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Now here's an interesting research subject. Can legalising marijuana do anything to improve our health?
Smoking weed often pops up in the news, with heated opinions either way, but would legalising it improve our health, or make it worse?
Cornell University and San Diego University researchers discovered that, in those states that had legalised marijuana for medical purposes, there was a 2-6% drop in obesity. They believe this is because young people stopped drinking so much calorific alcohol in favour of smoking weed. And before you think this is flash in the pan stuff - 12 years of data was reviewed in the study.
Of course this was not at all the intention of the law, but does it suggest we should make marijuana more easily accessible, as the lesser of two health evils?
Some people argue for medical marijuana as a pain management tool, and the Cornell/San Diego researchers believe that fewer aches and pains in older people due to marijuana intake has improved their mobility and therefore obesity rates.
Compelling stuff, particularly when it's conversely reported than smoking marijuana may give you munchies and causes overeating. What about the other side of the coin?
There are no pros to smoking, no matter what the substance. Smoke in the lungs is bad news. Marijuana smoked with tobacco may lead to lung cancer, mouth, throat and oral cancers as well as cigarette smoking will. Smoking also leads to cardiovascular disease, increased asthma symptoms and a generally unhealthy appearance.
Just like alcohol can affect your sex parts, marijuana can do the same. This is gratifyingly called 'weed dick' for the lads and 'cotton vagina' for the lasses. Boys may find they suffer from some erection issues - the chemical equivalent of brewer's droop - whereas girls may find their vagina ends up drier than a 1000 year old Egyptian mummy.
Smoking weed is a mind altering substance - hey, no criticism here, you make your own choices - the problem is those choices may be poor when weed and sex are involved. If weed dick doesn't counter your advances, use a condom - don't risk picking up an incurable disease like herpes or HIV.
Of course you don't have to turn to marijuana to lose weight; it doesn't actually cause weight loss. The weight loss mentioned above was because folk stopped drinking alcohol, and you can do that whenever you like.
There are 125 calories in a glass of red wine and around 180 in a pint of beer. The recommended amount of alcohol per week is 14 units for men and women - that's 6 glasses of wine per week. Levels have changed recently in case you thought men were able to safely drink more than women. Equality at last!
What the long term effects of smoking marijuana compared to drinking alcohol are, we don't yet know, but we do know that smoking is a health hazard, as is drinking too much alcohol and being obese. The best things you can do for your health is eat well, practice safe sex, sleep enough and avoid smoking altogether.