Tag Archives: Pot

New study: prenatal exposure to smoked or ingested marijuana harms children

Number of drivers involved in fatal crashes who used marijuana
CO drivers involved in fatal crashes who used marijuana (Source: Denver Post)

Whenever debating moral issues, I find that the most useful approach is to is to appeal to scientific studies. Although people today tend to be skeptical of philosophical or religious arguments, they can’t deny the success of science in solving problems in the real world. With that said, here is a recent study showing some previously unknown effects of marijuana use.

The Scientist reports:

When marijuana is ingested or smoked during pregnancy, exogenous cannabinoids enter the blood and cross easily through the placental barrier due to their highly lipophilic nature. Pairing this ready availability with slow pharmacokinetics—active metabolites continue circulating for up to five days depending on dosage and frequency of use—fetal exposure to the active compounds in cannabis is both efficient and prolonged.

[…]To date, the three largest longitudinal studies of the children of women who smoked marijuana once a week or more during their pregnancies have identified remarkably consistent outcomes during early development and through young adulthood. In infants, these include increased impulsivity, hyperactivity, and delinquent behaviors, as well as memory dysfunction and decreased IQ scores. During adolescence and early adulthood, fetal cannabis exposure has been linked to persistent reduction in memory and concentration, higher rates of drug use, and an increased incidence of hyperactivity, signs of depression, and psychotic and schizophrenic-like symptoms. These mental health issues are further evidenced by increased reports from both parents and schoolteachers of problematic behavior and delinquency in cannabis-exposed kids.

What I thought was most interesting was how the intuitions of pregnant women in America conflict with what the science showed:

[…]70 percent of women in the United States believe that there is “slight or no risk of harm” in using cannabis during pregnancy. And about 4 percent of pregnant women in the US report using the drug during gestation, just like Carol. Of expectant moms between the ages of 18 and 25, this number is nearly 7.5 percent.

It’s a scary thing when a person generates their views by how they make them feel, or whether other people like them for their views. But that seems to be so popular these days, especially with the young people. Right and wrong is decided by how consenting adults feel about things, in the moment. It seems to me that the only way to break through the feelings is with science that shows the real consequences of the immoral behavior.

(Image source: Denver Post)

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New study: college students who lost access to marijuana improved their grades

Investigation in progress
Investigation in progress

This is from the radically leftist fake news site Washington Post, of all places. Thankfully, the study was done by scientists, not by journalists.

Excerpt:

The most rigorous study yet of the effects of marijuana legalization has identified a disturbing result: College students with access to recreational cannabis on average earn worse grades and fail classes at a higher rate.

Economists Olivier Marie and Ulf Zölitz took advantage of a decision by Maastricht, a city in the Netherlands, to change the rules for “cannabis cafes,” which legally sell recreational marijuana. Because Maastricht is very close to the border of multiple European countries (Belgium, France and Germany), drug tourism was posing difficulties for the city. Hoping to address this, the city barred noncitizens of the Netherlands from buying from the cafes.

This policy change created an intriguing natural experiment at Maastricht University, because students there from neighboring countries suddenly were unable to access legal pot, while students from the Netherlands continued.

The research on more than 4,000 students, published in the Review of Economic Studies, found that those who lost access to legal marijuana showed substantial improvement in their grades. Specifically, those banned from cannabis cafes had a more than 5 percent increase in their odds of passing their courses. Low performing students benefited even more, which the researchers noted is particularly important because these students are at high-risk of dropping out. The researchers attribute their results to the students who were denied legal access to marijuana being less likely to use it and to suffer cognitive impairments (e.g., in concentration and memory) as a result.

Other studies have tried to estimate the impact of marijuana legalization by studying those U.S. states that legalized medicinal or recreational marijuana. But marijuana policy researcher Rosalie Pacula of RAND Corporation noted that the Maastricht study provide evidence that “is much better than anything done so far in the United States.”

The author of that article is a professor of psychiatry at Stanford University. Should be reliable.

The best way to learn about the effects of legalizing drugs like marijuana is to look at where it’s been tried. We don’t have to look far, just to Colorado.

The Daily Signal reports on a peer-reviewed study about Colorado.

Excerpt:

A published academic peer-reviewed study and another thorough study set to be released next Monday show:

  • An increase in marijuana-related traffic fatalities in Colorado since 2009
  • An increase in marijuana-related traffic fatalities in Colorado compared to non-“medical marijuana” states since 2009
  • Alcohol-related fatalities remained the same

[…]Marijuana was in essence legalized in Colorado in 2009, when the state commercialized the sale of so-called “medical marijuana.” By commercializing the sale, and thus consumption of marijuana across the state, the state saw a large increase in use by its citizens, and citizens from other states, so-called pot tourists.

