Despite all the issues regarding legislation, the United States is the second biggest weed smoking population in the world. A recent survey shows that 16.3% of Americans smoke weed; only Iceland has a higher rate with 18.3%. Apparently, only 8% of Dutch people consume marijuana!
Perhaps more pertinently, 8.4 million Americans smoke marijuana almost every day. While there are a lot of recreational users, most people still need weed to tackle medical issues such as chronic pain, anxiety, and depression. While high-profile entities like rapper Nate Dogg recommend that we “smoke weed everyday,” is this actually a good idea or should we be wary of long-term effects? Remember, marijuana research is still in its relative infancy, and there are very few longer-term studies. Let’s take a look at the pros and possible cons.
5 Reasons Why We Should Smoke Weed Everyday
1 – Energy Boost
One of the great myths surrounding cannabis is that it makes you lazy and unmotivated. While there are some marijuana strains notorious for inducing couch lock, sativa strains are often energizing and could be just what you need to get through monotonous daily tasks.
2 – Protect Your Brain
A recent study conducted by scientists in Germany and Israel showed that cannabis can increase nerve cells in the brain, which is a crucial aspect of our ability to learn. As we get older, our cognitive ability decreases, and we are more susceptible to conditions such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Daily weed smoking could slow down this cognitive decline and keep our brains in better shape for longer.
3 – Reduced Blood Pressure
Smoking weed on an irregular basis results in a temporary spike in blood pressure. However, if we use marijuana for weeks on end, the body adapts and avoids the spike. Indeed, ingesting THC and accompanying cannabinoids not only helps lower blood pressure over time, but it also helps you maintain these healthy levels.
4 – End Dependence on Opioids
America is clearly in the midst of an opioid epidemic that claims almost 100 lives a day! One of the main reasons people use these harmful drugs is to treat symptoms of medical conditions. The thing is, marijuana can help you with all of these conditions, and it has none of the deleterious side effects. A 2016 study conducted in Michigan, for example, showed that medical cannabis resulted in a 64% decrease in opioid use. Simply start slow, and up your dosage until you feel positive effects.
5 – Weight Loss
Speaking of epidemics, obesity continues to rise to the point where it’s estimated there will be more obese Americans than non-obese in a few decades! An article published in the American Journal of Medicine in 2013 suggests that smoking marijuana can reduce waist size and help ward off diabetes. It also said that regular weed smokers have a smaller waist circumference than non-users, which is likely due to the fact that they have a better carbohydrate metabolism. Additionally, it is known that weed smokers have lower fasting insulin levels and are less resistant to insulin produced by the body, all of which helps maintain a healthy blood-sugar level.
5 Reasons Why We Shouldn’t Smoke Weed Everyday
1 – Negative Impact on Short-Term Memory & Verbal Memory
Data from one of the few completed long-term marijuana use studies was revealed by the University of Lausanne recently. Professor Reto Auer was the lead on the study, which looked at the marijuana habits of around 3,500 Americans over the last 25 years. It found that those who smoked weed daily had poorer verbal memory by the time they reached middle age.
To be clear, there was little impact on long-term memory, and only 311 people had over five years’ worth of daily marijuana exposure (the equivalent of smoking pot every day for a year). Problem-solving ability was also not affected. However, there was a clear link between marijuana use and short-term memory loss; the more cannabis used, the worse the performance on memory tests.
2 – Addiction
To be fair, if you do anything every day, it can be classified as an addiction! According to Dr. Stuart Gitlow at the University of Florida, one of the main issues of marijuana “addiction” is its increasing strength. He says it is far stronger than it was a few years ago, and is more likely to give users a psychedelic feel than a mildly intoxicating sensation. As a consequence, cannabis could become more addictive as users continue to chase that ‘high.’
As such, according to Dr. Joseph Garbely of the Caron Treatment Center, around 15% of cannabis users become addicted. He also suggests that it changes the way a brain matures, and emphasizes the point that the younger you start, the more likely you are to become addicted.
3 – A Possible Drop in IQ
One of the most concerning aspects of long-term marijuana use could be its potential to lower your IQ. A 2012 study in New Zealand showed that people who started smoking weed heavily in their teens experienced an 8-point drop in their IQ between the ages of 13 and 38.
4 – Potential Increase in Risk of Cardiac Event
Even though daily marijuana use could result in lower blood pressure, another study suggests it may actually increase your risk of hypertension. The 6-year study, which was published in the European Journal of Preventative Cardiology, looked at the heart health of 1,200 people, and concluded that regular weed users were 3.34 times more likely to die from hypertension than were non-users. However, as it was the first study to look at the long-term effects of marijuana on the heart, we shouldn’t take its findings as Gospel — but it is something to watch out for.
5 – Sexual Health & Reproduction Issues
Lastly, it has been suggested that heavy use of marijuana could reduce testosterone levels and sperm count in men, leading to infertility. Also, the high levels of carbon monoxide in the smoke could prove harmful to pregnant women, as it may result in lower birth weight. However, findings from various studies contradict one another in relation to marijuana use and decreased testosterone – way back in 1974, for example, a study found that marijuana had no noticeable effect on plasma testosterone. As such, we should take this particular claim with a bucketful of salt.
Final Thoughts on Smoking Weed Everyday
We haven’t even touched on other potential benefits of daily weed smoking, such as boosting creativity and reducing joint inflammation. So taking that into consideration, let’s be clear: There simply aren’t enough studies on the long-term use of marijuana to come to any definitive conclusions. The idea that daily use could result in decreased brain function IS a genuine concern, but in our experience, long-term pot users do not fall into the ‘spaced out stoner’ stereotype.
Marijuana ‘is’ a drug, though – it gets you high, and most users feel amazing during the experience. This can certainly lead to addiction problems and, unless you NEED it to help with chronic pain or another medical condition, we wouldn’t recommend smoking it daily as an escape measure or as a relaxant. However, much of the negative data is contradicted by other studies, and there already seems little doubt that cannabis is a vastly superior painkiller to opioids.