Marijuana Health Effects Scrutinized By Scientists

With the increasing legalization of both medical and recreational use of pot, studies on marijuana health effects surge as a way to provide evidence on the real pros and cons of using the drug. Top scientists have published studies on the medical benefits as well as exploring the possible negative consequences of pot. Recently, the federal advisory panel released the studies' conclusion on marijuana.

According to the report published this week by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine (NAS), one of the more known benefits of weed is its ability to ease chronic pain and help with insomnia. However, it is also found to potentially increase the chances of schizophrenia and heart attack in some people. Due to the conflicting findings and lack of information on the chemical, NAS commented that the unknown effects of marijuana "poses a public health risk".

The NAS committee looked at 10,000 compiled studies on marijuana to look for a conclusive finding on marijuana health effects. They found a mixture of positive and significant reports on the drug. The positive ones include its effectivity as a pain reliever in cancer patients due to its cannabinoid content, the Chicago Suntimes says.

However, the downside includes health risks such as low birth weight in babies from women who smoke pot during pregnancy. Another is the unknown risk of developing cancer and chronic respiratory problems. Although it can help in boosting appetite of HIV infected patients, there is also strong suggestion that it can increase dependence on other illicit drugs, alcohol, and tobacco.

There is also strong evidence linking it to mental health disorders such as psychosis. Only weak evidence is present to support its effectivity on treating Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. There is also evidence that suggests driving under the influence of marijuana increase the risk of accidents and vehicle injuries, the NPR reports.

With the increasing popularity of weed, 22 million adults were reported to have used it last month, government have also started to support its legal use but with certain limitations and caveats. The use of the drug should rightly just be limited for now on its known benefits. It might be a smart move not to binge on the drug right away given the massive lack of studies of marijuana health effects.

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