Understanding the Risks of Marijuana
Apr 17, 2023
Marijuana is a mind-altering drug that comes from the cannabis plant. A common drug in the United States, several states have recently legalized its medical or recreational use. Here’s are some relevant statistics around marijuana use in the United States.
- 52 million people in America used marijuana in 2022
- 39 states have made high-grade medical marijuana legal
- 19 states have made medical and recreational marijuana legal
- 74% Americans, or 248 million people, can now legally use marijuana in some way
- 91% of American adults think that marijuana should be legal
- 67% of doctors think that medical marijuana should be legal[i]
Source: Marijuana Statistics in the US: Cannabis Use & Abuse (2022 Data Update)
Health Risks of Marijuana Use
Despite its popularity, marijuana also carries a number of risks that have been extensively studied by researchers and healthcare professionals. One of the major risks of marijuana use is its potential impact on mental health. Regular marijuana use has been linked to an increased risk of developing depression, anxiety and psychosis.[ii]
Another significant risk of marijuana use is its potential impact on the brain. Research has shown that marijuana can alter the structure and function of the brain, particularly in areas that are involved in memory, learning and decision-making. This can lead to cognitive impairment and can make it difficult to perform complex tasks or make informed decisions.[iii]
Marijuana use can also have negative effects on physical health. Smoking marijuana regularly has been linked to an increased risk of respiratory problems, such as chronic bronchitis and lung infections. It can also weaken the immune system and increase the risk of developing certain types of cancer, such as lung cancer. Marijuana use has also been linked to an increased risk of heart attack and stroke, particularly in older individuals or those with existing heart conditions.[iv]
An individual’s social life and relationships can also suffer as a result of marijuana use. It can impair an individual’s ability to communicate and interact with others, which can cause conflicts and strained relationships. It can also have a negative impact on performance at school or work, leading to academic or professional setbacks.[v]
You may be wondering: ‘Is marijuana addictive?’ The short answer is that marijuana use can lead to addiction. Approximately 9% of marijuana users will develop an addiction to the drug, and this number increases to around 17% among those who start using marijuana during adolescence. Marijuana addiction can lead to withdrawal symptoms, such as irritability, anxiety and loss of appetite, when an individual tries to stop using the drug.[vi]
In short, while marijuana use and legalization has grown in recent years, it is important to be aware that it also carries significant risks. It is only by being well-informed that individuals can make informed decisions on how to address this complex issue.
If you or someone you care about is struggling with substance use, our compassionate staff is here to help. Our comprehensive treatment program for substance use disorder has helped thousands of people achieve long-term recovery and live fulfilling lives. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us today: 833-505-4673.
[i] Marijuana Statistics in the US: Cannabis Use & Abuse (2022 Data Update) – CFAH
[ii] Know the Negative Effects and Risks of Marijuana Use | SAMHSA
[iii] Brain Health | Health Effects | Marijuana | CDC
[iv] Health Effects of Marijuana | Health Effects | Marijuana | CDC
[v] How does marijuana use affect school, work, and social life? | National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) (nih.gov)
[vi] Is marijuana addictive? | National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) (nih.gov)