It Really Isn’t Safe

I wonder why the political class seems to be intent on the legalization of marijuana. I realize that I am an old person, but I really can’t see one thing that allowing everyone over 18 (which of course means many people under 18) to smoke marijuana adds to our social fabric. In fact, it may actually destroy our social fabric.

Yesterday the U.K. Mail posted a story about a twenty-year study into the effects of marijuana. It wasn’t good news.

The highlights of the study:

  • One in six teenagers who regularly smoke the drug become dependent on it,
  • Cannabis doubles the risk of developing psychotic disorders, including schizophrenia,
  • Cannabis users do worse at school. Heavy use in adolescence appears to impair intellectual development
  • One in ten adults who regularly smoke the drug become dependent on it and those who use it are more likely to go on to use harder drugs,
  • Driving after smoking cannabis doubles the risk of a car crash, a risk which increases substantially if the driver has also had a drink,
  • Smoking it while pregnant reduces the baby’s birth weight.

This does not sound like the impact of a ‘harmless’ substance.

The article further reports:

But his (Professor Hall, a professor of addiction policy at King’s College London) main finding is that regular use, especially among teenagers, leads to long-term mental health problems and addiction.

‘The important point I am trying to make is that people can get into difficulties with cannabis use, particularly if they get into daily use over a longer period,’ he said. ‘There is no doubt that heavy users experience a withdrawal syndrome as with alcohol and heroin.

‘Rates of recovery from cannabis dependence among those seeking treatment are similar to those for alcohol.’

Mark Winstanley, of the charity Rethink Mental Illness, said: ‘Too often cannabis is wrongly seen as a safe drug, but as this review shows, there is a clear link with psychosis and schizophrenia, especially for teenagers.

I don’t know what the motive of the politicians who are pushing for the legalization of marijuana is, but it is time for someone to be a grown-up and say no. I don’t think we need to send marijuana users to jail, but I think we need to set a goal of helping them withdraw from the drug. The use of marijuana, particularly in young adults will have permanent negative effects on our society.