As the sale of marijuana has been legalized in more states, the question continues to be asked if I smoke weed is it safe?
We’ll never forget the early 2000s when late hip-hop crooner, Nate Dogg instructed us all to “smoke weed every day.” Whether or not you personally heeded Nate Dogg’s advice, the fact is, almost 20 percent of cannabis users do toke up at least once daily. Pot’s positive effects on our endocannabinoid system and its regulation of so many important functions makes many regular consumers more than happy enjoy daily their daily hits. But is smoking weed every day something that should be avoided? After all, smoking anything regularly (even bud) has to have its share of negative effects. But it has also been shown that pot smokers endure fewer complications than tobacco smokers, so if you smoke weed daily is it really something to be concerned about?
Of course, the government says it’s harmful
Surprising to no one, regulatory drug agencies believe that daily weed smoking can indeed be harmful. Lung-related problems are naturally the biggest concern among smokers and researchers. According to drugabuse.gov,
People who smoke marijuana frequently can have the same breathing problems as those who smoke tobacco. These problems include daily cough and phlegm, more frequent lung illness, and a higher risk of lung infections.
But other studies, including one conducted by the American Thoracic Society’s medical journal, concluded that,
Lifetime marijuana use is not associated with adverse changes in spirometric (exhalation strength) measure of lung health
Their data suggests it’s unlikely that prolonged cannabis use would cause respiratory diseases in the same manner as tobacco and a growing number of researchers are reaching the same conclusion.
In spite of the U.S. government’s public stance on the harmful nature of marijuana smoking, a government released report in 2011 concluded that regular marijuana smoking (equivalent to a joint a day) did not impair lung function. According to the New York Times,
What about daily use on the brain?
Medical Director of the Caron Treatment Centers, Dr. Joseph Garbely told USA Today that daily use leads to slower brain function and a host of other impairments.
Daily use promotes a chronic loss of attention, focus and concentration. Daily users perform at a lower level at jobs and at school. Focus and motivation also decrease. About 15% of cannabis users develop an addiction. Daily users suffer memory coordination, and problem-solving issues.
Given cannabis’ federal Schedule I classification, data regarding the effects of daily use is lacking. However, cannabis advocates might be prone to disagree with Dr. Garbely’s assessments. Some of the world’s top performing athletes, entrepreneurs, scholars, artists and other professionals profess to either smoking daily, or having smoked daily in the past.
Of course, it’s difficult to know whether these are exceptions to the rule and if there happen to be legions of talented people in the world whose weed habit has stunted their potential in some way so, it’s anyone’s guess.
But it may also be argued that hyper-motivated people are going to be this way regardless of whether they smoke weed daily and will most likely find ways to be productive at the same time.
It can be said that daily use, if not medicinal can lead to a cannabis dependency. But is it harmful? Well that largely depends upon how it affects specific people and how many negative benefits are derived from its use on a case-by-case basis.
Those who have developed a psychological dependence may be using it as a crutch, rather than dealing with certain underlying conditions. In this case, cannabis use can delay the proper treatment of such conditions.
If one is experiencing bad physical reactions, like an elevated heart rate that may cause anxiety, or increased respiratory infections and still continues to use, this is also an indicator of an unhealthy relationship with cannabis that should be addressed.
The bottom line? If you smoke weed daily, be honest with yourself regarding whether daily use is helping or hurting you.