Pot or cigarettes — Which is worse for your health?

(NC) With the upcoming changes to the legal status of cannabis in Canada being considered, a popular topic of debate is its possible effects on our health. How does it stack up when compared to other substances, like smoking cigarettes?

While most experts agree that tobacco poses greater health risks overall, especially related to cancers and other lung diseases, cannabis also has some physical and mental health effects that can be harmful.

While cannabis may make you feel relaxed and happy, you could experience unpleasant, unwanted or negative effects on your brain and body.

Short-term effects on the brain include confusion, fatigue, and anxiety. Other effects are damaged blood vessels caused by inhaling smoke, decreased blood pressure and increased heart rate.

Long-term harmful effects develop gradually over time with frequent use that continues over weeks, months or years. These effects can last from several days to months or even longer after you stop, and include an increased risk of addiction as well as an increased risk of harm to your memory, concentration, and IQ. Some of the long-term effects on the body of smoking cannabis are similar to the long-term effects of smoking tobacco, such as risks to lung health.

For some people, cannabis use increases the risk of developing mental illnesses like psychosis or schizophrenia, although emerging evidence suggests that another chemical in cannabis, when present in high enough amounts, may help dampen some of cannabis’s psychoactive (mind-altering) effects. Evidence also suggests that combining tobacco with cannabis can increase the strength of some psychoactive effects and the risk of poor mental health outcomes, including dependence.

If you’re considering smoking cannabis, it’s important to know the possible health risks so you can make an informed decision.

Find more information at Canada.ca/Cannabis.


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