For the believers, there is nothing that marijuana cannot cure. From acne to depression, the drug is a surefire cure for a wide range of psychological and physical disorders. However, studies that have been trying to unearth the mystical properties of pot have come up with startling conclusions that could dampen the enthusiasm of the supporters.
One such study, published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology in August 2017, concluded that marijuana is associated with nearly a three-fold increase of death due to hypertension. The conclusions were made after studying 1,213 participants aged 20 or older. The participants had used marijuana for an average of 12 years. 34 percent of them neither used marijuana or cigarettes, 21 percent used only marijuana, 20 percent used marijuana as well smoked cigarettes, 16 percent used marijuana and were past-smokers, 5 percent were found to be past-smokers whereas, 4 percent only smoked cigarettes. It was noted that compared to non-users, those who used marijuana had 3.42 times increased risk of death from hypertension. They also had 1.04 times greater risk for each year of use.
Hypertension or high blood pressure is one of the leading causes of mortality worldwide. Deaths from hypertension in the current study were related with multiple causes including primary hypertension and hypertensive renal failure. According to Barbara A Yankey, a Ph.D. student in the School of Public Health, Georgia State University, Atlanta, US, “Our results suggest a possible risk of hypertension mortality from marijuana use. This is not surprising since marijuana is known to have a number of effects on the cardiovascular system. Marijuana stimulates the sympathetic nervous system, leading to increases in heart rate, blood pressure and oxygen demand. Emergency rooms have reported cases of angina and heart attacks after marijuana use.”
Physiological impact of prolonged marijuana abuse
Lately, possession of marijuana has become legal in 29 states along with the District of Columbia. It is also legal for recreational purposes in a few states as well. With the decriminalization of marijuana, there has been an increase in its distribution and consumption. However, the drug is associated with several physiological ailments as follows:
Marijuana impacts the respiratory system in the same manner as nicotine: Marijuana when smoked can cause irritation in the respiratory passage comprising lungs, throat and the bronchial passage. As a result, there is increased phlegm production and coughing, which may lead to development of bronchitis.
Prolonged marijuana use affects cardiovascular health: The risk of heart attack increases almost five times in the first hour after its use. Elaborating on the dangers within the first hour of consumption, Murray Mittleman, assistant professor at Harvard Medical School and Harvard School of Public said, “It causes the heart rate to increase by about 40 beats a minute. Blood pressure increases then abruptly falls when the person stands up. This could precipitate a heart attack.”
Marijuana impacts the digestive system: When marijuana is taken orally it can induce nausea and vomiting; frequent consumption could harm the liver and kidneys. As marijuana causes an increase in the appetite, it could come in the way of those who desire to lose weight. Instead of munching on food loaded with carbs, fat, salt and sugar, one can consider munching on healthier snacks.
Marijuana impacts the immune system adversely: It lowers the barriers making it easier for pathogens to invade the body and cause harm thereby, increasing the risk of one succumbing to recurrent infections.
Road to recovery
Those who smoke marijuana do themselves considerable harm, as it contains many toxins and carcinogens that are found in nicotine. According to Dr. Kenneth Mukamal, associate professor of medicine at Harvard-affiliated Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, “everything we’re told about what marijuana does or doesn’t do should be viewed with a certain amount of caution. This holds equally true for the risks as well as the benefits.”
If you or your loved one is addicted to marijuana or any other illicit drug, contact the treatment advisers of the Arizona Drug Addiction Helpline to get access to some of the best drug rehabilitation centers in Arizona. Call our 24/7 helpline 866-576-4147 or chat online with an expert to get information on state-of-the-art drug addiction treatment clinic in Arizona.