In other words, 2009 was a pivotal year for Colorado and its’ drivers.

In the three years prior to 2009 (2006-2008), Colorado averaged 35 drivers per year who tested positive for marijuana in fatal accidents.

In the three years after 2009 (2010-2012), Colorado averaged 57.3 drivers per year who tested positive for marijuana use in fatal accidents—a 64 percent increase over the pre-2009 numbers.

And here is another report that explains some of the other effects of legalizing marijuana.

Excerpt:

According to the new report by the Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area entitled “The Legalization of Marijuana in Colorado: The Impact,” the impact of legalized marijuana in Colorado has resulted in:

  1. The majority of DUI drug arrests involve marijuana and 25 to 40 percent were marijuana alone.
  2. In 2012, 10.47 percent of Colorado youth ages 12 to 17 were considered current marijuana users compared to 7.55 percent nationally. Colorado ranked fourth in the nation, and was 39 percent higher than the national average.
  3. Drug-related student suspensions/expulsions increased 32 percent from school years 2008-09 through 2012-13, the vast majority were for marijuana violations.
  4. In 2012, 26.81 percent of college age students were considered current marijuana users compared to 18.89 percent nationally, which ranks Colorado third in the nation and 42 percent above the national average.
  5. In 2013, 48.4 percent of Denver adult arrestees tested positive for marijuana, which is a 16 percent increase from 2008.
  6. From 2011 through 2013 there was a 57 percent increase in marijuana-related emergency room visits.
  7. Hospitalizations related to marijuana has increased 82 percent since 2008.

The report includes other data about the negative effect of legalizing marijuana in Colorado, including marijuana-related exposure to children, treatment, the flood of marijuana in and out of Colorado, the dangers of pot extraction labs and other disturbing factual trends.

Part of me thinks that posting this is futile. Sensible people will not be surprised by these studies, but the libertarians and Democrats who think that legalized pot is just wonderful are probably so brain-damaged already that they won’t care what studies say at all. Marijuana is dangerous and addictive. We shouldn’t legalize it, and we shouldn’t normalize it.

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New study: long-term marijuana use causes decline in memory in middle age

I have a key that will unlock a puzzling mystery
I have a key that will unlock a puzzling mystery

Cool new study reported by Reuters.

It says:

As marijuana becomes more accessible to young and old alike in the U.S., researchers warn that long-term use of the drug may cause lasting harm to at least one type of brain function.

A new study based on following thousands of young adults into middle age finds that long-term marijuana use is linked to poorer performance on verbal memory tests, but other areas of brain function do not appear to be affected.

“We did not expect to find such a consistent association with verbal memory for chronic exposure to marijuana,” especially since the link held even when other factors like cigarette smoking, alcohol use and other behavioral factors associated with marijuana use were accounted for, said lead author Dr. Reto Auer of the University of Lausanne, Switzerland.

Auer and colleagues analyzed data from a 25-year U.S. study of young adults, which included repeated measures of marijuana exposure over time and a standardized test of verbal memory, processing speed and executive function in year 25. Almost 3,500 participants completed the standardized tests.

At the beginning of the study period in the 1980s, participants were 18 to 30 years old and more than 80 percent reported past marijuana use. Just 12 percent continued to use marijuana into middle age, according to the results in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Researchers found that as past years of marijuana use increased, verbal memory scores decreased. In practical terms, the results meant that for every additional five years of exposure, 50 percent of marijuana users would remember one less word from a list of 15 tested words.

“Recreational marijuana users use it to get high, to benefit from the transient change it produces,” Auer told Reuters Health by email. “But this transient effect might have long term consequences on the way the brain processes information and could also have direct toxic effects on neurons.”

What I am finding out as I age is that I have to keep pushing back the date of my “retirement”. I thought I  could quit working at 30, then 35, then 40. Now I am thinking 45 before I can be more free. The point is that the world is becoming a more difficult place to be independent. A lot of government spending is going on, and a lot of debt is being added to our national debt. I may never be able to stop working. And it’s a good thing that I will have all my faculties intact when I have to keep working. Be careful with exchanging short-term fun and thrills for long-term poverty. Things are not getting easier, you’ll have to work just to get by.

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