StonerAmerica, Marijuana is a psychedelic drug that damages the brains and consciousness of habitual users

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Marijuana is a psychedelic drug that alters the consciousness of habitual users and damages the brains of children and adolescents. Yes it is a gateway drug. But that is misleading because it implies that unto itself it is benign. Marijuana is not benign. Today’s ‘weed’ is anywhere from fifty to a thousand times stronger than your father’s ‘grass’. Getting ‘high’ affects the limbic feeling centers of the brain and alters the very play of consciousness itself. It not only alters and damages motivation and thinking, but most importantly, it removes the user from the feeling of his Authentic Being. Feeling is at the center of relatedness, judgment and the grounded operations of consciousness itself. I have already addressed how marijuana usage interferes with psychotherapy and the recovery from psychiatric struggles in “It’s Time to Address the Marijuana Issue”. As a psychiatrist I have dealt with the destructive effects of marijuana in both adolescents and adults. Smoking marijuana interferes with the process of psychotherapy for our patients to recover from psychiatric symptoms, and to recover their authenticity and capacity to love.

We have a huge drug problem in America, both street drugs and prescription drugs. Why would we add to it? To put it simply, marijuana is a destructive to the welfare of society. And more important, it is damaging to the development and well being of our children. It is the most common illicit drug used by teenagers. This is disturbing enough. Legalizing it makes it that much more available, in addition to sanctioning it. Adults are supposed to be looking out for their kids. What are we thinking?

I will address the objections to my earlier article.

  1. “’Refer Madness’ has been discredited.” – To object to marijuana is not some alarmist scare tactic. Marijuana is a very strong drug, an hallucinogen. Yes most people smoking marijuana will not become schizophrenic. Although it does cause a significant number of vulnerable kids and young adults to cross the line to schizophrenia.
  2. “Loosen up and get stoned, you’ll like it.” – This is simply the mantra of stoner America. They can be funny, but it is part of the fallacy that grass is benign with no significant negative effects. Do we really aspire as a society to be stoned?
  3. “We’ve already tried prohibition and that failed, plus we can make a lot of money by taxing marijuana.” – I do not understand how fostering something that is destructive is constructive. We need to limit its usage. It is epidemic in our schools. Making it more available is not a good thing for children. Anyone who pretends this is not the case is flat out lying and doesn’t care. Raising money on the backs of damaging our kids is unconscionable. We need to do the opposite – Put our heads together and dedicate ourselves to find a way to limit the supply of marijuana, and keep it out of our schools.
  4. “Smoking weed is better than big Pharma.” –This is another example of ‘my wrong’ is better than ‘your wrong’. Anyone who has read my writings will know my opinion of Big Pharma. I consider the lion’s share of psychiatric drugs destructive to dealing with the human issues of psychiatric patients. So why would we add another psychoactive drug that pretends to be efficacious, non addictive, no side effects, no habituation, no drug tolerance. At least they are honest that the point is to get high. The marijuana lobby as very well funded as is the Big Pharma lobby. Do you think perhaps that there is a lot of money to be made off drugs? (At who’s expense?) A plague on both their houses. In fact I hold big Pharma, and the APA responsible for promoting the false idea that psychiatric issues are a brain problem rather than a human problem. And that pharmaceuticals are the solution to what ails us by fostering the idea that that drugs are a miracle cure. And we are talking about benzodiazepines, amphetamines, SSRI’s and others. We have a terrible drug problem. Why add to it?
  5. “Marijuana is a cure-all for medical ills.” – This is simply propaganda put out by the marijuana lobby. The idea that there might be some medical uses for marijuana, is used to pretend that it is a constructive, not a destructive drug. Even if there is some minor constructive use, which is questionable, this bears no relationship to legalizing marijuana as if it proves ‘weed’ a good drug. There is a campaign now to demonstrate great curative powers for marijuana for nausea in cancer treatments, even for MS. And many MD’s are now falling for this fallacy. There are promotional studies put out by the marijuana lobby, just as big Pharma uses corrupt and falsified studies to promote its drugs. Medical science, unfortunately, is prone to bad and corrupt science regarding drugs. [Read the Appendix to my book]. Everybody knows that medical marijuana dispensaries are just a trick and a lie. While we go to great lengths to prove how destructive cigarettes are, we are fostering marijuana which is far worse. I’m not just talking about the ‘smoke’, because apologists can argue other ways of ingestion. The issue is its effects on our brains and consciousness. How come we haven’t subjected marijuana to rigorous testing by the FDA before we sanction it? It would never pass muster. The legalization push has been the result of political pressure by the marijuana lobby, while we in medicine look the other way. There are some incipient studies that show marijuana use damages the brain’s memory and learning capacity. The hippocampus and Thalamus shrink. And the earlier one starts, the worse it is. See – Neuropsychopharmacology July 4th 2013, doi:10.1038/npp.2013.164, and http://www.medicaldaily.com/marijuana-use-causes-brain-damage-confirmed-241869.
  6. “Marijuana is a good treatment for anxiety and depression” – First of all, depression and anxiety are not brain problems. They are human problems, symptoms from damage to our plays of consciousness. They are addressed by good psychotherapy. What ails us is not cured by a drug. In fact, Marijuana creates anxiety in a significant percentage of users. The idea that we should add this to the already destructive pharmaceuticals is frightening.“You’re just a narrow moralist. How dare you tell me what to do.” – I really don’t care if Joe Shmo smokes weed. If he wants to purchase it illegally and keep it hidden that’s OK with me. It’s his choice. Party on. But I don’t wish to destroy the fabric of society any further because of Joe’s habit. The purpose of society is to promote the welfare of its people. We raise our children to become productive, loving, responsible adults. Being drugged does not fit into that picture and damaging our developing children is just wrong.
  7. “You’re just a narrow moralist. How dare you tell me what to do.” – I really don’t care if Joe Shmo smokes weed. If he wants to purchase it illegally and keep it hidden that’s OK with me. It’s his choice. Party on. But I don’t wish to destroy the fabric of society any further because of Joe’s habit. The purpose of society is to promote the welfare of its people. We raise our children to become productive, loving, responsible adults. Being drugged does not fit into that picture and damaging our developing children is just wrong.
5 replies
  1. Ted Wright
    Ted Wright says:

