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Marijuana Damages Young Brains (nytimes.com)
119 points by pseudolus 29 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 117 comments



Scary title.

The actual results[1] are less scary: long-term, heavy cannabis use that begins in adolescence correlates with increased rates of psychological conditions and IQ decline.

Edit: To inject a personal anecdote: every time I travel to Europe, I see people my age (and sometimes substantially younger) drinking beer and smoking marijuana. I almost never see reckless drinking or smoking the way I do in the US (e.g., at every college event), and I attribute that to a cultural failure of ours.

My opinion: if we want to stop the kinds of results that these studies show, then we should focus our efforts on reducing the taboos/absence of cultural knowledge that lead to binge usage.

[1]: https://www.pnas.org/content/pnas/early/2012/08/22/120682010...


I think you're making it sound less scary than it actually is. The study you linked looked at adolescents who used cannabis once a week, and found that they suffered a permanent decline in IQ.

Once a week is not "binge usage." That term isn't used anywhere in the study. The study doesn't make or support the claim that only binge usage causes mental decline.

What the study supports is that weekly long-term use beginning in adolescence causes permanent mental decline.

Furthermore the NYT links many other studies to support their position, and a recurring theme is that we still don't understand all the long-term effects of marijuana.

I have a feeling that if this article was about tobacco or alcohol the comments would look totally different. I like cannabis, I think it's probably more benign than both of those drugs, but I don't think we should give it a free pass because of its counterculture association or any other reason. By the admission of researchers it is not well understood, so there is a good case to be made that the path of least harm is to legalize carefully and in stages.


Once a week is chronic use though, and long term too.

It's fine if this is actually tested in an RCT instead of a silly correlation that has any number of confounders such as:

- parental care - stable young people start smoking later and smoke less and/or less often

- wealth - rich people -"-

- mental illness

- social groups where early marijuana use can be special in other ways

- location

- other concurrent habits

I'd like to at least see a thorough analysis instead of one potentially random number average need with all sorts of biases. And just the bare bones of statistics have been applied to insufficient data.

The most reasonable paper, the IQ one, is funded by a drug prevention and treatment center.

And the other linked papers are a big bag of laughs. FMRI "looking" abnormal? Bah. Epigenetic study in vitro, wow, very useful if you're made of glass.

Precautionary principle is well applied here already, and in more reasonable countries. Remove reasons for abuse and it rarely happens.


Thanks for the citation, but not sure how that's less scary. Sure they see the most effect statistically in long-term heavy users, but there's no evidence to indicate that such amount of usage is the threshold. Even occasional users show a slight negative Delta IQ in the tables.

Perhaps you're okay with taking something that makes you even the slightest bit dumber, but I am not. Importantly? Do you think kids should be allowed to make this mistake when they don't understand this difference?


> Do you think kids should be allowed to make this mistake when they don't understand this difference?

Does banning it actually decrease usage (I'm genuinely asking, as it's a highly political issue and I can find articles claiming either side)? Also I feel it's much more our duty to inform people as much as possible to empower them to make the best decisions (for the same reasons I think a lot of anti-drug campaigns that exaggerate the dangers of drugs do more harm than good, or why abstinence only sex ed is a net negative). Kids are going to do stupid shit, it's an invaluable part of growing up. If they're not directly harming anyone else, it should ultimately be their choice - even if we think it's a bad one. What makes an arbitrary age any better?

My argument does not have much data behind it, and I welcome studies that contradict my stance.


> Even occasional users show a slight negative Delta IQ in the tables.

So, this is true. But it's also lacking context: that same table also shows a nearly identical gain for adolescents who didn't smoke marijuana at all, suggesting that the negative results for the "used, never regularly" cohort are within the margin of error.

Also consider the scale: the authors say that -0.38SD corresponds to a decline of ~6 IQ points; that means that usage cohorts 1, 2, and 3 each declined by less than 3 points. I'd have to do more background reading, but I suspect that creeps into confidence interval territory. Similarly, we are left without a good explanation for the relatively smaller decline in IQ for the 2 waves cohort. By and large, not confidence inspiring.

> Perhaps you're okay with taking something that makes you even the slightest bit dumber, but I am not.

I'm not okay with taking things that'll make me dumber. However, I'm not convinced that marijuana usage, on par with* reasonable alcohol consumption, would make me dumber. Beyond that, I am confident that several other environmental factors are far more important: absence of lead paint, proper early-life nutrition, &c.

> Do you think kids should be allowed to make this mistake when they don't understand this difference?

I take issue with framing it as a mistake. Per my anecdote, I think that adolescents harm themselves more in a culture that treats alcohol and marijuana as taboos. We should definitely put effort towards stopping adolescent addiction; I think our efforts there will benefit greatly from a culture shift.

