Side Effects of Smoking Marijuana

Before we talk about the side effects of marijuana, let’s get to know what this most commonly used illicit drug in America actually is and how it works.

Marijuana, weed, cannabis, hashish, bud, skunk, ganja, ‘erb and so many other names are used for the naturally occurring substance that has been used for hundreds of years as a relaxant or a mild hallucinogenic. Marijuana is actually a Spanish word and refers to the dried leaves, flowers, stems or seeds of a hemp plant known as Cannabis Sativa.

One of most active ingredients of marijuana is Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, commonly referred to as THC, which has the potential for making humans high. When THC enters the blood, its mind-altering capabilities come into action pretty quickly. THC and some other compounds can affect the way your body works.

Marijuana is so popular that at least one in every three Americans has used it once, and as the stigma attached to it is declining because of the modern scientific researches, it’s popularity is at an all-time high. It’s being legalized for medical or even recreational use in some states. Smoking marijuana is no longer the only way people use it. Vaporizers and vaping weed have become more, or as popular as smoking it and new ways of getting high, like consuming edibles or using THC oil have become the norm. Most users feel relaxed and happy, and it has been reported to ease certain pains, eliminate nausea and is also considered to be helpful in stopping vomiting in advanced cases of cancer or AIDS. People suffering from serious illnesses who lose appetite are also reported to find weed helpful in improving and augmenting their appetite.

Although occasional use isn’t believed to be harmful, negative side effects of marijuana can impact your body as well as the mind, can slow down reflexes and impair decision-making capabilities. It’s so potent that it can be detected in urine up to seven days after casual use and up to 30 days after regular, heavy use.

Common Terms for Marijuana

Hemp: it’s just a plant like any other. The leaves, flowers, stem and seeds of Cannabis Sativa hemp plant are used as weed.

Cannabis: scientific term to describe hemp plant.

Marijuana or weed: slang for cannabis leaves and flowers

Hashish: it’s an extract of weed, usually pressed resin from marijuana. Just like any other extract, hashish is more potent than regular weed.

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Negative Side Effects of Cannabis

Like any other drug (including alcohol), the side effects from marijuana vary from person to person. One person might feel stressed and even disoriented while other might feel relaxed and focused. In addition to your body, several other factors including type and amount of cannabis, your mood or the current state of mind, your circumstances, environment/settings, your diet, and many others, can also play a huge rule in determining the effects of weed you’ll experience.

The most common and obvious side effects of THC are bloodshot eyes and dry mouth. And that’s why you’ll see that most potheads carry some sort of eye washing product with them. Other commonly reported side effects include, but not limited to, pointless giggling, sloth-like reflexes, loss of inhibitions, an enhanced appreciation for things like colors, music etc. you wouldn’t pay much attention to normally.

Most types of cannabis are mild, however, strong cannabis (e.g. skunk or purple haze) or too much usage can have stronger effects such as hallucination while some people also report increased anxiety and paranoia. Although it doesn’t augment risk-taking behavior like alcohol does, weed does impair mental functions such as memory, attention, and performance, which makes driving or operating heavy machinery risky.

Health Risks of Cannabis


While many believe marijuana to be extremely dangerous, it’s actually considerably less harmful than other substances in the same class such as barbiturates, amphetamines etc. In fact, occasional use of weed is hardly ever associated with any health issues. Even for serious users, science has yet to prove any solid evidence of major health problems for the users or the society. Especially in individuals who are otherwise healthy, the biggest real harm marijuana can do is impaired control of movements.

However, for people who have heart and circulation disorders, low blood pressure, diabetes, or schizophrenia, weed can pose significant threats.  No matter how weed enters your body, it impacts pretty every major organ in your body in one way or another, though not always negatively. Smoking and vaporizing with the best vapes, yield instantaneous high as THC is absorbed immediately by your body, and you can be under the influence for up to four hours. For those who eat pot-laced brownies or cookies, the effects appear after quite. Here are a few issues that weed is commonly believed to trigger or augment.


