NEW YORK: If you polled Americans a decade ago for their opinion on marijuana, there’s a good chance you would have received an overwhelming number of responses against the idea of legalization. In fact, Gallup polls suggest that just one-in-four respondents were in favor of legalizing marijuana 10 years ago.
Marijuana’s perception evolution
Nowadays things are far different. A Gallup poll in 2013 showed that nearly three in five people are in favor of marijuana’s legalization. Furthermore, growing public acceptance of marijuana for its medical benefits and the tax revenue it can generate have led to 23 states approving marijuana for medical purposes and four legalizing it for recreational, adult use.
But just because marijuana’s momentum is increasing doesn’t mean that the slate of studies highlighting its potential dangers have decreased in any meaningful way. Of course I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that a majority of studies to date (and when I say majority I mean more than nine out of 10) have examined marijuana’s negative effects rather than any benefits it might present, so the sheer number of negative studies could very well be due to this research imbalance.
Still, studies like the one presented in the Journal of Neuroscience by nine authors last year, including those from Harvard Medical School, Northwestern University, and Massachusetts General Hospital, concerning cannabis use in young adults, could remain a deterrent toward a rapid expansion of marijuana’s potential uses in the medical field.