Legalizing marijuana has already been accomplished in several states. Other states have been apprehensive to legalize marijuana for medical or recreational use. Just what are the pros and cons of legalizing marijuana? Which of those claims are backed by science?
A Possible Alternative for Dangerous Opiate Prescriptions
One of the most commonly listed positive for the legalization of marijuana is that it could be used as an alternative for pain relief. Hundreds of thousands of Americans use opiate based pain medications prescribed by a doctor. Those medications often cause addiction and can also result in accidental overdoses that can harm the patient or cause their death. Two decades of studies on marijuana have shown promise for use in chronic pain.
In 2014, JAMA published a study that took them nearly 10 years to complete. In it, they compared overdose deaths involving opioids. In states where marijuana was legalized, the deaths of opiate overdose during the study was around 25% less than in states without legal marijuana.
Potential Decrease in Highway Fatalities
An interesting positive study out of both Colorado and Washington looked at the driving habits of people who consumed legal marijuana. In both states, studies showed that there was a decrease in highway fatalities (while also showing an increase in the number of drivers who tested positive for marijuana).
Marijuana Isn’t Without Its Risks
Commonly thought of by the public as a drug without negative side effects, marijuana isn’t without its risks. It is believed that legalizing marijuana will increase its use. Although many states make the age to purchase legal marijuana between 18 and 21, it would still find its way into the hands of those below the legal age. Marijuana has been proven to negatively affect the brains of young people. Since the brain doesn’t stop growing until people reach around 25 years old, marijuana can cause detrimental effects on those who use it before their brain stops growing.
An Increase in Psychotic Behavior
Another risk society faces with legalizing marijuana lies in the use of THC. Prolonged use of THC can cause momentary and permanent psychosis. This is extremely concerning for people who may have a genetic predisposition to mental illness. Using marijuana may cause them to develop a mental illness or may cause a mental illness to become worse much faster than if they hadn’t used marijuana.
Potential Breathing Problems
When marijuana is smoked, users inhale smoke into their throat and lungs. Individuals in their 30s and older who smoke marijuana are more likely to develop bronchitis or other breathing problems when compared to their peers who do not smoke marijuana.
Legalizing and Using Marijuana Requires a Lot of Thought
If you live in a state where marijuana was legalized, make sure that you talk to your healthcare provider or your mental health professional before you use it so that you fully understand any risks. If you live in a state where marijuana is not legal, abide by the laws. If you know someone who was injured or died because of taking a defective drug, call Goldwater Law Firm. We provide free case evaluations.