With voters poised to legalize marijuana in Alaska, Oregon and Washington DC the Times harshes our mellow, twice.
First, some scary science:
This Is Your Brain on Drugs
By ABIGAIL SULLIVAN MOORE OCT. 29, 2014
The gray matter of the nucleus accumbens, the walnut-shaped pleasure center of the brain, was glowing like a flame, showing a notable increase in density. “It could mean that there’s some sort of drug learning taking place,” speculated Jodi Gilman, at her computer screen at the Massachusetts General Hospital-Harvard Center for Addiction Medicine. Was the brain adapting to marijuana exposure, rewiring the reward system to demand the drug?
Dr. Gilman was reviewing a composite scan of the brains of 20 pot smokers, ages 18 to 25. What she and fellow researchers at Harvard and Northwestern University found within those scans surprised them. Even in the seven participants who smoked only once or twice a week, there was evidence of structural differences in two significant regions of the brain. The more the subjects smoked, the greater the differences.
Modern pot is much more potent than stuff from the mid-90's, so a lot of research may need to be updated.
High-THC marijuana is associated with paranoia and psychosis, according to a June article in The New England Journal of Medicine. “We have seen very, very significant increases in emergency room admissions associated with marijuana use that can’t be accounted for solely on basis of changes in prevalence rates,” said Nora D. Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse and a co-author of the THC study. “It can only be explained by the fact that current marijuana has higher potency associated with much greater risk for adverse effects.” Emergency room visits related to marijuana have nearly doubled, from 66,000 in 2004 to 129,000 in 2011, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
And moving from the lab to the mean streets of Colorado:
New Scrutiny on Sweets With Ascent of Marijuana in Colorado
DENVER — As Halloween approached, the Denver Police Department and a marijuana-store owner teamed up to film a public service video that could exist only in this weird new world of legalized pot.
Marijuana, they cautioned parents of trick-or-treaters, does not always look like marijuana. More and more these days, it can mimic Sour Patch Kids, Jolly Ranchers and gummy bears, and the police urged parents to double-check their children’s Halloween haul for any suspicious-looking candies that might be infused with marijuana.
Since recreational marijuana sales began here in January, edible pot has become a top seller at dispensaries across Colorado, a sweet and tasty way for wary first-timers to sample marijuana, or for people to get high without coughing and reeking of smoke. But a spate of accidental ingestions by children and adults, and two deaths tied to edibles this year, have prompted widespread calls to clamp down on the edible corner of the marijuana market.
I doubt the NY Times editors are reconsidering their support of legalization.