Cannabis is the most commonly used illicit drug in the United States. Although it has recently been legalized in the state of California and permitted in some capacity across 30 US states, it is still illegal at the federal level and can be abused. Marijuana use disorder (MUD) is defined as the continued use of cannabis despite impairment in psychological, physical, or social functioning. It is estimated that marijuana use disorder affects 6.3 percent of the population – almost 20 million people – at some point in their lives.
Although a moderate amount of marijuana consumption has no proven adverse effects, long-term abuse can lead to severe physical and mental ailments. Marijuana smoke has many of the same harmful properties as tobacco, which can damage your lungs and place you at a higher risk of lung infections. Marijuana ingestion can also increase your chances of a heart attack or stroke due to the increased heart rate that accompanies marijuana use. It can also aggravate pre-existing heart conditions over time in long-term users and the elderly. Cannabis use can also have mental health effects such as decreasing performance in memory-related tasks and exacerbating symptoms in schizophrenics. Marijuana can also be damaging in the short-term; it was the second most common reason for drug-related emergency room visits in 2010 after cocaine.