Twenty years of scientific research on marijuana has given Americans a bird’s eye view of the potentials of marijuana both as a medicine and as a harmful drug. Despite the good that marijuana use has brought to the field of medicine and cancer research, there is still so much doubt and suspicion regarding its benefits.
So far, throughout 20 years of research since the 1990s, acute cannabis use did not produce fatal overdoses. However, driving under the influence of cannabis may result in fatal accidents especially if the users are intoxicated with alcohol at the same time. Moreover, taking cannabis for pregnant women may reduce the baby’s weight.
Long-term use of marijuana also has negative consequences. First, regular cannabis use may cause addiction and dependence to the user. Frequent or regular cannabis users also experience greater risk for mental and social misbehavior especially if their families are already affected by a history of psychotic disorders. The same risks are present when users have been taking cannabis since their teens.
Research has also revealed that cannabis users generally have lower educational attainment although the link still needs further evidence. Regular cannabis use from one’s teens until one becomes an adult may also bring about intellectual impairment as well as schizophrenia, depression or psychotic symptoms.
Moreover, research has proven time,and again that regular marijuana users usually develop chronic bronchitis or lung problems. This is particularly due to the deeply inhaled cannabis smoke. Also, many middle aged adults develop or increase the risk of a myocardial infarction while taking marijuana.
Research on marijuana’s beneficial effects has been minimal except when it came to isolated individual cases. In fact, one of the latest research at Washington State University showed that chronic use of marijuana dampens a person’s response to stress. This means that the longer one uses marijuana, the more insensitive he is to stress. As stress is triggered by cortisol levels, marijuana deadens the response. However, the released cortisol may have occasional benefits like mobilizing stored energy or responding to environmental threats appropriately.
Aside from the unconfirmed and inconsistent benefits of marijuana to its users, a study from Georgia State University concluded that marijuana use will increase the risk of hypertension and death due to high blood pressure. Thus, 20 years of research into marijuana only presents the worst effects of the drug.