Many people consume marijuana every day and feel that it improves their health. Others are concerned about how it affects their brain and lungs—if they're smoking. So, what's the answer? Is it safe to consume marijuana daily? If so, is it something you should do? Here's our list of pros and cons of marijuana use on a daily basis.
Consuming Marijuana Every Day: Pros
In addition to helping people cope with things like digestive disorders and depression, cannabis is also good for the management of regular aches and pains. This is one of the main reasons that people consume it on a daily basis. Some even think of cannabis, and especially the cannabinoid cannabidiol (CBD) as a preventative substance, like a vitamin, and so consume it daily. Here are some marijuana pros to consider.
Daily Cannabis Consumption Helps Cope With Pain
For thousands of years, marijuana has been used as an effective treatment for everything from chronic pain to menstrual cramps. For some pain sufferers, marijuana can offer formidable pain relief benefits with none of the dangerous side effects of painkillers—over the counter or prescribed by a doctor.
Studies are now showing that pain sufferers who take opioids for their ailments prefer marijuana and say that the plant gives them comparable pain relief without opioids’ scary side effects.
Marijuana May Make You More Creative
When it comes to letting the creative juices flow, smoking marijuana can help some people get creative. In light of this, it's used daily by many people in creative professional fields, like music and art. While marijuana doesn’t stimulate creativity for everyone, it can certainly help you come up with new ideas and think outside the box more than you typically would.
Marijuana Can Help Regulate Blood Sugar & Weight Gain
Despite that old stereotype of stoners getting the munchies and becoming fat on unhealthy food binges, research shows that everyday marijuana consumers are actually healthier than previously thought. According to a study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, people who use marijuana daily have a lower risk of obesity than people who don't consume cannabis.
Additionally, a study in the American Journal of Medicine showed that regular cannabis users have thinner waists and lower insulin levels than their cannabis-free peers. Because of this, daily cannabis consumption may be a good option for people struggling to maintain a healthy weight, it just may take a bit of experimentation to see which cannabis strains and products don’t stimulate your appetite.
Consuming Marijuana on a Daily Basis: Cons
While consuming cannabis daily offers some folks many positive effects including pain relief and enhanced creativity, there are some marijuana cons that you should be aware of as well.
Smoking Marijuana Daily Increases the Risk of Respiratory Illness
While there are many ways of consuming marijuana, people who choose to smoke it may experience forms of respiratory illness, such as chronic bronchitis, chronic coughing, wheezing and higher-than-normal levels of sputum. Studies have also shown a potential link between regular marijuana inhalation and upper respiratory tract cancers, although the results have been mixed and often contradictory. If this is something that concerns you, try a smoke-free way of consuming cannabis including tinctures, edibles or topicals.
Smoking Marijuana Can Damage Lungs in the Long Term
According to the American Lung Association, marijuana smoke can damage lung health. Additionally, since marijuana smokers generally hold their breath longer and inhale more deeply than people who smoke cigarettes, there’s a risk that marijuana smokers may actually be exposed to more tar than cigarette smokers, though the carcinogens released from cigarettes are different than cannabis.
But anyone concerned about this aspect of consuming marijuana should opt for consumption methods like edibles or vaporizers, which offer the medicinal effects of the plant without the harmful effects smoking marijuana can have on the lungs.
Marijuana Can Raise Your Heart Rate
According to research, marijuana raises the resting heart rate of people who use it frequently. While this isn’t a problem for healthy folks, it may be dangerous for people who have risk factors such as heart disease, arrhythmias or a family history of heart disease. In light of this, people suffering from any form of heart disease should consult a doctor and review their symptoms before getting involved in daily marijuana use.
Excess Use of Cannabis May Disrupt Learning
According to a 2011 study, it's possible that excess cannabis use can impair verbal learning and problem solving. But if cannabis consumption stops, these effects generally last for only three weeks. It’s worth keeping in mind, though, that these symptoms are most pronounced in people who consume large amounts of cannabis on a regular basis.
Research now is supporting the thinking that cannabis doesn’t lead to IQ decline and that older studies that suggested it did didn’t account for other factors such as mental illness, alcohol use and socioeconomic status.
How to Decide How Much Cannabis Is Right for You
The decision about whether to smoke or ingest cannabis every day is a highly personal one. Cannabis has many well-known medicinal effects and has been shown time and time again to be a healthier and safer treatment option for a wide variety of anxiety and mood disorders, as well as physical symptoms like muscle spasms. Even people who don't suffer from these symptoms often enjoy consuming marijuana on a daily basis. While you should always talk to your doctor before adopting a daily marijuana regimen, this is a valid option for many consumers.
But it's important to keep in mind that there are also risks to everyday marijuana usage, although they’re less conclusive than the noted benefits. Daily marijuana smokers may suffer from lung disease. Frequent use of cannabis can also increase risk of heart disease and difficulty maintaining attention span.
It’s up to individuals and their doctors to weigh the pros and cons of cannabis and decide whether daily marijuana usage is a good fit for their lifestyle.
Photo credit: ashton