By now, most people know that marijuana has gotten far more potent over the last few decades. Here is a chart showing the average potency of marijuana between the mid-1990s and 2013. Between the 1970s and the 1990s, the potency rose from about 1.5% to 4% but then the growth really took off. By 2013, average potency was nearly 13%.
These potency numbers are obtained by testing samples of drugs seized by law enforcement. Note that medical marijuana businesses promote much higher potencies for their products, of-ten in the 25% to 30% range.
Those who feel that marijuana should be legal for everyone to use will tell you that smokers “adjust their dosage” by smoking less. If this were broadly true, then it would seem that as the po-tency went up, the number of people going to rehab would remain about the same. Continue reading
If you follow the news about drug legalization as presented by the mainstream media, you are likely to be mightily confused. Well-paid spin doctors work overtime to fill major media, blogs, magazines, television and radio with pro-legalization messages. Messages of compassion are used to pluck the heartstrings of moms and dads – no one wants small children to suffer from seizures. Can cannabis really cure cancer? Is pot really harmless and non-addicting? Billboards, bus signs, professional speakers, bloggers, late night television show appearances, even cannabis cooking recipes infiltrate our personal worlds every day in any state where a vote is imminent or where the drug has been legalized.
At the same time, there are plenty of parents determined that their kids should stay drug-free. It’s got to be tough to maintain that position with all this media and environmental furor going on. Continue reading
When marijuana is compared to other drugs, it’s often said that you can’t overdose on pot. It’s true that there are seldom direct deaths from using the drug. There’s a couple of men in Germany who died when cannabis triggered heart complications. A woman in the UK died from a cardiac arrest triggered by marijuana toxicity. A French study stated, “Practitioners should be aware that cannabis may be a potential triggering factor for cardiovascular complications in young people,” but it stopped short of saying that marijuana caused these deaths.
So when marijuana deaths are listed, the cases above appear on the list along with a couple of deaths resulting from psychotic episodes triggered by potent doses. The point is then made about the relative harmlessness of this drug.
But there is a critically important point that is missed when calculating marijuana deaths. And that is the fact many people start their drug use with marijuana. It may not be able to be proved that marijuana use CAUSES a person to progress on to the use of other drugs, but it’s easy to show that pot use makes this transition much easier. Continue reading
At this point, more than twenty states and the District of Columbia have approved the use of marijuana for medical use. While we may agree that there are a few medicinal benefits to cannabis, it is obvious that all the effects of this drug are not yet known. Some of these effects are likely to be damaging – perhaps creating lasting and even disabling damage. What is sad is that many people will use this drug without a true medical justification or they’ll use it recreationally and not be aware of the harmful side of the drug.
This dual nature is not exclusive to marijuana. Drugs in general create some harm as they tend to overwhelm one system or another of the body. But when these drugs really are needed, they provide a vital benefit – so much so that the undesirable effects can be tolerated. Continue reading
Washington State Investigates Increase of Disastrous Birth Defect – One Associated with Early Pregnancy Use of Marijuana
This year, the news media has been reporting on the increase of a particular disastrous birth defect appearing in Washington State – anencephaly. This refers to babies born without a brain or with only part of a brain. In nearly every case, the baby dies within hours or is stillborn.
According to these news reports, a nursing instructor noticed the increased incidence of anencephaly and reported it to state officials. Parents who had babies born with this defect have been questioned but doctors have not yet found a common denominator for these events.
One wonders if the investigating doctors have read the research connecting use of high potency marijuana early in pregnancy with this event. According to a 2012 study, use of potent marijuana during early pregnancy increases the chances of anencephaly. If pot use is a common factor to this increase, this is something that young people planning families and young women everywhere need to know. Continue reading
In states where marijuana is up for legalization for either medical or recreational use, it can be very difficult to decipher the truth about this drug. Those in favor of increased use describe the harmless, even therapeutic nature of the drug. Those against tell a different tale. A new study from the UK shines a bright new light directly on the damage that results from use of this drug.
The study was published by Dr. Wayne Hall of King’s College London, who has carried out this study over a twenty-year period. He reports that that this drug is, indeed, addictive and that one in six teens who regularly smoke this drug become dependent on it.
He further reports:
• Those using marijuana have twice the risk of developing a psychotic disorder
• They do worse in school
• Adolescents who use the drug suffer intellectual impairment
• A driver who has smoked pot has twice the risk of having an accident
• This risk goes up substantially if both marijuana and alcohol were used
• Smoking pot while pregnant reduces the baby’s weight at birth Continue reading
For the first time since 2003, workplace drug tests took a jump. This is according to Quest Diagnostics, a company performing workplace drug tests across the country. In all, more than eight million workplace drug tests contributed to the most recent Quest Diagnostics database.
Their results showed that in 2012, the rate of positive tests was 3.5% of all workplace tests. In 2013, that rate rose to 3.7%. That constituted a 6.7% increase.
While that may not seem to be an extraordinary increase, consider this: In Colorado, the first year that recreational use of marijuana was legalized, the rate increased 20%.
And in Washington State, which also legalized the recreational use of marijuana, the rate increased 23%.
Some companies choose to hire drug-free employees and others must hire drug-free employees due to security issues, government contracts or highly sensitive job duties. Continue reading
In Denver in July 2014, there was a serious traffic accident caused by a young female driver who was driving impaired. According to her statements to police after the accident, she had drunk one beer and smoked “a bowl”of marijuana before driving.
She was speeding down Colfax Avenue – a 30 mph zone – at 60 miles per hour. When she ran a red light, she crashed into another car and caused six people to be injured. She now has to appear in court to answer to charges of driving impaired and vehicular assault.
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) has carefully analyzed the kinds of impairments caused by the use of marijuana. In fact, their website carries the results of their analysis of fifteen different drugs and their impacts on driving performance. You can download a PDF of the entire series here: http://www.nhtsa.gov/people/injury/research/job185drugs/index.htm/
Many people have said that the marijuana smoked by today’s teens and young adults is a far cry from the pot their parents smoked. A new study of teens in Australia shows just how damaging the pot smoked by today’s teens and young adults can be.
Just like America, Australia has a serious problem with marijuana use by young people. Researchers at the University of New South Wales carried out a study of the effects of drug use on 3,765 young Australians. Researchers monitored their marijuana use habits from before the age of 17 until they were 30 and then analyzed the information to learn about suicide attempts, success in school and use of other illicit drugs.
Those people who used marijuana daily suffered some serious impacts from this drug abuse. When compared to those who did not use the drug, they were:
• Seven times more likely to attempt suicide
• Sixty percent less likely to complete school
• Eight times more likely to use another illicit drug.
This chart compares two statistics: How many twelfth grade students feel that the regular use of marijuana is a “great risk,” and the average potency of marijuana seized by law enforcement and sent for testing. You’ll notice that in 1991, the perception of risk by our high school seniors began to drop. In other words, fewer 17- or 18-year-olds felt that regular use of marijuana was dangerous. It’s declined almost every year since. Now, fewer than 40% of these students see a threat in regular marijuana use. Continue reading