    1. Your implication that cannabis is a cause of schizophrenia is disingenuous, at best. Cannabis does not cause schizophrenia; it may bring it out in people who have latent illness.

    2. Who said it’s benign? This is a misleading assumption that is aimed at getting the reader to believe the author’s philosophy, while ignoring the fact that cannabis can be a suitable drug for many different illnesses and symptoms that many seriously ill patients experience.

    3. You’re right; it is “epidemic” in our schools. It has been since sometime around 1976. I don’t know how many times I’ve been to legislative hearings and cringed while patients explain that they had no idea where to purchase cannabis for their nausea & vomiting or to help alleviate the side effects of multiple sclerosis, etc. They commonly state that they turned to their children or grand-children to help them get some because kids know where to get it. In fact, it’s easier for teenagers to get than alcohol or tobacco. What does that say? To me, it is a big red flag. Prohibition isn’t working! We’re not doing enough to take it off the streets and until we get a realistic approach about how to deal with the substance, it will remain available to the most vulnerable members of our population. Further, the same person that sells them cannabis often times has other drugs like cocaine, heroin, LSD or other drugs. That’s where your “gateway” is, it has nothing to do with cannabis itself. Alcohol is the substance that almost all heroin addicts tried first. Take cannabis out of the street dealer’s hands and things will likely turn around.

    4. “The marijuana lobby as very well funded as is the Big Pharma lobby.” ~ You need to do some research. A single dose of Herceptin & T-DM1 costs us $33,000 and that doesn’t even cover the hospital and nursing staff. My wife gets it every three weeks! Do some math.

    5. No one with any legitimacy is purporting that cannabis is a fixall. However, it can and does help many people with many ailments. My wife would have passed away some time ago had she not gotten relief from chemotherapy induced anorexia. She’s being treated for stage IV, metastatic breast cancer and the phase one clinical trial drugs she was on were killing her. None of the standard anti-emetic drugs worked for her, so out of desperation, she tried some cannabis. Within ten minutes she was eating the biggest meal she had eaten in over a year! It works and just because DEA and NIDA have been successful at fighting off real research on the subject, somehow the truth has gotten out. Listen to the “anecdotal” evidence; it’s so overwhelming that it refuses to be ignored…

    Reply
    • Robert Berezin
      Robert Berezin says:

      If marijuana helped your wife, I am glad. I have no problem with that. However, anecdotal is insufficient. It needs to be carefully evaluated in relation to its effectiveness in the context of its negative effects and it needs to be compared with alternative anti-emetics. If it turns out to be a constructive medication than of course it should be sanctioned by the FDA for this specific purpose. And if so, this does not mean that it should be used in any other context and should be carefully controlled like any other drug. This does not mean that it should be legal.
      Actually Marijuana damages consciousness. As a therapist, it is my experience with many patients that it takes a year for a habitual user to recover and be available for the vulnerable relatedness that is necessary to deal with himself. I specifically said that marijuana does not cause schizophrenia. I don’t understand your defense of marijuana other than the fortunate help it gave your wife. We have a serious drug problem and marijuana is part of it. It is especially harmful to the developing consciousness and brains of teenagers.

