Is Cannabis Really Safe? Unraveling the Complexities of Marijuana Use


Is Cannabis Really Safe? Unraveling the Complexities of Marijuana Use

As marijuana legalization spreads across the United States, with 33 states allowing its medical use and 11 for recreational purposes, a paradox emerges. Despite widespread public use, significant uncertainties and concerns remain within the medical community. Alvin Powell, a Harvard Staff Writer, highlights these complexities in an article dated February 24, 2020. The piece underscores a crucial point: legalization does not necessarily equate to safety.

Recent research has raised concerns about marijuana’s impact on mental health, especially in individuals with a family history of psychosis or schizophrenia. Early use during adolescence, in particular, may not be advisable. Cannabis can trigger psychotic symptoms and potentially lead to lasting issues with psychosis and schizophrenia. These findings were detailed by Clea Simon, a Harvard Correspondent, reflecting a growing apprehension about the drug’s impact on brain health.

Harvard Staff Writer further elaborates on the drug’s increased potency in recent years. Legalization has led to the breeding of strains with significantly higher THC levels than those available decades ago, raising questions about the increased psychoactive effects.

However, marijuana’s safety profile is not solely a concern for younger demographics. A study reports a notable rise in use among individuals aged 65 and older between 2015 and 2018. Compared to prescription drugs, the health consequences of marijuana use are less understood, particularly in this age group. This information, sourced from Harvard Health and Health Encyclopedia, highlights the need for more comprehensive research.

Despite its widespread use, marijuana is not without risks. It can have significant cardiac and lung effects, including rapid heart rate and bronchitis, and may lead to addiction. High dosages can cause or exacerbate anxiety and even induce panic attacks. The impairment of motor skills is another concern, particularly regarding the operation of vehicles or heavy machinery. These risks, combined with potential drug interactions, especially with CBD, add layers of complexity to the discussion of cannabis safety.

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It’s clear that the debate over marijuana’s safety is far from settled. With its federal classification as a Schedule 1 drug, restrictions on scientific research persist, further complicating our understanding. As more states legalize its use, both medically and recreationally, the imperative for thorough, unbiased research grows ever more crucial.

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