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Two studies show increased health risks associated with Marijuana usage


Park Rangers destroying one of 6 Marijuana fields found in North Cascades National Park Complex Photo: Park Ranger/Flickr

Park Rangers destroying one of six Marijuana fields found in the state of Washington’s North Cascades National Park Complex.  Photo: Park Ranger/Flickr

As governments race ahead to see who can be the most progressive by legalizing Marijuana use, two more recently released studies are showing the negative risks associated with using Cannabis.

Perhaps the biggest problem with the legalization push is the growing perception that it is a safe drug leading many young people to use the drug.

According to a study published in JAMA Psychiatry by researchers from New York’s Columbia University, the rates of Marijuana substance abuse among Americans has doubled between 2001 and 2013.

In their study reported by Reuters, they compared two adult surveys on Marijuana usage involving 40,000 adults in 2001/2002 with a 36,000 adult survey in 2012/2013.

Between these two periods they discovered:

  • Marijuana usage doubled. The increase was particularly noticeable among blacks, Hispanics, women, middle age and older people and southerners.
  • Abuse or dependence problems had doubled with three out of 10 people (7 million Americans) reported being diagnosed with an addiction disorder associated with Marijuana usage compared to only 1.5 out 10 in the earlier survey. The increase was attributed to new users.
  • Previous pot users showed a 15% decline in Marijuana disorders. (This may suggest a recognition of their problem and efforts to reduce dependence.)

According to the report, 23 American states have legalized Marijuana usage for medical purposes and four states for recreational use. The study also noted Americans are increasingly open to the legalization of Marijuana and many believe there are few risks associated with the drug.

The Daily Mail reported on a second study conducted by The University Hospital of Strasbourg, Germany that revealed increased stroke risks associated with Marijuana usage.

In an analysis of 334 people, under the age of 45, who suffered ischemic strokes between 2005 and 2014, they discovered that 58 of them used Marijuana.

Ischemic stroke is caused by blockage of arteries in the brain due to plaque build-up which increases the risk of blood clots cutting off oxygen to the brain.

Their research showed that 45% of the Marijuana users had a narrowing of the brain’s arteries compared to only 14% for the regular population.

What the study found particularly disturbing was the increased number of strokes among younger people particularly males due to increased Marijuana usage. Strokes are most often associated with older populations.

They also noted that Marijuana users were more often involved in other risky behaviors confirming other research indicating that Cannabis is a gateway drug leading to harder drugs.

In the face of the growing chorus calling for legalization of Marijuana, the American Academy of Pediatrics has continued to voice it opposition because of the profound negative impact the drug has on the developing brains of adolescents.

Over the past few years, researchers have released multiple studies showing the dangers of this supposed “safe” drug particularly among young people. This research shows regular Marijuana usage can lead to the following negative consequences:

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