A new study found that long-term marijuana smoking leads to social and economic problems similar to those experienced by alcoholics.
The study was conducted by the University of California-Davis. According to a Los Angeles Times story
, researchers made some alarming discoveries.
"Alcohol is still a bigger problem than cannabis because alcohol use is more prevalent than cannabis use," said associate professor Magdalena Cerda, who led the study, according to the Times. "But as the legalization of cannabis increases … the economic and social burden posed by regular cannabis use could increase as well."
In an interview with the Times, Cerda said, "There is a common perception that cannabis is safer than alcohol. But this study shows that … cannabis is just as bad as alcohol. And in terms of financial problems, cannabis is worse."
The study's results are relevant because four states allow recreational marijuana use: Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington. California could have the issue on its November ballot this year, as signatures are currently being collected.
If Cerda's findings are true, expanded legalization of the drug might not be a good thing.
"Our research does not support arguments for or against cannabis legalization," Cerda said, reports KCRA.
"But it does show that cannabis was not safe for the long-term users tracked in our study. Our study found that regular cannabis users experienced downward social mobility and more financial problems such as troubles with debt and cash flow than those who did not report such persistent use."
The debate over legalizing marijuana has been running for years. Earlier this month, officials in Massachusetts
— including Gov. Charlie Baker — said the state should not vote to legalize it.
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