A recent Colorado study links cannabis consumption to extreme nausea (called cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome), which is quite counterintuitive as it’s known to be used medicinally to cope with intractable nausea in cancer patients on chemotherapy. There have also been reports of episodes of seizures related to vaping. While the evidence in both cases is inconclusive, it does highlight just how little we know from a long-term health point of view. What we do know is alarming enough. Especially the consequences for the brain and the side effects on mental health.
CANNABIS: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Cannabis is proven to have short and long-term implications for:
1. The brain, like short-term memory loss, impaired learning ability, compromised coordination, altered brain development in adolescents, and cognitive impairment with lower IQ.
2. It’s also often associated with risky behaviours, like poor driving, altered judgement, and risky sexual behaviour, which increases the risk of STDs, HIV/Aids, and Hepatitis B.
3. Mental health issues are linked to paranoia and psychotic episodes and can even elicit schizophrenia in people predisposed to the condition, as a long-term side-effect.
4. It can lead to chronic bronchitis and chronic lung disease.
5. Socially it can lead to young people dropping out of school.
VAPING: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Between 2010 and 2019, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the US received 35 reports of seizures linked to e-cigarette use. Epilepsy has become associated with vaping, but it’s critical to note that many of the seizures occurred in people who had pre-existing epilepsy and/or were additionally using other substances, so the results are inconclusive. Some vaping solutions do contain nicotine, which raises blood pressure and heart rate, which could potentially be related to seizures, but there’s not enough evidence at this point.
What is proven is that nicotine has negative implications for the cardiovascular system and can lead to an elevation in liver enzymes, which makes it a metabolic risk. E-cigarettes can also contain carcinogen formaldehyde, which could increase cancer risk. There are also reports of traces of silicone in vaping ‘juice’, which increase the risk of lung disease.