Experts highlight the surprising side effects of cannabis

Experts highlight the surprising side effects of cannabis

Marijuana, or weed, pot dope, cannabis, etc., is used for many reasons, some recreational and others medicinal.

However, no matter what you are using it for, there can be side effects, explains Niket Sonpal, MD, NYC Internist and Gastroenterologist, Faculty Member Touro College of Medicine.

Dr. Sonpal highlights 3 of the more surprising side effects of marijuana.

Your reaction time is slower

Jars of cannabis

One potential short-term, negative effect of cannabis usage is a lowered reaction time.

“Slower reaction times may occur due to the THC, the main psychoactive in marijuana. It’s believed that the thalamo-cortico-striatal circuit network in the brain (portion related to the perception of time) contains many receptors that bind with THC,” explains Dr. Sonpal.

“When this binding happens, your internal clock speeds us, thus leading you to feel as if everything has slowed down around you.”

It might promote severe anxiety

While marijuana has a calming effect on some people, others experience severe anxiety.

“Someone may experience increased feelings of anxiety because high THC levels cause the brain to receive more cannabinoids than usual. This over-stimulates the amygdala, which causes some people to feel anxious,” says Dr. Sonpal.

Related: Cannabis affects men and women differently: study

It could lead to long-term brain damage

Per the CDC, marijuana affects brain development: “When marijuana users begin using as teenagers, the drug may reduce attention, memory, and learning functions and affect how the brain builds connections between the areas necessary for these functions,” they explain.

“Marijuana’s effects on these abilities may last a long time or even be permanent. This means that someone who uses marijuana may not do as well in school and may have trouble remembering things.”

Photo credit: Dmytro Tyshchenko/; OpenRangeStock/

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