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What are the long-term effects of cannabis?

Among the many myths surrounding cannabis are that it isn’t addictive and that it doesn’t have any lasting negative effects. Neither are true, as Port of Call and a recovering marijuana addict explain in this blog about the long-term effects of cannabis.

The effects of cannabis are known to be harmful to your mental health. Studies suggest that regular smoking can increase the risk of developing a psychotic illness. The chances of developing such an illness is thought to be greater if users begin smoking cannabis in their teens and have a family history of mental illness.

The effects of Cannabis

As well as adversely affecting levels of motivation and concentration, cannabis can also have chronic effects on fertility. Research suggests that the drug can disrupt sperm production in men and ovulation in women. It can also be particularly harmful during pregnancy, leading to an increased likelihood of a baby being born small or premature.

A cannabis addict’s experience

“I wish I’d never started,” says Tom, a recovering cannabis addict from Warrington. Like many curious teenagers before him, Tom began exploring marijuana’s effects with his friends. “I was 14 years old. I didn’t like it at first; I couldn’t stop coughing and was the only one of my mates to be sick. I soon got used to it, and we’d bunk off most days to smoke at each other’s houses.”

By the time he’d left school, Tom’s cannabis usage had progressed to a regular habit. “I’d roll up a joint every night,” he admits. “It was just a part of my everyday life. Like you brush your teeth, or go for a jog, I’d spark up a joint. It was part of my routine and had been for more years than I can remember.” And that’s the thing, Tom’s memory isn’t what it used to be. A fact that later affected his career prospects.

“I couldn’t hold on to a job, my concentration was non-existent and I just couldn’t remember what it was I was meant to be doing. I’d get sacked, go back to the job centre, and start again. But it got to the point where I gave up caring. I’d mess up in job interviews, so there was no way I’d get the job. Then I’d spend all my Jobseeker’s Allowance on weed

By now, Tom fell into the category of the one in six smokers who begin smoking cannabis in adolescence and eventually become addicted. His mental health began to suffer. “I was constantly anxious and paranoid. I’d lost interest in everything apart from getting high, that’s when I decided something had to change and after some research online, I spoke to Port of Call.”

Port of Call found Tom a drug rehab clinic, where he completed a treatment programme. “Quitting weed really straightened me out,” he recalls. “It was literally like a cloud had lifted from my mind and body. I could think more clearly and actually felt motivated to get my life on track.
Despite the ups and downs, I’m trying to use my story as an example to others. I just wish I’d met someone like me before my smoking got out of hand.”

Make us your first Port of Call. If you, or a loved one, are dealing with addiction we can help you to access the right addiction help at the right time. Take the first step today by speaking to one of our advisers for free on 08000029010.

About the author: Alex Molyneux

Alex is our admissions team leader. Over the last 5 years he has spoken with more than 10,000 people via our helpline and has organised over 1,000 detox and rehabilitation placements.

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