Marijuana contains psychoactive chemicals that can affect both your brain and body. It can be addictive, and may be harmful to some people’s health. Learn more about the possible health effects of cannabis and cannabis-infused products.
If you or someone you know is experiencing problems with marijuana use, visit the Massachusetts Substance Abuse Helpline or call (800) 327-5050.
Babies’ and kids’ brains are still developing, and are more affected by marijuana than adults’ brains. Scientists are still learning about what cannabis does to developing brains, but some studies show cannabis use by mothers during pregnancy may be linked to problems with attention, memory, problem-solving skills, and behavior problems in their children.
The brain does not finish developing until our mid-20s, so using marijuana at a young age can interfere with that. It can affect memory, learning and attention, and make problem-solving more difficult.
The American Academy of Pediatrics advises mothers who are breastfeeding to refrain from marijuana use. Breastfeeding women who smoke marijuana transfer low levels of THC, the main psychoactive ingredient in cannabis, to their children via breast milk. Some studies suggest that long-term exposure to THC may negatively impact the critical early development period in infants.
Cannabis Use Disorder (CUD)
Most people do not develop cannabis use disorder, but research shows that some consumers can show signs of problematic use that disrupts important aspects of their lives. They may continue to consume cannabis even when it causes problems with their life, health, work, family, and friends. When some people try to quit, they can have withdrawal symptoms like cravings, trouble sleeping, anxiety, or loss of appetite. Starting to use marijuana at a younger age, or frequent and/or potent use, may put you at greater risk of developing a cannabis use or other substance use disorder.
If you think you are experiencing CUD and would like help, contact the Massachusetts Substance Abuse Helpline at (800) 327-5050.
Smoking cannabis may increase your blood pressure, can raise your heart rate, or increase the risk of heart attack. If you smoke regularly over the long term, it can cause heart disease.
Getting high can impact your decision-making. You might do things that could result in injury. It can also change the way things appear (your perception) and slow your reaction time, which may affect your ability to drive or operate machinery safely.
Smoke hurts your lungs. When you smoke cannabis, you inhale toxins, irritants, and carcinogens like those found in tobacco smoke. Smoking marijuana can lead to a greater risk of bronchitis, cough, and phlegm production. These symptoms generally improve when people quit smoking cannabis.
We still have a lot to learn about whether cannabis use leads to mental health problems or if a mental illness can make a person more likely to use marijuana. As with other drugs, variables like consumers’ age, how early they start, the amount of the drug they use, and their genetics could all impact whether or not long-term problems develop.
Consuming edibles and other cannabis-infused products may pose a poisoning risk.
Why? Cannabis-infused products can take up to two hours to take effect, which can result in overconsumption. Also, the amount of THC, the active ingredient found in marijuana, is often unknown in edible products, which can also lead to overuse.
Always be sure to keep all marijuana products, including edibles, in childproof containers and out of the reach of children. If you believe you or someone you know has been poisoned, call 911 or the Poison Helpline at (800) 222-1222.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) cautions against marijuana use during pregnancy. Some studies suggest that cannabis use by mothers during pregnancy may be linked to problems with attention, memory, problem-solving skills, and behavior problems in children.
If you’re using marijuana and are pregnant or are planning to become pregnant, talk to your doctor. If you are pregnant and want to stop using marijuana, contact the Massachusetts Substance Use Helpline at (800) 327-5050.
Secondhand marijuana smoke contains tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and many of the same toxic compounds found in tobacco smoke. It could affect anyone who breathes it in, especially pregnant women, babies, and children.
Men who frequently use marijuana may experience a lower libido, decreased seminal fluid, lower sperm count, and/or fewer well-functioning sperm—all conditions that can adversely affect fertility.
In women, marijuana use can disrupt the menstrual cycle and may have adverse effects on fertility.
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