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In the past few decades, marijuana has transitioned from a substance that was widely considered dangerous and harmful to a socially acceptable practice, much like drinking alcohol. While even strong proponents will identify certain negatives to using, such as paranoia or impaired thinking (and vehicle operation), there are many who cite additional reasons for their opposition to the widespread acceptance of the drug.
Discussing marijuana is a tricky topic because opinions on the subject are widely varied. While there is a growing body of research on the subject, many people still remain unaware of the short and long-term effects of this drug. Whether you use marijuana or not, it’s common to have questions about the booming trend in its use. 
In this article, we’ll answer the following questions, and provide a basic foundation of knowledge about this common drug.
  • How many states have legalized marijuana?
  • What are the health effects of legalized marijuana?
  • Is it possible to become addicted to marijuana?

Whether you use marijuana for medical or recreational purposes, daily or occasionally, here’s what you need to know.

How many states have legalized marijuana?

According to the DISA, 20 states have fully legalized marijuana use, including California, Michigan, Illinois, New York and Maine among others. There are seven states that have passed laws permitting medical use and decriminalized marijuana consumption in some form. Numerous other states have amended laws to allow for medical use or have taken measures to decriminalize marijuana in some way. 
While particular laws vary by state, there are only four states where marijuana use is completely prohibited, including medical use. Those states are South Carolina, Kansas, Wyoming and Idaho. It’s important to know how many states have legalized marijuana and to know the laws in your own state as well as any states you may be traveling to. While marijuana is legal in many places for medicinal and casual use, you don’t want to be caught unaware of the laws in your area.

What are the health effects of legalized marijuana?

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, marijuana and its components do have some evidence-based medical pros. There have been proven benefits for decreasing nausea in cancer patients receiving chemotherapy, stimulating appetites for patients with wasting syndrome due to AIDS and for some extreme cases of childhood epilepsy.
While these conditions are reasonably treated with legalized marijuana and others are undergoing clinical trials, there is little evidence that the long-term benefits might outweigh the risks of using marijuana as a treatment for serious conditions.
The health effects of legalized marijuana vary from person to person and are dependent on numerous factors. The impact of the drug on the body and brain is influenced by a person’s metabolism, size and weight, amount of the drug taken, history of drug use, the form of marijuana consumed and other factors.
Factoring in the above elements, the following are possible health effects of legalized marijuana according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  • Development of a marijuana use disorder
  • Impairment in memory, learning, attention, decision-making, reaction time and coordination
  • Emotional problems and behavioral issues
  • Potential effects on adolescent brain development
  • Toxins and harmful carcinogens consumed when smoked create a possible link to cancer
  • Distorted perception, potentially leading to fatal injuries and accidents
  • Increased heart rate and blood pressure
  • Increased risk of stroke, heart disease and other vascular diseases
  • Damage to the lungs when smoked
  • Anxiety and paranoia
  • Temporary psychosis
  • Increased risk of depression and suicide

Many people who look for the health effects of legalized marijuana are searching for confirmation that use reduces pain. Sadly, there is little evidence that this marijuana can treat acute or chronic pain except in some cases of nerve damage.

The risks of using marijuana are much more costly than the potential benefits.

Marijuana addiction statistics

Marijuana addiction is a scary and serious potential side effect of marijuana use. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that an estimated 3-in-10 individuals who use marijuana could be diagnosed with a substance use disorder. 
This is a daunting statistic, especially considering that marijuana is the second most commonly used psychoactive drug in the United States, second only to alcohol. Marijuana addiction statistics are a grave public health concern and should be addressed on community, local, state and federal levels with an increase in programs that support treatment for marijuana use disorders.
If you’ve found yourself unable to stop using marijuana despite multiple attempts, it’s likely you’re facing a marijuana use disorder. It can be hard to reach out for treatment, but the alternative of remaining in addiction is much worse. Make an investment in yourself and break free from marijuana use. Contact Silvermist Recovery today.