The biggest health issue of weed is dependence. Regular heavy usage might make you dependent, however, it’s far less addictive than tobacco as well as alcohol. In fact, it’s reported that only 10% people who use weed become addicted to it.

Higher Chances of Cardiac Arrest

When smoked, marijuana can increase your heart rate up to two times from the normal rate. The increased heartbeat rate is often linked to increased chances of heart attack, and that’s why doctors recommend heart patients to stay away from any form of cannabis.

Lung Irritation

Modern scientific studies confirm that unlike tobacco cigarettes, smoking cannabis isn’t linked to higher chances of getting lung cancer. But it can cause a cough and chest colds, and extended heavy use is also associate with lung irritation.

Brain Issues

Some people believe they achieve better concentration and mental stability after smoking weed, but THC in cannabis can have both short-term and long-term effects on the human brain.

When THC is absorbed by the body into the bloodstream, all the chemicals are carried to brain in addition to other organs. When THC reaches the brain, it’s supposed to impact certain brain cell receptors that contain chemicals similar to THC itself. These THC-like chemicals control brain development and other functions.

As for short-term effects of weed on the brain, it over-activates the receptor cells and the person feels the “high” and gets into a relaxed mood. The person’s senses of seeing colors or listening and even sense of time are altered. Heavy use can reduce thinking capabilities and can even cause memory loss for the short term.

As for long-term effects, the overall brain development of heavy weed users is believed to be affected, especially if they started using weed in teenage. A study suggested that teenage marijuana smokers lost on average eight IQ points between ages 13 and 38, and most of them never fully recovered even after quitting weed. On the flip side, those who started smoking weed in adult age didn’t lose any IQ points.

Impact on Sexual Health and Reproduction

For men, frequent heavy use of marijuana can affect sexual health by lowering their testosterone levels and sperm count, which could result in reduced fertility. Likewise, pregnant women, as well as babies in their womb, can be affected by marijuana use. For instance, because of the high levels of carbon monoxide in the smoke, birth weight could be lower than normal of the children whose mother has been smoking weed during pregnancy.

Other Health Risks of Cannabis

Some other common physical effects of weed are short-term forgetfulness, depression, dizziness, increased appetite, and slowed down reflexes. Heavy users who have been using weed for long periods of time can experience withdrawal symptoms when they stop taking the drug.

Increasing Levels of THC

Marijuana has been in use for centuries, however, in the past few years, the THC levels in cannabis are believed to be going up. Cannabis used to contain a maximum of 4% THC, but now this has gone as high as 7%. The increased levels of THC worries many health professionals who believe that now it might become more addictive and more potent for producing mind-altering impacts. It’s very hard to know the exact level of THC or other chemicals in cannabis, so even if you’re buying from a regulated dispensary, it’s difficult to have an idea how much THC your body will absorb and thus knowing the exact effects can be difficult. But many health professionals claim that increasing levels of THC can increase the potential side effects of marijuana use.

Can we Minimize the Side Effects of Weed?

Is marijuana lethal? Maybe not. Is it very dangerous? Science has yet to figure out whether its cons outweigh its pros or not. Is it more dangerous than tobacco? No. According to American Lungs Association, marijuana has four times more tar than tobacco, but the largest study of its kind shows it’s not linked to lung cancer, even in a case of heavy, regular smokers.

But at the end of the day, there are some side effects of marijuana. Tar, as well as other carcinogens, are released when weed or tobacco undergo combustion. So, people use alternative methods such as eating or drinking weed with food. But these methods have their downsides; for instance, making pot-laced brownies or brewing tea that has weed, is a lengthy and complicated process.

