Although cannabis has been smoked widely in Western countries for more than four decades, there is no clear evidence that the side-effects attributed to marijuana outweigh the medical benefits.
Studies have shown that patients receiving cannabinoids [smoked marijuana and marijuana pills] have improved immune function compared with those receiving placebo. They also gain about 4 pounds more on average than those patients receiving placebo. For some users, perhaps as many as 10 per cent, cannabis leads to psychological dependence, but there is scant evidence that it carries a risk of true addiction. Unlike cigarette smokers, most users do not take the drug on a daily basis, and usually abandon it in their twenties or thirties.
Unlike for nicotine, alcohol and hard drugs, there is no clearly defined withdrawal syndrome, the hallmark of true addiction, when use is stopped.
As far as marijuana being a "gateway drug", people who are predisposed to use drugs and have the opportunity to use drugs are more likely than others to use both marijuana and harder drugs. Marijuana typically comes first because it is more available.
Make Medical Marijuana Legal in North Carolina!
The Time to Legalize Medical Marijuana in NC petition to NCGA was written by Alaina Shivers and is in the category Health at GoPetition.