Cannabis Body Effects
3 min

Effect Of Cannabis On Your Body

3 min

Cannabis has many impacts on the body. Most of them are positive (both short and longer term). However, there are some negative side effects users should be aware of.

No matter how much legalisation is progressing, it is fair to say that cannabis has an impact. The drug is powerful because it can affect so many different interacting systems in the body.

How cannabis impacts overall human health is another issue. Research about the drug is still in its infancy. That said, there are already some well-known facts about its positives and negatives.

Since not everyone uses the drug the same way, positive results can be achieved. Medical patients, for example, tend to have different experiences than recreational users.

Most of the mysteries surrounding cannabis will be solved after more research, though the understanding of the endocannabinoid system is still in its infancy, as is a comprehensive understanding of how the good and bad effects of cannabinoids.

Related article

What Cannabis Does To Your Brain


Please note: We are not making medical claims about cannabis. This article has been written for informational purposes only, as is based on research published by other externals sources.


Short-Term Effects of Cannabis

The short-term impact of marijuana can be both negative and positive.

On the negative side, some users report problems with short term memory. Severe anxiety and paranoia are also common. Some users also report psychosis. This can include hallucinations and extreme fear. Negative side effects can also produce panic attacks and hallucinations and some people experience a loss of a sense of personal identity.

Cannabis can also increase the heart rate. This creates a greater risk of stroke or heart attack. It can slow down coordination. Using cannabis can also lead to difficulties with sexual functioning, particularly for men.

That said, it is also true that cannabis has great short-term impacts.

The first is a feeling of either relaxation or euphoria. In fact, many patients do not report the same negative symptoms as recreational users. Multiple sclerosis patients, for example, overwhelmingly report both reductions of pain and anxiety.

Marijuana binds to the amygdala in the brain, reducing the brain’s threat response.

Cannabis can also stop tremors and muscle spasms in the short term. When smoked by healthy people, this means that everyday aches and pains disappear quickly.

The positive impacts of short-term use are many. This includes more restful sleep and reduced pain. Users also report a greater general sense of well-being. Many users also report that casual use is a great aphrodisiac.


Long-Term Effects Of Cannabis

Longer term negative effects are varied. Use by teens and pre-teens, in particular, can have very negative longer term impact. This starts with a reduction in IQ, particularly if exposed to cannabinoids in the womb. Early use also seems to predicate lowered grades. It can also create impaired ability to learn and perform complex tasks. Heavy, long-term users tend to have lower life satisfaction and greater risk of “addiction.” Longer term “chronic” users also report greater difficulty in employment.

After stopping longer term heavy use, most users will feel withdrawal symptoms. These include sleeplessness and nervousness. Such symptoms tend to dissipate fairly quickly, although they can last for several months.

The longer term negative impacts can include an altered hormone cycle, including interrupted menstruation cycles. Smokers can also experience increased phlegm production or a heavy cough. Withdrawal after heavier use can also include negative psychological symptoms. These include depression and irritability. The gastric impact can include changes in appetite, stomach pain and weight gain or loss. Longer term users can also experience tremors and sweat immediately after cessation.

Tar build-up in the lungs is also a negative longer term impact of using the drug. This, however, is reversible.

That said, there are far more positive long-term impacts of using the drug, starting with issues like being more relaxed and experiencing less anxiety. It also includes lower BMI levels. It appears that cannabis may stimulate people to eat more. However, regular users tend to score lower on the BMI scale and have smaller waistlines than non-users.

Regular users also tend to report that they do not gain weight as quickly. Cannabis use can be a metabolism stabiliser, helping prevent obesity and diabetes 1.

Its impact on creativity can also not be understated. Many people use the drug to perform better on certain kinds of tasks. These include jobs that require combinations of new thoughts, ideas and processes.


Cannabis Effects On Sick People

The overall positive impacts of medical cannabis far outweigh the negatives. In fact, it is not well understood how “side effects” differ between recreational and medical users. Cannabis appears to work with the endocannabinoid system to regulate metabolic function. This means that a system that is disrupted may react differently as it absorbs and uses cannabinoids.

For example, cannabinoids are one of the best remedies for pain and chronic psychological conditions 2. This includes a wide range of conditions from depression to PTSD 3.

Scientific research and resources:


Adam Parsons
Adam Parsons
Professional cannabis journalist, copywriter, and author Adam Parsons is a long-time staff member of Zamnesia. Tasked with covering a wide range of topics from CBD to psychedelics and everything in between, Adam creates blog posts, guides, and explores an ever-growing range of products.
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