Pubdate: Fri, 08 Jul 2011
Source: Philadelphia Inquirer, The (PA)
Copyright: 2011 Philadelphia Newspapers Inc
Author: Michael W. Shore


Many of the points made in the June 25 editorial "Marijuana on the 
Table" are well taken, but there are other important issues to consider.

First, the much higher potency of the active ingredient, THC, in 
today's marijuana renders it a powerful drug that can induce 
significant impairment in motor and cognitive abilities, including 
those having to with operating a motor vehicle.

Secondly, the use of any intoxicating substance is especially 
problematic in younger people. Full development of the brain does not 
occur until approximately age 22. Use of mood-altering chemicals by 
teenagers can have significant adverse consequences on brain development.

Third, smoking any substance inevitably causes respiratory problems.

Fourth, for many individuals, marijuana is a gateway drug and leads 
to other serious addictions.

Finally, federal law still considers marijuana to be a Schedule 1 
(illegal) drug, and there have been court decisions that have 
supported employers in terminating employees who test positive for 
THC, even when it is the result of "medical" marijuana.

Michael W. Shore, M.D.

Psychiatry and Addiction Medicine

Cherry Hill
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