OMAHA, Neb. (kmtv) — As more states are jumping into the U.S. marijuana industry, the multi-billion dollar business is sure to keep growing.
Although a proven money maker, concerns surrounding the drug's health impacts are still being researched.
Dr. Matthew Garlinghouse, a Neurological Sciences Professor at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, shared his thoughts on nearly all things marijuana to a group at the Omaha Science Cafe on Tuesday, November 5.
"We are in the midst of a really profound cultural shift and I think that's why there is so much interest, right," Dr. Garlinghouse said.
Through his research, he says marijuana is beneficial for patients who struggle with severe pain and seizure disorders.
On the flip side, he says the drug can cause increased anxiety, psychosis and permanent changes to the brain of younger users.
"It may normalize brain function in some ways, but at the same time for non-effective groups like normal folks - when you go online it cures everything and unfortunately that's not the case," Dr. Garlinghouse said.
Those in the crowd were mainly from an older generation, many just trying to learn more about the pro's and con's of the drug.
Gary Hoffman was one. The nurse has hold ups, but has seen the benefits for some people.
"I've had to deal with a lot of seizure clients working for the state of Iowa," Hoffman said. "I had to do emergency care for clients and the cannabis is certainly an intervention that is meaningful and people report that it works and it's effective."
Shari Lawler wants medical marijuana legalized in the state of Nebraska and is working on a petition to get it on the ballot in 2020.
Her daughter has epilepsy.
"I just want her to have another medicine available to try and see if it will help her with her seizures," Lawler said.
As the legalization debate in the state of Nebraska continues, Garlinghouse says more research on health impacts wouldn't hurt.
"Society is now outpacing the science and so...the ultimate answer is still yet to be determined," Garlinghouse said.