The return of reefer madness?

Would you want your commercial airline pilot or neurosurgeon to smoke marijuana or eat a cannabis treat before grabbing the throttle of a 757 or picking up the bone saw to take out a piece of your skull?

On April 31, Laura Ingraham's Ingraham Angle on Fox featured Dr. Russell Kamer warning of the problem of the new reefer (marijuana/THC) potency that is causing much more mental and behavior problems than the old-time weed.  Kamer mentioned more agitation, violence, and delirium and psychotic breaks.  This isn't Woodstock Age of Aquarius stuff; people are getting killed or harmed by volatile druggies.

Recent discussions of violent young men seem to always circle around two things: family problems and drug use, with cannabis (THC) use on the top of the list.

On June 1, I read an excellent interview on the marijuana issue, at the American Council on Science and Health website, with Dr. Roneet Lev, who is an acclaimed emergency physician and addictionologist — so prominent that she was appointed as the first chief medical officer of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy.  The interview was far-ranging and alarming.  Dr. Lev warns of the growth of marijuana/cannabis/THC and makes her case based on her extensive clinical experience and scholarship.  

Dr. Lev's warning is that the new, more potent marijuana is now enjoying widespread abuse, and it is an addition to abuse of other drugs.  There is a countrywide effort to legalize or decriminalize cannabis at the same time there is a problem of threefold increases and more in cannabis product potency and a dramatic increase in medical problems related to cannabis use.

The potency increase has led to more problems with real addiction but also complications of regular use like psychosis and severe mental and emotional reactions, unrelenting vomiting, and violent antisocial behavior.  Dr. Lev characterizes the marijuana problems not as overdose, but poisoning and comments on the new problem with the more potent product — agitation, stimulation, and violent acting out.  That should get your attention.  No longer are the users always just easygoing stoned dopers.  Now some are agitated and act in a way that is more like a methamphetamine-, cocaine-, or PCP-user: hyped up and aggressive.

It is significant that many of the violent criminal actors who populate the streets and make the news, young and old, are found to be regular marijuana-users, of course with other drug abuse habits.  To complicate matters, cannabis street product is often adulterated with fentanyl, methamphetamine, cocaine, and designer drugs that are variable in their effect, from sedation to the point of death, or agitation and delirium.

Dr. Lev warns of more serious problems for those who become marijuana-users in adolescence, before their brain is finished maturing. 

Society cannot sustain this — decriminalization and legalization won't make things better.

Reefer madness is not a joke, but a real problem.  Why do you think George Soros is investing so much money in legalization?  Drugs add to the dystopian scene of our cities: homelessness, crime, squalor.  Our current dilemma is a becoming a dirty and degenerate rendition of Huxley's Brave New World (1932).

John Dale Dunn, M.D., J.D. is a retired emergency physician and inactive attorney in Brownwood, Texas.

Image via Pixabay.

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