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Health Risks and Abuse Potential

There are also potential detrimental health effects of cannabis as well as the potential for addiction. Acute cannabis intoxication temporarily impairs learning, memory, and attention, and can double the risk of traffic accidents. Although recognized as less addictive than substances like tobacco and alcohol, up to 9% of those who try cannabis may develop cannabis use disorder at some point in their lifetime. Moreover, there are currently no FDA-approved medications or treatments to help those with cannabis use disorder wean off of heavy usage. Cannabis use may worsen or precipitate psychotic disorders like schizophrenia. Heavy cannabis use is associated with certain mood disorders, like depression and anxiety. While heavy cannabis use is not associated with cancers of the head, neck, or lung, it is associated with testicular cancer. Some studies show detrimental effects of cannabis on measures like IQ and educational attainment in those who begin heavy use during adolescence. Lower birth weight is associated with cannabis use during pregnancy.There have been no recorded overdose deaths from cannabis.2


1. Hall W, Degenhardt L. The adverse health effects of chronic cannabis use. Drug Test Anal. 2014;6(1-2):39- 45. doi:10.1002/dta.1506.

2.  Drugs of Abuse: A Dea Resource Guide. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Dept. of Justice, Drug Enforcement Administration, 2011. Internet resource.