The Effects of Marijuana on the Brain, Stomach, Babies and More
It is understandable that marijuana abuse might be hard on the lungs since most people smoke this drug, but the health effects actually reach much farther than the lungs.
Studies from 2012 and 2013 provide evidence of brain damage from the use of marijuana. In 2013, scientists exposed young mice to low doses of THC for 20 days. When the mice became adults, they showed abnormal brain functions and impaired cognitive (thinking, problem-solving and understanding) functions. The test was repeated on adult mice and these abnormal test results were not seen, indicating that marijuana abuse may be far more damaging to the brain when young.
In 2012, scientists in Australia performed brain scans on 59 long-term marijuana users and compared them to the brains of people who had never used the drug. The marijuana users showed structural changes that were similar to changes found in people with schizophrenia.
Stomach and Intestines
Heavy marijuana use has recently been identified as the cause of severe stomach pain, vomiting and nausea that no drugs or treatment will alleviate. The only remedy has been to spend hours in a hot bath or shower. Some people will literally spend days in the shower, trying to relieve the pain. When they stop using marijuana, the condition finally ceases.
Birth defects and Risks
The THC consumed by a pregnant woman passes through the placenta and so has an effect on a developing fetus. Research indicates that babies affected by prenatal marijuana use show lower birth weight, poorer eyesight and a higher incidence of a defect in the heart. These babies also have a higher risk of developing asthma, chest infections, and breathing problems. Cognitive problems also showed up as lower scores in verbal, memory and reasoning ability tests at ages three and four.
A study from the University of Utah School of Medicine found that marijuana use during pregnancy was associated with a nearly threefold increase in fetal death, even if there was no other substance abuse.
Perhaps the most horrific risk is the connection between high potency marijuana (and synthetic marijuana) and anencephaly, a fatal condition in which a baby is born without some or all of a brain.