Smoke A Lot Of Weed? How To Know If It's Affecting Your Health
Marijuana is increasingly being used as a therapeutic drug, and it may be helpful in managing a wide variety of afflictions from insomnia1 to chronic pain2. It has also become legalized for recreational use in some states. A progressive attitude toward medical and recreational marijuana certainly has some positive benefits (including paving the way for nonpsychoactive cannabinoids, such as hemp oil and CBD, to become more mainstream) but it should not foster complacency around the use of this controlled substance. Here are some signs that marijuana is starting to affect your health and it's time to reassess your relationship with weed:
1. You have a dramatically increased tolerance.
When you use any substance with regularity, your body will become accustomed to the effects. When tolerance increases to the point that you need to consume a great deal more to accomplish the same desired effect, it may be time to decrease usage or abstain from the substance for some time.
2. It's the first (or only) thing you turn to when you're stressed.
If you use marijuana as a coping mechanism when confronted with a problem or difficult situation, it might be a sign that it's time to find other ways to deal with stress. Marijuana can be prescribed for anxiety3 in some cases, but even then it should be taken in tandem with other stress relievers such as exercise, a healthy diet, and plenty of sleep. It should never be used as a stand-alone treatment for anxiety.
3. Withdrawal is uncomfortable and difficult.
Have you ever attempted to decrease usage of marijuana and suffered side effects such as stomach upset, anxiety, insomnia, irritability, and paranoia? These are common signs of withdrawal as your body adjusts to the sudden decrease of cannabinoids entering your system. To support your body through this withdrawal period, you should drink plenty of water, eat healthy foods, and consider mindful activities like meditation.
4. You continue to buy weed despite social, financial, and personal burdens.
If marijuana is affecting your performance at work or causing you to withdraw from social situations where weed is not present, it's a sign you should reconsider your habits. The same goes for if you keep breaking your budget to buy more marijuana.
5. You feel out of control around weed.
If you find that you're using more marijuana than you predicted or it seems like time flies when you're under the influence, usage has likely gotten beyond your control. If you're a regular user, try to keep track of the amount that you are using over time so you can spot if a problem ever arises.
David A. Greuner M.D., FACS, FICS, is the managing director and co-founder of NYC Surgical Associates. He is a double board-certified surgeon with over 10 years of experience. His postgraduate residency training was performed at University of Arizona and Mount Sinai School of Medicine affiliate hospitals (Morristown Memorial Hospital), where he was named chief resident of the year and won the Hughes Dougan award for dedication to patient care and excellence in surgical technique his chief year.
Due to his acknowledged expertise in minimally invasive and cardiovascular surgery, David is regularly quoted in articles in major magazines and newspapers, and he has made frequent appearances on national television programs such as CBS’s The Doctors, the Dr. Oz show, Eyewitness News, and PIX 11.