Effects

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sgarrett
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Joined: 08/21/2014 - 12:37
Effects

Some people question whether or not one can become dependent on marijuana. Is marijuana dependence as severe as dependence to other substances?

sgarrett
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Joined: 08/21/2014 - 12:37

What effects does marijuana use have on the lungs and does it cause lung cancer?

sgarrett
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Joined: 08/21/2014 - 12:37

With the increase in potency of THC in cannabis, what physical and psychological effects is this having on marijuana users?

kim johnson
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Expert_25
Joined: 03/05/2012 - 17:35

This is an interesting question, because it depends on what you mean by severe. If you mean the percent of people that use it that become addicted, then it is lower than alcohol (15% alcohol, 9% marijuana) but the prevelence of marijuana dependency has been growing and researchers attribute that to growing potency coinciding with growing availability that is caused by medical marijuana laws. (if people want me to add citations, I can) If you mean the effects of marijuana on the person, then that is another it depends question. Withdrawal isn't as dramatic as it is from opiates or alcohol, but the long term effects of marijuana use, whether the user is dependent or not are pretty dramatic in terms of mood, motivation and cognitive functioning. I think people think it is less severe because the behavioral consequences have less of an effect on society - there isn't an obvious relationship between marijuana and violence as there is for other drugs, so people perceive it to be less harmful.

gagerdh
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Joined: 08/04/2014 - 11:09

Isn't there evidence of long-term effects on the brain of adolescents who use frequently? Also, while there is not violence per se, the experience in Colorado seems to suggest a high correlation of marijuana use and motor vehicle accidents. Australian research from some years ago indicated that even professional airline pilots did not think they were impaired after smoking cannabis but did indeed have impairments in reaction time and other responses necessary for driving safely.

kim johnson
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Expert_25
Joined: 03/05/2012 - 17:35

Here is a citation for the one of the studies you mentioned: Salomonsen-Sautel, S., Min, S. J., Sakai, J. T., Thurstone, C., & Hopfer, C. (2014). Trends in fatal motor vehicle crashes before and after marijuana commercialization in Colorado. Drug and alcohol dependence, 140, 137-144.

I couldn't find one about pilots.