Roxanne Khamsi of Scientific American has delivered a cursory overview of how recreational marijuana use affects public health and safety in ways that trouble researchers. Her report — which, again, focuses only on areas of worry — is worth reading.
While this piece may not be “balanced,” it is entirely accurate.
Although many physicians agree that marijuana is safe enough to temporarily alleviate the symptoms of certain medical conditions, the safety of recreational use is poorly understood. Researchers worry that both the short- and long-term use of the drug may harm the body and mind. Marijuana’s continued popularity among teenagers raises particular concern because the drug might hinder the ongoing maturation of the adolescent brain. Making matters worse, new growing techniques for the Cannabis sativa plant—from which marijuana is prepared—have dramatically increased the drug’s potency. Some experts suggest that such high-octane weed is fueling a rise in cannabis addiction. Finally, although investigators still debate how the legalization of recreational marijuana will change road safety overall, studies indicate that the drug slows reaction time and impairs distance perception behind the wheel. Despite such evidence, most new marijuana regulations, for medical or recreational use, fail to account for these potential risks.
Read the full report here.