Is marijuana hazardous to your health?

Marijuana enthusiast often discounted research posted on social media channels as “reefer madness”, referencing a 1930’s film by the same name and/or in general a scare tactic approach by the government in the past to reduce and stigmatize marijuana usage.  Can we blame that for their skepticism? Unfortunately, high drama, low fact approaches to behavior change have caused and continues to cause a mistrust of information.

RecoveryPeople advocates for fact based awareness campaigns that engage individuals in dialog around the reasons why individuals may use substances and the risks associated with using one or more substances. Individuals cannot be fully informed if they do not trust some information channels.

Marijuana use disorder becomes addiction when the person cannot stop using the drug even though it interferes with many aspects of his or her life. Estimates of the number of people addicted to marijuana are controversial, in part because epidemiological studies of substance use often use dependence as a proxy for addiction even though it is possible to be dependent without being addicted.

  • Studies suggest that 9 percent of people who use marijuana will become dependent on it,24,25 rising to about 17 percent in those who start using in their teens.26,27
  • Recent data suggest that 30 percent of those who use marijuana may have some degree of marijuana use disorder.18
  • People who begin using marijuana before the age of 18 are four to seven times more likely to develop a marijuana use disorder than adults.19
  • People who use marijuana frequently often report irritability, mood and sleep difficulties, decreased appetite, cravings, restlessness, and/or various forms of physical discomfort that peak within the first week after quitting and last up to 2 weeks.20,21
  • Marijuana dependence occurs when the brain adapts to large amounts of the drug by reducing production of and sensitivity to its own endocannabinoid neurotransmitters.22,23
  •  Those studies suggest that 9 percent of people who use marijuana will become dependent on it,24,25 rising to about 17 percent in those who start using in their teens.26,27