Why Marijuana Isn’t an FDA-Approved Medicine

Why Isn’t The Marijuana Plant an FDA-Approved Medicine?

There have not been enough large-scale clinical trials showing that benefits of the marijuana plant (as opposed to specific cannabinoid constituents) outweigh its risks in patients with the symptoms it is meant to treat.

The known safety concerns of marijuana include:

  • Impairment of short-term memory
  • Altered judgment and decision-making
  • Mood instability
  • Severe anxiety
  • Psychosis (loss of touch with reality)
  • Decreased motor coordination
  • Decreased reaction time

There is growing evidence that marijuana may be particularly harmful to young people: it may cause long-term or even permanent impairment in cognitive ability and intelligence with used regularly during adolescence, when the brain is still developing. There is also some evidence that marijuana use during pregnancy may be associated with neurological problems in babies and impaired school performance later in childhood.

Contrary to common belief, marijuana can be addictive. About 9% of people who try marijuana will become addicted to it. The number goes up to about 1 in 6 among who start using marijuana as teenagers, and to 25-50% among daily users.