Recreational use of marijuana: characteristics and consequences

Although cannabis does not have the potential for addiction and damage that other psychoactive substances possess, it is a lie that the recreational use of marijuana does not generate consequences. You have to inform yourself and take the indicated measures.

Last update: November 13, 2021

The recreational use of marijuana is an issue that continues to generate controversy. Everything indicates that it has a lower potential for dependence and overdose than other psychoactive substances. Even so, it carries risks that should not be ignored.

Various variables influence the recreational use of marijuana. The risks depend, for example, on the age of the consumer. Also of how it is consumed, in what quantity and with what levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

In recent decades this use has become very popular, especially in younger people. Too ED care for cannabis overdose has increased. This means that not everyone consumes it adequately.

Marijuana and its components

When talking about marijuana, reference is being made to dried leaves, stems, flowers, and seeds of a plant called cannabis. This one has two basic strains: sativa or indica. Both have two active ingredients, although in different proportions: THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol).

TCH is a psychoactive substance and it is the one that, in general, causes alterations in consciousness. It is present in large quantities in some of the sativa varieties. CBD, for its part, has therapeutic effects and is more concentrated in the indica variety.

Marijuana can be smoked, vaporized, eaten, or drunk. Currently, there are marijuana concentrates to inhale or eat that contain high levels of THC. All forms of consumption involve risks if they are not used in the correct way.

It is important to recognize the differences between THC and CBD to distinguish their uses.

Recreational use of marijuana

There is talk of recreational use of marijuana in contrast to therapeutic use. Nevertheless, recreational use it does not mean that there is addiction. To be truly considered a recreational practice, it must meet the following criteria:

  • Infrequent. There is no regularity in consumption, but it is only carried out occasionally.
  • Freedom in consumption. The recreational use of marijuana implies that there is no pressure or need to resort to this substance.
  • Small amounts. It is only used in an amount that causes mild effects and without the intention of escaping from reality.
  • Social use. It is not consumed individually for feeling better, alleviate a problem, relax, have sex or something similar.
  • Low investment. Excessive amounts of money are not invested in the purchase of marijuana.

The action of marijuana

We humans produce cannabinoids naturally in the brain. These are called endogenous cannabinoids and they are more concentrated in areas such as the hippocampus, cerebellum, basal ganglia, and cerebral cortex. They contribute to the regulation of aspects such as appetite or perception.

What the cannabinoids in marijuana do is mimic the action of endogenous cannabinoids. When smoking, inhaling or eating marijuana, the body releases endogenous cannabinoids; in particular, THC.

In this way, initiates a chain of cellular reactions that lead to high what consumers are talking about. Typically, sensory perception improves, there is more euphoria and a feeling of relaxation. In some cases, it can also lead to paranoia, anxiety, or a panic attack.

Immediate effects of marijuana

The immediate effects of marijuana vary from person to person. In principle, this depends on the age, the amount of THC consumed and the general state of health.

If you vaporize or smoke, the effects are almost immediate: they take 2 to 3 minutes. If it is eaten or drunk, the effect will be felt between 30 and 90 minutes later.

The effects of recreational marijuana use can be positive, negative, or neutral. Among the first are the following:

  • Stress reduction
  • Greater fluidity of ideas.
  • Increased awareness of all the senses.
  • Greater sensitivity and connection with music.
  • Sensation of muscle relaxation.
  • More positive mood.

Among the neutral effects, the following are appreciated:

  • Increased appetite.
  • Slowness in speech and movements.
  • Dry mouth
  • Redness of the eyes.
  • Linear memory disruption.
  • Facial and jaw tension.

On the other hand, the negative effects can be the following:

  • Tiredness.
  • Difficulty following the train of thought.
  • Sickness.
  • Cough and upper respiratory problems.
  • Short-term memory problems.
  • Tachycardia, agitation, nervousness, or anxiety.
  • Headache.
  • Clumsiness and lack of coordination.


Recreational marijuana use can also lead to an overdose. This occurs when too high a quantity of THC is consumed. This condition is life threatening.

Sometimes a psychotic crisis can occur, including delusions and hallucinations. This happens many times with edible marijuana, since its effect takes time to appear and the consumer does not regulate what he ingests.

An overdose is a medical emergency that must be treated immediately.

Long-term effects of marijuana

The recreational use of marijuana is responsible when it starts from the premise that this substance is not harmless and, therefore, guidelines and limits must be set. It is estimated that 1 in 10 people who use marijuana will develop an addiction. If the person begins to consume before the age of 18, the risk increases to 1 in 6.

Other possible long-term consequences of recreational marijuana use may include the following:

  • The risk of experiencing psychotic symptoms increases.
  • There may be breathing problems, such as a chronic cough or shortness of breath.
  • Increases heart rate and blood pressure.
  • There is an increased risk of erectile dysfunction.

Recreational marijuana use among teens

Recreational marijuana use by teens is discouraged. What is indicated is that this type of psychoactive can only be used by people over 25 years of age.

Adolescent use, especially for a long time, could have consequences such as the following:

  • Increased risk of psychiatric disorders.
  • Poor school performance and higher school dropouts.
  • Increase in the probability of consuming other drugs.
Combined substance use is more common among teens when they start marijuana early.

Seeking professional help?

One of the risks of recreational marijuana use is that the consumer does not notice the point where they have crossed the line between addiction and addiction. Generally speaking, there are problems when you experience a recurring urge to use the psychoactive.

Currently, there are no specific medications to treat this addiction. However, psychological therapy, as well as support groups, can be of great help to overcome dependency.

Recreational marijuana use on the rise

Recreational marijuana use is on the rise around the world. The myth that this psychoactive is harmless must be banished. Like any substance of the same order, it involves risks and these must be considered at all times.

You have to be especially careful with edible marijuana, since it is the one that generates the most cases of overdose. Likewise, it should be emphasized that children and adolescents should not consume this type of substance in any way.

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