Daily Apple | Trending health topics © MSN Healthy Living

Got the munchies?

What new laws legalizing pot may mean for our health.

By Sally Wadyka Nov 15, 2012 6:49PM

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:
Colin Brynn/Getty Images
“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.

Nov 16, 2012 11:27AM
Reefer does not impair people in the same way that alcohol does. Unlike alcohol,there are no pot related accidents by those impaired by its use. That is,of course,unless you drop your joint ,bend down to pick it up and hit a phone pole. 
Nov 16, 2012 11:16AM
My brother never smoked and had testicular cancer, I smoked for years and have no issues...go figure.
Nov 16, 2012 11:01AM
This Guy is full of crap defiantly not pot.  Read the real studies that have proven the wonderful medical uses for pot.  
The list includes;
COPD- opens the air shacks and expels the mucus.
Arthritis - excellent pain relief
Cancer - gives you back your appetite
Glaucoma - only drug known to increase blood flow without raising BP
Chronic Heart failure -  increase blood flow without raising BP
PTSD - VA has determined that it is excellent for our troops with PTSD & issues it
Insomnia - helps to relax and brings on sleep safer than additive sleeping drugs

The list grows more and more and yet not one single thing that the government and anti-pot research claims has actually proven to be true or Harmful.

Even JC Smoked, Then again so did nearly every one of our Founding Fathers.  For those of you history buffs will know that English Law required every Farmers in America to grow 10% of their land in Hemp & export Hemp back to England for Rope, cloth, paper, ect..., IE POT PLANTS. 
No wonder they Hated Organized Religion, AH Yea, Why do you think they left England, Not to start a Christian Country, but to start a Country that was free FROM RELIGION, ALL RELIGIONS, and a place they could get a buzz with out recourse, wish the damn media would quit twisting things around and tell the FKN truth for once in their lives.  
the founding fathers even stated that organized religion has no place in government that's why there is a separation of church and state in the first place.
Don't really think George Washington actually smoked Tobacco in his pipe do you?
Nov 16, 2012 10:56AM
Until you pass it at the federal level, WA and CO are just, well, blowing smoke. I think it is hilarious that it tends to be the anti-tobacco lobby that has pushed for this. But the revenues envisioned are not going to be realized. Unlike tobacco and alchohol, you are talking about a weed you can grow in your window sill. So you a not going to cut down on law enforcement if you want to try to enforce that. But you will be hiring a whole new bueracracy.Legalizing it will probably be a net cost to the states, especially when the DEA still clamps down.
Nov 16, 2012 10:56AM
Pot has never killed anyone and that is a fact. So many people are going to tell us things that is not true that it's funny at this point. The war on drugs started a long time ago and drugs are bad, but Pot is not, if it is show us one person that has died from Pot.
Nov 16, 2012 10:54AM

I live in colorado and I think it is for losers.

Being hi on the job, driving. And now I have work with these losers.

Come on people grow up.

Nov 16, 2012 10:54AM

every so often I have some insomnia my Dr wanted to give me ambien with a zillion side effects  My local collective has this edible for insomnia that tastes like candy.  I get a goofy smile/fall asleep and wake up eight hours later   no real side effects (yes its been researched to death) no wild desire for heroin or even a shot of tequila. Since I am sleeping no driving either. Lost in all the controversy is an increasing body of research that shows Marijuana has real medicinal uses


If you cant sleep ask an expert to show you the right edible

Please help us to maintain a healthy and vibrant community by reporting any illegal or inappropriate behavior. If you believe a message violates theCode of Conductplease use this form to notify the moderators. They will investigate your report and take appropriate action. If necessary, they report all illegal activity to the proper authorities.
100 character limit
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?
featured on msn
answers to your health questions
editor's picks
meet our bloggers
About Healthy Living MSN Healthy Living does not provide medical or any other health care advice, diagnosis or treatment. See additional information