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Long-Term Effects

Long-term and regular use of cannabis may affect people in a variety of ways including:

  • effects on the developing brain of young people, up to the age of 25 years,
  • impact on the lungs for those who smoke cannabis,
  • impact on mental health,
  • risk for addiction.
For more information, see Health Canada’s Health Effects of Cannabis

According to Health Canada (2022), 1 in 3 (33%) people who use cannabis will develop a problem with their use, and approximately 1 in 11 (9%) people who use cannabis will develop an addiction to it. This increases to 1 in 6 (17%) for people who begin using cannabis in their teenage years. Smoking cannabis daily also increases the risk of addiction to 25% - 50%.

Individuals who develop an addiction to cannabis typically:

  • Want to use often, even when they didn't plan to
  • Spend a lot of time thinking about and using cannabis 
  • Need a greater amount of cannabis to get the same effects
  • Continue to use cannabis even though it is causing physical and or social problems

In addition to an increased risk of addiction, long-term use of cannabis can affect your brain and harm your memory, concentration, intelligence (IQ), and ability to think and make decisions (Health Canada, 2022). 

Research has also shown that cannabis use impacts the development of psychosis in some individuals. Psychosis is a break with reality characterized by hallucinations, false beliefs (delusions), impaired thinking and lack of motivation. 

Regular use of cannabis can affect your lungs and lead to conditions such as cough, wheeze, worsening of asthma, sore throat, bronchitis, and lung infections. Cannabis smoke contains many of the same chemicals as tobacco smoke, several of which are known to cause cancer.

For additional tips on avoiding the smoking of cannabis click here.

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