Letter: Marijuana is all about money
May 4, 2017
Several weeks ago, the Tribune ran a guest column entitled "Stigma gets in the way of the cannabis conversation" by Jenna Palacio, who wrote "I wonder if recreational cannabis is really as bad as it's portrayed at times."
In reviewing articles concerning the health effects of marijuana use, consider the following:
A study by the National Academy of Science stated "recent reports show that fewer adolescents believe that regular cannabis use is harmful to health. … Persistent cannabis use was associated with neuropsychological decline broadly across domains of functioning. … Further, cessation of cannabis use did not fully restore neuropsychological functioning among adolescent-onset cannabis users."
In an article by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it stated that "some people think that marijuana is not truly 'addictive' or that people can't become 'hooked' on the drug, but research shows that about 1 in 10 marijuana users will be addicted. For people who begin before the age of 18, the number rises to 1 in 6."
In a USA Today story entitled "Marijuana poses more risks than many realize," it stated that "marijuana increases the risk of psychosis, in which people lose touch with reality and many experience delusions, hallucinations and paranoia. … Marijuana is also associated with chronic psychotic disorders, such as schizophrenia, in people who are genetically susceptible".
A New England Journal of Medicine article expressing the concerns of the use of marijuana during adolescence states: "The negative effect of marijuana use on the functional connectivity of the brain is particularly prominent if use starts in adolescence or young adulthood, which may help to explain the finding of an association between frequent use of marijuana from adolescence into adulthood and significant declines in IQ."
The same article goes on to state "people who are more susceptible to drug-taking behavior are simply more likely to start with marijuana because of its accessibility and that their subsequent social interactions with other drug users would increase probability that they would try other drugs."
A Government of Canada publication on the Health effects of Cannabis stated a "pregnant woman or new mother's use of cannabis can affect her fetus or newborn child. … Heavy cannabis use during pregnancy can lead to lower birth weight of the baby. It has also been associated with longer-term developmental effects in children and adolescents, such as:
decreases in: memory function; the ability to pay attention; reasoning and problem-solving skills
increased risk for future substance use."
Another article, not based upon scientific studies, entitled "These mothers of suicides don't think marijuana is harmless" speaks for itself.
The USA Today article referenced above says it best as to the impact of legalization: a number of women using marijuana for morning sickness or other uses while pregnant tell their doctor that "it's legal, so there's nothing wrong with it."
JFK's nephew and former congressman, Patrick Kennedy, D-R.I., says "that lobbyists pushing for the legalization of medical marijuana are trying to sell the public on a 'Trojan horse' — making the drug seem more normalized and acceptable in society, though it still has dangerous impacts on minors."
"The public health doesn't stand a chance in this fight, because we're up against money that is going to continue to grow as this industry spreads … "
While some of the same articles support controlled medical use, it's all about money, campaign contributions and let the public health be damned.