      Reply
  2. anonymous please, or Michelle will work
    anonymous please, or Michelle will work says:

    I started smoking pot just to try in the 9th grade, I was only 14. The first time effects I remember clearly. After smoking a joint, shared mind you (that also being said sharing where our mouths were concerned can not be good alone!) well the effect were severe dry mouth absolutely no salavia in my mouth making it most difficult to swallow, soon after laughter unstoppable and then I could not move for over an hour, a friend who didnt partake walked me home and soon after I feel asleep. I experienced happiness joy, fear and immobility. To me this began as a gateway drug/herb whichever. But yes it increased to smoking more and more for the effects of laughter soon after even perhaps prior I was depressed which has lead my life down the path of most other drugs for experimentation. Then of couse pharmaceuticals took its place. See in general I have not made an opinion for pot only that for me it lead me as a gateway. On the other hand I do know and truley believe perscriptions from pharmaceutical corporations is absolutely BAD and a means of genocide in our country.
    Life to me is sad that we all just turn our backs and walk away, this human conditioning is hard to bare. I absolutely love life but not this structure we are taught, go to school, college, religion, career amd marriage
    I believe we fail as a society we are not taught anything other than conditioning, our mothers teach kindness to love and share and create, we have not been taught how cope. How to eat we eat everything we are told and the majority of people just eat this up as truth. Do.people care and why do they stop when someone loves us and then leaves us friends, lovers, coworkers for me its unbearable. At any point I believe we all need to stop and reasses what our vaules and morals are.
    It is strange that a lot of us do before we think and even in that statement our words have a major role in our belief system if someone calls something a drug this holds in our consciousness or subconciousness as true and truley causes an effect on our personal judgments. I appreciated reading your article and hope that you further contiune your research. Now that pot is leagal/illegal what is your standpoint of the new product extracted from marijuana (sorry is use the word pot for the simplicity of spelling out the word marijuana) so now they have taken out the thc part if im understanding this.correctly and now.using.the ‘cbd’ oil the.other part of the chemical compound.
    Today well I have been on and off antidepressants and I am currently taking yoga and slowly.coming off my antidepressants and antianxiety medication I am upset that immediately doctors are so quick to get people off recreational drugs to pharmaceutical drugs, replace a drug with a drug when my intention was to not be on any type of drug. Thanks for your time.

    Reply
    • Robert Berezin
      Robert Berezin says:

      Thank you for telling your story. What is most important is that you recover and be well. Your story is important because there are millions of kids out there with a similar story. There are also many kids and adults who don’t go through the gateway and continue to smoke marijuana. And their consciousness is altered without them even knowing it in very destructive ways. In therapy, every single user who has stopped has been grateful that they are back to themselves.

      Reply
  3. harper
    harper says:

    “Their consciousness is altered without them even knowing it..” I might be under the wrong impression but is that not the objective of using psychoactive substances? I don’t think anyone has ever used a drug to maintain their current state of mind or accidentally experienced an altered state of consciousness through deliberate ingestion of these compounds. It is their crude version of psychiatry, which I can agree leads to some dangerous scenarios due to a lack of education and experience. However this is very valuable because it shows us that there is some type of problem recognition and a desire to change that can be worked with in more professional outlets of therapy.

    I apologize but i must blatently argue that cannabis is not a causal element of heightened drug use. Mental illness coupled with drug seeking behavior aimed at improving ones perception are the source of druge abuse. Initially something else must trigger the vicious cycle then tolerance to the effects of the drugs and availability of the drugs become “gateways” but using simply does not qualify as such. I feel we must stop blaming the cause of drug abuse on drugs and more focus must be brought to the addict themself. A coca plant will not kill, it only grows, but underlying mental illness and chemistry will lead to a pile of corpses. So why focus on the plant? Eliminate the use and there is no abuse! Lol

    Your entire disposition seems based on this mental distortion of generalizing all cannabis users as stubborn adolescents who have become completely dissociated and opposed to a “true” reality. Under mild to moderate doses of psychedelics, such as cannabis, people are normally observed to be much more susceptible to discussions of otherwise unacceptable topics. This is very useful for therapists to extract certain hidden away secrets and emotions that could be of essential importance in the treatment of people needing psychotherapy. The same effects of cannabis that cause anomalies in consciousness facilitate the ability to correct fallacies and misinterpretations in the addicts mind. It makes them more open to “bad” AND “good” ideas, it can make your job easier or harder.

    Yes its unhealthy, yes its unacceptable for children and most adults to use even occasionally, yes the criminal markets lead to pollution from cultivation and sometimes violence but never is our egocentrism towards these users’ different consciouses to be confused as a “true” collective conscious experience or should we “help” addicts or dealers by sending them to violent cesspools of mental disease and trauma known as prisons.

    You must look past your own inhibitlatory consciousness in order to learn the underlying cause, effects, and treatment of prolonged abuse of psychedelics. The same egocentrism you view as an effect of cannabis is the same poison effecting yourself in your ability to constructively manipulate the poor souls into an appropriate lifestyle with healthier coping mechanisms.

    Anyways, good luck on your studies and endevours and I hope you will consider different approaches to understanding addictive behaviors while still remaining strong against drug use.

    Nobody likes to be a buzz-kill bit somebody has to do it! Lol

    Reply

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