Does Smoking Marijuana Lead to Harder Drugs?

Marijuana has many names: weed, pot, cannabis, grass, hemp, trees, dope, smoke, flower, chronic, herb, ganja, dank, kind bud, spliff, leaf, swag, buds, toke, reefer, Sativa, Indica, 420, Aunt Mary, Da Kine, Kush, mota, skunk, roach, endo, and many more. In recent years, marijuana has been made legal to use and possess for personal consumption in several states. They include Washington, Oregon, Nevada, California, Alaska, Michigan, Maine, Vermont, and Massachusetts. Other states only allow for medicinal use, and some states have also reduced criminal consequences.

smoking weed dangerous

How Weed Became Legalized in Some States

if so many states are moving towards legalization of the drug, how can it be dangerous? That’s certainly one of the main arguments. Well, there are many dangers with regards to marijuana use. The greatest dangers include health problems, with the worst being lung problems and addiction. For people who smoke weed, they are harming their lungs. The damage that marijuana smoke causes to the lungs and resembles the negative effects of cigarette smoke. The American Lung Association (ALA), states that although cigarettes contain more dangerous chemicals marijuana smokers hold in their smoke longer and therefore expose their lungs to more chemicals.

The health effects of marijuana are determined in large part by how it’s consumed. Marijuana is most commonly smoked using pipes, bongs, paper-wrapped joints, blunts, and other devices, including those that heat or vaporize marijuana… Smoke is harmful to lung health. Whether from burning wood, tobacco or marijuana, toxins and carcinogens are released from the combustion of materials. Smoke from marijuana combustion has been shown to contain many of the same toxins, irritants, and carcinogens as tobacco smoke. Beyond just what’s in the smoke alone, marijuana is typically smoked differently than tobacco. Marijuana smokers tend to inhale more deeply and hold their breath longer than cigarette smokers, which leads to a greater exposure per breath to tar. Secondhand marijuana smoke contains many of the same toxins and carcinogens found in directly-inhaled marijuana smoke, in similar amounts if not more. (ALA)

Most Widely Used, But Is It Addictive?

The other danger of smoking weed is developing an addiction, and marijuana addictions are more mental than physical. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), marijuana is the most widely used drug in the United States. They estimated that 22 million people smoked pot monthly, in 2015.

Marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug (22.2 million people have used it in the past month) according to the 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Its use is more prevalent among men than women—a gender gap that widened in the years 2007 to 2014. (NIDA)

Addiction is a disease that affects millions of people every day. Addiction is the inability to stop or reduce the intake of a drug despite negative consequences. For people who have become addicted to marijuana, they exhibit symptoms similar to other drug addictions. These symptoms include loss of employment, legal problems, anxiety, sleep disorders, paranoia, decrease in social and family connections, as well as depression and other mental health diagnoses.

Recently, Yale School of Medicine conducted research about Marijuana addiction and the associated withdrawal symptoms, as well as highlighting the negative effects of using marijuana.

Regular or heavy use of cannabis can result in the development of tolerance and dependence. A person will need more and more marijuana to achieve the same effects….Cannabis use in adolescence has been reported to increase the risk of schizophrenia. …Marijuana also appears to be associated with neuropsychological deficits such as memory and attention problems…withdrawal symptoms may include irritability, restlessness, difficulty sleeping, and hot flashes. (Yale)

As we see in these peer-reviewed scientific studies and journals, marijuana addiction is certainly real and can have negative consequences. Smoking weed is not all fun and games, this drug can very well make your life a lot worse.

Does Weed Open Up the Gate to Other Drugs?

Marijuana is also known as the gateway drug. For adolescents and adults, once a person tries marijuana, they are likely to try harder and even more dangerous drugs. Additionally, mixing marijuana with other drugs is extremely dangerous. When a person mixes marijuana with alcohol, prescription drugs, stimulants or opiates — marijuana doubles the effects of those drugs. The euphoria that marijuana by itself causes also impairs a person’s ability to drive safely and legally. People can get a DUI for being under the influence of marijuana. It also reduces a person’s ability to concentrate and focus, therefore making it dangerous to consume where attention is required, such as with young children or the elderly.

Whether or not a person thinks they are addicted to smoking weed, it does cause severe lung damage. The question can be likened to people who smoke cigarettes. They know it is bad for them, but they cannot quit because they are addicted. If you or someone you know cannot quit smoking weed and is having negative consequences either at work, school or at home, the potential for addiction is likely to exist. Garden State Treatment Center has specific programs that treat marijuana addiction. Our programs have high success rates because we utilize evidence-based forms of treatment and therapy proven to help addicts recover from their addiction to marijuana.