A recent study on the effects of marijuana suggest that the drug can cause schizophrenia and increase the risk of heart attack in consumers. The report was released by the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine, and contains information from many studies of the drug from 1999- forward. With eight states and the District of Columbia now allowing recreational marijuana, there is a growing need to educate the public on the risks and harms associated with the drug.
Cannabis has rapidly become the most used illicit drug in the United States. In an article on tucson.com, “Based on a recent nationwide survey, 22.2 million Americans ages 12 and older reported using cannabis in the past 30 days. This survey also reports that 90 percent of adult cannabis users in the United States said their primary use was recreational…” But the popularity of the drug doesn’t make its effects any less dangerous.
According to an article on DailyMail.com, “Strong evidence links marijuana use to the risk of developing schizophrenia and other causes of psychosis, with the highest risk among the most frequent users.” Considering the large following the drug has developed, it’s alarming to realize the extremely detrimental effects frequent use can leave users scared with. This discovery of the link between marijuana use and mental illness really shouldn’t come as a surprise though. According to another article further delving into the topic on DailyMail.com:
Many scientists have been warning for years that cannabis can trigger hallucinations and delusions similar to symptoms found in schizophrenia…Its ability to cause psychotic conditions is probably related to long-term changes in the brain caused by a substance found in marijuana called tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
Not only is there a link between marijuana and mental health issues, scientists have also state that use of the drug can trigger a heart attack. Live Science “pointed to a 2001 study published in the journal Circulation, where researchers concluded that smoking marijuana increased people’s risk of a heart attack 4.8 times in the first hour after smoking it, compared with their baseline risk.” Use of Marijuana has also been linked to heart attacks in people as young as their twenties.
Rather than moving forward with the continued recreational legalization of this drug, it’s important that we take time to study and learn more about its effects on consumers. With links to serious diseases like schizophrenia and consequences like heart attacks, cannabis use does not come without consequences. As this drug becomes increasingly accessible, the public must be educated in order to be aware of the potential dangers and make responsible decisions concerning contact with it.