Is Cannabis Use Harmless? Unpacking the Potential Health Risks


Is Cannabis Use Harmless? Unpacking the Potential Health Risks

The impact of cannabis on health is a subject of ongoing debate, with varying opinions and research findings. Despite its increasing legality, the safety of cannabis use remains a contentious topic.

Cannabis’s impact on oral health is significant. Studies suggest a potential increased risk of caries and periodontal disease, with cannabis possibly contributing to inflammation associated with oral mucositis and dry mouth. Changes in the oral microbiome might be responsible for these effects. For more insights, see College of Dentistry.

Anesthesiologists should be aware of a patient’s marijuana use as it can affect the type and amount of anesthesia required. Both marijuana and anesthesia influence the central nervous system, necessitating different anesthesia levels for regular marijuana users. More information on this can be found in a piece by Alvin Powell, Harvard Staff Writer, dated February 24, 2020, at Harvard Health.

The effects of marijuana, especially on developing babies during pregnancy, have been less widely publicized and studied compared to other drugs like alcohol. This lack of extensive research and public knowledge has shaped perceptions and discussions about marijuana use. Learn more about this at Harvard Science in the News.

Concerns have been raised about the long-term health risks of even moderate marijuana use, due to THC metabolites stored in fatty tissue. These metabolites, which can remain in the body for an extended period, especially for heavy users, raise questions about their impact on health. Columbia University’s Go Ask Alice! provides further insights on this topic.

Using cannabis safely is advised by Harvard Health. They recommend avoiding smoking cannabis, which can inflame the lungs. Instead, they suggest using tinctures, edibles, topical products, or dry herb vaporizers. Additionally, it’s advised not to drive for at least four hours after cannabis use. More details are available at Harvard Health.

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Marijuana smoke contains many toxins, irritants, and carcinogens found in cigarette smoke, contributing to heart disease and cancer. This similarity raises concerns about the long-term effects of marijuana smoke on health. Northwell Health’s article “Here’s What We Know About Marijuana And Your Lungs” provides further information on this topic.

While the legalization and acceptance of marijuana are growing, it is important to approach its use with caution, considering the potential health risks associated with its use. A recent CBS News/YouGov survey indicates a majority favoring legalization, but this does not negate the concerns raised by health experts. For more details, refer to Harvard Gazette.

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