Pubdate: Mon, 08 Jul 2013
Source: Wall Street Journal (US)
Copyright: 2013 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
Author: Mason Tvert


Samuel T. Wilkinson's attempt to tie marijuana to mental illness
("Pot-Smoking and the Schizophrenia Connection," op-ed, July 2) is
reefer madness all over again.

The evidence indicating a causal relationship between marijuana
consumption and mental disorders is "neither very new, nor by normal
criteria, very compelling," according to research published in the
journal Addiction in 2010. More tellingly, a 2009 study published in
the journal Schizophrenic Research found that the prevalence of
schizophrenia and psychoses has remained stable or declined during
periods in which marijuana use increased significantly among the
general populace.

Mr. Wilkinson's call for an honest debate about the health effects of
marijuana is commendable. Yet such a dialogue is incomplete without an
examination of its relative harms compared with others commonly used
and accepted in our society, particularly alcohol.

Every objective study on marijuana has concluded that it is less
toxic, it is less addictive and poses fewer and far less severe health
problems than alcohol. Whereas there is no compelling evidence that
marijuana use causes schizophrenia or psychosis, absolutely no doubt
remains among members of the scientific community that alcohol use is
a major contributor to mental illness. Also, unlike alcohol, marijuana
use has never been linked to violent crimes and reckless behavior.

As long as alcohol is legal, anyone who is truly concerned about
maintaining public health and preventing mental illness should support
making marijuana a legal alternative for adults.

Mason Tvert

Marijuana Policy Project

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