Marijuana, also known as “weed,” “pot, or “cannabis,” is a psychoactive drug. You can use it as a recreational drug in Pennsylvania and its main active chemical, delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), affects your brain receptors to make you feel high. Weed affects more than 700 different receptors in the brain; that’s why it can have so many effects. One of these effects is a noticeable change in your mental state. This high can put you in different moods that may have various side effects on your mental health.
Marijuana is considered a gateway drug, and it is currently illegal in the United States. However, 23 states have legalized marijuana for medical purposes. Since its legalization, more people have been using marijuana for medical reasons. Medical marijuana treats conditions such as chronic pain, nausea and vomiting (caused by chemotherapy), poor appetite and weight loss (caused by chronic diseases such as HIV/AIDS), anxiety, sleep disorders, seizures (e.g., from epilepsy), and spasms from multiple sclerosis. Although many research studies have proven the benefits of marijuana on physical health, there are also adverse side effects caused by this plant. These side effects may be worse for those who already suffer from mental health problems or use other drugs or alcohol.
Here are six side effects of medical marijuana on mental health:
- Increased Depression
Depression is one of the most common mental health issues in America today. It’s also one that marijuana could make worse or even cause. In a study conducted by the National Academy of Sciences, researchers found that people who smoked marijuana regularly had higher rates of depression than those who didn’t smoke. The effects of depression can affect anyone, regardless of age or gender. If you are struggling with this condition and are considering using medical marijuana to ease your symptoms, talk to your doctor about other treatment options first.
One of the most common side effects associated with marijuana use is paranoia. It occurs when someone feels unusually suspicious or fearful in situations that don’t warrant such intense emotions. It can be a symptom of several types of mental illness, including schizophrenia and depression. But even people who don’t have any mental health issues can experience feelings of paranoia after smoking marijuana, especially if they smoke a large amount of the drug. Additionally, those who smoke an extremely wide variety of medications may feel paranoid due to the high potency of THC in their system.
One of the most severe problems with marijuana is that it can cause psychosis in those predisposed to it. One study published in Lancet Psychiatry found that those who regularly used cannabis were more likely than nonusers to have a psychotic disorder such as schizophrenia. Furthermore, another study found that those who had used cannabis heavily as teenagers were more likely to have schizophrenia in early adulthood.
- Medical problems
Marijuana can also cause heart problems or worsen existing heart conditions in some individuals. It is essential to discuss the risks of using marijuana with your doctor before you start using it for medical purposes.
Some people also experience changes in their physical health when they use marijuana. For example, smoking marijuana has been linked to respiratory problems such as chronic cough, wheezing, and bronchitis.
- Marijuana Can Be Addicting
The American Psychiatric Association has labeled marijuana as an addictive substance. Regular users may develop an addiction to the drug, which can cause them to experience several withdrawal symptoms similar to the effects of any other drug addiction. These symptoms might include irritability, sleeplessness, and depression. It’s important to note that these symptoms vary from person to person.
- Increased appetite/decreased appetite.
When you hear about “the munchies,” people talk about an increased desire for food (particularly junk food). It’s also possible that MMJ can suppress your appetite instead of increasing it, as with some patients dealing with eating disorders or other medical conditions involving malnutrition.
Medical marijuana has substantial benefits in treating neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s Disease, Parkinson’s Disease, and even Multiple Sclerosis. Marijuana also possesses antioxidant properties and has been found to reduce cancer cell growth. However, you must be aware of the side effects of medical marijuana to make an educated decision on whether it will be suitable for you or not. This article details the side effects of medical marijuana that may be detrimental to your health in the long run if not known or understood.