This leaves us with the modern, high-tech method of vaporizing weed. In this method, a modern weed vapes called vaporizer is used to turn weed into vapors by bringing it into contact with a heating element. Since there is no combustion, there is no tar and many other compounds that make weed harmful. Studies show that e-cigarettes are at least 95% less harmful than tobacco, and the same goes for weed. The good thing is that new vaporizers are refining the technology to further minimize or eliminate the risks involved, and the prices are also coming down. But don’t forget that there are a couple of hassles, like setting up the device and clean up the process, attached to vaping weed, which can be off-putting for someone who is used to instantly rolling and smoking a joint.

Remember, knowing the potential weed side effects and how to minimize them can go a long way for a healthy living, no matter you use marijuana for medical purposes or just for medical reasons.

Published: October 11, 2017 Updated: February 2, 2021



Leave a comment

34 comments on “Side Effects of Smoking Marijuana

  • Fonthy

    July 12, 2019 at 3:40 am

    The liver could be damaged by the smoke inhaled from marijuana because it infiltrates to all body organs. How can the liver then be cured by the same substance it has damaged?

  • Victor

    June 15, 2019 at 1:52 am

    How long does a marijuana addict start experiencing memory loss???????

  • Jojo

    November 10, 2018 at 6:56 am

    So many people commenting here that have no idea how to live healthy and fulfilling lives whilst also enjoying the daily canabis. I am a 22 year old guy, just finishing my bachelor’s with an 8.1 average, just started my own business, invested in the stock market, etc… All the classic pointers of a successful individual functioning to a high degree in our society.

    At the same time, I started smoking weed at 16 and daily since I started college at 18. It took me a while to figure this out and find the balance, but the key is just to have discipline! Wake up early, get your shit done, tend to social relationships, be productive and at the end of the day, reward your efforts by vaping a small batch of weed with a bit of lavender and passionflower added. (Look into vaping herbs, it will change your life). After vaping one bowl I can release all of my daily stress and really enjoy my dinner and one to two hours of a video game before I fall asleep almost instantly when I hit the bed.

    Do I think smoking weed daily has negative side effects? Of course it does, just like any long term substance abuse, there is bound to be some side effects. But in my situation, by controlling the way that I smoke (vaping not smoking) and weighing the positive effects against the potential negative effects, I have found a path of weed that I am content and confident in.

    There are so many wrong ways to use weed, which is partly why it has such a bad stigma around the world. But for the few people that find the right way, the way that can provide a benefit to your life, they have earned the right to enjoy this drug responsibly.

    I encourage the few people that will read this post to find that balance and be happy with it, or to give it up altogether. Good luck!

  • Carol

    October 14, 2018 at 1:03 am

    Say no to drugs. You will all regret. Be strong no weak

  • Carolyn

    October 13, 2018 at 10:47 am

    My boyfriend is a recovering drug and alcohol addict for 19 years. He recently started smoking pot (strong pot) and he would vomit in the morning! Ya see he would practically fill his lungs with pot in major excess. I hated seeing him do this. I feel like he is stepping out of his recovery and into trouble. Eventually, he cut back and the vomiting stopped, but the smoking never did. Got low on pot so he went into a vape store. Came out with several vape items and has been doing this ever since. He has anxiety and social problems, and he claims it helps him cope. He starts his day baking after coffee and a tiny bit of food. I seriously do not know where this is leading, but I am not happy about it. He smokes more cigarettes and eats less and coughs while ingesting the vape. Does anyone know if this is considered using? It is taking its toll on our 8 year relationship. Thank you!

  • Durgaprasad

    September 27, 2018 at 3:20 am

    Why does smoking ????

  • Bikash

    September 22, 2018 at 12:10 am

    I have seen that for its used many people have become fully Dement after few months.and the study says that it is harmful for teenagers.but those people who get Dement they are not teenagers,they are fully matured.and also goes to hear that weed’s seed smoke gonna make people fully it true?

  • Tommy

    September 21, 2018 at 6:11 pm

    After looking at many sources I realize no one seems to give any attention to the extract mixed with the THC and the different chemicals used to make the oil so we can smoke the oil. I know there are natural and synthetic additives where are the studies on side effects of smoking oils?