* Edit: "on par with" meaning "suitably scaled," not "one joint per beer" or something silly like that.


> Edit: To inject a personal anecdote: every time I travel to Europe, I see people my age (and sometimes substantially younger) drinking beer and smoking marijuana. I almost never see reckless drinking or smoking the way I do in the US (e.g., at every college event), and I attribute that to a cultural failure of ours.

If we are in personal anecdotes, there is an disproportionately high rate of people around me with light to severe psychological conditions that started marijuana around or before 15 (at least 4 are/were close).


North Europeans don’t smoke marijuana. It’s both very illegal and is seen as trashy. Heavy drinking on the other hand is popular.


Marijuana use is in practice usually hidden and somewhat tolerated, particularly in the larger cities in Sweden. It may be thought of as trashy in stricter environments, but in my personal experience it's practically normalized. Both sides are prevalent, but your comment is over-generalizing.


This is simply untrue.


thank you


Well said. I agree.


The legal age isn't set where it is because that's the age at which marijuana is deemed to have no negative effects, any more than it is for alcohol or any other substance that can be habit forming. It's just the age at which people are considered responsible enough to make a decision on their own about the risks and benefits involved.

If you want to say that cognitive development isn't done until 25, and so people can't be considered adults until then, you'd better be ready to argue that for a whole lot of other sacred cows.


Which makes sense too in many ways. The only people who've had to bet their money on making a decision on what age to consider people as adults at, is the rental car industry. Incidentally they came up with the 25 number too, I guess purely actuarially.


> The only people who've had to bet their money on making a decision on what age to consider people as adults at, is the rental car industry.

They aren't the only one, and they probably did what they did by doing a blunt approximation of what the auto insurance industry came up with regarding age.


This is no longer the case. At least in Tennessee.


That's not true. See below for the under age surcharge for Budget in Tennessee and Enterprise everywhere:

https://www.budget.com/budgetWeb/html/en/common/agePopUp.htm... https://www.enterprise.com/en/help/faqs/car-rental-under-25....


How am I wrong? The link you posted states "The minimum age to rent a vehicle is 21 years of age." Sure there's a $20 a day extra fee, but that's negligible in comparison to the inconvenience of not being able to rent the car. The sentiment of my comment was that you don't have to be 25 to rent a car.


You replied to a comment stating that rental car companies picked 25 as the age below which people don't always act like adults actuarially speaking. That bet is a literal charge in this case, weighing loss of business from higher prices against increased risk of loss from un-adult behavior.

You said that is not true in Tennessee and, as I explained, you are wrong about that. While I'm sure you knew what you meant, given your lack of explanation it is assumed you were directly replying to the central tenet of the previous comment (i.e. that persons under 25 are less adulty and should be treated as such).


You're right. "ramraj07" was arguing that the rental companies view under 25 year olds as less mature, not that rental companies won't do business with them. That's where I went wrong.


Of course no place bans renting cars for folks under 25, but the point is they don't consider you a regular adult at that point, more like a risky adolescent.


Not true. In the past several car rentals didn't rent to under 25 year olds. Period.


Voting age and drinking age have been separated for decades and we’ve gotten used to it.

I don’t see setting the marijuana age limit to be 25 to be any more/less arbitrary. No need to bring sacred cows into this.


I'm not sure how much practical effect such an age limit would have.

Even at the height of the drug war, when cannabis was illegal in every state in the US, it was incredibly easy to get for anyone who wanted it.

Now that it's effectively legal in many states, it's even easier to get. People below whatever minimum age limit might not be able to legally get in to a business that sells cannabis, but already plenty of underage drinkers get in to bars with fake ID's, and they could always get the cannabis from their friends, black/gray-market dealers, or just grow their own from seed.

The Netherlands, where cannabis has been effectively legal for many decades, has a much lower percentage of youth who use cannabis than the US. It's just not considered cool there, as it's not forbidden as it is in the States. Often, the attitude among natives in general there is that it's something that mostly tourists or foreigners do. But in the US, forbidden fruit is going to look twice as attractive and taste twice as sweet.

So setting a minimum age limit might have the paradoxical effect of making users out of more youth than would otherwise try it.


What do you hope to accomplish by this?

History says again and again that banning something doesn't make it happen less, it just lets criminal elements profit from it.


The prohibition movement is the usual example provided to support that theory, but historians and experts in the domain do acknowledge there was still an overall decrease in consumption of alcohol during prohibition.

'Courtwright’s The Age of Addiction has the statistics: “Per capita consumption initially fell to 30 percent of pre-Prohibition levels, before gradually increasing to 60 or 70 percent by 1933.” That suggests a 30 percent reduction, at a minimum, in consumption — although that was less than the initial effect, as people figured some ways around the law.'

https://www.vox.com/the-highlight/2019/6/5/18518005/prohibit...


