JAN 12, 2023 8:04 AM PST

What are the Real Risks to Consuming Cannabis?

WRITTEN BY: Helaine Krysik

A lot of controversy surrounds the reported risks associated with consuming cannabis. One reason is that until recently, scientists have been limited as to how much research they could perform on the plant. As a result, many of the available studies and data available is inconclusive.

That said, some researchers believe there are inherent risks to consuming cannabis. Here are some of them:

  • Young people under 25 who use high potency cannabis frequently risk impeding their brain development. Specifically, researchers believe that heavy cannabis usage negatively impacts academic performance and reduces intelligence.
  • Too much cannabis consumption can cause psychosis in some users, including paranoia, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder.
  • Like that of alcohol and other drugs, cannabis is addictive, and overuse can lead to depression and other mental illnesses.
  • High potency and the risk of overconsumption is now greater than ever, as plant potency oftentimes exceeds 17%, and some concentrates approach 100%.

But what constitutes heavy usage? While every user is different, experts typically agree that daily or near daily consumption is too much, unless it is for medical reasons, under the supervision of a licensed healthcare professional.

In addition to moderation consumption, scientists recommend specific dosing guidelines: While the standard dose is typically 5 mg of THC, experts suggest new users start with 2.5 mg, recommending that medical users not exceed 40 mg of THC daily.

Since unbiased research is still limited, users should be conservative in their cannabis consumption habits until they know how the plant interacts with their body chemistry.

As legislation changes and scientists are allowed to study cannabis with more access, funding, and a better support system in place, they will be able to collect and distribute more hard data as to the real risks and benefits of the plant.


Sources: Smokescreen, Integris Health, Journal of Cannabis Research

About the Author
Bachelor's (BA/BS/Other)
Helaine is a cannabis industry writer and marketing consultant. She has been active in the Illinois cannabis industry since 2020, and writes for a variety of national publications.
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