Five things to know about the health effects of marijuana use

Published: March 19, 2014

By Dr. Donald Misch, CU-Boulder Senior Assistant Vice Chancellor for Health and Wellness

Please take a moment to review the following information about the health effects of marijuana use: 

  • There is a significant risk of addiction for frequent, regular users of marijuana. The earlier you start and the more you use, the greater the chance you will become addicted. Once addicted, there are withdrawal symptoms and beating the addiction is difficult.
  • Marijuana affects the ability to drive safely. Using marijuana alone doubles your risk of a car accident, while using alcohol at the same time increases the risk even more. It is not safe to drive for up to four hours after using marijuana.
  • Using marijuana affects your learning capabilities. When you use marijuana it affects your memory making process, so you do not retain what you learn. The more frequent the use, the greater the effect.
  • Beginning use of marijuana at an early age can lead to long-term neuropsychological deficits including impaired thinking and judgment. These effects may be permanent in some cases.
  • People who have a personal or family history of psychosis are at increased risk of psychiatric decompensation.

For more information visit the National Institutes of Health.