Marijuana is often described as one of the safest drugs out there, in part because it’s never been definitively linked to an overdose death and it’s broadly safer than other drugs like alcohol, tobacco, cocaine, and heroin. And while the National Academies’ report doesn’t find evidence of a marijuana overdose death, it does add a few wrinkles to the narrative of marijuana as a safe drug.
And the report found “substantial evidence” that marijuana can improve patient-reported multiple sclerosis spasticity symptoms. But it only found “limited evidence” for marijuana improving doctor-reported symptoms of this kind.
A recent review of the research from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine attempts to fill the gap in our knowledge. By combing through more than 10,000 studies published since 1999, the review, conducted by more than a dozen experts, provides the clearest look at the scientific evidence on marijuana yet.
What are marijuana’s benefits?
For one, the report finds “substantial evidence” of marijuana’s negative effects for a few conditions. For long-term marijuana smokers, there’s a risk of worse respiratory symptoms and more frequent chronic bronchitis episodes. For pregnant women who smoke pot, there’s a risk of lower birth weight for the baby. For marijuana users in general, there’s a greater risk of developing schizophrenia and other psychoses. And there’s a link between marijuana use and increased risk of car crashes.
It also found a “limited” to “moderate” evidence of a correlation between marijuana use and use of other illicit drugs. This is the typical evidence cited for the so-called “gateway” effect: that marijuana use may lead to the use of harder drugs.
The report also found some “substantial evidence” that more pot use can lead to problematic marijuana use — what one typically thinks of as excessive use or even dependence. It also outlined, with “limited” to “substantial” evidence, some of the risk factors for problematic marijuana use, including being male, smoking cigarettes, a major depressive order, exposure to combined use of other drugs, and use at an earlier age. But it also cited “limited” to “moderate” evidence to rule out a few risk factors, including anxiety, personality, and bipolar disorders, adolescent ADHD, and alcohol or nicotine dependence.
For one, the review confirms what previous studies have found: There is “substantial evidence” that marijuana is good for treating chronic pain. This is one of the most common reasons cited for marijuana’s medical use — particularly in light of the opioid painkiller epidemic, which has spawned in part as patients turn to opioids to try to treat debilitating pain. The report concludes that marijuana can treat chronic pain. And that may allow it to substitute more dangerous, deadlier opioid painkillers.
Dominant terpene: Caryophyllene
Backstory: Banana Punch is obviously full of fruity, banana flavor, but it also carries notes of citrus thanks to high levels of limonene. This strain is a slow burn that can be enjoyed for hours.
Activities: Drawing, painting, listening to music
Parent strains: Unknown (likely OG Kush)
Dominant terpene: Myrcene
Here are the top 5 marijuana stocks with the best value, the fastest growth, and the most momentum.
Marijuana stocks, as represented by the ETFMG Alternative Harvest ETF (MJ), have slightly outperformed the broader market. MJ has provided a total return of 36.9% over the past 12 months, above the Russell 1000 index’s total return of 35.0%. These market performance numbers and all statistics in the tables below are as of Aug. 23, 2021.
Best Value Marijuana Stocks
These are the marijuana stocks with the highest year-over-year (YOY) sales growth for the most recent quarter. Rising sales can help investors identify companies that are able to grow revenue organically or through other means, and find growing companies that have not yet reached profitability. In addition, earnings per share can be significantly influenced by accounting factors that may not reflect the overall strength of the business. However, sales growth can also be potentially misleading about the strength of a business, because growing sales on money-losing businesses can be harmful if the company has no plan to reach profitability.
These are the marijuana stocks with the lowest 12-month trailing price-to-sales (P/S) ratio. For companies in the early stages of development or industries suffering from major shocks, this can be substituted as a rough measure of a business’s value. A business with higher sales could eventually produce more profit when it achieves, or returns to, profitability. The P/S ratio shows how much you’re paying for the stock for each dollar of sales generated.
The marijuana industry is made up of companies that either support or are engaged in the research, development, distribution, and sale of medical and recreational marijuana. Cannabis has begun to gain wider acceptance and has been legalized in a growing number of nations, states, and other jurisdictions for recreational, medicinal, and other uses. Some of the biggest companies in the marijuana industry include Canopy Growth Corp. (CGC), Cronos Group Inc. (CRON), and Tilray Inc. (TLRY). Many big marijuana companies have continued to post sizable net losses as they focus on investing in equipment to speed up revenue growth.