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  • The Negative Health Effects of Cannabis

    April 14, 2024 2 min read

    health effects of cannabis use


    Cannabis, often known as marijuana, is a substance that has been used both recreationally and medicinally across the globe. Its effects on health are multifaceted and the subject of ongoing research. This article delves into what is currently known about the impact of cannabis on human health.

    Negative Effects on Health

    1. Psychological and Neurobiological Impacts: Regular cannabis use has been linked to a range of mental health issues, including anxiety, depression, and psychotic symptoms, alongside neurocognitive impairments. Brain imaging studies reveal structural changes in the brain, particularly in areas like the hippocampus and amygdala, associated with regular cannabis use (Weinstein, Livny, & Weizman, 2016).

    2. Dependency and Addiction: There is evidence to suggest a dependence syndrome associated with cannabis, characterized by a strong desire to consume the drug, difficulties in controlling its use, and persisting in its use despite harmful consequences (Hall & Degenhardt, 2009).

    3. Respiratory and Cardiovascular Health: Smoking cannabis can impair respiratory function and is potentially linked to respiratory diseases. There are also concerns regarding the effects of cannabis on cardiovascular health, although the evidence remains inconclusive (Page et al., 2020).

    4. Cognitive Effects: Cannabis use, especially when initiated during adolescence, can lead to impairments in attention, memory, decision-making, and other cognitive functions. These effects may have long-term implications for cognitive development and psychosocial functioning (Volkow et al., 2016).

    5. Psychiatric Effects: Cannabis use is associated with various psychiatric effects, including the exacerbation of symptoms in individuals with pre-existing psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia. The relationship between cannabis use and psychiatric disorders remains a complex issue, with ongoing debates about causality and correlation (Johns, 2001).

    6. Impact on Adolescent Development: Adolescents are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of cannabis, with use during this critical developmental period linked to increased risks of cognitive impairment, psychoses in adulthood, and a propensity towards using other illicit drugs (Hall, 2015).


    While cannabis has therapeutic potential for certain medical conditions, its recreational use carries significant health risks. The most concerning impacts involve the potential for dependency, mental health issues, and impaired cognitive and respiratory function. Further research is essential to fully understand the breadth of cannabis's effects on health and to guide public policy and healthcare practices.

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    El Capitan does not promote or encourage cannabis consumption.❗