What Happens If You Smoke Marijuana?

Reactions with pot can vary widely

Effects of Marijuana
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The reaction you may have when trying marijuana can vary dramatically based on many factors. Some people report not feeling anything at all when they smoke marijuana. In other cases, people report feeling relaxed or "high."

Some people who use marijuana report having sudden feelings of anxiety and paranoid thoughts and that might be caused by trying a higher potency marijuana, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Research also shows that regular use of marijuana is linked to an increased risk of depression, anxiety and a loss of motivation or drive. You may feel "dopey" on the drug, which is when you begin to lose interest in activities that you might have previously enjoyed or you may lose the ability to grasp concepts easily.

Short-Term Discomforts of Using Weed

The effects of using marijuana can be unpredictable, especially when it is mixed with other drugs, research shows. You may feel relaxed on the drug, but other things you might not be expecting with pot use can include rapid heart rate and other unpleasantries.

Common Discomforts with Marijuana Use
Dry mouth
Swollen eyelids
Bloodshot eyes
Loss of coordination
Accelerated heart rate

Short-Term Hazards

As with any drug or substance that can alter perception, logic and usual behavior, there are several short-term hazards of using marijuana from impairing driving abilities to memory loss.

Short-Term Hazards with Marijuana Use
Learning difficulties
Lack of attention and focus
Poor driving skills
Anxiety and paranoia
Impaired memory
Difficulty in thinking

Long-Term Hazards

Any drug that is taken over a prolonged period of time can have an affect on your health. Several of the physical barriers that can occur range from infertility problems to overall brain functions.

Long-Term Hazards with Marijuana Use
An increased risk of developing lung, head, and neck cancers
Lack of motivation
Decreased sperm count in men
Irregular menstruation in women
Respiratory problems
Heightened risk of infections, especially the lungs
Poor short-term memory recall
Inability to shift attention normally
Inability to understand complex information

Unpredictable Reactions

The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that marijuana can affect each person differently according to their own body chemistry and the type of pot used. Some people can use weed and never have any negative reactions while others may try it and get entirely freaked out by the experience.

Factors That Can Influence a Marijuana Experience
Your biology (genetic makeup)
Marijuana's strength (amount of active ingredient THC)
Previous experience with the drug
How it's taken (smoked versus ingested)
Whether alcohol or other drugs are taken too

Not Your Grandfather's Pot 

Studies have found that the marijuana available today is much different in terms of potency compared to what was generally available in the 1960s when the use of the drug became widespread in the United States.

Today's strains of the plant contain much more of the active ingredient in marijuana: tetrahydrocannabinol or THC, researchers say.

That makes today's weed much more potent than that smoked by the hippies and flower children of the Woodstock generation.

Edible Marijuana Products More Potent?

As recreational marijuana becomes legal in more states in the U.S., more edible products containing marijuana are hitting the market. When marijuana is ingested it is absorbed by the body more slowly and the effects can last longer and be stronger. Emergency rooms have reported an increase of cases involving negative reactions to marijuana and many of those cases can be traced back to edible marijuana products.

Has ​using marijuana become a problem for you?

Take the Marijuana Screening Quiz to find out if you need to slow down or consider quitting.

Sources:

National Institute on Drug Abuse. "Marijuana." DrugFacts Updated January 2014

National Institute on Drug Abuse. "Want to Know More?- Some FAQs about Marijuana." Marijuana: Facts for Teens Updated October 2013

National Institute on Drug Abuse. "Marijuana." Research Report Series Updated July 2012

The Partnership at DrugFree.org. "Marijuana." Drug Guide. Accessed April 2014.

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