Health Benefits & Short and Long Terms Effects of Cannabis

What is Cannabis?

Derived from Cannabis plant, Cannabis is used as a depressant drug to slow down the brain activity by producing hallucinating effect, usually with larger doses. Cannabis basically belongs to the Cannabinaceae family of plants that wildly grows in different temperature or tropical areas of the globe, but nowadays cultivated artificially by indoor hydroponic technologies. Usually, Cannabis is used in three forms, such as marijuana, hash oil or hashish. Potentially active chemical of Cannabis plant is delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol or THC which causes high in many people. Cannabis is popularly known by Hashish, Hemp, Ganja, Marijuana, Indian hemp, Grass, Weed, Pot, and Reefer. Cannabis is generally taken through smoking via joints or hand-rolled cigar or by using waterpipes or bongs made from toilet rolls, juice containers or soft drink cans.

Health Benefits & Short and Long Terms Effects of Cannabis

How is Cannabis Used?

Cannabis is either inhaled or smoked and ingested in three different ways that are mentioned in the following points:

  • Marijuana: This form is the most commonly used. In this, the plant is dried and smoked by forming joints or bong.
  • Hashish: In this, the plant resin is usually dried and combined with tobacco and thus used for smoking or added to foods and baked products like brownies or cookies.
  • Hash Oil: Liquid is typically added at the tip of the cigarette and used for smoking.

Generally, Cannabis starts showing the effect after one hour of consuming this drug and show an intense effect if it is smoked. Smoking of Cannabis can show multiple negative long-term side effects in later stages of life.

Health Benefits of Cannabis

Health Benefits of Cannabis

Studies have shown that Cannabis is a magical herb and one of its forms, Marijuana has a number of health benefits that generally varies from one person to other. Some common health benefits include the following:

  • Weight Loss Benefit of Cannabis: Cannabis interferes and helps the body to manage the calorie intake efficiently and thereby helps you to lose weight.
  • Health Benefit of Cannabis in Managing Diabetes: The herb possesses the ability to control the secretion of insulin hormone and thus prevents as well as regulates Diabetes mellitus.
  • Cannabis Can Be Beneficial in Fighting Cancer: Cannabidiol or CBD of Cannabis plant inhibits the excess growth and cell division of cancerous cells and thus fights against certain types of cancer like prostate, breast or lungs.
  • Cannabis Can Be Beneficial in Managing and Curing Neurological Problems: Cannabis helps to regulate panic attacks and helps to avoid anxiety or related conditions like Post Traumatic Stress Disorders efficiently. Cannabinoids also slow down the progression of cognitive disorders like Alzheimer’s diseaseParkinson Disease and also helps to manage with severe mood swings in an autistic child. Cannabis also regulates epileptic seizures and depression. Cannabinoids are also helpful in treating ADHD effectively and is also a powerful medicine for people suffering from insomnia.
  • Cannabis as an Alternative to Alcohol or Drugs: Cannabis is used to reduce the destructive effect of other drugs or alcohol-related side effects and hangovers. It also protects the liver from alcohol-induced steatosis.
  • Bone Health Benefits of Cannabis: Cannabidiol or CBD of Cannabis chemically reacts with collagen of broken bones and thus helps in rapid healing process.
  • Respiratory Health Benefits of Cannabis: In conditions like Emphysema or lung cancer, Cannabis helps to manage lung health.
  • Benefits of Cannabis in Managing Glaucoma: Consumption of Cannabis helps to lower down the pressure in the eyeball and thus give effective relief in conditions like Glaucoma.
  • Health Benefits of Cannabis in Treating Pain and Inflammation: Cannabis and other cannabinoids in the form of cream or balm are used to treat severe pain, tremor or inflammations associated with conditions like Multiple Sclerosis or Arthritis or even in psoriasis.
  • Benefits of Cannabis in Treating Muscular Spasms: Cannabis helps to reduce twitching or pain related to muscular spasm and also helps to calm down its effect.
  • Health Benefits of Cannabis in Treating Digestive or Eating Disorders: Cannabis is used to treat eating disorders like Anorexia or Bulimia. Cannabis also helps to reduce other inflammatory bowel disorders and is also beneficial for reducing vomiting or nausea and thus maintains healthy digestive functions. Even in babies, CBD oil reduces colic problems.
  • Cannabis Can Help Fight Against HIV or AIDS: Cannabis helps to fight against AIDS virus and thus helps to manage HIV symptoms like pains or headaches through diet.
  • Benefits of Cannabis in Fighting Regular Headache: Some people suffer from a daily headache. Cannabis can be used to fight against this everyday headache by simply chewing it for sometime.
  • Treating STDs: Cannabis effectively helps to treat Sexually Transmitted Diseases or STDs like herpes or chlamydia.
  • Skin Health Benefits of Cannabis: Cannabidiol of Cannabis helps to treat extreme skin ailments like allergies, rashes, eczema and also provide relief from itching from the bites of bugs, insects or even mosquitoes.
  • Benefits of Cannabis in Treating Speech Problems: Cannabis successfully treats stammering and other speech related problems.
  • Health Benefits of Cannabis During Chemotherapy: Cannabis induces soothing effects in patients undergoing chemotherapy by decreasing nausea, vomiting and increases the appetite in those who are also suffering from malnutrition.
  • Cannabis Can Be Beneficial in Managing Asthma Attacks: Cannabis acts as a bronchodilator and thus reduces frequent asthma attacks.
  • Benefits of Cannabis in Treating Blood Pressure: Cannabis is used to treat hypertension and thus lowers down high blood pressure.
  • Cannabis Can Help Reduce Menstrual Pain: CBD of Cannabis helps to reduce the pain during menstrual cycles.
  • Increasing Libido: Medicinal Cannabis causes an increase in sex drive or overall sexual experiences.

