County of San Diego, Health and Human Services, Alcohol and Drug Services
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,,,,,Like tobacco, marijuana contains many chemicals that can hurt the lungs and cause cancer. In fact, marijuana smoke contains 50 to70 percent more carcinogenic hydrocarbons than tobacco smoke. It may also accelerate the changes that ultimately produce malignant cells. Marijuana smoking doubled or tripled the risk of developing cancer of the head or neck and also has the potential to promote cancer of the lungs and other parts of the respiratory tract because it contains irritants and carcinogens sometimes in higher concentrations.

,,,,Studies show that individuals smoking five joints per day may be taking in as many cancer-causing chemicals as a full pack of cigarettes every day. One marijuana cigarette can cause more damage to the lungs than many tobacco cigarettes because marijuana has more tar and is usually smoked without filters. Marijuana users also usually inhale more deeply and hold their breath longer than tobacco smokers, which increases the lungs' exposure to cancer-causing smoke.

....Marijuana babies – the innocent victims.

.....Marijuana use can reduce fertility in both men and women, making it difficult to conceive. It may harm the growth of the baby during pregnancy, and increase the risk of premature delivery. After birth, some babies may have withdrawal-like symptoms. And according to some studies, children have shown increased behavioral problems during infancy and preschool years. In school, these children are more likely to have problems with decision-making, memory, and paying attention, and may completely lose their ability to remain attentive.

....How can marijuana affect your mental health?

....First of all, some people use marijuana as a way to escape a difficulty or challenge with their daily life, and avoid dealing with important issues. Unfortunately, problems usually get worse rather than go away, and the person is left to deal with a worse situation and turn to more powerful means of escape. Additionally, some users can suffer bad reactions from abusing marijuana. They may experience sudden feelings of anxiety and have paranoid thoughts. Some studies show that when people have smoked large amounts of marijuana for years, the drug takes its toll on mental functions. Marijuana affects the parts of the brain that control memory, attention, and learning.

....Some evidence also indicates increased rates of depression, anxiety, and suicidal thinking in chronic marijuana users.

....Watch for warning signs in teens and younger children.Why kids might try marijuana and other drugs


.....Research shows that appropriate parental monitoring may reduce possible drug use. Parents should be aware of changes in their child’s behavior, although this may be difficult with teens.

.....Parents should look for withdrawal from regular activities, depression, fatigue, carelessness with grooming, hostility, and deteriorating relationships with family members and friends.

......In addition, changes in academic performance, skipping school, lost interest in sports or other favorite activities, and changes in eating or sleeping habits could be related to drug use.

.....Marijuana can pose a particular threat to the health and well being of children and adolescents at a critical point in their lives—when they are growing, learning, maturing, and laying the foundation for their adult years.

Young people who have already begun to smoke cigarettes and/or use alcohol are at a higher risk for marijuana use.

....All aspects of a child’s environment—home, school, and neighborhood—help determine whether a child will try drugs. Curiosity and the desire to fit into a social group are common reasons. Research suggests that...

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