As marijuana gains legal status in many areas, its safety and impact on health become increasingly important topics. While a survey found that two-thirds of Americans support recreational marijuana use and its medical application is widely accepted, questions remain about its overall safety and potential health risks.
Notably, marijuana use is not without consequences. Regular use, especially in high doses, has been linked to several health issues. For instance, marijuana can impair memory and cognitive function, and its use before surgery may increase the risk of complications, including respiratory problems. Furthermore, there is evidence suggesting that marijuana use during pregnancy can adversely affect developing babies’ brains.
Despite these concerns, it’s crucial to recognize that the effects of marijuana are not fully understood, and more research is needed. This uncertainty is particularly relevant for individuals with a family history of psychosis or schizophrenia, as early cannabis use during adolescence might trigger psychotic symptoms and potentially longer-lasting problems.
Moreover, the concept of “heavy use” is subjective and varies from substance to substance. Unlike alcohol, where infrequent yet heavy consumption can be problematic, issues with cannabis often arise from daily, multiple uses.
The study of weed science, focusing on controlling unwanted plants, also plays a role in understanding the broader impacts of cannabis use. It’s a field that covers not just agricultural crops but extends to horticulture, turfgrass, pastures, and more, highlighting the opportunistic nature of weeds and their potential to disrupt various ecosystems.
In conclusion, while marijuana may be increasingly accepted and legal, it’s essential to approach its use with caution, considering the potential risks and the current gaps in our understanding of its long-term effects.
Clemson University Home & Garden Information Center
Go Ask Alice!
Harvard Health Blog
Penn State Extension
Harvard Science in the News