Concerns of Longterm Cannabis Use

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Long-term use of cannabis has deleterious effects on the outcomes of health. THC can cause a wide variety of impacts on the cardiopulmonary and CNS systems. According to the American Lung Association, smoking marijuana can greatly increase the risk of lung cancer due to approximately 33 carcinogenic chemicals contained in marijuana (Roan, 2013). Like tobacco smoke, the smoke generated from smoking marijuana also can cause 4 times as much tar deposition inside the lungs when compared to tobacco smoke. The reason is that marijuana joints are not filtered and inhaled more deeply into the lungs than cigarettes (Roan, 2013). In addition, due to the irritant effect of marijuana smoke on the lungs, often smokers can acquire multiple respiratory problems similar to tobacco smokers (i.e. chronic coughing and mucus production, wheezing, and bronchitis). The results of one study shows that chronic marijuana smokers have more health-related problems and miss more days of work than non-marijuana smokers (Tomar, 2009). THC also increase heart rate (HR) tremendously by 20-100% after smoking and it can prolong for approximately 3 hours. This increases the workload of the heart as the blood is distributed to the body. As the results of chronic use, some cardiovascular complications are heart attacks, ischemic stroke or TIA, and atrial fibrillation. According a research that was presented at the American Stroke Association’s International Stroke Conference in 2013, 16% of 160 patients within the age range of 18-55 that were diagnosed with ischemic stroke were found to have THC present in their urine samples (NIDA, 2014). The mechanisms of stroke are still unclear, but there are a few proposed theories. Since THC can penetrate into the CNS system, ... ... middle of paper ... ... drug abuse in men ranging from 18-25 years of age (Cuda, 2012). Thus marijuana can be the gateway drug to both illicit and prescription drugs. Another concern that is raised by the opponents of the legalization of marijuana is the expenditure for substance abuse. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) estimated that it costs taxpayers annually about $511 billion for total resource and productivity of drug abuse and addiction such as preventable health care, law enforcement, and crime (Durham, 2007). The cost for alcohol and tobacco consuming altogether is approximately $360 billion, whereas the cost for drug abuse is nearly $151 billion. In addition, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), alcohol-related illness ranked second, tobacco ranked sixth, and drug disorders ranked seventh in 33 diseases and conditions in the nation (Miller, 2012).

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