Dr. Sanjay Gupta’s controversial documentary Weed recently aired on CNN, resulting in a nationwide buzz. The American neurosurgeon is known for his opposing stance against marijuana, including a 2009 TIME magazine article titled, “Why I Would Vote No on Pot”. He appears to have done a complete reversal, however, and has apologized for “misleading” the American public on marijuana. While Dr. Gupta’s confusing pendulum swing may shed some light on his research skills, it still does not illuminate all the facts on marijuana.
The Weed Documentary
Weed shows viewers an artist who works better while high, a stoner who is now immune to the drug’s effects and therefore drives “well” when high, and a theory that marijuana fights cancer.
In an op-ed on CNN’s website, Why I Changed My Mind on Weed, Gupta states that his previous stance on marijuana had been near-sighted, led by the Drug Enforcement Agency’s label of marijuana as a Schedule 1 substance. He apologizes for dismissing a “loud chorus” of patients whose symptoms improved while taking marijuana.
While the documentary has an interesting bent, it is still one-sided. Consider the following facts about marijuana:
THC, the active component in marijuana, is very harmful to the developing brains of adolescents. A recent study revealed that those who used marijuana during their teenage years experienced a significant drop in IQ even well into their thirties and forties.
Marijuana is addictive, and a number of studies show that the drug often leads to heavier drug use as users build up tolerance. Just like alcohol, it often does so covertly due to misinformation on the substance.
Marijuana dulls the senses and throws the user out of touch with the real world. Besides alcohol, marijuana is the number one cause of automobile accidents in the United States. One study found that nearly 30 percent of fatally injured drivers tested positive for drugs other than alcohol, and marijuana was the main culprit.
For more information on the effects of marijuana see our video:
Marijuana may have its uses, but is legalization truly worth the risks involved? Is society really ready to deal with another legal drug?
A very high percentage of the costs associated with drugs in this country are driven by legal drugs. Not only are they accessible, they are pushed on unsuspecting patients who end up victims of clever marketing campaigns by money-hungry pharmaceutical companies.
Perhaps the solution is not to legalize another drug, but to free Americans from the idea that they need drugs to cure their ailments. The truth is, drugs do not cure anything. They merely patch up symptoms.
Effect on Youth
While most pro-marijuana measures call for legalization for those age twenty-one and older, one need only study the history of alcohol to see that such a law would not prevent teens from using pot freely. Alcohol is the most popular drug among teens. If their parents are allowed to smoke a joint freely, who’s to say they won’t try it once in a while? Who’s to say their first taste of pot won’t come from their parents? What kind of message are we sending our children?
A simple lifestyle change can create more permanent relief than a pill or a toke. Consider, for example, one of the ailments that is often used to justify medical marijuana use–chronic back pain. Thousands of people find effective, long-term relief by getting their spine straightened by a chiropractor, implementing a regular exercise routine, and changing their diets.