Harvard Explains The Health Effects Of Medical And Recreational Use Of Marijuana


Yahoo Finance reports:

Gallup has estimated that at least 33 million adults in the United States are marijuana users right now — although government studies say the figure stands closer to 20 million. No matter what the actual number is, the fact is that a lot of people either smoke, vape or ingest weed in the land of the free.

In an article published on Harvard Health’s site, Wynne Armand, MD, shared a look into the effects the recreational and medical use of marijuana has on our health.

Short Term

While being “high” can be relaxing, it also causes an alteration of the senses and a distortion of the conception of time. In some cases, marijuana can also lead to impaired thinking, judgment, memory and coordination, as well as paranoia or anxiety — these effects depend, of course, on who’s using the substance and the strain of weed in question.

Beyond the mind, physical effects usually include bloodshot eyes and cotton-mouth, a faster heart rate and even slurred speech. How long these symptoms last depends on the strength of the marijuana consumed and the input method.

Longer Term

Over the long term, effects are more serious and include irritation of the lungs and breathing problems. However, it should be noted that there are no conclusive studies linking marijuana consumption to lung cancer. Moreover, the effects known so far correspond to heavy users — although, again, this concept is hard to define.

Related Link: Why Microsoft’s Foray Into The Marijuana Business Is Important

What some studies have suggested, however, is that the consumption of pot during pregnancy can negatively affect a baby’s brain development. Furthermore, scientists have associated the use of the drug during teenage years and young adulthood with a deterioration in “learning and cognitive thinking that persists into adulthood,” even after consumption is stopped.

Finally, it should be pointed out that marijuana users rarely develop dependence and addiction, although teenage users are more prone to them.

And Now, The Medical Benefits

Although there is still some controversy around the medical use (and benefits) of MJ (this means marijuana, not Michael Jackson), an increasing number of states are opting for the legalization of medical cannabis. Beyond straight-up consumption, several FDA-approved medications contain synthetic THC and are commonly used to treat AIDS patients with lack of appetite and chemotherapy patients with nausea, among other conditions.

Related Link: What Presidential Candidates Think About Marijuana Policy And Legalization

As it has been widely discussed, while medical marijuana consumption is legal at the state level, federal authorities and laws still prohibit its use. “Because we don’t have data from large, long-term, well-designed studies, the FDA continues to have concerns about potential risks versus benefits,” Armand expounded. Fortunately, she added, there are ongoing studies continue on the benefits of marijuana and its components, THC and cannabidiol, with early results suggesting that cannabidiol and its derivatives have the potential to treat psychiatric conditions like anxiety, schizophrenia and psychosis, and even ailments like drug-resistant epilepsy.

As investigation advances, one thing is clear: Marijuana use needs to be responsible, and limited to non-pregnant, non-driving adults. Finally, Armand recommended, “Avoid products that are packaged as candy or other edibles if there are children in your household who are more susceptible to a toxic overdose.”

Some stocks related to the marijuana business/biopharm sector include:

  • AbbVie Inc (NYSE: ABBV): cannabis-related drug Marinol.
  • Cara Therapeutics Inc (NASDAQ: CARA): clinical-stage biotech focused on selective targeting kappa opioid receptors.
  • Pharmacyte Biotech Inc (OTC: PMCB): combine Cell-in-a-Box® technology with cannabis constituents.
  • OXIS International, Inc. (OTC: OXIS): cannabis-based drug treatments.
  • GW Pharmaceuticals PLC- ADR (NASDAQ: GWPH): currently two cannabis-based drugs “licensed for use outside the United States,” Epidiolex and Sativex.
  • Insys Therapeutics Inc (NASDAQ: INSY): cannabiodiol trial currently in phase II.
  • Zynerba Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ: ZYNE): developing next-generation synthetic cannabiniod therapies.
  • Terra Tech Corp (OTC: TRTC): cannabis-focused ag company.
  • MassRoots Inc (OTCM: MSRT): tech platform for cannabis-related.
  • PINEAPPLE EXPRESS COM USD0.001 (OTC: PNPL): purchase and lease of cannabis-related businesses.
  • CANOPY GROWTH CORP COM NPV (OTC: TWMJF): produces and sells medical marijuana.
  • Cannabis Science Inc (OTC: CBIS): more info here.
  • ORGANIGRAM HLDGS I COM NPV (OTC: OGRMF): produces and sells medical marijuana.



  1. Harvard is sponsored by Big Pharma so there studies are always lying why do you even bother what Harvard research shows because its not reliable

  2. GrannyGreenbud on

    I’d like to know who or what was their lab rat, and for how long did they study it? The effects they speak of, bloodshot eyes and cottonmouth are temporary, cottonmouth goes away as soon as you get a drink of some liquid or even a hard candy, and not everyone gets bloodshot eyes. Also, I know people who smoked throughout their whole pregnancy and gave birth to normal healthy babies who have excelled in school and live normal healthy lives. This Harvard study is just a bunch of bad information, marijuana is good for you for so many reasons that have been proven over and over. It’s way better than alcohol, you don’t wake up the next day with a hangover, and it’s way cheaper to get high than to get drunk, too. It’s even better than tobacco, it doesn’t have the chemicals the tobacco companies put in the cigarettes. Marijuana comes in it’s purest form, right off the plant ready for consumption. Marijuana has a calming affect to it, takes the edge off of physical pain, helps to improve eating for some. Apparently they didn’t speak to anyone with cancer, aids, alzheimers, or parents of children that nothing else in Western medicine helps them.

  3. Again, another one sided report from someone that more than likely has some ties to “big pharma”. Who are these people in these studies? And why has the FDA approved the chemical synthetic thc and not the natural? Because the big pharmaceutical companies don’t get their millions, that’s why! And I’m pretty sure most Americans believe as I do, that the FDA is a useless, ridiculously stupid group that “approves” ANY product as long as the price is right. The FDA is a joke and we could all live quite nicely without it.

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