X-ray of a damaged lung©iStock.com/stockdevilMarijuana smoke can hurt your lungs and cause some of the same coughing and breathing problems faced by people who smoke cigarettes.

These are just some of the problems marijuana can cause:

Memory Problems

Marijuana makes it hard to remember things that just happened a few minutes ago. That makes it hard to learn in school or to pay attention to your job.

Heart Problems

Using marijuana makes the heart beat fast and raises your risk of having a heart attack.

Warning about Lung Illnesses and Deaths

Many people are adding marijuana to the oil they put in vaping devices (e-cigarettes). The lungs are not designed to filter out some oils, and there have been thousands of lung illnesses and dozens of deaths related to vaping marijuana. Sometimes the marijuana is added to the nicotine in a vaping device. The Government has warned against using any vaping products that have THC, one of the main chemicals in marijuana. Here is a fact sheet with up-to-date information.

People who smoke marijuana can get some of the same coughing and breathing problems as people who smoke cigarettes. Marijuana smoke can hurt your lungs.

Drugged Driving

Driving when you're high on marijuana is dangerous. It is similar to driving drunk. Your reactions to traffic signs and sounds are slow. It's hard to pay attention to the road. And it's even worse when you're high on marijuana and alcohol at the same time.

Not Caring about Life

Over time, people who use marijuana can get "burnt out." They don't think about much or do much. They can't concentrate. They don't seem to care about anything but smoking marijuana.


An overdose happens when a person uses enough of a drug to have a very bad reaction or death. People can overdose on marijuana when they take too much of it. This can cause very uncomfortable side effects. In recent years, emergency room doctors are seeing more overdoses in people who eat marijuana edibles (gummies, lollipops and other foods). It takes longer to feel high from edibles than from smoking. Because of this, sometimes people eat too much because they think it isn’t working.

Signs of marijuana overdose are: 

  • a lot of anxiety (feeling very worried) 
  • panic attacks 
  • paranoia (thinking people are out to get you) 
  • hallucinations (seeing things that aren’t there) 

We do not know of any person who has died from using just marijuana.


Although some people don't know it, you can get addicted to marijuana after using it for a while. Over time, it can change the way your brain works. If you stop using it, your body can get confused and you can start to feel really sick. This makes it hard to stop. This is called addiction.

This is more likely to happen to people who use marijuana every day or who started using it when they were teenagers. They might need to smoke more and more of it to get the same high.

People who are trying to quit using marijuana can:

  • be in a bad mood 
  • feel nervous 
  • have trouble sleeping

They will feel a strong need to take the drug.

Fortunately, there is counseling that can help someone with a marijuana addiction.

Remember that even if you get treatment, it can be hard to stay off the drug. People who stopped using marijuana can still feel strong cravings for the drug, sometimes even years later. This is normal. This is also why it’s important to stay in treatment for as long as your doctor suggests.

NEXT: What is medical marijuana?