The conversation around cannabis use, both medically and recreationally, continues to evolve. With its legalization in many states, a paradox persists: widespread public use contrasts with cautious medical perspectives. This raises a question: Is cannabis use safe?
When considering the safety of cannabis use, Harvard Health advises against smoking it due to the potential for lung irritation. Alternative methods such as under-the-tongue tinctures, edibles, topical products, or dry herb vaporizers are suggested. Smoking cannabis should be brief, as holding it in the lungs for more than a couple of seconds may increase lung irritation without enhancing its effects.
There are potential risks associated with cannabis use. It can have both cardiac and lung effects, such as rapid heart rate and bronchitis. Additionally, cannabis can be addictive, and its interaction with other drugs, particularly CBD, should be considered carefully. High dosages can lead to anxiety or even panic attacks, and it impairs the ability to drive or operate heavy machinery. It’s especially concerning for teenagers, whose use of cannabis could be particularly dangerous.
Withdrawal from cannabis can also present challenges. Symptoms such as aggression, anger, irritability, anxiety, insomnia, anorexia, depression, restlessness, headaches, vomiting, and abdominal pain have been reported. This extensive list of withdrawal symptoms suggests that reducing or stopping cannabis use might be a difficult process for some individuals.
From a medical standpoint, marijuana’s risks to heart health cannot be ignored. Use of marijuana has been linked to an increased heart rate, higher blood pressure, and a heightened risk of heart attack shortly after smoking. There are also connections between marijuana use and atrial fibrillation or high blood pressure, which could lead to serious health complications.
Cognitively, long-term cannabis users might face consequences. A decline in IQ and deficits in learning and processing speed have been observed, with these effects being more pronounced in frequent users. This suggests a possible causal link between extensive cannabis use and cognitive impairment.
In summary, while cannabis may have medicinal and recreational uses, its safety profile is still a matter of debate. The risks to heart health, potential for addiction, impact on cognitive functions, and impairment of motor skills are significant concerns that warrant careful consideration, especially in the context of increasing legalization and use.