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Here's what marijuana researchers have to say about 420 or ‘weed day'

·3 mins

It’s 420 or ‘weed day,’ and people around the world will be paying homage to their favorite guilty pleasure: marijuana.

Currently, 24 states, two territories and the District of Columbia in the United States have legalized marijuana for recreational use, making it that much easier for people to take a toke or pop an edible at 4:20 p.m. on April 20 (if not all day).

But not everyone joins in on the 420 festivities. Some scientists who study weed have become increasingly concerned about the potential harm cannabis can do to the body, especially when smoked or vaped.

‘When you burn something, whether it is tobacco or cannabis, it creates toxic compounds, carcinogens, and particulate matter that are harmful to health,’ Dr. Beth Cohen, professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, told CNN previously via email.

Marijuana smoke may even be more harmful than tobacco because users hold the hot smoke in their lungs longer to maximize their high. A study found teens were twice as likely to report ‘wheezing or whistling’ in the chest after vaping marijuana than after smoking cigarettes or using e-cigarettes.

Some experts worry about the dangers of secondhand marijuana smoke, which may be just as dangerous as primary smoke. Marijuana affects the central nervous system, with side effects primarily cardiovascular in nature. Research has linked marijuana use to increased stroke and heart attack risks, even in individuals without a history of heart disease or tobacco use.

Despite concerns, a majority of American adults still believe marijuana smoke or secondhand smoke is safer than tobacco smoke, even with children present.

Using marijuana has been linked to various health risks and complications. Smoking or vaping marijuana can harm the lungs and increase the levels of smoke-related toxins in the body. Weed use is associated with higher emergency care and hospitalization rates, heavy metal presence in the body, a rise in serious traffic accidents, and a global increase in marijuana addiction and marijuana use disorders.

Marijuana use during pregnancy can negatively impact a child’s health, leading to low birth weight, premature birth, and admission to neonatal intensive care units. Children born to marijuana users may exhibit various behavioral and cognitive problems.

Marijuana use also poses risks to adolescents, whose brains are still developing. Use during this period can have permanent effects on learning, memory, problem-solving skills, attention, and mental health. Overuse of marijuana by youth is associated with higher rates of mental disorders, self-harm, suicide attempts, and dropouts.

Daily use of marijuana can result in uncontrollable vomiting, and vaping marijuana is associated with a dangerous lung disease called EVALI.

There are some medicinal benefits to marijuana, such as reducing seizures and benefiting multiple sclerosis, nausea from chemotherapy, chronic pain, and inflammatory bowel disease. However, more research is needed to understand the full benefits and harms of using marijuana for medicinal purposes.

Research on marijuana has been limited due to funding restrictions and the federal classification of cannabis as a schedule I substance. Obtaining legal access to marijuana for research has been a challenge.

Overall, while marijuana can provide pleasure and potential medicinal benefits, it also carries various risks and potential harm to the body, especially when smoked or vaped. It’s important to consider these risks and exercise caution when using marijuana.