  • kcirred

    September 18, 2018 at 4:17 am

    everything is slow for me… i just want to find a way to stop it

  • fran

    September 8, 2018 at 6:15 am

    I am a recovering heroin addict and have MAJOR social anxiety problems mixed with anger issues. Most of my docs want to put me on a barbiturate to control my anxiety, which by the way is not safe for an ex heroin user to be prescribed. So when pot became legal I was happy, it allows me to be in public and deal with life while getting help in learning better coping skills to deal with my issues. Yes I realize it is being used as a coping skill, however so would the zanies they wanted to prescribe, which I wouldn’t have taken as prescribed, as I AM and always will be a recovering heroin addict. So for me pot was the better option, my docs are aware of my use and have NO issue with it, they actually say it is now commonly use to help heroin users get a hold of their lives. There are bad side effects to ALL medications, pot has the least amount.

  • Harsh

    August 29, 2018 at 2:17 pm

    Guyzz its my request to you all the stoner s that plz quit this as soon as possible.. it feels good,relaxed,high…its okayyy, but dont forget that ur memory will lose one day… I m saying this coz my friend has gone mad because he use to smoke only the seeds.. plz leave this.. because it helps u escape from reality ( which u have to face one day anyway) .
    From INDIA, Maharashtra,Nasik..

  • Godhelpme

    August 15, 2018 at 3:36 pm

    I am so glad they legalized weed. The affects on the weak minded is huge and soon there will be a more powerful herb to take all of them out. I wont say it’s a conspiracy but you have to ask why now? Pot heads will be a the mercy of the government and when they say jump you will not have the willpower to resist. When you’re high you have no motivation to think or run. When they come for you, you will go freely and you will not be able to resist. The harder you try to fight the more control you will give them. You are done…Enjoy The High 😀

    • Yovizna

      October 11, 2018 at 8:26 pm

      I love your comment.. I’ll take the same approach.

  • Ronie Daselva

    August 11, 2018 at 6:16 am

    I am 27 years old, and I am inhaling cannabis more than 5 years, But it has many side-effects and I am not able to study or doing any work, feeling laziness, so I want to quit cannabis. I use some of these methods you can also use to control having weed or use to minimize effects of weeds, these are


    It is always a good idea to hydrate after consuming cannabis – especially if you’ve had too much.


    There is real evidence behind the link between pepper and pot.


    A cold shower is a time-tested method to snap you out of it. Even if it doesn’t reduce THC levels in the blood, cold water invigorates the senses.

  • Karen Montgomery

    August 10, 2018 at 8:07 am

    People always think they need weed for everything. IF your having problems and smoke you forget at the time but when the high is gone the problem still exist. So why not deal with your issues .it’s just a easy way out for not dealing with your situation it really amazing how people think that weed solves everything try God

  • Mohammed sabela

    August 5, 2018 at 5:32 am

    Comment…hi am 27 years from Swaziland a month back I ate marijuana cookies and was hospitalized. my tongue was getting into my throat and had to hold it up until the hospital now and having breathing problems and dizziness with chest pains and anxiety mosty scared of my heart failing I can’t sleep at night and sometimes it’s like taking my last breath cos I breath deeply ones and panic I need help and suggestions am I in danger of stroke, heart attack, heart failure or something serious?

    • Steven

      September 2, 2018 at 5:03 am

      Hey Mohammed, I had the same issue. Stop using it, and see a doctor for anciety. Good luck!

  • Honest Guy

    August 4, 2018 at 10:17 pm

    Use in moderation. If you have a choice of smoking weed or drinking alcohol, I believe marijuana is 100% less harmful for your body than alcohol or tobacco. Alcohol is the worst legal drug that leads to domestic violence, murder, car accidents, divorce, unemployment, etc. Obviously a sober life would be the healthiest choice.

