Marijuana - Destroying lives, families & society

Healthy and Drug Free Colorado

Amendment 64
Marijuana: What’s the Truth
What Experts Say
How To Get Help
Taking Action


Marijuana has several negative physical & mental effects.

 Use of marijuana may impair or reduce short-term memory and comprehension, alter sense of time, and reduce the ability to perform tasks requiring concentration and coordination, such as driving a car.

The physical effects, particularly on developing adolescents, can be far more acute. Studies have shown that marijuana can lower testosterone levels in men. Testosterone controls hair and beard growth, development of the penis, muscle mass, and voice changes at puberty. Marijuana use can also lower sperm counts possibly resulting in difficulty having children. Females who use marijuana can, over time, increase levels of testosterone which can result in increased facial and body hair and acne. Studies also suggest that chronic use of marijuana may adversely affect reproductive functioning in women.

Source: NE Communities Against Subtance Abuse

Marijuana is harmful to the user.

50 to 70 percent more cancer-causing that cigarettesMarijuana is harmful both physically and psychologically.  Marijuana causes the same heart and lung problems as cigarette smoking. Actually, worse, because pot-smokers inhale deeply and never use filters.  The smoking-related diseases, lung cancer, heart attacks, emphysema, all can be caused by smoking marijuana as well. That is why no medical organization will ever approve or recommend any drug that is smoked.

Marijuana use decreases short-term memory, concentration, coordination, and ability to solve problems. It also causes loss of motivation. These problems hit adolescents the hardest, and teens who smoke marijuana regularly get worse grades, are less likely to finish school and earn less money as adults.

Marijuana use often causes panic attacks and chronic anxiety, and can cause paranoia. These are serious psychiatric problems.

Marijuana use affects a driver's concentration, perception, coordination, and reaction time, causing increased risk of accidents.  Montana checks for marijuana in the bloodstream of drivers involved in fatal accidents, and found that fatal accidents caused by pot-smoking drivers increased by 25 percent when their medical marijuana law went into effect.  So much for harmless!

Also, marijuana is an addictive drug. About 6-10 percent of regular users get addicted, the same rate seen with alcohol. People addicted to pot have the same problems as people addicted to any other drug; relationship break-ups and divorce, trouble keeping jobs, and increased violence and aggression.

Source: KeepAZDrugFree

Marijuana is even more harmful to seriously ill people.

The harmful effects of marijuana are even greater for seriously ill people, the very people that claim to need it!  Smoking pot damages the immune system, leaving immune-suppressed patients more vulnerable to infection. This could be really bad for AIDS patients.  With respect to multiple sclerosis, the National MS Society stated that "coordination, cognition (thinking and memory) and other functions affected by MS could be worsened" by marijuana.

Marijuana use has been shown to be associated with several illnesses.

Marijuana has been associated with lung cancer. A recent study by the Canadian government found cannabis contained more toxic substances than tobacco smoke.

  • It contained 20 times more ammonia, (a carcinogen) and
  • five times more of hydrogen cyanide (which can cause heart disease) and
  • of nitrogen oxides, (which can cause lung damage) than tobacco smoke.

Marijuana use has been linked to psychosis by several peer-reviewed studies.  More recently, the Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Study (New Zealand) published research showing an increased risk of psychosis for marijuana users with a certain genetic predisposition, held by 25% of the population. In 2007, a study published in The Lancet and a poll of mental health experts showed that a growing number of medical health practitioners are convinced that marijuana use increases susceptibility to mental illness, accounting for 14% of United Kingdom psychosis cases.

Loss of Short Term Memory; Lowers Motor Skills can be Hazardous to Human Life.

Although long terms effects of marijuana use is polarised in the scientific community preventing any concrete consensus of the effects of marijuana, short term effects of marijuana are well documented. Effects such as short-term memory and attention loss, loss of motor skills and dexterity, reduced reaction time, and lower abilities to perform skilled activities can be hazardous to human life if combined with potentially hazardous activities such as driving. Cannabis use can also lead to anxiety and panic reactions. There is also evidence that some of the above effect can become permanent with heavy usage.

