March 2024 – In addition to minor side effects that many users joke about—such as short-term memory loss—recent studies have linked marijuana to adverse health outcomes involving the lungs, heart, brain and gonads. Though, unlike tobacco, it hasn’t been definitively tied to lung cancer). And cannabis plants hyperaccumulate metal pollutants, such as lead, which Sanchez found can enter users’ bloodstreams.

Developing adolescent brains, particularly those predisposed to mental illness, may be most at risk from overconsumption. Although psychiatric effects are hotly debated, studies suggest that heavy weed use exacerbates—or may trigger—schizophrenia, psychosis and depression in youths and that it affects behavior and academic performance. “From a safety viewpoint, young people should definitely stay away from it,” says University of Ottawa psychiatrist Marco Solmi, lead author of a recent review of cannabis and health in the British Medical Journal.