Pubdate: Tue, 17 Nov 2009
Source: Langley Advance (CN BC)
Copyright: 2009 Lower Mainland Publishing Group Inc.
Author: Frank G. Sterle, Jr.,


Dear Editor,

Re: "Drugs: Marijuana safer than water" & "Drugs: Harmful pot claims 
unfounded," Letters, Oct.30, Langley Advance. Maybe marijuana is 
safer than the water that's flushed down the toilet after it's been 
used; furthermore, it's been solidly proven that marijuana 
consumption is indeed damaging to the human body and mind.

As a former frequent cannabis consumer, I, along with many of my 
former (some still) cannabis-consuming peers whom I've bumped into 
these last dozen years or so, 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 didn't. 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 learned.

"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 cannabis possession for 
practical reasons - e.g., less pressure on already-overburdened 
law-enforcement and justice systems - that's a clear and perhaps 
debatable motive. However, there's simply way too much of the 
media-propagated misinformation out there implying - or outright 
declaring - to our impressionable youth that cannabis consumption is harmless.

Frank G. Sterle, Jr.,
White Rock 
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