Multiple studies have shown that chronic heavy marijuana smoking is connected with increased symptoms of chronic bronchitis, such as coughing, production of sputum, and wheezing. Lung function is also significantly poorer and there is a significantly greater amount of abnormalities in the large airways of marijuana smokers than in non-smokers. All of these health issues can be exacerbated by marijuana's addictive qualities, that may possibly lead to a marijuana dependence syndrome.

Source: Marijuana Addiction Information and Treatment

Does Marijuana Have Medicinal Value

  • Smoking is an ineffective and illogical way to deliver medicine - dosage cannot be regulated; and tar and other harmful compounds are delivered directly to the lungs along with any helpful cannabinoids (compounds in marijuana).
  • Dr. Robert DuPont, former director of NIDA (National Institute on Drug Abuse), says, "There is no acceptable role in modern medicine for using burning leaves as a drug delivery system because smoke is inherently unhealthy."
  • Other delivery methods aren't safe either; vaporizing does not filter cancer-causing tar or other chemicals, and eating delivers the same damaging compounds as well as the insecticides and fungi found in unmonitored crops.
  • Clinical research is being conducted into a controlled, tested, safe delivery system (that can be prescribed and managed) of the helpful cannabinoids of marijuana without any of the harmful chemicals or dangerous side effects.

Source: Drug Free America - Q&A

Don't doctors prescribe marijuana?

* No. Doctors cannot prescribe a non-FDA approved substance; in medical use marijuana states only, they can recommend it.

  • * Doctors are not covered by insurance for recommending a non-FDA approved drug, and there is an undetermined impact on a patient's right to sue for malpractice.

*The FDA issued a statement against the use of smoked marijuana in 2006, and the Institute of Medicine study from 1999 found that marijuana should be researched but not used as a medicine in its raw form.

  • Although many support cannabinoid research, most of the major medical associations in the U.S. are against the use of smoked or raw marijuana.

Source: Drug Free America - Q&A

Doesn't marijuana help with some diseases?

  • Cancer and HIV/AIDS - The pill form of the active chemical in marijuana (Marinol® - Dronabinol) can be helpful for the nausea associated with chemotherapy or the wasting disease that appears with AIDS, but many other medicines that have been tested as safe and more effective are preferred by oncologists.   While cannabinoids and cannabis increase appetite, it appears that only body fat is increased. Healthy nutrition would need to increase lean body mass in order for the weight gain to be beneficial to the subject.  Smoked marijuana has been proven to damage the immune system, cause premalignant cellular changes in the lungs and impair lung function, leaving immune-suppressed patients more vulnerable to infection.
  • Multiple Sclerosis - Studies show that spasticity (tightness of the muscles) is made worse, not better.
  • Chronic Pain - Not in its raw form with accompanying undesirable side effect. While cannabinoids may have some benefit in modulating pain, they are no more effective than currently available medicine called neuroleptics or opiate-based pain medication. They also have a very small therapeutic window, so higher doses can actually increase pain.
  • Glaucoma - Smoked marijuana has never been shown to be better or even just as good as existing drugs for relieving eye pressure, and its use brings with it many more side effects than the approved medicines.  Marijuana would need to be used several times daily, and has far more toxicity than available prescribed medications.
  • Depression and Anxiety - There is no compelling evidence that marijuana helps these disorders. In fact, marijuana is a cause of psychosis, enhances anxiety in some people, and higher doses actually cause depression and dependence.
  • Headaches and Menstrual Cramps - Marijuana is dangerous in women of child-bearing age because of toxic effects on the fetus. There is also no clear evidence that marijuana actually benefits these disorders any more than sedatives, and perhaps only from the intoxicating properties.

Source: Drug Free America - Q&A / Marijuana is a Poor Excuse for a Medicine / Cannaboids have side effects

Smoking marijuana is just as dangerous as smoking cigarettes.

Both may lead to lung cancer and cause coughing, wheezing, coughing up phlegm and suffering bouts of bronchitis. There are many effects that smoking marijuana has on the user. These effects include loss of coordination, thinking, judgment, poor timing, coughing, wheezing, and decreased athletic abilities.

