The real risks and benefits of marijuana use

Opinions around marijuana use are often extremely polarized. Many in favor argue that marijuana is a natural product and that its benefits outweigh any negative effects. On the other hand, opponents of consumption argue that it is an addictive drug that opens the way for other, heavier drugs, which can cause cancer and other health damages.

What is true in these two positions? Can we say that marijuana is totally harmful or totally beneficial? What evidence do we have?

To clarify the information, the National Academies of Sciences Engineering Medicine convened a scientific committee to carry out a rigorous review of the available evidence on the health impact of the use of marijuana and its derivative products. In total, the review considered more than 10,000 scientific investigations that had been published since 1999, and as a result the committee last year released a comprehensive report that has more than 400 pages detailing everything we know about marijuana and that reports the limitations and barriers researchers face when conducting marijuana-related research.

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