The truth about marijuana | Opinion

Courtesy Photo on NJ.com

Courtesy Photo on NJ.com

An opinion piece written by Ken Wolski, RN, MPA, and director of the Coalition for Medical Marijuana -- New Jersey, Inc., was recently published on NJ.com discussing the misinformation he found in the article "Under the Influence," which was published in the Times of Trenton on September 27 of this year. Wolski discusses how misguided information like this halts the progress of the medical marijuana industry and how it prevents us from overcoming the harms associated with real drug use.

Within the article in question, Dr. Singh mistakenly links marijuana with the development of psychosis, a link that has never been proven through clinical research despite it being one of the most studied issues. Even the DEA admits, "extensive research has been conducted recently to investigate whether exposure to marijuana is associated with schizophrenia or other psychoses... At present, the data do not suggest a causative link between marijuana use and the development of psychosis." 

Wolski also responds to Dr. Singh's claim that marijuana is a "gateway drug." Instead of viewing marijuana as a "gateway" drug, Wolski says marijuana should be viewed as an "exit" drug because of its ability to help those who are addicted to drugs that are actually dangerous. He cites a study that reveals people did in fact use marijuana as a way to reduce their substance abuse, whether it be alcohol, prescription drugs, or other illicit drugs. Another study published in the 2014 Journal of the American Medical Association found states that legalized medical cannabis experienced a lower mean overdose mortality rate by 24.8% than states that did not adopt these laws. 

Wolski continues, saying Dr. Sanjay Gupta also believes the United States government has been misleading when it comes to marijuana. Gupta has said, "We have been terribly and systematically misled (about marijuana) for nearly 70 years in the United States."  Wolski believes the continuation of this misinformation is severely hampering any research of the medicinal benefits behind marijuana. Wolski admits, "No drug is completely safe and marijuana is no exception.  But exaggerating the dangers of marijuana does a disservice to honest educational efforts about drug abuse."

The author concludes the Times of Trenton article relies on outdated information and theories, when it should instead focus on the harmful health problems associated with prohibition. Check out the opinion piece for yourself for more interesting insights.