I learned a lot about marijuana and mental illness at a recent National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Conference. I want to share some of it with you while it’s still fresh on my mind, because it scared me. I don’t want you to get schizophrenia like your Uncle Jim.
When I was young, I pooh-poohed scare tactics about marijuana. I only used it once, however, because I didn’t want to get in legal trouble. The information we have now is much more based in science and much more dire than what we were told as kids. Marijuana is three times stronger than it was then, according to University of Minnesota and hospital doctors who presented at the conference. Apparently it’s not as harmless as I thought either, especially for young people. They said that marijuana use hijacks normal brain development Continue reading Fix What You Can: A Letter to My Granddaughter→
Inexplicable to me – public opinion has been supporting normalization and promotion of drug use, legalizing and commercializing recreational use. It is very politically unpopular to stand up against it. I know firsthand.
All the independent, peer-reviewed research confirms what I and other experts have observed for years. Cannabis users significantly underachieve in education, their careers, and have significant problems with their most significant relationships. Two recent and eye-opening studies published in the medical journals Addiction, and Neuropharmacology respectively reveal gross deficits in cognitive ability (IQ) executive functioning, attentiveness, inhibition of impulsiveness and motivation. Continue reading Marijuana Users Grossly Underachieve→
Each drug has at least one quality that makes worse than all other drugs, and for marijuana it is what it does to the teen-aged brain and motivation, according to Ed Gogek, author of Marijuana Debunked.
Problems on the San Juan Islands
Kathleen Bartholomew, a nurse and a grandmother in the San Juan Islands of Washington, explains what it’s like living in an area with long-time marijuana users: “Of the 7th grade pot users, 80% received the pot from their stoner parents.”
“My own granddaughter went from being a straight-A student skipping her sophomore year in a private school to a pot-smoking 15-year-old in the public school system. Her story started in 7th grade when a few seniors taught her how to smoke marijuana at lunch,” Bartholomew explained.
Also in the San Juan Islands, a young man with mental illness issues died tragically from dehydration in jail last year. Keaton Farris suffered from bipolar disorder; a history of marijuana use would be consistent with the tragic ending. The risks for mental illness from early marijuana use cannot be adequately addressed in an environment that glorifies pot use. (His mom sold t-shirts in his honor at Seattle Hemp Fest, which doesn’t prove that Keaton used marijuana, but suggests his family had a peculiar fondness for the weed. The family has reached a settlement in the case.)
With many parents and grandparents using pot, we seem to be creating a multi-generational society of drug addiction. Drug addiction today is multi-substance addiction, making the treatment more complicated and the prognosis worse than it was in the past.
One member of AA and Narcotics Anonymous in Chico, California, explained what happens to multi-generational drug users when they try to get clean. “I need to teach them to dress, bathe and feed the baby, brush their teeth and floss, all skills they did not learn growing up. They must start life anew.” Sobriety gives them hope.
People laud the success of anti-smoking campaigns but what has really changed youth smoking rates is the lack of adults who still smoke cigarettes. It has become socially unacceptable. How can an anti-pot campaign for kids can’t work when more adults are eating pot candy, or smoking it, and it’s advertised everywhere?
Recently a father from Washington who drove recklessly and was stoned forced his 12-year-old daughter to walk home. Some of these parents really don’t seem to be aware of the trauma they may be forcing their children to experience. Traumatized children will be more inclined to abuse marijuana, alcohol and other drugs.
We need to break cycles of addiction if we are to have healthier adults who don’t follow their parents’ dysfunctional cycles. Compared to 40 or 50 years ago when alcohol was the primary problem, we now have multi-substance addiction. If we stopped substance abuse we could end about 70% of child abuse. We will have more success in rooting out problems by getting to their roots in substance abuse, not possible when we are normalizing drug use.
Finally, we need to be in compliance with international treaties, especially The Rights of the Child Treaty, and as long as we allow marijuana legalization, we are out of compliance with the treaties. For more information, read On Marijuana, edited by Pamela McColl, and Marijuana Debunked, by Ed Gogek, MD.