  • Steve

    July 7, 2018 at 11:20 am

    I’m smoke weed for more than 14 years and i felt my heart was so heavy I couldn’t run like I use to …for sure it makes you so determined if you focus on doing something but I stopped smoking weed for good because I felt my system was been damaged… am a nice guy but too much of the smoke made me look some type of way that I never loved…am so glad I was able to stop mind and body was telling me the weed is not good so i just waked up one day and that was it ..I stop… the mind set if you wnna stop you can…….I thought I can never stop smoking weed…now am able to save more money for good things …am now a happy guy…because the time I was smoking I don’t feel to be around people who don’t smoke and I ignore more of my friends who don’t smoke ….

  • Nathan

    June 20, 2018 at 6:26 pm

    Hi I’m 14 about to turn 15 and I smoke weed a lot and I’m proud that I do because it hrlps me focus on things that I want to be done, like my dream is it be a rapper and smoming weed helps me make up rhymes make good beats and just have the best performance I could never get while being sober. Should I quit or is it a good idea that I just live life to the fullest

    • Hihiqueem

      June 21, 2018 at 10:40 pm

      Quiiite dude you will turn retarded and it will come to haunt you in the future when u cant rapp without the it while sober or you cant do it at all

  • Sunflower power

    June 10, 2018 at 6:02 pm

    This is an interesting article. I have smoked pot in my passed life. But then realized in the long run “I’m not a smoker”. Even though i kind of enjoyed the buzz. Then just yesterday, i tried it again man, i couldnt handle the buzz. But i will say it relaxes you, and maybe if I were laying up in the Caribbean some where it would be “heaven”.

  • Pretty woman

    March 24, 2018 at 8:35 pm

    My daughter uses weed around my 7yr old grandson and after a few years weed kills brain cells

    • Ashley riess

      August 4, 2018 at 12:04 am

      First of all your daughter shouldn’t use weed where the child could Inhale second hand Smoke of any kind. Second weed does not kill brain cells. Do your research. This article is stupid.

    • Ripper

      August 22, 2018 at 6:49 pm

      Weed doesn’t kill brain cells, it grows them. Cannabis promotes neurogensis and is a neuroprotectant. Don’t believe the jew lies the kike government feeds you.

  • Shashank

    February 20, 2018 at 6:59 pm

    I daily took two rools of marijuana.
    After taking it ..I need sex …but I am unmarried ..

    But Google said it reduce our sperm count but how is it possible as I get a sex feeling after inhale this baba g ki booties.

    • aj

      July 13, 2018 at 11:57 am

      get good stuff bro

  • Joe

    December 7, 2017 at 6:25 pm

    What are the side effects of marijuana?

    • john

      August 18, 2018 at 10:21 pm

      c a n u r e a d

  • Zikhona Dudumashe

    October 25, 2017 at 12:21 pm

    Hi I’m 22 years and i want to stop smoking cigarettes for good i just can’t for now i get headaches. Weed i’m not sure i want to quit it because it helps me concentrate especially when i’m studying, but the thing is i think i’m smoking it too much, i smoke 6 to 7 times a day. I’ve tried smoking less than that but my head/mind don’t function well, i forget things and lazy to do anything if i didn’t smoke. Can you advice me please.

    • ifawole akinpelumi

      May 28, 2018 at 9:59 pm

      We in the same shoes…. I toke 6 to 7 times daily… Prolly because I think weed is the elixir of immortality

    • Colleen

      September 18, 2018 at 8:10 am

      I got the same way but I just smoke less at a timr but more often threw out the day I function better too less forgetting

      • Josh

        September 20, 2018 at 3:18 pm

        That bull shit considering, the sentence you wrote is barely readable and makes little sense from how shocking the spelling and grammar is. My prognosis, you’re fried and it’s too late..

    • Josh

      September 20, 2018 at 3:16 pm

      Just don’t smoke it… Get control and stop being an idiot. I smoked daily for longer than you’ve been born, both weed and smokes, and I gave it up… It’s called WILLPOWER! The headaches? Well they’re just cause you’re too much of a botch to have the will power and quit..