Marijuana the sequel.

In response to the comments I received on my last post regarding marijuana I decided to dig a little deeper. I was admonished for using information from an anti-drug website to support my argument that marijuana has harmful side effects. The following articles are from websites and organizations that, as far as I can tell, have no bias one way or the other. I was surprised to find that on of the most popular arguments for legalized marijuana is that it is the least dangerous of the illegal drugs. I think that is the same as arguing that you want to be shot with the least dangerous bullet. What the hell does that mean? In any case I understand that I am not going to convince a pothead to quit smoking pot. I understand that they will argue that pot is safe even if I found an article from the most reputable, unbiased source saying that pot smoking will kill you in 30 seconds. These posts are not for them, they are for those who are on the fence. Check these resources for yourselves.

From Web Md, hardly an anti-drug site.

Risks of Marijuana Use
The risks of smoking pot go up with heavy use. Although the link has never been proven, many experts believe heavy pot smokers are at increased risk for lung cancer.
Heavy marijuana use lowers men's testosterone levels and sperm count and quality. Pot could decrease libido and fertility in some heavy-smoking men.
Contrary to what many pot smokers may tell you, marijuana is addictive, at least psychologically. Even among occasional users, one in 12 can feel withdrawal symptoms if they can't get high when they want to. Among heavy pot smokers, the rates of dependence are higher.
Many experts also believe that marijuana is physically addictive. Symptoms of withdrawal from pot might include:
· aggression
· anxiety
· depressed mood
· decreased appetite

This from which is an online encyclopedia that shows its sources at the bottom if you care to follow up.

The cardiovascular system is affected by an increased heart rate and dilation of eye blood vessels. The American Heart Association maintains that marijuana smoking may induce heart attacks. Difficulty in coordinating body movements and pains in the chest may be other effects of the drug. Heavy users may experience a decrease in immune function. Males who smoke marijuana could also experience a decreased sperm count. Less is known about marijuana's effects on the lungs than cigarette smoking, but the evidence points to long-term damage similar to the effects of tobacco smoking. Chronic users suffer from throat irritation, persistent cough, chronic bronchitis, and emphysema

This is a study posted by the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) on their website and was the study that was reference by the individuals on the web page that I posted in the first article. I was accused of using biased information. I think you will find that the JAMA is hardly biased.

The residual cognitive effects of heavy marijuana use in college students
H. G. Pope Jr and D. Yurgelun-Todd Biological Psychiatry Laboratory, McLean Hospital, Belmont, MA 02178, USA.
OBJECTIVE: To assess whether frequent marijuana use is associated with residual neuropsychological effects. DESIGN: Single-blind comparison of regular users vs infrequent users of marijuana. PARTICIPANTS: Two samples of college undergraduates: 65 heavy users, who had smoked marijuana a median of 29 days in the last 30 days (range, 22 to 30 days) and who also displayed cannabinoids in their urine, and 64 light users, who had smoked a median of 1 day in the last 30 days (range, 0 to 9 days) and who displayed no urinary cannabinoids. INTERVENTION: Subjects arrived at 2 PM on day 1 of their study visit, then remained at our center overnight under supervision. Neuropsychological tests were administered to all subjects starting at 9 AM on day 2. Thus, all subjects were abstinent from marijuana and other drugs for a minimum of 19 hours before testing. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Subjects received a battery of standard neuropsychological tests to assess general intellectual functioning, abstraction ability, sustained attention, verbal fluency, and ability to learn and recall new verbal and visuospatial information. RESULTS: Heavy users displayed significantly greater impairment than light users on attention/executive functions, as evidenced particularly by greater perseverations on card sorting and reduced learning of word lists. These differences remained after controlling for potential confounding variables, such as estimated levels of premorbid cognitive functioning, and for use of alcohol and other substances in the two groups. CONCLUSIONS: Heavy marijuana use is associated with residual neuropsychological effects even after a day of supervised abstinence from the drug. However, the question remains open as to whether this impairment is due to a residue of drug in the brain, a withdrawal effect from the drug, or a frank neurotoxic effect of the drug. from marijuana.
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