Marijuana Health Effects

Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly version

Health Issues of Marijuana

Legal does not mean safe.

Immediate health effects

  • Slower reactions and hand/eye coordination
  • Distorted perception of time and distance
  • Trouble thinking, learning and remembering
  • Anxiety, panic or paranoia
  • Faster heart rate
  • Increased blood pressure
  • A happy, relaxed or "high" feeling
  • Less intrest in normal activties
  • Increased appetite
  • Dry mouth
  • Red eyes
  • Psychosis - seeing or hearing things that aren't real (more common with higher doses of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC))

These effects typically last two to four hours after marijuana is smoked or inhaled. When marijuana is eaten, the effects take longer to start and may last four to 10 hours. Marijuana can vary in its potency, or strength, depending on the plant and extraction process.

Used too much?

The symptoms of using too much marijuana are similar to the typical effects of using marijuana, but more severe. These symptoms may include:

  • Anxiety, extreme confussion, painc or paranoia
  • Delusions or Hallucinations
  • Fast heart rate
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Severe nausea and vomiting

If you or someone you know has any of the symptoms above, call the poison control hotline at 1-800-222-1222 for free, fast, expert help anytime. If the symptoms are severe, call 911 or go to an emergency room. Do not drive if you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Marijuana During Pregnancy and Breastfeeding:

  • Using marijuana while pregnant may harm your baby.
  • There is no known safe amount of marijuana use during pregnancy or while breastfeeding.
    • Because THC is stored in body fat, it stays in your body for a long time. A baby's brain and body are made with a lot of fat. Since your baby’s brain and body may store THC for a long time, you shouldn’t use marijuana while you’re pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • Talk to your doctor if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding and need help to stop using marijuana. Or call 1-800-CHILDREN for help.
  • Breathing marijuana smoke is bad for you and your baby
    • Don't allow anyone to smoke in your home or around your baby
  • There may be legal consequences for using marijuana while pregnant
    • Some hospitals test babies after birth for drugs. If your baby tests positive for THC at birth, Colorado law requires hospitals to notify child protective services.

Information for Parents, Teens, and Youths

  • Laws and youth
    • It’s illegal for anyone under age 21 to buy, possess, or use retail marijuana.
    • It’s illegal to have retail marijuana on school property.
    • Youth caught trying to buy, carry, sell, or use marijuana can face a minor-in-possession charge.
    • People under age 21 can face charges that have a lasting impact.
  • Effects on youth
    • Brain devlopment isn't complete until age 25
    • Youth who use marijuana regularly are more likely to have a hard time learning, problems remembering, and lower math, and reading scores. These effects can last weeks after the last time they used marijuana.
    • Marijuana is addictive. It’s harder to stop using marijuana if started at a young age.
    • Youth who start using marijuana, alcohol, or other drugs may be more likely to continue using later in life.
  • Safe Storage
    • Marijuana products can be mistaken for regular food or candy.
    • Increasing numbers of children under 9 years old have been to an emergency room or hospitalized after accidentally consuming marijuana.
    • Be sure to keep all marijuana products in child-resistant packaging, clearly labeled and locked up.
      • Keep marijuana in the child-resistant packaging from the store.
      • Make sure your children can’t see or reach the locked cabinet or box.
      • How you store marijuana should change as children get older.

 

THC warning lable This symbol indicates a product containing tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) the active chemical in Marijuana. Be sure to recognize this symbol and instruct your children to avoid containers and food items with this symbol. The symbol will appear on packaging or in some cases on the product itself.

Driving and Marijuana

  • Driving while impared is illegal and unsafe
  • Getting high before you drive can get you arrested for a driving under the influence (DUI) charge. This is true even though marijuana use is legal for adults in Colorado.
  • Similar to alcohol, there’s an established impairment level for marijuana in Colorado.
  • Similar to alcohol, there’s an established impairment level for marijuana in Colorado.
  • Even if marijuana is used medically, officers can arrest you for impaired driving.
  • No open containers

Links to further reading

These links provide public health information from credible local and national sorces. Always contact your health care provider for specific question and concerns about your health.