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The Negative Side Effects of Both Medical and Recreational Marijuana

Posted on: July 26th, 2019 by

Pacific Ridge is an Oregon drug and alcohol rehab center

The number of states legalizing medical and recreational marijuana increases every year. Naturally, as Marijuana becomes more available, the number of people using the substance increases across the country. Despite much criticism and new laws, the DEA has decided to keep marijuana listed as a Schedule I narcotic. This is because studies suggest that there are many negative side effects from the use of marijuana. Below we will discuss just a few of these effects and how they can negatively affect the user and those around them.


As long as people have been using pot, there has been a debate about whether it is addictive. Marijuana can be addictive both psychologically and physically for young users and those who start their habit on potent strains with high THC, the psychoactive ingredient in weed.

Memory Loss

There have been multiple studies that challenge the benefits of marijuana use and its effect on memory. One American study found that people that used weed daily for over five years developed a poorer memory than those who did not smoke or who smoked less.

Depression and Other Mental Health Issues 

A national committee found that regular pot use can lead to anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, and other mental health disorders.


Pot users may feel paranoid as a result of THC, the psychoactive element of the drug which changes their sensory perception.

Heart Damage

Marijuana significantly raises a person’s heart rate for up to three hours and can increase the likelihood of a stroke sometime during life by over 25%.

Lung Problems

Although many people believe that pot is safer to smoke than cigarettes, it has a similar range of chemicals to tobacco when smoked. Long term use increases the risk of respiratory issues and increases inflammation.

Irregular Appetite

Marijuana impacts cells in the brain that have to do with hunger and fullness. This can lead to weight gain or loss depending on how the user’s brain is affected by the cannabinoid under the influence of THC.

A Decrease in Motor Responses

Many studies have shown that marijuana significantly impairs reaction time and coordination. This becomes a very big problem especially when driving. This can cause issues on the roadway and preventable accidents occur when people are under the influence of the drug.  Marijuana causes difficulty with divided attention, which in turn has been shown to cause difficulties for motor vehicle drivers.

Uncharacteristic Choices

However, anyone who has tried the drug will tell you that they think differently while high. This doesn’t always lead to the best decisions, whether it’s driving while impaired, eating too much junk food, or spending an increasing amount of your life under the influence of the drug. Sometimes marijuana makes people think that they can do things that they would never normally do when they are sober.

Most marijuana users will agree that they have experienced some, if not many of these negative side effects at any given time. Unfortunately, only time will tell if addiction to this drug will lead to more serious consequences in the future.


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Pacific Ridge is a residential drug and alcohol treatment facility about an hour from Portland, Oregon, on the outskirts of Salem. We’re here to help individuals and families begin the road to recovery from addiction. Our clients receive quality care without paying the high price of a hospital. Most of our clients come from Oregon and Washington, with many coming from other states as well.

Pacific Ridge is a private alcohol and drug rehab. To be a part of our treatment program, the client must voluntarily agree to cooperate with treatment. Most intakes can be scheduled within 24-48 hours.

Pacific Ridge is a State-licensed detox and residential treatment program for both alcohol and drugs. We provide individualized treatment options, work closely with managed care organizations, and maintain contracts with most insurance companies.