Marijuana education,Science, Not Hype

By Mercuri, Vince | Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, February 4, 2018 | Go to article overview

Marijuana education,Science, Not Hype


Mercuri, Vince, Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review


Marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug in the United States. The public’s perception is that using marijuana is not risky behavior and the perceived harm continues to decline.

This new acceptance and casual attitude about marijuana usage is reflected in polling data. In recent Gallup and Pew Research polls, 64 percent of respondents said they support legalization of recreational use. The trend continues to show a steady climb, increasing from 48 percent in 2012. Currently eight states have legalized recreational pot for private, personal use.

Throughout our nation’s history there have been various efforts to reduce drug use. Unfortunately, many of these “war on drugs” type of outreaches have been ill-conceived or misdirected. And, especially with marijuana, the messages have been punctuated with half-truths, scare tactics and the “reefer-madness” mentality.

These mixed messages continue today; hence, the increasing acceptance and decreasing awareness of the physical and psychological impact that marijuana has on the individual.

The intent of this commentary is to provide clear, documented information so that people can make informed decisions about their behavior and health habits.

An April 2017 University of Pittsburgh study revealed that marijuana use during teen years may cause a predisposition to depression and lower academic achievement. Many other studies have shown a correlation between pot usage and decreased cognitive ability. These studies clearly demonstrate that learning, memory and attention are impaired by marijuana use. They also show lower IQ scores by an 8-point average for individuals ages 13-38. Lost mental ability did not return in those who quit smoking marijuana as adults.

Numerous studies also indicate that marijuana exposure during adolescent development can cause permanent adverse changes in the brain.

Long-term marijuana use has been linked to mental illness, such as schizophrenia, psychoses and social anxiety disorders. …

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