4 Misconceptions About Marijuana Answered
Paul Armentano took the time to tackle some anecdotal claims made by Susan Shapiro who described her previous use of marijuana as “an extreme addiction.”
Touching first on the subject of addictiveness, he states “most people who experiment with pot do not become dependent upon it. In truth, most users who try marijuana voluntarily cease their use as they grow older, enter the workplace or start a family.”
Adding, “that is because pot lacks the dependence liability associated with many other substances. According to the National Academy of Sciences Institute of Medicine, cannabis’ risk of causing dependence is far lower than that of alcohol, opiates or tobacco.”
He then moves on to concern about cannabis containing higher amounts of THC, the plants active ingredient which produces the high, stating that most users regular how much they ingest. The higher the potency, the less they consume.
Armentano goes on to add, “further, THC itself is a comparatively nontoxic substance, having been approved as a medicine by the Food and Drug Administration in 1986 and descheduled by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration in 1999 (to a Class 3 drug from a Class 2) because of its stellar safety record.”
Many have been concerned that legalizing marijuana will lead to more traffic accidents and fatalities.
In this case, Shapiro asserts that cannabis “contributes” to 12% of traffic fatalities in the United States, however he responds to this, saying “the purported source of this claim alleges nothing of the sort. In fact, the study in question solely assessed the prevalence of cannabis or its inert metabolites in injured drivers. (These metabolites, the authors state, may linger in the blood for up to a week following ingestion and should not be presumed to be a measurement of drug impairment.) The study’s authors make no claims in regard to whether these drivers were under the influence of pot or whether their driving behavior was responsible for an accident.”
Tackling one final claim of marijuana being harmful to intelligence, Armentano points to a review of a 2012 study which purported to link adolescent pot use to lower IQ later in life determined that once economic variables were factored into the assessment, cannabis’ actual effect was likely to be “zero.”
He ends with citing a longitudinal study from Canada that tracked the IQs of a group of marijuana users and non-users from birth which concluded, “marijuana does not have a long-term negative impact on global intelligence.”
Each individual consumer of marijuana has their own experiences, and some effects are more prevalent than others. However the conclusion here is that one person’s experience with marijuana does not prove that everyone, or even that many people, will have the same experience.
Armentano is the Deputy Director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. Read his full article here.