- The Washington Times - Monday, December 28, 2009

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Regarding the views of Joyce Nalepka about the increased use and impact of marijuana on our children and society in general, she is absolutely right (“The pot thickens,” Letters, Dec. 20).

As an individual who was dragged kicking and screaming into the parental prevention movement following the drug-related death of our son in 1986, I (with the help of my husband, who is a nephrologist and clinical pharmacologist) have followed the plethora of scientific studies done on marijuana - there are more than 20,000 of them - and am perplexed as to why the media suppress this information (much as they did to studies showing the dangers associated with smoking tobacco).

The bottom line is that marijuana, which often is 20 times more potent today than it was in the 1960s and 1970s, is insidiously dangerous. It is a leading cause of drug-related emergency-room episodes. It is associated with psychiatric disorders, cancer and infertility, and it has a negative impact on the immune system, not to mention a host of other medical problems it causes. This list doesn’t even touch on the many social issues involved. Marijuana is sometimes mentioned as a factor in child-abuse cases and in tragic accidents. It definitely is not a benign substance. Crude marijuana may mask the symptoms of some medical ailments, as crude opium once did, but it is not and should not be used as a therapeutic agent.

SANDRA S. BENNETT

Co-editor

Marijuana Research Review

La Center, Wash.

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