The adverse health effects of chronic cannabis use

Drug Test Anal. 2014 Jan-Feb;6(1-2):39-45. doi: 10.1002/dta.1506. Epub 2013 Jul 8.


This paper summarizes the most probable of the adverse health effects of regular cannabis use sustained over years, as indicated by epidemiological studies that have established an association between cannabis use and adverse outcomes; ruled out reverse causation; and controlled for plausible alternative explanations. We have also focused on adverse outcomes for which there is good evidence of biological plausibility. The focus is on those adverse health effects of greatest potential public health significance--those that are most likely to occur and to affect a substantial proportion of regular cannabis users. These most probable adverse effects of regular use include a dependence syndrome, impaired respiratory function, cardiovascular disease, adverse effects on adolescent psychosocial development and mental health, and residual cognitive impairment.

Keywords: cannabis; chronic use; health effects.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cannabinoids / adverse effects*
  • Cannabis / adverse effects*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / etiology
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / etiology
  • Marijuana Abuse / complications*
  • Marijuana Smoking / adverse effects*
  • Mental Disorders / etiology
  • Mental Health


  • Cannabinoids