In much of the United States, the medical and recreational use of marijuana is now legal. Predictability, the use of cannabis in America has increased somewhat. Cannabis contains potent chemicals that can have severe effects on the human body and brain.
Side Effects of Cannabis Use
Cannabis use may lead to a variety of side effects. Research indicates that these effects may include altered senses, cognitive impairment, dizziness, drowsiness, euphoria, fatigue, impaired balance, paranoia, and reduced coordination. In some cases, these side effects may be severe. Fortunately, most people who use cannabis report a low incidence of undesired effects.
What is more concerning is the possibility of long-term side effects, particularly for adolescents. Though it’s difficult to determine the exact numbers, there is considerable evidence that suggests that students who use marijuana regularly may have poorer educational outcomes than their peers.
Finally, most people who use marijuana heavily report that they have reduced career achievements, cognitive abilities, social lives, and physical health.
The Cost to Society
If heavy marijuana use becomes widespread, it’s not difficult to imagine that society will bear the costs associated with a generation of drug addicts who cannot care for themselves. However, there are potential benefits to society as well.
The National Institutes of Health report that the compounds in marijuana may help treat many conditions, such as anxiety, chronic pain, epilepsy, glaucoma, inflammatory bowel disease, and insomnia. These conditions have an undeniable cost to society.
Cannabis is easy to grow in most of the United States. This can make cannabis a less expensive, homegrown alternative to factory-produced pharmaceuticals.
There is simply no way to get an accurate picture of the cost to society of increasing marijuana use. Getting an accurate idea will take significantly more research on the subject.
First of all, children and teens shouldn’t use cannabis, except under the close supervision of a qualified medical professional. The current medical research indicates that the potential impact on developing brains is high. Is marijuana use the right choice for you? If you are an adult, you are free to make that choice. For most adults, there is a minimal likelihood of experiencing harmful side effects. Some cannabis users even report that using the substance has had a positive impact on their health and well-being. As far as the cost to society goes, as long as you are a responsible adult and don’t become a heavy user, the cost to society is likely neutral.