Marijuana cigarettes (joints) contain more than 400 chemicals. One joint has up to four times as much cancer-causing tar as a regular filtered cigarette. Additionally, when a user smokes marijuana on a regular basis their body looses the ability to fight off infection. It can also increase the users heart rate leading to frequent chest colds. Research has shown that long-term marijuana use can increase the risk of developing certain mental illnesses.

Marijuana Smoke, like tobacco smoke is harmful to the lungs & mental health.

Donald Tashkin of UCLA and his colleagues concluded in a 1987 that marijuana smoke, like tobacco smoke, is harmful to the lungs, and that exposure of the lungs to both marijuana and tobacco smoke is even worse. Their findings in this and subsequent studies provide no reason to reject this hypothesis. The public wants to know if marijuana smoking is more or less dangerous for the lungs than tobacco smoking. If one were to insist on a simple answer, that answer would be this: Any smoke is damaging to the lungs, and continued exposure to smoke will likely cause lung cancer.

  • Inhaling marijuana impairs lung function, increases the risk on bronchitis, causes premalignant celluar changes in the lungs, inflames the lining and leaves users more vulnerable to bacterial and viral infections.  (Source: Marijuana and Cocaine Impair Alveolar Macrophage Function)
  • Physical - Respiratory damage, increased risk of lung cancer, increased heart rate, reproductive damage in both sexes and immunosuppression.
  • Psychological - Paranoia, emotional disorders, increased risk of schizophrenia and other neuropsychiatric disorders, memory loss, increased tolerance to intoxication, addiction to marijuana and other drugs (especially with its increasing potency), loss of ability to concentrate and loss of inhibition.
  • Legal - No matter what laws are passed locally or statewide, marijuana is illegal on the federal level - a ruling upheld by the Supreme Court and enforced by federal officials.

Source: Drug Free America - Q&A  - Marijuana Potency and Lung Tar Delivery - Drug Science

What are the effects of eating marijuana?

  • Eating marijuana delivers the same damaging compounds as well as the insecticides and fungi found in unmonitored marijuana crops

Source: Drug Free America - Q&A

Since raw marijuana isn't a medicine, why do some people want to "medicalize" it?

  • The campaign to allow marijuana to be used as medicine is part of a strategy to legalize all drugs. Source: Drug Enforcement Agency.
  • Many who claim to need marijuana to treat pain simply want to use it recreationally. In states with marijuana dispensaries, the vast majority of "patients" are young men between the ages of 18 and 25, not the cancer or AIDS victims used in voter ads to exploit our compassionate nature.
  • The claim that smoked marijuana is medicinal is a tactic to legalize marijuana for any purpose and to eventually legalize other drugs for personal use.
  • There is great potential to make a lot of money through the sale of marijuana. Tobacco companies, who made a killing on cigarettes to the detriment of so many, have already patented names for marijuana products.

Source: Drug Free America - Q&A

But isn't allowing marijuana for the treatment of health problems a compassionate thing to do?

  • No - it's a tactic by special interest groups to exploit the sick and dying. (Source:  Keith Stroup - Founder & Executive Director of NORML - "We'll be using the issue as a red herring to giive marijuana a good name")
  • Not really. "Medicalizing" this harmful substance has caused truly ill people to refuse proper medical care, thinking that because marijuana makes them feel better they are getting better. Medical practitioners and others who are truly concerned for the sick have higher standards and greater compassion - we want the ill to receive the medicine they need. 
  • Crack and heroin make people feel better - should people be allowed us it to medicate themselves?
  • The medical use marijuana movement has become a device used by special interest groups to exploit the sick and dying and well-meaning voters for their own purposes.
  • Rev. Scott Imler, Co-Founder of Prop 215 (California's medical marijuana law) said, "We created Prop 215 so that patients would not have to deal with black market profiteers. But today it is all about the money. Most of the dispensaries operating in California are little more than dope dealers with store fronts."

Source: Drug Free America - Q&A


Smoking is Bad For Your Health
Smoking marijuana is worse than tobacco.