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Wed, Aug. 21

Letter: Shame on you, Suzanne Lee

Editor:

Your letter published in the Sept. 13 Verde Independent, which was critical of Sheila Polk's "My Turn" article (Sept. 11) warning of the effects of marijuana on the brain, etc. deserves rebuttal based on scientific studies which you failed to investigate. It would have been so simple to GOOGLE "marijuana effects on the brain." Here are a just a few quotes based in scientific studies that one can find which support Sheila Polk's assertions. Where is your evidence refuting the findings of the many studies?

"Marijuana use impairs a person's ability to form new memories and to shift focus. THC also disrupts coordination and balance by binding to receptors in the cerebellum and basal ganglia -- parts of the brain that regulate balance, posture, coordination, and reaction time. Therefore, learning, doing complicated tasks, participating in athletics, and driving are also affected."

"Marijuana users who have taken large doses of the drug may experience an acute psychosis, which includes hallucinations, delusions, and a loss of the sense of personal identity. Short-term psychotic reactions to high concentrations of THC are distinct from longer-lasting, schizophrenia-like disorders that have been associated with the use of cannabis in vulnerable individuals."

"Research in the past decade has focused on whether marijuana use actually causes other mental illnesses. The strongest evidence to date suggests a link between cannabis use and psychosis.  For example, a series of large prospective studies that followed a group of people over time showed a relationship between marijuana use and later development of psychosis." 

"The new research is part of a large-scale study of health and development conducted in New Zealand. Researchers administered IQ tests to over 1,000 individuals at age 13 (born in 1972 and 1973) and assessed their patterns of cannabis use at several points as they aged. Participants were again tested for IQ at age 38, and their two scores were compared as a function of their marijuana use. The results were striking: Participants who used cannabis heavily in their teens and continued through adulthood showed a significant drop in IQ between the ages of 13 and 38 -- an average of 8 points for those who met criteria for cannabis dependence. (For context, a loss of 8 IQ points could drop a person of average intelligence into the lowest third of the intelligence range.) Those who started using marijuana regularly or heavily after age 18 showed minor declines. By comparison, those who never used marijuana showed no declines in IQ."

Do your homework as Sheila Polk obviously did hers.

Rollin Hook

Cornville

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