Most people should know by now that although pot can have some negative effects on your brain and body, the truth is that it’s more benign than some legal drugs, like cigarettes and alcohol. Given that it is the most popular drug in the world and there are very few deaths associated with it (and those that have been recorded are typically due to engaging in foolish behavior while under the influence anyway), you have to wonder just how harmful it can be. The problem, of course, is that research on pot has been severely limited due to the drug’s illegal nature. The U.S government still classifies marijuana as Schedule I drug, which is supposed to be reserved for the most dangerous drugs. While that must change (and hopefully soon), there are some real effects of pot that you should know about.
Magnified Thoughts and Perception
The cannabinoids in pot make everything seem more intense, colorful and even larger than life, depending on how pot affects you personally. These effects are part of what makes smoking pot so much fun (especially if you’re watching cartoons) but they are also what makes it dangerous if you’re operating heavy equipment, a motor vehicle or, say, performing heart surgery. That’s why it’s important to smoke during your off time when you either have a designated driver or you’re at home. Even playing sports can be risky. High doses, of course, can even cause paranoia and such vivid hallucinations that induce feelings of terror, which is why it’s always important to start with a little and find your own tolerance level, the same rule you should follow with alcohol use. It may also cause a slowed reaction to time as a result.
Shiny Happy People
There’s a reason why hippies are associated with peace, love and dope. The three go hand in hand. If you’re a stoner or you know someone who enjoys weed regularly, you might already know about the calming effect of weed. Marijuana produces feelings of euphoria and relaxation, which is why it’s great for some forms of anxiety, treating various illnesses and even helping people sleep. While this stems from the production of dopamine, it’s also important to remember that these same effects are produced by eating lots of sugar or taking in caffeine, which are perfectly legal.
Yes, pot deserves its reputation for giving you the munchies, but it doesn’t always work that way. In fact, you may not even get hungry depending on several factors. The level of food cravings you experience varies depending on how strong the strain of pot you are smoking is and how much of it you smoke.
Some people who smoke pot experience shallow breathing, dry mouth and dizziness. Just like in the movies, you can also experience red eyes and dilated pupils, which seems to be a dead giveaway for stoners in many teen movies. Most of these are temporary but if you experience any for a prolonged period of time you may want to stop smoking, smoke less or talk to your physician about smoking before trying weed again.
Light marijuana smokers usually suffer no long-term damage, but those who smoke heavily can experience similar problems to cigarette smokers, including respiratory damage, possible schizophrenia risk and difficulty fitting in with society (which may or may not be problematic, depending on the individual and how he or she doesn’t adjust). Some memory and concentration issues can also occur, but in short-term use they are not considered lasting or long-term risks.