Marijuana or “weed” has become the drug of choice for many people. Smoking weed might be the one illegal drug that is in fact boasted about by celebrities, musicians, writers, and more. The reaction to someone smoking, talking about, or offering you weed, I can assure you is much different than if they were doing the same with different mind altering drugs. In fact, the Substance abuse and Mental Health Services Administration reported in 2014 that Marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug in the United States. The logic I hear often from weed smokers is that marijuana is a harmless drug, and that “no one has ever died from smoking too much.” This could explain why it is so popular. However, Is it really true that a drug that affects the brain in the way that weed does has no adverse effects?
The National Institute on drug abuse, or NIH examined many angles of this issue, but to no clear conclusion. This source desribes a study that was conducted to see the affect of marijuana use on rats. It was found that THC exposure in rats causes cognitive issues in the future of the rats life. If this study is any sign, it would mean that smoking weed has long term effects on your life. However, this study is not a sign at all.
What follows this animal testing is a series of conflicting studies which leave this question in the air. A study was conducted referred to as the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) Study examined the risk of marijuana use in adolescence that followed 3385 participants between the ages of 18 and 30 for 25 years. The study saw that current users of marijuana was associated with lower verbal memory, and processing speed. Furthermore, after removing the current users from the pool, only a lower verbal memory was reported, and no other affect was seen in participants. The significance of the lower verbal memory was only reported for every 5 years of use before stopping which even further decreases the validity of the results.
Other studies, as reported by the NIH in another anaysis found that there was no link between marijuana use and IQ but that once again, verbal memory was affected. It seems that the effects are existent, but not substantial, nonetheless smoking weed can affect your future. I would say that with the many conflicting viewpoints, its up to the user to determine if they’re willing to sacrifice a decrease in verbal memory in exchange for a good time.