Marijuana is gaining popularity in the United States as individual states have moved to make the drug legal. About 13% of U.S. adults use cannabis products. The plant has historically been consumed recreationally for its mind-altering effects, which can include enhanced senses and changes in mood. In some states, doctors can prescribe marijuana for medicinal uses such as reducing muscle spasms, pain, nausea, and vomiting.
But cannabis may have harmful long- and short-term effects, such as paranoia and memory loss, and it can be addictive and disrupt a user’s life and relationships.
Synthetic cannabinoids, compounds manufactured to replicate individual chemicals found in cannabis, are much more potent than cannabis and therefore could be more dangerous. Doctors at Yale Medicine treat patients for cannabis use disorder and are conducting leading research to advance pharmacological and behavioral therapies to treat it and to better understand the effects of cannabis on the brain.