Marijuana’s Health Effects? Top Scientists Weigh In

Marijuana’s Health Effects? Top Scientists Weigh In

So far, more than half of all U.S. states have legalized marijuana for medical use, and eight (plus the District of Columbia) have legalized the drug for recreational use. Varieties of cannabis available today are more potent than ever and come in many forms, including oils and leaves that can be vaped, and lots of edibles, from brownies and cookies to candies — even cannabis gummy bears.

A report published Thursday by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine analyzed more than 10,000 studies to see what could conclusively be said about the health effects of all this marijuana. And despite the drug’s increasing popularity — a recent survey suggests about 22 million American adults have used the drug in the last month — conclusive evidence about its positive and negative medical effects is hard to come by, the researchers say.

According to the report, that’s at least partly because the federal drug enforcement agency’s designation of the drug as a Schedule I substance — having “no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse” — entails so many restrictions that it has been difficult for researchers to do rigorous research on marijuana.

We just need “far more information,” Dr. Marie McCormick, chair of the NAS committee and professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School, tells Shots.

Some of the highlights of her committee’s 337-page report on marijuana include:

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