ADVERSE EFFECTS and SERIOUS ADVERSE EFFECTS of MARIJUANA
All drugs have side effects (unintended effects.)
In the world of pharmacology they may be classified as Side Effects (SE), Adverse Effects (AE), and Serious Adverse Effects (SAE). One of the most poorly misunderstood – and poorly appreciated set of findings about marijuana use is the short and long term negative effects (harms) of use. When people commonly dismiss them as non-existent or negligible they are discounting the basic dynamics of drugs - especially including marijuana.
With marijuana itself, specific Adverse Effects and Serious Adverse Effects are harder to predict as they are idiosyncratic, however, it is not unlikely that a full 50% of the population of users experience one or more Adverse Effects from use including grave and even catastrophic consequences.
In one study by the National Household Survey on Drug Abuse (NHSDA), it was reported that among those using marijuana on 12 or more days during the past year, 58 percent of people had one problem that they related to their marijuana use, 41 percent had two problems, and 28 percent had at least three problems that they related to their marijuana use.
Depending upon the potency, age of use, frequency of use, and set and setting of use marijuana has often been found wrought with real and significant adverse side effects, such that no one can ever guarantee the safety of marijuana use. Virtually every public health organization has advised against the use of marijuana. The U.S. Surgeon General in his 2016 report on Alcohol, Drugs and Health warned about the wide range of negative physical and mental effects of marijuana.
The American Psychiatric Association identified six psychiatric mental disorders caused by cannabis use (Anxiety, Disorders, Depression, Bipolar Disorder, Schizophrenia, Amotivational Syndrome, Disruptive Cognitive Functioning, Neuropsychological Decline; and Psychotic Disorders), as well as four primary cannabis-induced physical disorders (Lung Damage; Heart Disease; Cancer; and Pregnancy Complications.) They also identified a disturbing co-morbidity dynamic - between 50% and 90% of cannabis-dependent persons are diagnosed with an affective disorder, suicidality, or an anxiety disorder; and cannabis use is associated with poorer life satisfaction, increased mental health treatment and hospitalization, and higher rates of depression, anxiety disorders, suicide attempts and conduct disorder. It is highly related to other secondary substance use disorders (74%) and is often quite commonly found with major depressive disorders (11%), and anti-social (30%), obsessive-compulsive (19%), and paranoid (18%) personality disorders.
In “Marijuana – Medical Implications” (Hubbard, Franco, and Onaivi) the authors listed over 65 effects of marijuana including adverse physical effects and adverse neuropsychiatric effects.
And an article published in the international medical journal Lancet, "Drug Harms in the UK: A Multicriteria Decision Analysis", demonstrated that cannabis was the 8th most dangerous drug of 20 street drugs studied, and had negative consequences both to self and others in 15-of-the-16 criteria of harm studied.
Side effects of marijuana use often reported have included:
- Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome (CHS) with "scromiting";
- Amotivational syndrome;
- Lower I.Q.;
- Academic underachievement;
- Family dysfunction;
- Anger and rage;
- Clinical depression;
- Emotional lability;
- Low job performance;
- Mood changes;
- Lapses in concentration;
- Distortions of time and space;
- Mental confusion;
- Isolation from friends and family;
- Suicidal ideation;
- Impairment of judgment;
- Impaired immune systems;
- Cognitive problems;
- Lack of coordination;
- Unusual thoughts or behaviors;
- Paranoid reaction;
- Liver disease;
- Testicular cancer;
- Dependency, Withdrawal Syndromes, Addiction;
It contributes to Driving While Under the Influence (DUI) accidents; crime; child neglect and abuse; domestic violence; suicidal ideation, a rise in E.R. admissions and increased medical/medicaid costs; and a multitude of social problems.
Perhaps more than anything, there is a strong causative effect between marijuana use and a poorer "Quality of Life"!
Marijuana is a drug. All drugs have side effects.