The American Psychological Association recently released the results of a study which should alleviate some fears expressed by anti-marijuana groups and doctors. The purpose of the study was to determine if teens who use marijuana suffer from long-term health consequences.
Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and Rutgers University conducted a study on 408 males whose ages ranged from adolescence to their mid-30s. The participants fell into the following four groups:
Never used or rarely used marijuana,
Chronic users who started early on.
Users who only smoked during their teens
Users who used it later and continued to use marijuana
The group of participants who were chronic users and started early on smoked more than 200 days per year on average when they were 22 years old.
Did not find links between marijuana use and health issues
The results of the study should ease some of the concerns about the dangers of marijuana. The researchers found no links to physical or mental health issues (depression, psychotic symptoms or asthma) in any of the groups.
The researchers did not find any link to a wide range of health issues such as cancer, asthma, respiratory problems, depression, anxiety, allergies, headaches, or high blood pressure. Although researchers expected to find a link between marijuana use and some health conditions as previous studies seemed to allude to that, there were none.
Lead author, Jordan Bechtold said, “What we found was a little surprising.”
Medical marijuana clearly has benefits
This finding provides marijuana advocates with another reason as to why marijuana’s schedule label should be changed. Researchers are just starting to learn about the medical benefits and they have not even scratched the surface.
In July, researchers at Tel Aviv University conducted a study on rats with mid-femoral fractures and were able to determine that cannabidiol (CBD), a non-psychotropic component of cannabis, can help heal bone fractures.
In April, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) reported that marijuana can kill certain cancer cells. Their April 2015 publication noted that recent animal studies showed that marijuana can kill certain cancer cells and reduce the size of others. Evidence from one animal study suggests that extracts from whole-plant marijuana can shrink one of the most serious types of brain tumors.
Recent findings, as well as the admission by NIDA should be enough to reschedule marijuana to a less restrictive label and classify it as what it really is…a medicine.