Lynchburg Journal of Medical Science

Lynchburg Journal of Medical Science




Karen Mollner



Purpose: The purpose of this article is to discuss global public health impacts of legalization and decriminalization of marijuana and cannabis regarding physical and mental health impacts as well as accident and death reports.

Method: Extensive review of the medical literature was performed with a focus on papers discussing medical effects from marijuana use, public health impacts from legalization and decriminalization of marijuana and accident and death reports in various countries after legalization and decriminalization of marijuana. PubMed and Medline were utilized in this search. A total of nineteen articles have been referenced in this project. Most of the information was obtained from studies performed in the United States, Canada, Australia and Uruguay. Key words: marijuana, THC, cannabinoids, legalization, decriminalization, mental health, psychosis, accidents, deaths, lung disease

Results: Articles were obtained from various countries regarding public health impacts of marijuana and cannabis use as well as an increase in adverse events after legalization and decriminalization of marijuana and cannabis. Information was available regarding cardiopulmonary diseases and mental health impacts from marijuana and cannabis use. Given that many countries have not yet legalized or decriminalized marijuana there were some limitations in the available information. Several countries reported an increase in motor vehicle accidents and deaths after legalization or decriminalization of marijuana. Marijuana users were noted to have an increase in negative mental health, including psychosis and suicidal behaviors, when compared to nonusers. Data demonstrates an increase in marijuana use after legalization or decriminalization.


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