Studies, 100 Conclusions: How Marijuana Impacts Your Health

Study On Marijuana Health Effects Finds Mixed Results

Study On Marijuana Health Effects Finds Mixed Results

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine study added that due to Schedule 1 status, it is hard for medical teams to conduct research on medical marijuana.

A new and lengthy report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine seeks to remedy this by examining more than 10,000 scientific abstracts of cannabis studies published since 1999, reaching almost 100 conclusions.

The committee reviewed research dating back to 1999, "giving primacy to recently published systematic reviews (since 2011) and high-quality primary research for eleven groups of health endpoints".

Some good news for marijuana users: there's no evidence that smoking cannabis increases your risk of lung, head or neck cancer, like tobacco use does. Roughly 10 percent of those people reported using cannabis exclusively for medical reasons and 36 percent reported a mix of recreational and medical use.

In most of these areas, the report concludes that robust evidence is lacking, as research has largely failed to keep pace with the proliferation of marijuana use in the U.S. This dearth of research into the impacts of marijuana use in the U.S.is due in part to the fact that cannabis is listed as a "Schedule I" drug-along with heroin and LSD among others-by the US Drug Enforcement Agency, making obtaining marijuana for experiments and funding for such studies hard. Moreover, the lack of any aggregated knowledge of cannabis-related health effects has led to uncertainty about what, if any, are the harms or benefits of its use. "We found conclusive or substantial evidence.for benefit from cannabis or cannabinoids for chronic pain, chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting, and patient-reported symptoms of spasticity associated with multiple sclerosis", the authors say. There's also moderate evidence that cannabis and cannabinoids improve sleep for people with a range of disorders (chronic pain, sleep apnea, etc.) in the short-term.

Furthermore, the team found no evidence of a link between marijuana use in pregnancy and cancer risk in offspring.

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Risks of cannabis use however include the possibility of triggering a heart attack, but more research is needed to understand "whether and how cannabis use is associated with heart attack, stroke, and diabetes". Although evidence indicates that cannabis is likely to increase the risk of mental health problems, such as schizophrenia, social anxiety, and depression, little is known about the actual causality. In contrast, subjects with schizophrenia and other types of psychoses that use marijuana may show a better performance in tasks that require mental effort.

Closer to home, the first journalist to own the marijuana beat, the Denver Post's Ricardo Baca, declared he'll no longer edit The Cannabist as he embarks on a new startup venture. The report also showed a link between greater frequency of cannabis use and cannabis use at an early age and an increased risk of developing problem cannabis use.

The data of people who uses cannabis is growing and is not dropping. Smoking marijuana while pregnant may be linked to lower birth weights, but it's not clear if there are any long-term effects to children born to moms who smoked pot while pregnant. Until now approximately half of the USA states have approved the legalization of medical marijuana.

There's substantial evidence that driving under the influence causes an "increased risk of motor vehicle crashes", the report concludes. Meanwhile, eight more states and the District of Columbia have also legalized the drug to be used for recreational purposes.

One big obstacle is that the Drug Enforcement Agency continues to classify marijuana as a Schedule 1 controlled substance, which means it's not considered to have medical benefit. The 395-page research paper termed as "The Health Effects of Cannabis and Cannabinoids" released by NAP has offered the most detailed review of medical marijuana till date.