Uses of Cannabis Short-term and Long-term Effects

Uses of Cannabis: Short-term and Long-term Effects 1

A term used by most medical marijuana users, the word “cannabis” is referring to three types of psychoactive marijuana plants, which are commonly known as Cannabis sativa, Cannabis indica, and Cannabis ruderalis. Usually, these plants are dried up for extraction of the byproducts and are known as weed, pot, and marijuana.
Most cannabis is produced in farms via wind pollination, and the fruit that it will bear is classified as an achene, which is a type of dry fruit coming from multiple species of plants. Additionally, cannabis plants are known as short-day plants, wherein their flowers usually bloom during night time instead of the usual daytime of other kinds of plants.
The three types of cannabis that are mentioned earlier have a distinct explanation for each name type, which are listed below:

1. Cannabis sativa

Sativa – the standard type with most cannabis-related products, it is usually tall, laxly branched, and can be commonly found in lowland regions with a warm climate.

2. Cannabis indica

Indica – this type is the total opposite of Sativa, wherein it usually is a shorter, bushier plant that can be found in highland environments with colder climates instead.

3. Cannabis ruderalis

Ruderalis is usually found in countries such as Europe and Central Asia, wherein they grow in wild areas.
3 types of cannabis

A few decades before

The use of marijuana was considered illegal in most countries worldwide. However, these days, those same countries that previously deemed it illicit have slowly considered the usage of the said drug legal for medical and recreational usage.

One known country that fully legalized the use of medical and recreational marijuana in Canada, and its neighbor, the United States is following suit by slowly legalizing the medical use of marijuana in the majority of their states.

However, legal users of marijuana want the term cannabis used instead. The terms marijuana, weed, and pot are seen as being linked to the nature and history of illegal drugs before its legalization.

Medical and recreational uses

Most cannabis products are used for medical and recreational uses, due to the relaxing and calming effects it provides after usage. They have been approved as a prescription for various medical conditions such as chronic pain, glaucoma, and poor appetite in most of the major states and cities in the United States.

Additionally, aside from medical and recreational usage, cannabis has been used for industrial usage as hemp, wherein this kind of usage is not meant for the cannabis to be used as a drug. Industrial cannabis as hemp is usually used as raw materials for the production of commercial products such as paper, cordage, construction material, textiles, and clothing.

Ancient and religious uses

Lastly, there is some cannabis used for ancient and religious uses in various countries around the world. Multiple cultures used cannabis as a part of a ritual ceremony and as ancient medicine. Surprisingly, modern reincarnations of those religious bodies and organizations still use cannabis as ancient-style old medication and part of past traditional celebrations that they again practice up to this day.

However, it should be noted that there are still positives and negatives of cannabis usages, even though it is considered as a natural medication.

Cannabis Components

As for the components that are in cannabis, currently, there are recorded 120 substances known as cannabinoids. Under cannabinoids, there are two significant components that experts and researchers emphasize: cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Below are the facts for both CBD and THC:
This is the non-psychoactive component in cannabis. It does not provide the usual “high” when used and instead, provides reduction effects on inflammation and eases pain, usually chronic and body pains. It is the main component that helps in treating nausea, migraines, seizures, and anxiety. This component is still under review by researchers to fully understand its effects.

This is the main psychoactive component in cannabis, wherein it is the primary provider of the “high” that is usually associated with cannabis usage.

Most cannabis-related products sold in the market today have a mixture of both components; however, it is not rare to find cannabis with only one of either component present on it. Some cannabis can have more of the components mentioned (i.e., more CBD, less THC, and vice-versa).

Effects of Cannabis: Short-term

Like any other drug, cannabis brings about effects that the user will experience after consuming it. The standard impacts that most users will suffer for a short-term are listed below:

  • Provides relaxation to the user;
  • Feels of giddiness;
  • Intensely experiencing things around the user;
  • Increased appetite;
  • Perception of time and events being altered.

The effects mentioned above are not usually found in cannabis with high CBD content and is common with cannabis with high THC content instead.

Unfortunately, there are adverse short-term effects that are also present in cannabis-related products, which may affect a certain number of people. Those adverse effects are listed below:

  • Issues with coordination;
  • Reaction time being delayed;
  • Nausea;
  • Lethargy;
  • Anxiety;
  • Increased heart rate;
  • A decrease in blood pressure;
  • Paranoia.

As same with the positive short-term effects, those mentioned adverse short-term effects are only prevalent in cannabis with high THC content instead.

Both types of short-term effects depend on the amount of cannabis consumed by the user and the methods of consumption used. The user in minutes would felt those effects if it was smoked. If the cannabis has been orally ingested (either via capsules, edibles, and beverages), the results would be felt after a few hours instead.

Effects of Cannabis: Long-term

Aside from the short-term effects mentioned above, there are also long-term effects that users can experience after consuming cannabis, which are listed below:

Brain Development

Experts and researchers have studied the impacts of cannabis on one’s brain during adolescence development, in which they have determined that users in their teens have experienced memory and learning problems, unlike their peers who didn’t use cannabis during their teen years.

However, those same experts have not yet determined if the effects mentioned above are permanent or not. But they have determined that users in their teen years will be at higher risk of developing mental health issues during their later years, including schizophrenia.

Substance Dependence

Users will experience this effect, being heavily dependent on cannabis after a long time of usage, in which some may experience withdrawal symptoms due to non-usage of cannabis such as irritability, low appetite, and sudden mood swings.

Experts say that before being 18 years old, users will more likely develop cannabis use disorder, 4 to 7 times more than users who started consuming cannabis later in their life.

Respiratory Problems

Users who smoke cannabis instead of consuming it have a higher chance of developing complications similar to smoking tobacco like pneumonia and other respiratory problems, due to the inflammation and irritation of the airways in the respiratory system.

Furthermore, regular smoking of cannabis, in the long run, may lead to the following:

  • Lung damage;
  • Gum disease;
  • Lung cancer;
  • Increased risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke.

Legal Nature of Cannabis

As previously mentioned earlier, the usage of cannabis before was deemed illegal a few decades back. However, in today’s time, more and more areas are starting to legalize cannabis usage, albeit in a slow-moving state.

One prominent example is the United States, wherein, as previously mentioned, have several states that have already started and are starting to legalize the usage of both medical and recreational cannabis.

However, other states in that country have only legalized the use of medical cannabis alone, and cannabis, in general, is still illegal under the federal law of the United States. However, the benefits of cannabis provide to its medical patients in need of their effects are starting to make the minds of several lawmakers to rethink the legalization of cannabis usage.

For other countries, the legalization of cannabis usage is still under review, and some have not yet accepted the medical and recreational uses of cannabis-related products. In this case, it is highly advised that cannabis users will check with the other countries’ laws and regulations regarding cannabis usage in their premises.


The use of cannabis, whether it would be for medical or recreational use, will provide short-term and long-term effects to its users that are both positive and negative. Users should know those effects before using cannabis.

Its legal nature is still something to look out for carefully since not all countries have yet fully supported the use of both medical and recreational cannabis. Some even see the use as illegal, wherein users that are caught using cannabis can be on the bad side of the law. Users in countries that have not fully supported the use of both medical and recreational cannabis should check with their local laws and authorities about its use for both medical and recreational purposes, if possible.