Pubdate: Fri, 16 Jan 2004
Source: Langley Times (CN BC)
Copyright: 2004 BC Newspaper Group and New Media Development
Author: Frank G. Sterle, Jr.,


Editor: Re: "Pot needs regulated market," (Letters, The Times, Jan. 9).

As a former pot consumer - along with most of my former pot
consumption peers who I've bumped into these last half dozen years - I
can attest to the permanent damage that marijuana can cause to the
consumer's body and mind.

Scientific proof of such potential damage?

For one, there are the startling facts published in an article last
September 17, in London's Guardian newspaper; it was authored by
professor of psychiatry at the Institute of Psychiatry and hospital
consultant, Robin Murray.

"In the mid-90s, a Dutch psychiatrist named Don Lintzen, from the
University Clinic in Amsterdam, noted that people with schizophrenia
who consumed a lot of cannabis had a much worse outcome than those who

"This was confirmed by other studies, including a four-year follow-up
at the Maudsley Hospital. Those who continued to smoke cannabis were
three times more likely to develop a chronic illness than those who
did not consume the drug," Murray said.

"Why does cannabis exacerbate psychosis? In schizophrenia, the
hallucinations result from an excess of a brain chemical called dopamine.

"All of the drugs that cause psychosis - amphetamines, cocaine and
cannabis - increase the release of dopamine in the brain. In this way,
they are distinct from illicit drugs such as heroin or morphine, which
do not make psychosis worse."

If pro-pot people propose legalizing marijuana for practical reasons -
e.g., less pressure on already-overburdened law enforcement and
justice systems - that's a clear and perhaps practical motive.

However, there's simply way too much of the media-propagated
misinformation out there telling our impressionable youth that pot is

Frank G. Sterle, Jr.

White Rock
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