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What are the long-term side effects of smoking marijuana?

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Quick Answer

Smoking marijuana has long-term side effects on brain development, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Marijuana smokers may also develop respiratory problems similar to those of cigarette smokers, reports Drugs.com, and the long-term use of marijuana may also increase the smoker's testicular cancer risk.

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What are the long-term side effects of smoking marijuana?
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Full Answer

As of 2015, studies suggest that long-term use of marijuana may affect certain areas of the brain. These areas include the amygdala, prefrontal cortex and hippocampus in the brain, reports Forbes.

Individuals who start smoking marijuana at a young age may have reduced thinking capabilities, learning abilities and memory, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Studies show that individuals who started smoking heavily when they were teenagers and continued to do so regularly lost an average of eight IQ points between the ages of 13 and 38 years.

Due to its effect on brain function, long-term marijuana smokers may be unable to perform complex functions, according to Drugs.com. They may also be unable to pursue long-term goals in athletics, education and other areas in their lives.

About 10 percent of regular smokers may develop an addiction to marijuana after smoking it for an extended period of time, as Forbes reports. Addicted users may experience withdrawal symptoms when they try to quit.

Marijuana smokers may experience respiratory problems such as frequent chest colds, daily coughs and chronic bronchitis symptoms, according to Drugs.com. Individuals who are genetically susceptible to mental health issues may experience hallucinations, delusions and psychosis after smoking marijuana for a long time.

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