Photo cred - Dope Your Life

Society's preconception that "weed is bad" has slowly been changing over the years. We've seen evidence of changing attitudes towards weed to the south, with US states legalizing marijuana, in the growing merit of marijuana as a treatment of diseases, and the relaxed attitude towards cannabis in our own community, though that isn't exactly new. With the much more positive light modernly shed on marijuana, you'd think the green stuff was truly good for you. One collection of research seeks to prove otherwise.

Wayne Hall, a researcher who studied the adverse effects of cannabis on the human body in 1993, wished to see how things have changed in the last 20 years, after many more studies have been carried out on the topic. Compiling research over two decades, including studies from New Zealand, Germany, and the Netherlands, his findings won't be pleasing to smokers.

According to Hall, over the past 20 years, research on smoking marijuana has shown that:

  1. 1 in 10 people who regularly smoke marijuana will develop a dependence
  2. Driving while high will double the risk of a car crash
  3. Teenagers who regularly smoke are twice as likely to drop out of school
  4. Chronic use of cannabis as a teenager and into adulthood increases the likelihood of cognitive impairment (though the exact reason why is unknown)
  5. Regular smokers have double the risk of developing mental disorder like schizophrenia, especially if there is a family history and they started smoking in adolescence
  6. Marijuana smokers are more likely to develop chronic bronchitis
  7. Those who smoke marijuana as a teenager are much more likely to use other/harder illegal drugs
  8. A strong link exists between smoking weed and the development of cardiovascular diseases in middle-aged adults.

A very depressing mix of findings, especially, if like many of us in Montreal, you've been smoking weed since high school. Not all is lost though, as many academics believe many of the aforementioned adverse effects can be cased by many different factors, and not solely due to smoking weed. One example would be the likelihood of doing other drugs. It isn't the marijuana forcing the person to try other substances, it is the environment and persons (like a drug dealer) you encounter when smoking weed that increase the chances.

For more, follow Michael on Twitter @MDAlimonte

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