Short-Term and Long-Term Effects of Cannabis

Effects of Cannabis diverge from person to person and the effectiveness usually depends on height, weight and health of the individual and also the situation when the drug is taken and most importantly the amount or doses of the drug taken. There is precisely no safe level of Cannabis use whether as drug or medicine. Both can show prominent side effects so be cautious when you are consuming this drug. All these effects are felt within 10-30 minutes and stays for an hour or two.

Short-Term Effects of Cannabis:

  • Feeling secured
  • Dryness of mouth, eyes, and throat
  • Excessive Speaking is one of the short term effect of cannabis
  • Loss of inhibitions or proper body balance
  • Drowsiness
  • Declined nausea
  • Reduction of co-ordination
  • Reddened bloodshot eyes
  • Impulsive laughter is also a short term effect of cannabis
  • Anxiety and mild to severe paranoia
  • Confusion or clumsy sensation can also be a short term effect of cannabis
  • Reflective and quite a mood
  • Affected perception including color, sound, and other sensations
  • Changed thinking process and memory capability
  • Altered as well as blurred vision
  • Feeling relaxed or sleepiness
  • Amplified heart rate
  • Lowering of blood pressure
  • High appetite
  • Slowing down of reflexes.

Although there are limited researches done on the long-term effects of Cannabis, but the probable adverse effects include:

  • Altered state of consciousness i.e., cannabis users may feel high, enthusiastic, euphoric, social, relaxed or uninhibited.
  • Inaccurate perceptions of space and time. The users of cannabis either become aware of things that surround them or experience the more vivid sensation of sight, hear, taste or smell.
  • High pulse rate, amplified heart rate, dilated pupils or worsening of the pre-existing cardiovascular disease are some of the long terms effects of cannabis.
  • Weakening of concentration or difficulty in operating machinery or driving any vehicle.
  • Experience negative emotions like panic, anxiousness, paranoid thoughts or self-consciousness.
  • In high doses users may experience disorientation or sedated toxicity. High doses also cause fragmented thoughts, fluctuating emotions, hallucinations, paranoia, feelings of unreality and panic attacks.
  • Irritability of lungs and risk of developing respiratory diseases including chronic bronchitis or even cancer of respiratory tract more likely with smoking is yet another likely long term effect of cannabis.
  • The long-term effect also includes lowered concentration levels, decrease in short-term memory together with difficulty in learning and thinking abilities.
  • Lowering of sex drives in some individuals is also one of the long terms effects of cannabis use. Chronic use can lead to low sperm count in males and often results in irregular periods in females.
  • Chronic drug use can lead to addiction of drug along with problems associated with it.

The long-term effect also results in irregular mood swings, flu or cold like symptoms or even causes a social, financial or work-related problem. If the users have the family history of mental illness, then they may also experience psychotic episodes, such as hallucinations or delusions or in higher doses cause schizophrenia.


Cannabis is a drug potential of causing many adverse effects in a person. In contrary, it also has many positive health benefits when taken under medical supervision and is advised dosage and ways. Despite the positive benefits, the usage of cannabis must be limited and as less as possible to avoid the short and more importantly the long term health effects.

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:February 1, 2022

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