Marijuana is beneficial in many ways, and over the years, users have found even more benefits. A lot of research has gone into finding out its components and the good they can do, with more research on the way. For many, smoking weed recreationally is ideal for relaxing and unwinding after a long hard day. Others who use it medicinally have other reasons that range from relief from pain to sleep improvement. So, where does the age factor come into play?
The cannabis plant is not only about benefits. Like many other things, it has its downsides, and one of them is toxins. The University of West Australia researched how marijuana use affected the body a few years ago. It showed that consistent and prolonged use of the plant helps build cholesterol in the arteries of the cardiovascular system.
Over time, the heart starts getting weaker, and the body ages faster than it should. The study showed that a thirty-year-old person, a c
onsistent marijuana smoker, aged three years. In other words, such a person has the biological age of thirty-three because of how quickly the body is wearing down.
Another study, which the British Medical Journal published and was presented to the American Heart Association, claimed that prolonged cannabis use ages the user. In addition, it increases the speed of the aging process at an alarming rate. However, the marijuana usage must be much higher than that of the average user before the aging process can speed up.
Toxic Effects of Prolonged Marijuana Use
The restrictions on marijuana use are not what they used to be. Since the government legalized medical marijuana and some states legalized its recreational use, more people use it at will. However, the impact on the health of long-term and heavy users, plus the financial hit on the healthcare system, are only coming to light.
Medical professionals note that the health risks are not worth the freedom. They affirm that the user’s age plays a vital role, as does the potency. In other words, if a person starts using marijuana early in life, uses it heavily daily, and uses that with high THC potency, the effects are usually worse than in other cases.
In the same vein, a much-older user may not handle the effects as well as a younger person. The older you get, the less your body can take certain toxins and health risks. Again, it depends on the potency and frequency of usage, but the body may not handle the effects of heavy use so well.
Marijuana addiction in a young person may alter the brain’s developmental pattern. Smoking marijuana releases tetrahydrocannabinol or THC into the body system. This active component of the cannabis plant produces the psychoactive effect that users crave.
In simple terms, it is the most active compound in the plant out of the hundreds packed in it. Over time, it reduces the neural fibers in areas of the brain that support development, impairing the process. As the user gets older, they can less process things because of the irreversible damage to the brain.
Some users become psychotic and paranoid. There is even the risk of an increase in anxiety and feeling depressed. The irony is that cannabidiol or CBD, another active compound in marijuana, has the potential to treat anxiety and stress.
Another critical side effect is an increase in susceptibility to respiratory infections. A user may begin to show symptoms and signs of chronic bronchitis or pneumonia. The rate at which the heart beats increases for a few hours after smoking. The regular stress on the heart increases the chances of a heart attack or failure.
In addition, the ability to concentrate while driving becomes impaired with prolonged marijuana use. However, the same is true even for those who have not used it for a long time, especially if their body has a low tolerance to the psychoactive compound.
These effects are usually undramatic, and you only notice them over an extended period. They gradually happen and tend to accumulate, so it may take years before a keen person sees changes in a heavy user.
Directly inhaling the smoke does not affect you alone. It is one thing to smoke when you are alone. However, it is entirely different if you smoke around others who do not have the same habit. You endanger their health as much as yours, maybe even more.
Secondhand marijuana smoke is not harmless; it contains the same toxins as tobacco smoke. These toxins have the potential to cause cancer and other debilitating diseases. It also contains THC, so secondhand smokers are not safe from the plant’s psychoactive effects. The result is worse in children because they have a lower tolerance. While there is a need for extensive research into how much secondhand smoke affects children, experience shows it is dangerous.
Marijuana Use During Pregnancy
Marijuana affects fetal development and exposes a pregnant user to complications. It does not matter the usage method; whether you vape, smoke, drink, eat, dab, or use topicals with marijuana, the results are the same. Also, there is little known about how CBD affects pregnancy, so it may be best to avoid it. Speak with your doctor if you are using marijuana while pregnant or trying to be. The same applies to a breastfeeding mother.
Most of the usual side effects of marijuana use lead to the body wearing out faster than it should. So, does marijuana age you more quickly? The answer lies in the user’s age, the potency of the weed, and the frequency of use. Young and heavy users who depend on highly-potent marijuana risk aging quicker than others.
If you are not typically a heavy user, you may not need to worry about aging faster than average. However, ensure you employ discretionary usage, and if you begin to depend heavily on it, it may be time to stop.