With so much news about cannabis lately it can be hard to keep up. Every other day there are stories outlining both positive and negative effects of cannabis and many of the old beliefs about the drug are being challenged. To help people better understand cannabis Life Works has put together a summary of the latest research.
Addiction Potential: Cannabis research has shown that the drug is addictive but it is not as addictive as nicotine, heroin or many other drugs. People who are most likely to become addicted are those who use daily or people who use when they are young. There is also some evidence that suggest cannabis can be a gateway drug but it is important to remember that this evidence also calls nicotine and alcohol gateway drugs.
Cannabis and Driving: Cannabis slows reaction times and impairs drivers making it both dangerous and illegal to drive while high. Mixing cannabis and alcohol further impairs the senses and makes driving more dangerous.
Cannabis Strength: The main factor in the strength of cannabis is its THC content. Ever since people started using cannabis, they have looked for the strongest strains. With new agricultural and genetic advances, the strength of modern cannabis is significantly higher than it was just ten years ago. That means that much of the older research on cannabis may not be completely accurate. It also means that there is no way for most people to get an idea of an accurate dosage when they are taking cannabis.
Cannabis and Teens: Smoking cannabis as a teen can increase the risk of addiction but that is only the tip of the iceberg. Smoking cannabis while the brain is still developing can negatively affect IQ and have short term negative effects like impairing critical thinking and memory. While the effects on critical thinking and memory will wear off after a few days, Lowering IQ is permanent even if the users stops using cannabis as an adult.
Understanding these risk factors can help people make healthier choices and better understand what the put in their bodies.