Short and Long Term Effects
This drug can affect your health, both long and short term, and your driving — in a really bad way.
Effects While Driving
Smoking or eating marijuana slows down your responses to sights and sounds, making you a dangerous driver. Marijuana makes you sleepy, distorts your sense of time and space, and hurts your ability to adapt to light and dark. It also lowers your ability to handle a quick series of tasks while driving. So a marijuana userís biggest driving problem is unexpected events, such as a car approaching from a side street or a child running into the street. This poor reaction time is worse when youíre driving at night because marijuana also causes a severe loss of night vision.
In low doses, marijuana produces:
- Poor memory and ability to learn
- Difficulty in thinking and solving problems
- Poor muscle coordination and judgment
- Short attention span
- Dangerous driving behavior
- Altered sense of time and space
- Food cravings
In larger doses, marijuana produces:
- Poor memory
- Not knowing where one is
- Anxiety attacks or feelings of paranoia
- Cancer. Marijuana contains the same cancer-causing chemicals found in tobacco smoke.
- Breathing problems. It creates the same kinds of breathing problems that cigarettes do: coughing and wheezing.
- Immune system. The THC in marijuana can damage the cells and tissues in the body that help protect against disease.
- Memory, learning, and energy are impaired.
- Fertility. Reproductive hormones are decreased. In men, there is less testosterone, causing decreased sperm counts and possible erectile dysfunction. In women, there may be irregular periods. Both problems would result in a decreased ability to conceive but not lead to complete infertility.
- Birth defects in unborn children.