The Marijuana Policy Project promotes their drug as a substitute for opiate pain pills. Like the worst offenders in the opiate industry, the cannabis lobby follows an addiction-for-profit business model. Their master plan needs 80% of the demand to be met by 20% of the users. Science shows no evidence for using medical marijuana as a substitute for pain pills.
Part 3, of a series about two friends who used cannabis in the ’70s. (Read part 1, Why I hate cannabis and part 2, another direction) Now I’m looking back at when I decided to quit, more than 40 years ago. Note that I retired at age 60, well in advance of my original plan and also before reaching social security age. I retired comfortably, with zero debt, having no mortgage, no car payment, and no credit card debt. Amazing what a clear mind can do for a fella.
As for Don, he’s still alive. I’m glad but surprised he’s still around. Those afflicted with schizophrenia lose 10-25 years off their lives. Continue reading →
Reducing Future Rates of Adult Addiction Must Begin with Youth Prevention
The United States is confronting a public health crisis of rising adult drug addiction, most visibly documented by an unprecedented number of opioid overdose deaths.1 Most of these overdose deaths are not from the use of a single substance – opioids – but rather are underreported polysubstance deaths.2This is happening in the context of a swelling national interest in legalizing marijuana use for recreational and/or medical use.As these two epic drug policy developments roil the nation, there is an opportunity to embrace a powerful initiative.Ninety percent of all adult substance use disorders trace back to origins in adolescence.3 4New prevention efforts are needed that inform young people, the age group most at-risk for the onset of substance use problems, of the dangerous minefield of substance use that could have a profound negative impact on their future plans and dreams.
Twins who use cannabis by age 17 are 2.1 to 5.2 times more likely to develop addiction issues. An Australian twins study determined this likelihood by comparing twins who used pot to the co-twins who hadn’t used marijuana.
Although not a gateway for everyone, cannabis often is a gateway for those who become addicted and die. Study after study has shown a relationship between the use of marijuana and other psychoactive and addictive substances. Yet marijuana lobbyists twist the issue and say it’s not a gateway drug.
Marijuana is a major cause of drug-related medical and psychiatric emergency room episodes. Liberalizing marijuana laws escalates this problem. Some go to the hospital for marijuana-induced psychosis while others seek medical help for vomiting.
The Australian Twins Study
The January 22/29, 2003 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) published the outcome of a well-controlled study designed to determine whether genetic predisposition or environmental factors determine if an underage cannabis user will progress to other drugs. The findings from this research led to “Escalation of Drug Use in Early-Onset Cannabis Users vs. Co-Twin Control,” by LynskyM, HeathA and BucholzK.
The study found that a twin who had used cannabis by age 17 was significantly more likely to use other drugs. The same twins were more likely to become drug and alcohol dependent, compared with their co-twin who had not used marijuana. And there was very little difference whether the twins were fraternal or identical.
In other words, environmental influences can trump genetic predisposition for those who progress from cannabis use to the use of other psychoactive and addictive substances. For the sake of this study, “environmental factors” were “associations and circumstances” leading to this progression.
According to the authors, “In particular, early access to and use of cannabis may reduce perceived barriers against the use of other illegal drugs and provide access to these drugs.”
The study predicted what has happened in the USA and Canada. For example, a large group of young people who died of overdoses in Massachusetts began their drug use with marijuana. Politicians continue to consider the overdose problem only an issue with opioids rather than a poly-drug addiction. People continue to suggest that marijuana will substitute for opioid pain medications, despite the fact that most youth who overdose begin with pot.
Exposure to One Class of Drugs increases consumption of other drugs
The same issue of JAMA carried an editorial entitled “Does Marijuana Use Cause the Use of Other Drugs?” The author referenced research which found cross-sensitization between repeated exposure to THC (The main psychoactive ingredient in marijuana) and opiates. “With cross-sensitization, exposure to one class of drug increases consumption of other drug classes, consistent with the existence of a gateway effect.”
The editorial stated, “Prevention efforts will presumably affect the underlying risk and protective factors related to the onset of marijuana use, whether or not these factors are shared with the onset of the use of other illicit drugs. For youths who have already used marijuana, the issue is: can and should intervention programs be developed to target this group at very high risk for progressing to other substances? It appears so.”
Parents, please don’t take early teen marijuana use lightly. It frequently leads to significant poly-drug abuse problems. Sometimes the problem stops at marijuana addiction. Addiction to pot occurs in 1 in 6 users who begin between ages 12 and 17. Until we stop minimizing the harm of early pot use, we won’t get the drug epidemic under control.