In this article I am going to answer the question: Is weed bad for you?
I feel compelled to write something about this after a friend of my little brothers recently started informing me about the apparent “health benefits” of marijuana, and telling me how he really wanted to get high some time.
I tried to tell him my well informed opinion, but he wouldn’t listen. He was apparently convinced by this information he had found somewhere on the internet. This kid is 14 years old.
As a medical student who knows a thing or two about how the body works, as well as being a recovering drug addict that has gone through drug rehab six times, I believe I can discuss this with some knowledge.
It seems that most of the people writing about marijuana online don’t really know anything about addiction, and apparently have no idea how the body and brain function.
Marijuana mechanism in the brain
Weed is also known as Marijuana and Cannabis. Hashish is a more concentrated form, but has the same active compounds.
The primary active compound in weed is THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol), which exerts its effect by activating Cannabinoid receptors in the brain.
This is how most psychoactive drugs function in the brain, that is they have some kind of effect on neurotransmitter receptors, either exciting or inhibiting them.
Is weed bad for you?
Alright, let’s answer the question regarding is weed bad for you.
First, I’d like to say that even though marijuana is sometimes used in medicine, that does not mean that it is healthy. Pharmaceutical drugs are generally NOT healthy. Some of them are incredibly toxic, such as cancer drugs.
I believe that marijuana may help certain patients, such as glaucoma, cancer and aids patients. But that does NOT mean that it is good for healthy people.
Weed is addictive
If someone ever tells you that weed/marijuana/cannabis/hashish isn’t addictive, then this person probably doesn’t have a clue about how addiction works.
Even though you know someone who has “tried” marijuana and not become addicted, that really doesn’t mean anything. Plenty of people have “tried” cocaine and cigarettes without becoming addicted, but that doesn’t change the fact that they are extremely addictive.
You can ask any recovering drug addict, or health professional who works with addicts on a daily basis. They will tell you that marijuana is very much addictive.
I was personally severely addicted to marijuana for many years. So were my friends, and they all agree that marijuana is just as addictive as other hard drugs.
- Withdrawal symptoms.
- Continued use despite harm.
- Loss of control over consumption.
- Repeated unsuccessful attempts to cut down.
- Obsessive and compulsive thoughts about the drug.
- Reduced involvement in life due to drug use.
These are all classic symptoms of addiction, according to the DSM-IV critera, used by doctors and scientists.
And let’s not forget that there are a lot of scientific studies demonstrating that marijuana is addictive.
Weed acts as a “gateway drug” to other harder substances
As a recovering drug addict, I’ve known lots of other addicts in my life. What most of them have in common is that they started off with alcohol and cigarettes, then marijuana, before they moved on to harder drugs.
It is much easier for someone to justify amphetamine, cocaine, etc, when that person has already been using marijuana for a while. Plus the effects of weed wear off as tolerance builds, and many users feel like experimenting with other drugs in order to get high again.
An overdose won’t kill you
An overdose of weed is not dangerous. That is true, but an overdose of the harder drugs that marijuana can lead to, is dangerous.
Weed causes psychiatric symptoms
Marijuana consumption may impair your brain function while you are high, and for weeks to come because the active substances take a long time to leave your system.
It can make you depressed, anxious, and reduce your motivation for other things in life. It may even cause schizophrenia, psychosis and other serious mental illnesses. There is a lot of research evidence linking weed consumption with poor mental health.
When mental health suffers, physical health will usually suffer down the line. A depressed and unmotivated person will not care as much about hygiene, nutrition, exercising or other aspects of a healthy lifestyle.
Smoking weed can cause respiratory problems
The smoke inhaled can give you respiratory problems such as coughing and sputum.
When it comes to the question of whether weed is bad for you or not, I believe that it is. It is not as bad “physically” as other harder drugs like cocaine, but it is very bad for your brain. And poor mental health will probably lead to poor physical health down the line.
The addictive potential is strong and that alone is reason enough for me to strongly recommend against it.
And I think that those people who are discussing marijuana on the internet should be careful, because kids are actually reading this stuff online.