Long term effects of marijuana on your body (INFOGRAPHIC)

How does marijuana affect the body? We review the short and long term effects of smoking or eating weed here. An INFOGRAPHIC to like or share.

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Although marijuana has low addiction potential and low risk of organ damage, with its high intoxication potential it can have significant and averse effects on the body. One of the first organs at risk of marijuana’s is the brain. Check out this infographic to learn more about the toll long-term and chronic marijuana use takes on your body.

Long term marijuana use affects the whole body

While cannabinoids have been indicated as safe and useful it the treatment of certain conditions (when used in recommended doses, as needed, and for as long as needed), there are certain side effects which can disrupt body systems of regular users. This is because marijuana affects almost every organ or system in the human body. Marijuana can truly interfere with the work of your whole body, or more specifically with:

Long term effects of marijuana on your body  (INFOGRAPHIC)

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  • central nervous system (CNS)
  • respiratory system
  • circulatory system
  • digestive system
  • immune system

Here, we review the main ways that weed affects the body. Then, we invite your questions, comments, or feedback in the comments section at the end.

Marijuana effects on the central nervous system

The THC from marijuana increases the release of dopamine, which heightens your sensory perception. In the hippocampus, it affects the processing of information, judgement and perception of time. In the cerebellum and basal ganglia, THC influences balance, coordination and reflexes, impairing your motor skills and reactions.

NIDA reports say that marijuana taken in large quantities can cause hallucinations and delusions and contribute for the worsening of some conditions such as depression, anxiety, schizophrenia.

Marijuana effects on the respiratory system

Smoking marijuana increases the risk of bronchitis and infections of the lungs, and may worsen conditions such as asthma or cystic fibrosis. Although more research is needed to confirm that marijuana smoke can cause lung cancer in long term smokers, but some scientific evidence point in this direction. Plus, you can never know what kind of substances and toxins have been sprayed on the marijuana you are smoking, and they can irritate the bronchial passages and lungs.

Marijuana effects on the circulatory system

Within only minutes of smoking marijuana, heart rate increases significantly anywhere from 20 to 50 beats per minute. The pounding heartbeat can continue for several hours, which puts people with heart disease at a great risk of heart attack.

Marijuana effects on the digestive system

Marijuana has several effects on the digestive system. One of the first includes burning and stinging sensations in your mouth. Weed can also cause nausea and vomiting, which can further upset your digestive system and gastrointestinal (GI) tract.

Marijuana effects on the immune system

Although there is more research that needs to be done to confirm with 100% certainty that the THC from marijuana may damage the immune system, many regular users of marijuana report frequent viral illness. The theory is that marijuana can cause chronic and long-term marijuana users to be more susceptible to illness. At the moment, there is some evidence indicate there is a connection.

Body effects of weed…and your questions

Do you still have questions about how weed can affect the body? We invite your questions in the comments section below. In fact, we try to respond personally to anyone who really needs help.

About the author
Lee Weber is a published author, medical writer, and woman in long-term recovery from addiction. Her latest book, The Definitive Guide to Addiction Interventions is set to reach university bookstores in early 2019.


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  1. How long does it take to get balance in one’s brain? I smoked excessively once… Its been two months ,still feel like am going nuts

    1. Hi Cliff. It’s different for each individual. You may try practicing yoga or mindfulness therapy.

  2. I am curious that you present quite a laundry list of the deleterious effects of marijuana intoxication in the opening graphics of this site. It gives the first impression that marijuana affects users in all such ways without prefacing the graphic with something that tells the reader that side effects may include the items listed. What I really do not care for is that there is no information here regarding the long-terms effects of marijuana usage when measured while the user is not under the influence. Regarding long-term damage to the immune system, researchers at San Diego State University – to cite just one study – found no long-term central nervous system effects save a very minimal impact on learning new information and forgetting old information. Sure, it’s hard work to actually weave research citations into this kind of informational website, but I highly recommend doing the work. It shows integrity. In all honesty, a high school student with a knack for web design and good writing skills could present the information as you have presented it here. To people who are curious about marijuana as a potential drug for physical and psychological ailments, you would render a much more helpful analysis with a little more self-questioning regarding your mission and motives as a proponent of recovery from addiction. Not to be snarky, but drinking water affects every organ in the body, and light to moderate exercise increases the heart rate by 20 to 50 beats per minute. Be smarter. Serve addicts and recovering addicts better. Don’t distrust the onerous labors of presenting your facts with solid citational underpinning.

  3. I smoked weed only thrice ever. The first time the effects lasted for a span of three days. The second time it was for about a week. The third time, its been a month and i still feel numb sometimes. Is this just in my head?
    This is insane.

  4. When you have time, could you please send me your references for the above info graphic about cannabis? My students would be quite interested. Even the DOI’s would be appreciated!

  5. I had smoke weed excess. i lost my mind. i started affraiding. I had somoke 2 days earlier but it still effected my brain. So what should i do to become normal.

    1. Hi Vissu. The brain has a natural healing ability and will work to get back to homeostasis. But, it takes a long time.

  6. None of your information here is cited. How am I supposed to believe what you tell me if you can’t back up your data with evidence? This is incredibly sloppy work – your readers expect you to have a certain level of trustworthiness.

    1. Hello Brad. That is an excellent question. I provided an adequate response to your question via your email address. Thank you for sharing your feedback with us.

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