Marijuana, considered by many people to be a relatively safe drug, is now legal in many countries around the world, including increasingly larger regions of the United States.
While it’s true that marijuana is safer in most regards when compared to heroin, meth or cocaine, marijuana isn’t without its problems. Like any drug, marijuana affects the lungs, the brain, and every organ in the body.
The risks are compounded significantly when marijuana is used every day, or when it is combined with alcohol or other drugs.
Most experts agree that while marijuana isn’t as addictive as many other substances (including alcohol), about 10 percent of users will develop some level of cannabis addiction. The risk increases significantly for people who start using marijuana as adolescents.
Heart and Lung Problems
Daily marijuana users are more likely to have heart problems later in life, especially if they also smoke cigarettes. One study found that within the first hour after smoking marijuana, the risk of cardiac arrest is five times greater than for those who don’t smoke marijuana. Daily marijuana smokers also have a higher risk of chronic bronchitis and other respiratory difficulties. The risk increases with age.