The Question of Marijuana Safety
With the move toward the decriminalization or legalization of marijuana in several parts of America, many people have the impression that recreational use or marijuana is safe. This is a dangerous assumption that can cause serious consequences for casual users and those people who think they can self-meditate with the drug.
According to a review of 77 previously published papers by top officials at the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), they concluded there are some very real concerns involving marijuana use.
“Marijuana has been associated with substantial adverse effects, some of which have been determined with a high level of confidence.”
Addiction and co-occurring disorders like depression and anxiety or abnormal brain development in teens, are just a few health problems that are being documented. It should be noted that past studies have not differentiated between medical and recreational use, and have been relatively low in numbers due to the lack of government support and little access to research cannabis products.
Consider the following – A 2011 study found that about 9% of all first-time users will become “addicted”; a 2009 study estimated about one in six teenagers who take up cannabis become dependent on it; and a 2012 study suggested that some 2.7 million Americans 12 and older could be considered dependent on marijuana.
Those are alarming numbers, especially considering that the marijuana laws have just started to change after many years. Answers about the strength of drugs available, different varieties of marijuana and quality control are needed, along with research into the benefits of potential medical use.
“As policy shifts toward legalization of marijuana, it is reasonable and probably prudent to hypothesize that its use will increase and that, by extension, so will the number of persons for whom there will be negative health consequences,” the officials wrote in the review, published in the June 5 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.
So is marijuana safe? Not an easy question to answer…but probably not.