Pubdate: Wed, 10 Mar 1999
Source: State Journal-Register (IL)
Copyright: 1999 The State Journal-Register
Author: Larry A. Stevens


Dear Editor,

There's no doubt of the good intentions behind the advice column
printed in the Voice, but we must be more careful how we address the
subject of drugs with young people.

The columnists in the Voice invoked the discredited "gateway theory",
proclaiming that the use of cannabis leads to use of other drugs.  The
fact is, according to the National Center on Addiction and Substance
Abuse, there is no proof  that a causal relationship exists between
cigarettes, alcohol, cannabis and other drugs. Basic scientific and
clinical research establishing causality does not exist.

As for DNA damage, brain damage and cancer supposedly caused by
cannabis, no epidemiological evidence exists that links cannabis to
any disease.

Quite to the contrary, the same THC in cannabis that produces the
euphoric sensation in the brain is, in fact, an antioxidant more
powerful than vitamin C or vitamin E, a neuro-protective agent that
can stave off brain damage, seizures and even strokes according to the
National Academy of Sciences.

My fear is that when young people discover that the scare stories that
they've been told about cannabis are exaggerations or fabrications,
they won't have any reason to believe legitimate warnings about crack,
heroin, alcohol or tobacco.

Larry A. Stevens

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