In  1938, the campy film classic, “Reefer Madness,” introduced the American public to the horrors of smoking marijuana. Since then, there has been an ongoing debate about the benefits and the threats of this controversial plant. Is it good? Is it bad? Is there such a thing as marijuana addiction? One thing is certain… times are changing. There is trend toward legalizing both recreational and medical marijuana at the state level. Now is good time to take a look at both sides of the argument.

The Trend: Taking Off, State-by-State

Pro or con, as of the writing of this article, here’s a state-by-state checklist of marijuana legalization:

State Medical   Recreational
Alaska yes yes
Arizona yes no
Arkansas yes no
California yes yes
Connecticut yes no
Colorado yes yes
Delaware yes no
Florida yes no
Illinois yes no
Louisiana yes no
Maine no yes
Maryland yes no
Massachusetts no yes
Michigan yes no
Minnesota yes no
Montana yes no
Nevada no yes
New Hampshire yes no
New Jersey yes no
New York yes no
North Dakota yes no
Ohio yes no
Oregon yes yes
Pennsylvania yes no
Rhode Island yes no
Vermont yes no
Washington yes yes

Keep in mind that this list is rapidly expanding, and some other states have condoned extremely limited legal medical cannabis use. Florida, where Cornerstone is based, passed the medical marijuana constitutional amendment last year, and has already opened dozens of medical marijuana dispensaries.

The Good: Relief from Some Chronic Conditions

A recent report by the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), a private, non-profit organization founded by Abraham Lincoln, has concluded that marijuana products (pill form, non-intoxicating) have proven effective for the following conditions:

  • Chronic pain
  • Calming muscle spasms due to multiple sclerosis
  • Easing nausea caused by chemotherapy
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Sleep Apnea

On the other hand, there is no evidence that medical-grade marijuana is effective in the treatment of the following:

  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
  • Tourette’s syndrome
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • Epilepsy

The Bad: Marijuana Addiction, Physical and Mental Health Issues

As we’ve pointed out before, this is not your parents’ marijuana. The newer (smokeable) strains are being grown for their high concentration of THC, the chemical that can result in addiction for some users. Synthetic strains can be even more dangerous, causing severe psychotic episodes and kidney damage.

The NAS clearly lays out its own set of warnings about marijuana use and the role for drug treatment centers:

  • Kids who use marijuana at a young age are at risk for problematic cannabis use later in life.
  • Pregnant women who smoke cannabis have an increased risk of delivering a baby with low birth weight.
  • Long-term pot smoking can cause chronic breathing problems.
  • Marijuana use prior to driving or operating equipment increases the risk of motor vehicle and industrial accidents.
  • Frequent cannabis use increases the risk of developing schizophrenia or social anxiety disorders.

The Value of Co-occurring Treatment Programs

The findings of the National Academy of Science report, while not totally predictive of drug addiction, do underscore the relationship between marijuana, physical and mental health issues. That’s why co-occurring, or dual diagnosis, treatment is so critical in treating drug addiction and mental health conditions.

Cornerstone Recovery Center is one of only a handful of South Florida drug treatment centers that offer co-occurring services to treat primary mental health disorders. If you or a loved one needs help for marijuana addiction, please contact our admissions counselor online or call
1-888-711-0354 today. All communications with our staff are confidential.