Got the munchies?
What new laws legalizing pot may mean for our health.
I don’t personally smoke (or eat) marijuana, but I do live in Colorado, so if I decided to take up the habit, I would no longer be risking arrest. As of last week, Colorado and Washington became the first two states to legalize the recreational use of the drug.
As soon as the news broke, the jokes started flying (Rocky Mountain high, anyone?). Even my state’s governor, John Hickenlooper, couldn’t resist taking a “pot” shot:
“Federal law still says marijuana is an illegal drug, so don’t break out the Cheetos or Goldfish too quickly.”
But just because smoking weed will no longer get you arrested in these two states doesn’t mean it can’t wreak havoc on your health. The adverse effects of pot smoking (or eating — since the edibles market is likely to increase in places where consumption is now legal) are the subject of much debate. Pot’s proponents claim that a little weed is no worse for you than a cocktail or a couple glasses of wine. And to some extent, they’ve got a point. Some of the major hazards of marijuana intoxication are virtually the same as those associated with alcohol intoxication — namely, impairments in reaction time, information processing, motor coordination and focus.
Other connections to ill health are a little more elusive. A couple of studies have linked regular marijuana use to an increased risk of testicular cancer.
And it stands to reason that smoking pot can set you up for many of the same respiratory troubles —such as chronic cough and bronchitis — as cigarette smoking. And according to Wayne Hall, a cannabis researcher at the University of Queensland, Australia, marijuana use is “highly correlated with use of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs — all of which adversely affect health.”
The real question, though, is whether or not legalization will make more people likely to overlook the potential health dangers and become marijuana users. I don’t know of anyone who reacted to the election news by going out and grabbing their first pot brownie, but it is possible that some people will now treat Colorado and Washington as stateside versions of Amsterdam. Honestly, I don’t think the law will ultimately change most peoples’ behavior, and, with any luck, it will add some revenue to the states’ coffers.
So I may not smoke it, but yeah, I voted for it.
I couldn't have said it better. I am not a smoker, pot or otherwise, but I voted for the law.
To have two other dangerous drugs alcohol and cigarettes legal and eliminate potential revenue from a third, did not make a lot of sense to me. I enjoy my occasional beer, but
could live without it. Legal or not, people are going to use all three and probably shorten their lives, which is their business. Let's make some money off of it and help our state. By the way, I'm 75 and looking forward to 100.
its always bad when the smartest people in society are the most jaded
So.....Ms. Article writer, you voted for it, do not intend to use it, and you write an article listing all of the health hazards. Are you wishing bad health, and eventually death to all your fellow Coloadans? I ask because there appears to be a disconnect between your vote and your belief about the health risks.
Just to keep the record straight, I do not live in Colorado. I have never smoked the weed and do not ever intend to start. I also do not drink alcohol. Life is just fine the way it is, so there is no need to alter my perception with pot or booze.