your ability to process information and make decisions. When you are high, you may have trouble understanding what is happening around you and making decisions in a clear and timely manner. This can make it challenging to coordinate your movements and stay safe. Another reason is that marijuana can affect your balance and coordination by affecting how your body perceives space. This can make it difficult to stand up or walk straight, and you may be more likely to stumble or fall. Finally, marijuana can also cause muscle relaxation, making it difficult to control your movements. So if you plan on engaging in any activities requiring coordination, it is best to avoid smoking marijuana. Marijuana also impairs your coordination and motor skills. This can make it difficult to drive or operate machinery. It can also increase the risk of accidents and injuries."


May Increase The Risk Of Lung Problems

Business woman working from home wearing protective mask

Dr. Mitchell reminds us, "Smoking marijuana regularly is associated with an increased risk of developing lung problems. Some of the ways smoking marijuana can damage the lungs include:

-Reducing the amount of air that flows into and out of the lungs can lead to a build-up of fluids in the air spaces, making breathing difficult.

-Increasing the inflammation and infection-causing agents in the airways can cause bronchitis, an inflammation of the air passages.

-Damaging the small blood vessels in the lungs can cause symptoms such as chest pain and shortness of breath.

In addition, smoking marijuana increases the risk of lung cancer. Marijuana smoke contains many of the same carcinogens as tobacco smoke, and studies have shown that regular smokers have an increased risk of developing lung cancer. If you smoke marijuana regularly, you must be aware of these risks and take steps to protect your lungs."

Heather Newgen
Heather Newgen has two decades of experience reporting and writing about health, fitness, entertainment and travel. Heather currently freelances for several publications. Read more about Heather
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