When marijuana is smoked, the effects may be felt within a matter of minutes. Users experience a “dreamy” state, which is characterized by an altered sense of time and sensory perception. Marijuana users may also experience issues with problem-solving skills, memory loss and confusion. Impaired motor function is also quite common, as well as an increased craving for snacks, commonly referred to as the “munchies.”
While more research needs to be done on the long-term effects of marijuana, studies have already shown this drug can have a detrimental effect on brain function, particularly in younger users. In fact, one study found that teens that began smoking marijuana heavily lost as many as eight IQ points between the ages of 13 and 38. The impaired brain function could not be fully restored, even if the marijuana use was stopped.
Other long-term effects of marijuana use include lung damage, an increased risk of lung cancer and other respiratory illnesses. Weight gain is also a common side effect, due to the increased appetite marijuana produces. Some users also experience hallucinations and feelings of paranoia.