Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Good science - marijuana and teenage angst

Here's a study with a unique approach to analyzing why teenagers smoke marijuana. Researcher Tom O'Connell, M.D., using a new model of inquiry, examines the history and symptomology of adolescent users that strongly indicates many teenagers use the plant to self-medicate for anxiety, depression and to mitigate the symptoms of ADD type disorders.

Among his findings were that many chronic users came from families where the father was either absent or emotionally unavailable. More importantly, the research indicated that among long term consumers, many used cannabis to control excessive use of alcohol, tobacco and other illegal drugs. His summary says it all.
Proposition 215 encouraged many individuals who had been considered "recreational" users of cannabis to apply for "medical" status. Interviews placing their cannabis use in broader context showed that it is frequently an alternative to the use of alcohol, tobacco, and "harder" drugs.

The federal government, by imposing a Prohibition based on biased, inadequate studies, is depriving the American people of a safe and effective medicine.

Beyond that concern, the increasing enthusiasm for drug testing and punishing those who test positive for cannabis with either criminal or social sanctions is destructive to the large -but at this writing unknown -number of Americans treating emotional symptoms with what may be, for them, the best agent available.
Bottom line. Marijuana is a medicine, much less harmful than most pharmaceuticals and its full potential to treat mental disorders has not yet been fully recognized. In another age this plant would be called a wonder drug.


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