LETTER: Claims on marijuana have been debunked

I would like to take issue with the letter from Ken Lane, Marijuana use is extremely harmful, in your Nov. 22 issue.

Sadly, Mr. Lane’s claims are little more than hyperbole. Even the study he relies on, the 2017 National Academy of Sciences report, contradicts what Lane is claiming. In it, the authors of the report clearly state that studies found only “limited evidence that cannabis use leads to use of other drugs. There is no clear evidence to back up Lane’s claim of a “statistical association between cannabis use and the development of substance abuse disorder… ” for drugs other than cannabis. Lane is basically using the “gateway” claim, which has been totally debunked.

Mr. Lane also goes on about cannabis’ negative impact on memory, but fails to mention that study after study has demonstrated that any memory loss associated with cannabis use has been proven to be temporary, and the memory loss totally recoverable. He also basically quotes some lines from the report about the impact of THC on brain cells, synapses and the immune system, but fails to report the full results of the study, which do not find these impacts to be permanent. These impact can also be achieved by running a marathon, meditating for long periods of time, practicing yoga, and listening to music, among other activities, and are not necessarily harmful. In fact, they may even be helpful in some incidences, especially for people suffering from neurological disorder (something the study he references affirms).

The study also clearly states that, at present, there is not enough information to conclude whether the claimed negative impacts of cannabis are in fact real.

Then Lane goes on to quote Dr. Robert Gilkeson, a Princeton researcher and pediatric specialist who passed away in 1993, who had little or no modern information on the issue, and was by no means an authority on the subject matter. In fact, he’s most famous for using the term “marijuana” instead of THC or cannabis, and had no practical experience in the subject matter other than occasionally writing reefer madness type exposes for local newspapers.

I would suggest that if anyone has been “duped into believing” the hyperbole it is Mr. Lane.

Will Webster

Saanich

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