Is marijuana an innocent recreational pleasure and medicinal boon or an evil that must be outlawed to protect the American public? With the legal and social status of marijuana in transition, accurate and objective information regarding its use is necessary for informed decisionmaking in both the personal and political arenas. To distinguish truth from fiction, this book draws on scientific evidence from medicine, psychology, criminology, and sociology, exploring many of the most commonly held beliefs about marijuana and documenting the scope and impact of its use—and abuse—in the United States.
The work is organized around five broad topics: patterns and trends; risks and benefits; causes and consequences; criminalization; and practice and policy. It opens with examinations of use and abuse trends among various U.S. subpopulations, then goes on to scrutinize claims about the medical risks associated with the substance. Social and interpersonal causes and consequences of marijuana use are addressed, as is the history and future of marijuana legislation in the United States. Readers will come away from this book with broad-based knowledge about marijuana—and a scientifically grounded understanding of the benefits and risks of marijuana use.
- Provides a one-stop resource for straight answers on the impacts—good and bad—of marijuana use in the United States
- Outlines potential sources of myths and false claims about marijuana use and misuse
- Presents data transparently, without the biases, judgments, or subtle manipulations that often skew public opinion
- Includes primary documents and empirical data and statistics from objective, authoritative sources
- Draws from a range of scientific disciplines to help readers fully understand the multidimensional causes, consequences, and risks of marijuana use and abuse