There has been a lot of fuss over the usefulness and safety of marijuana in the news lately. While some experts praise the healing properties of certain components of the much debated plant, associating it with healthier bones, others say that consuming it in excess can lead to various mental and behavioral problems.
Marijuana is still illegal in many countries, even if there are many people, including teenagers, who constantly smoke pot. There have been many warnings issued by health experts against the prolonged use of marijuana. Smoking it, especially at an early age, has been long associated with cognitive impairment, asthma, allergies, psychotic symptoms and depression.
According to a new research, people who like to smoke marijuana might not have so much to worry about, after all.
The study, which was published in the journal issued by the American Psychological Association, gives a completely new perspective on the effects of marijuana on the human body.
The researchers monitored about 400 men since they were teenagers until they reached their mid-30s. They were split into four categories, according to the time and frequency they smoked marijuana.
The first group consisted of about 46 percent of the participants who had never smoked marijuana or they did it very rarely. The second group comprised of about 22 percent of the people who regularly smoked. The third category was represented by 11 percent of the people in the larger group who smoked when they were teenagers and the rest of them smoked in their teens and continued to do so long afterwards.
Heavy users used to smoke about 200 times a year, on average, but this frequency tended to decline after they reached their 20s.
The results were incredibly surprising, because the researchers were not able to find any links between mental or physical health decline and smoking marijuana. Moreover, the frequency of smoking did not seem to make much difference either, according to lead study author, Jordan Bechtold, from the University of Pittsburg Medical Center.
The theory that marijuana is not dangerous and cannot be linked to future allergies, depression, high blood pressure, anxiety or asthma is not entirely new. It seems that the Pittsburg Youth Study from 1980 supports it.
Nevertheless, the findings of this study do not give teenagers the green light to start smoking marijuana as much as they want. The authors of the research say that further investigation is required to establish if indeed, smoking this plant does not pose any threat to their health.
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