One man is claiming that marijuana may pose more danger than the public currently believes. With the push for the drug’s legalization, his findings are highly controversial.
Learning about marijuana
The National Institute on Drug Abuse stated that marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug in the nation. Drug usage has been steadily increasing since 2007, especially among young adults. Marijuana is still classified as a Schedule I substance, meaning it has no medicinal use and is considered addictive. However, two states have legalized the drug and 21 have passed laws allowing the drug to be used for medical conditions, such as cancer.
Researcher Wayne Hall from the World Health Organization is not new to the study of addiction. His most recent fixation has been marijuana, which he has been studying and researching since 1993. He finally published his thoughts on the drug’s effects on physical and mental health in the journal Addiction.
Hall distinguished his research between acute marijuana use and chronic marijuana use, noting the differences.
He noted that acute users cannot fatally overdose on marijuana. However, that does not mean the drug is not risky. People who drive while high have double the risk of getting into a car crash. This risk is even greater if the driver has also been drinking significant amounts of alcohol. Smoking while pregnant is not as dangerous as using other drugs, but it can slightly lower the baby’s weight.
The long-term effects of the marijuana
The findings were a little different for chronic users. This group can develop a dependence to the drug, with 1 in 10 of all users becoming reliant. However, the chances increase if a person began using the drug during adolescence, with 1 in 6 users becoming dependent. Regular use doubles the risk of dealing with psychotic symptoms or disorders, especially if the user’s family has a history of mental illness or if he or she began using the drug younger. Users who begin young are at double the risk of developing schizophrenia. Chronic users also have a lower education and use other illicit drugs, but Hall is unsure if marijuana is correlated. People who begin smoking marijuana at a young age deal with intellectual impairment, but Hall could not determine how the brain becomes impaired or how to reverse it. Regular users also have a higher chance of developing bronchitis and, if they are middle aged, developing a myocardial infarction.