When it comes to polarising health topics, few subjects spark more debate than weed. The latest marijuana research, from University of Michigan Health System, suggests taking up regularly can dull your emotional response and cause addiction.
"Some people may believe that marijuana is not addictive or that it's 'better' than other drugs that can cause dependence, "But this study provides evidence that it's affecting the brain in a way that may make it more difficult to stop using it. It changes your brain in a way that may change your behavior. Smoking weed might also be more addicting than you think.
Find out all the other ways—good and bad—marijuana is influencing your health.
1. It Can Damage Blood Vessels
Secondhand smoke may not seem all that bad. But it can have a major impact on your blood vessels, according to research from the American Heart Association. After rats inhaled secondhand marijuana smoke for one minute, their arteries carried blood less efficiently for at least 90 minutes. When they were exposed to secondhand tobacco smoke, however, their blood vessels recovered after 30 minutes. "While the effect is temporary for both cigarette and marijuana smoke, these temporary problems can turn into long-term problems if exposures occur often enough and may increase the chances of developing hardened and clogged arteries," said study author Matthew Springer, Ph.D.
2. Anxiety, Paranoia & Panic
Anxiety is one of the most commonly reported side effects of marijuana use — somewhere between 20 and 30 percent of smokers report that they react with feelings of anxiety, paranoia, distrust, and panic after smoking. These anxious side effects could have something to do with the specific ratios of THC and CBD (the compound cannabidiol) in different strains. There are two major classes of weed — indicas and sativas. Indicas are said to provide more of a tingly body high, while sativas stimulate the mind more than the body. So based on the type of pot, some highs can be more euphoric and giddy, while others are more anxiety-inducing.
3. It May Increase Testicular Cancer Risk
Researchers at the University of Southern California found smoking weed may increase your odds of getting testicular cancer. In the study, men who had testicular germ cell tumors were more likely to report previously using marijuana than those who didn't have the tumors. A doctor for the American Cancer Society said that while the findings were interesting, more research needs to be done to determine if there was a causal relationship between cancer and marijuana use.
4. It Impacts Short-Term Memory
Stoners get a bad reputation for being forgetful; and it turns out this stigma might not be a myth. Northwestern University scientists found former pot smokers had developed brain abnormalities in regions associated with short-term memory. Study participants also demonstrated reduced performance on memory-related tasks. Even more unsettling is the brains of pot smokers were abnormally shaped and looked smiliar to brains damaged by schizophrenia. (That's not to say that smoking weed causes schizophrenia.)
5. It Hinders Creativity
Artists, musicians, and other creative types sometimes credit marijuana as their source of inspiration. However, a study from the Netherlands seems to prove otherwise. Volunteers who were given marijuana with high THC content were not able to come up with as many solutions to a problem as those given a placebo. So, uh, you might want to put down the marijuana during your next brainstorming session.
6. It Could Destroy Brain Cells
All those jokes about stoners killing their brain cells? They might have some merit, according to a 20-year study on smoking pot, which suggests that lighting up could decrease cognitive function, in addition to an increased risk of psychotic symptoms and disorders.
7. It Could Help Heal Broken Bones
It's not all bad news for pot smokers. A study from researchers at Tel Aviv University found weed may help bones heal stronger and faster. Cannabinoid cannabidiol, which is found in cannabis leaves and stems, helped mice recover from broken bones more effectively. Researchers believe the substance helps minerals get into the bone tissue, making bones stronger, sturdier, and less likely to break in the future.
8. It Could Make You Poor and Socially Inept
If you want to be successful, then you better lay off the weed, according to scientists at UC Davis and Duke. “People who smoked cannabis four or more days of the week over many years ended up in a lower social class than their parents, with lower-paying, less skilled and less prestigious jobs than those who were not regular cannabis smokers,” study author Magdalena Cerda said in a press release. Cerda and her colleagues had more bad news to share—cannabis users also had more financial troubles, antisocial behavior at work, and experienced more relationship problems.
Credits: Melissa Matthews, Men's fitness
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