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Daily Pot Smokers Court Health Risks

Study Shows Regular Marijuana Users Have Risk of Respiratory Problems and Psychoses

Avoiding Health Risks of Marijuana

Hall notes that some people are at greater risk for adverse health effects from smoking marijuana, especially "young persons under the age of 18 and ... persons with any disease or condition (for example, pregnancy, cardiovascular or respiratory disease, mental illness, or other types of substance abuse) which increases their vulnerability to its adverse effects."

Information from the new review doesn't reflect much of a change, says Mitch Earleywine, PhD, an associate professor of psychology at the University at Albany State University of New York. He's the author of Understanding Marijuana: A New Look at the Scientific Evidence.

''The rates [in the new report] are literally identical to data that came out in the 1990s," says Earleywine, who reviewed the Australian report for WebMD.

He cautions that the new review shouldn't be blown out of proportion. "The impact [of marijuana] is miniscule compared to alcohol," he says. "'Nobody turns to prostitution because of a cannabis habit."

The research findings about heavy early use and its effects are troubling, Earleywine says. "That's a genuine concern." Teens who begin smoking at 13 or 15, he says, ''are really putting themselves at risk for a lot of problems. Those seem to be the kids more likely to drop out of high school."

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