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Marijuana Use Not Without Risks

Updated: Sep 11, 2018

The marijuana industry portrays pot use as safe and a normal part of everyday life. Science-based facts show significant risks are associated with using marijuana, especially for youth. While proponents of marijuana argue that it is a much safer drug than alcohol or opioids (no argument there), it is not without risks. Not only is the smokable product much stronger than experienced by previous generations, even more dangerous are the concentrates and edibles that are readily available.


A study by the Colorado Retail Marijuana Public Health Advisory Committee, published in 2017, found the following:


· Substantial and moderate evidence that teens and young adults who use marijuana are more likely to experience impaired memory and cognitive function, and are at greater risk for developing psychotic symptoms and marijuana dependency as adults.

· Strong evidence that marijuana smoke contains many of the same cancer-causing chemicals found in tobacco smoke. Research is conflicting as to whether heavier smokers of marijuana could develop lung cancer.

· Moderate level of scientific evidence that marijuana use increases risk for some forms of stroke in individuals younger than 55.

· Credible evidence of clinically important drug interactions between marijuana and medications such as some anti-seizure medications and a common blood-thinner.

· Risk of a motor vehicle crash increases among drivers with recent marijuana use. The higher the blood THC level, the higher the motor vehicle crash risk.

· Strong evidence shows that daily or near-daily marijuana users are likely to have impaired memory lasting a week or more after quitting.


It has generally been considered that marijuana, like most other drugs with abuse potential, would cause about 1 in 10 users to develop dependency. But according to the results of the 2018 Global Drug Survey, a large percentage of marijuana users around the world report symptoms of dependence, despite marijuana's reputation for being one of the safest and most commonly used drugs today. Of all cannabis users worldwide, 20.2 percent showed signs of dependence. Only tobacco and alcohol were reportedly more widely used than marijuana.


While marijuana use by youth has been associated with wasted time, discontinuation of other interests, negative self-identity, mental health disorders and physical health problems, perhaps most significant is the potential long-term effect on our very society. Heavy marijuana use is linked to lower academic functioning, lower income, welfare dependence, unemployment, criminal behavior, and lower life satisfaction.


Is the high worth the cost??

Not without risk!

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