Two states have already legalized pot for recreational use. And since polls show that most Americans are in favor of the practice, it might not be long before joints are rolled and bongs are smoked in many more states without fear of jail time.
Even though the laws are shifting, the debate over legalized marijuana continues. Although some say marijuana is just as safe as, or even safer than alcohol, others argue that pot causes a lot more harm than just a serious buzz.
Although there isn’t much evidence that the occasional toke leads to long-term health problems, researchers are concerned that long-term, heavy pot smoking can leave lingering effects.
“I don’t think we can definitively say it is safe,” says Jeanette Marie Tetrault, MD, FACP. She’s an assistant professor of medicine at the Yale University School of Medicine.