Understanding marijuana’s risks to the brain, from the Harvard Mental Health Letter
As a treatment for physical ailments, marijuana has been shown to be effective at relieving pain, stimulating the appetite, and controlling cancer-related nausea and vomiting. These uses underlie the movement to legalize marijuana for medical use in the United States. As a treatment for psychiatric disorders, though, the risks of marijuana use exceed the benefits, reports the April 2010 issue of the Harvard Mental Health Letter.
Regular use of marijuana can lead to addiction and other mental health problems, especially in people who are genetically vulnerable, notes Dr. Michael Miller, editor in chief of the Harvard Mental Health Letter.
Addiction. The concentration of THC (the herb's psychoactive component) in marijuana has been increasing in recent years. Addiction specialists are concerned that this increased potency might accelerate development of dependence.