You might be familiar with conversation regarding marijuana as a “safer” alternative to smoking tobacco or other “unnatural” substances, such as prescription pills. The common thought is that since marijuana is a natural plant, many of the risks associated with substance misuse are lowered, if not completely eradicated. However, this uninformed line of thinking can be dangerous to some chronic marijuana users as research is showing a correlation between marijuana use and cancer.
A study conducted by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, or CDPHE, found evidence of marijuana use and an associated increased risk of testicular cancer and prostate cancer. Another report found that men who smoke marijuana were twice as likely to be diagnosed with an aggressive form of testicular cancer. Additional research echoing this sentiment only further emphasizes the need for public policy to take into consideration the risks associated with marijuana use.
Testicular cancer is actually the most commonly diagnosed cancer among men ages fifteen to forty-four. Over nine thousand men in the United States will be diagnosed with testicular cancer this year alone. However, if detected early, ninety-five percent of cases can be cured. Paying attention to your body is always important, no matter what type of health condition you may experience. This is increasingly important if you or someone you are close to is engaging in marijuana use. Not getting medical attention early on can lead to long-term negative consequences.
This is not the only connection between marijuana use and cancer. The study discusses strong evidence indicating that marijuana smoke has a plethora of cancer-causing chemicals, just like tobacco smoke. Secondhand marijuana smoke has been reported to be as harmful to both the heart and the blood vessels as secondhand tobacco smoke, with the latter fact much more publically acknowledged than the former.
The long-term effects of cannabis, not including the potential cancer risk, are unhealthy and undesirable as well. Long-term effects of marijuana use include, but are not limited to, brain development impairments, memory issues, disturbed connections for learning functions, temporary paranoia and hallucinations, worsening of mental health conditions like schizophrenia, anxiety, depression, suicidal thoughts, nausea, vomiting, increased heart rate, and issues related to breathing.
Being educated on the risks of marijuana usage is crucial as recreational use of the substance is on the rise. One out of ten teens is now smoking marijuana a minimum of twenty times a month. It is also the most commonly used illicit substance according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
Misusing any substance, no matter if the origin is natural or man-made, can be detrimental to your health and the health of those closest to you. If you or any of your loved ones are struggling with substance misuse, there is always professional and confidential help available to you around the clock. It does not matter the severity of the substance misuse; we can always help educate and provide guidance for your specific situation or that of someone for whom you care. Knowledge is truly power and we can help provide knowledge on the effects of marijuana use and much more. Help is closer to home than you realize. Contact us today to learn more.