Pot & Health in Colorado

Colorado has long been recognized for its relatively healthy population.  The State's sunny, mild climate, magnificent landscapes and superb variety of natural ecosystems encourage outdoor exploration and Coloradans have, on average, been thinner, more active and more prone to healthy lifestyle choices than Americans in most other States.

One thus wonders how the exploding pot industry will affect those health statistics.  While occasional, casual use of marijuana will likely have minimal effects on an individual, smoke will induce some lung injury in those who regularly inhale the product.  The potential for addiction is always present among those with such genetic tendencies and the long term effects of marijuana use remain uncertain.  Though the limited ingestion of alcohol has been shown to have some positive effects, especially on the development of cardiovascular disease, benefits from most popular supplements have not been demonstrated in scientific trials; on the other hand, the great majority of drugs, whether illicit, prescription or over-the-counter, have known potential side effects and pot is just another drug.  Then there are the risks to non-users, including their involvement in marijuana-related accidents and their exposure to second-hand smoke.

Time will tell if Colorado's social experiment will have a negative impact on the health of its population.  The financial rewards enjoyed by the State may be more than balanced by the health costs that arise from widespread marijuana use.