News That Goes Against The Political Grain

Fox News posted an article today about the impact of marijuana on the adolescent brain.

The article reports:

Two health professionals penned an op-ed in The New York Times on Sunday that despite society’s shift on marijuana use, it does not change the fact that the drug is not safe for high school and college students.

Kenneth L. Davis, the president and chief executive of the Mount Sinai Health System, and Mary Jeanne Kreek, the head of Laboratory of the Biology of Addictive Diseases at Rockefeller University, cited studies that show a “deleterious impact on cognitive development in adolescents.”

The column said marijuana use can impair “executive function, processing speed, memory, attention span and concentration.” They said the explanation is simple: the adolescent brain is still vulnerable “especially the prefrontal cortex.”

“The chemical in marijuana responsible for producing mood elevation and relaxation, THC, interferes with the exchange of information between neurons,” they wrote in, “Marijuana Damages Young Brains.”

Davis and Kreek penned the column in response to New York and New Jersey considering legalizing marijuana for those over 21.

Marijuana is not as harmless as it is being made out to be. In October 2018, I posted an article about a man who had begun using marijuana is his 20’s and became addicted to the drug.

The article reported:

There’s a reason that Alcoholics Anonymous started in 1935, two years after the end of Prohibition. Alcohol abuse became rampant, and the country almost drank itself off the rails. Will the same thing happen with marijuana?

Marijuana isn’t alcohol or an opioid. You can’t die from an overdose. It doesn’t really evince physical cravings. So is it better to call my problem marijuana “dependence”? Does it matter?

Cannabis should be legal, just as alcohol should be legal. But marijuana addiction exists, and it almost wrecked my life. If you have a problem, you are not alone.

I am not convinced marijuana should be legal. I think we have more Americans addicted to marijuana than we realize.

More Research Needed

On Thursday the U.K. Daily Mail posted an article about some recent studies involving treating pain with marijuana.

The article reports:

A small study found people who use cannabis require higher doses of painkillers than non users after major traumatic event like a car crash.    

The drug, which is legal for medical use in the majority of US states, is mainly prescribed to ease pain. 

But this new research conducted in Colorado – which was the first state to legalize – suggests that short-term pain relief could weaken the body’s resilience to pain over time. 

The researchers, from the Swedish Medical Center, Colorado, analyzed around 260 people who were involved in minor vehicle accidents and admitted to trauma centers. 

Of these, 54 tested positive for recent marijuana use while 16 claimed they used the drug more or less every day.

Around nine percent of the participants tested positive for other prescription or illegal drugs, such as cocaine and opiates.

On average, the marijuana users required 7.6mg of opioid painkillers a day in hospital, compared to 5.6mg for non-drug users.

This is probably not a surprise to people in the medical profession. I have been told by nurses who work in the operating room that people who are heavy users of alcohol require larger doses of anesthesia to put them to sleep. The body builds up a tolerance for drugs, whether the drug is alcohol, opioids, or marijuana. Those who blame big pharma for the fact that marijuana has not been legalized need to remember that just as big pharma has a huge lobby with lots of money, big marijuana also has a big lobby with lots of money. Legalizing marijuana in Colorado has brought the drug cartels into the state to mass produce their product for the local market. I don’t think that is what we want.

The medical values of marijuana are not proven and the unintended consequences of legalization are still unfolding. I think we need more research.

The Sad End Of Whitney Houston

I heard about the death of Whitney Houston late Saturday.  I haven’t written about it because it seemed very tragic and I didn’t know what I could say. I have been listening to Bill Bennett this morning and listening to his comments and the comments of people calling in. I still don’t know what to say, but I have a few observations.

Whitney Houston had a beautiful voice. Evidently in recent years, her drug use had taken a toll on that voice and she no longer had the range and clarity that she once had. (Getting older also affects your voice, so I suspect that might have been part of it). That must have been difficult to deal with.

It is tragic that she died so young. She was 48. We don’t know yet if drugs played a part in her death, although the speculation is that drug use (legal or illegal) was part of the problem.

My condolences go the her family. This is a tragedy. I hope everyone who uses drugs and thinks it is cool will take a long look at this and reconsider. There are many very talented performers who consider drug use one of the perks of the business. We have lost too many gifted people too soon over the years–Elvis, Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin, Heath Ledger, etc. Let’s hang on to the performers in this generation–let them be examples of living without drugs. Even though I don’t always appreciate the music of this generation, I would love to see those who produce and perform the music choose to be role models against drug use. If nothing else, that would give them longer careers!

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