Monday, June 8, 2015

Old Reefer Madness Fears Promoted

As barriers to the legalization of marijuana crumble almost daily opponents have retreated to their last redoubt: reefer madness.
Even in 1936, the movie makers were careful enough to say: “The incidents in this motion picture are purely fictional.”
The drug dealers wear suits, but just as in today’s horror stories the narrative ends with a young woman who got involved with weed jumps through a glass window on a high floor in police headquarters.
One of the strengths and at the same a weakness of the World Wide Web is that anyone with a cause can cherry pick studies to support his or her views.
Support can be found for claiming that heavy marijuana use reduces IQ and even that light to moderate use will increase it.
Since the time of Greece it has been said moderation in all things, avoid things in excess. That would apply to marijuana use and claims about what marijuana can and cannot do or will or will not do.
It likely is just as risky to say it is harmless as that it will cause you to grow crazy.
“…lying to teens about becoming schizophrenic hurts the credibility of anyone trying to prevent teen problems. There are data revealing that folks with psychotic disorders are more likely to have a psychotic break if they use cannabis excessively, but that's really about it.,” said Mitch Earlywine, professor of psychology at the University of Albany, in an interview.
Some studies that suggested a cause and effect relationship between marijuana use and psychosis have not stood up to peer review.
“Work in my lab shows that dopaminergic drugs like cocaine and amphetamine are much more likely to be the source of these symptoms. You'll note that assessments of use of these drugs is very poor in most of these studies. In addition, participants appear to be less likely to admit to using these stimulant drugs,” he said.
In February reports of reefer madness circulated widely in the U.S. and the U.K.
Paul Armentano, writing in Alternet, said the source of these inflammatory articles was an article in Lancet.
“Think you have heard these pot-drives-you-insane claims before? You have. In 2007, The Lancet published a meta-analysis similarly alleging, “People who have ever used cannabis, on average, have about a 40 percent increased risk of developing psychotic illness later in life compared with people who have never used cannabis." That the study’s authors cautioned that such an association "does not necessarily reflect a causal relation" between pot smoking and mental illness went largely unreported.
Yet, in the following years since, numerous (though far less publicized) studies have come to light downplaying the likelihood that cannabis use is a direct cause of psychiatric disorders like schizophrenia,” Armentano wrote. He is deputy director of the pro-marijuana legalization group NORML.
Perhaps nothing reveals the extent anti-marijuana forces will go to, and have for 79 years, than the movie “Reefer Madness.”
Viewers are warned that “more vicious more deadly even than these (heroin, morphine) soul-destroying drugs is the menace of marijuana.”
Adults wearing suits are shown selling marijuana to youngsters and then partying with them, and in one case killing one of them.
There is a warning on how to see it coming. “The first effect is sudden, violent uncontrollable laughter….”
Dr. Harrison Pope of McLean Hospital told the Harvard Gazette:
“As a scientist, I’m struck by how passionately people hold opinions in both directions no matter what the evidence says. The other striking thing is how little we actually know about the effects of a drug that has been smoked for thousands of years and been studied for decades.”
As for the vox pop, you an turn to KBUD FM in Denver, and listen to them tell jokes and talk about marijuana throughout the day as they play hit after hit.

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