Pubdate: Tue, 19 Aug 2014
Source: Tahoe Daily Tribune (South Lake Tahoe, CA)
Copyright: 2014 Debbie Larson
Author: Debbie Larson


According to recent reports, it's probably not what you think you're

I read Andy Whyman's guest column, "Legalizing pot would lead to
positive social change," with interest, especially because
coincidentally, I had just finished reading, "Legal Pot Is a Public
Health Menace" that ran the same day in The Wall Street Journal.
Missing from Whyman's information are two key points.

One, there is a huge disconnect between science and public opinion.
Facts exist that show smoking marijuana can be detrimental. The Wall
Street Journal references a study in the journal "Current Addiction
Reports," which found that "regular pot use (defined as once a week)
among teenagers and young adults led to cognitive decline, poor
attention and memory, and decreased IQ." (The Wall Street Journal,
8-14-14, p. A11)

Further the Journal stated, "Over the past 10 years, study after study
has shown the damaging effect of marijuana on the teenage brain.
Northwestern School of Medicine researchers reported in the
Schizophrenia Bulletin in December that teens who smoked marijuana
daily for about three years showed abnormal brain-structure changes.
Marijuana use has clearly been linked to teen psychosis as well as
decreases in IQ and permanent brain damage."

A second key point Whyman omits is, "The marijuana of today is simply
not the same drug it was in the 1960s, '70s, or '80s ... It is often
at least five times stronger, with the levels of the psychoactive
ingredient tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, averaging about 15 percent in
the marijuana at dispensaries found in the states that have legalized
pot for 'medicinal' or, in the case of Colorado, recreational use.
Often the THC level is 20 percent or higher."

It might be true that the pro-legalization train is picking up speed,
as Whyman states.

But how can that be a good thing if such favor is based on a lack of
understanding of the real risks?

To soberly assess the benefit to society of legalizing pot, it's
logical to separate the emotion and campaigning surrounding the issue
from the reality of the substance as it is today, and the proven
effects of its use.

Debbie Larson

Incline Village 
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