WHAT IS KNOWN ABOUT THE
NONMEDICAL BENEFITS OF
Astoundingly little. Much is claimed, but little is known.
One thing is certain: hundreds of millions of people across the globe have enjoyed it. Users report that getting high is relaxing and pleasurable, and that it contributes to other pleasures, including food, music, dancing, art, conversation, humor, and sex.
Some believe that marijuana intoxication enhances their creative work in fields ranging from music to mathematics, or that the experience of having been stoned in the past gives them access, in their non-stoned hours, to a usefully different style of thought.
But even simple, easy-to-test claims such as “Marijuana users enjoy listening to Mozart more when they’re stoned” lack anything approaching good scientific evidence to support them.
Of course, even if we knew more than we do about the benefits, we’d still need to know about the harms. The same drug can be both helpful and harmful: helpful at some times and harmful at others; helpful when used carefully but dangerous if abused; helpful to some people and harmful to others. Perhaps the least constructive—and certainly the most common—approach to writing about marijuana is to start from the desire to “prove” that it’s either the source of all evils or the cure for all ills.