I am writing regarding two issues in the news lately, the requirement for the motorcycle riders to wear helmets and the NORML group to legalize marijuana. Both have statistics that should leave the laws as they are. The injury and fatal deaths in the helmet argument don't need further discussion. The marijuana situation is another issue. I have worked nearly 50 years in drug and substance abuse.
1. Marijuana is not harmless. In order to get the most effect, it has to be inhaled deeply. In a study of Army soldiers, they discovered that the person that smoked marijuana three times a week had as much lung damage as a three-pack-a-day cigarette smoker. My experience with over 10,000 drug addicts the steps were: First, regular cigarettes and alcohol, second, marijuana and third, harder drugs such as heroin, LSD and other legal and illegal opiates.
In regard to the medical use, let marijuana go through the same process of the FDA that other pharmaceuticals go through before being approved for use.
In symposiums that I participated in, both advocates and those opposed in the medical field stated that the problem was determining dosage because of trying to measure effectiveness.
In fact, from many years of research as well as my experience, the use makes learning much more difficult. And because the active ingredient is not water soluble, the THC is absorbed in the brain as well as the reproductive organs and will take months to finally get taken out of the system.
Interesting enough that the advocates are targeting college towns for their ballot petitions. Of course, the politicians see another tax source.
Frank M. Reynolds
June 14, 2009