- Reviewed by Christopher P. Cannon, MD, Editor in Chief, Harvard Heart Letter; Editorial Advisory Board Member, Harvard Health Publishing
Smoking marijuana was once a shady, secretive practice. But the stigma surrounding the drug (also known as cannabis) has started to fade, now that medical and recreational use is legal in many states. Cannabis use is on the rise — including among people in their 60s, 70s, and beyond.
"Doctors are trained to ask their patients about marijuana use. But we're still somewhat in the dark about how to educate them about using it safely," says Dr. Zara Latif, a third-year internal medicine resident at Harvard-affiliated Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. That's mainly because cannabis remains illegal at the federal level, which has restricted research on the drug. But change is afoot: the Medical Marijuana and Cannabidiol Research Expansion Act, which seeks to support research on the health effects of cannabis, was signed into law in December 2022.
To continue reading this article, you must log in.
Subscribe to Harvard Health Online for immediate access to health news and information from Harvard Medical School.
- Research health conditions
- Check your symptoms
- Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
- Find the best treatments and procedures for you
- Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
I'd like to receive access to Harvard Health Online for only $4.99 a month.Sign Me Up
Already a member? Login ».
About the Author
Julie Corliss, Executive Editor, Harvard Heart Letter
About the Reviewer
Christopher P. Cannon, MD, Editor in Chief, Harvard Heart Letter; Editorial Advisory Board Member, Harvard Health Publishing
As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles.
No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.