But was that reduction in use a result of Prohibition or of the moralistic anti-drinking attitude that was prevalent at the time?

Even if Prohibition itself was responsible for the reduction in drinking, we must consider whether the overall effect on society was worth it. This effect included an enormous increase in organized crime, murders and other types of violence, and widespread corruption. American society as a whole decided that no, it was not worth it, and repealed Prohibition.

The effect of the current war on drugs is arguably much, much worse than Prohibition ever was.


I recommend reading the article. It has compelling alternate hypotheses for the increase in crime. It also broaches the topic of the 'war on drugs', though I don't recall that it makes any useful comparison of modern 'harm minimization' strategies and prohibition.


I mean I’m not accomplishing anything. And honestly I don’t even hope for anything either!

I’m just saying that some state setting marijuana age limit at 25 isn’t going to make people question drinking age, voting age, military age, etc.


Note that ethanol, and a host of other mind-altering substances, should also be avoided until neurobiological adulthood (approximately 26): https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4669962/

For alcohol, neurological effects can be observed in those who consume as little as 21 drinks per week (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9500305). Your brain is just a bunch of electrically powered neurons swimming in a chemical bath - it's surprising how little of a substance over a regular time period can have an effect.


> as little as 21 drinks per week

That is an incredible amount of alcohol as a minimum. Was that a typo, or does it really take that much to see significant negative effects?


Keep in mind that a drink is defined as 14g of alcohol. A drink of wine is four to five fluid ounces, but most people pour much more than that when they have a glass at home. It's similar with beer. A 12oz bottle of 5% ABV beer is a drink, but many craft beers are 7-10%. It's easy to have a couple of beers or glasses of wine and have 3-4 drinks in the process.


> It's easy to have a couple of beers or glasses of wine and have 3-4 drinks in the process.

Yes and even drinking that quantity of high ABV beer or large glasses of wine that you describe and you'd still have to do it every day of the week to hit 21 drinks a week.

It is, as suggested upthread, an incredible amount of alcohol to describe with “as little as”.


It’s not that crazy. Mimosa for breakfast, martini for lunch, tipple during the work day, and wine with dinner. That plus going out to restaurant/country club/church on the weekend and it starts to add up. Most people in such social circles have to be at 30-35 drinks a week and that’s not even including any sort of special celebrations.


> Mimosa for breakfast, martini for lunch, tipple during the work day, and wine with dinner.

This is not typical of a normal working adult. I don't care what social circles you're a part of, unless it's some weird Instagram socialite promoting alcoholic beverages.

I'm sure there are social circles where eating 5000 calories a day is considered normal too. Doesn't mean we should normalize it or pretend it's healthy.


That's called being an alcoholic


Actually it's even less than that, as the "standard" drink is a rather conservative measure - 14g of 100% alcohol, or roughly on can of 5% beer, or 1.5oz of 40% liquor.

Many cocktails could easily be 3 or 4 "drinks".

Which still isn't saying 21 "standard" drinks a week isn't a fair amount, but it's not that crazy.

For instance, say you go out on a Friday and have 5 pints of an 8% IPA over the course of the evening.

That's 10.4 standard drinks.


That is crazy. It’s the textbook definition of alcoholism.


That’s pretty offensive. Some people just live a different lifestyle.


I cannot for the life of me tell if you’re being sarcastic or not, but in case you’re not: There is no subculture in which 21 servings of alcohol per week is not alcoholism, with the exception of alcoholics who are in denial.


21 drinks a week seems like a lot?


It is a lot, but also a relatively easy number for e.g. a college student to exceed.

While looking back I can see it wasn’t healthy... nachos and a couple beer on Tuesday night after our long engineering lab, and 3 or 4 mini-pitchers (3oz) at the bar on Friday and Saturday night pretty quickly adds up to, say, 27 drinks in a week. I was perfectly functional (minus Saturday and Sunday mornings where I’d sleep in until 11 or noon), passed all my classes, even made the Dean’s list.

Definitely not recommended, but not unheard of. I have a much healthier relationship with booze now, and I’d be broke if I drank that much of the good stuff :)


Yes, I can easily hit 1 maybe 2 a day without noticing but 3 is significant. For example most restaurants try to sell you two drinks per meal I’ve noticed. And I don’t drink every day, so miss a day and you have to drink 6, thats a binge/hangover for me.


As someone who used to drink that much, Yes!


A lot of people are saying 21 drinks a week is a lot. While it's 21 more than I have a week these days, I've gone stretches in my younger years with several beers a night. Easily drinking 21 a week.

21+ drinks per week is 2 nights out for some people.


> A lot of people are saying 21 drinks a week is a lot.

Because it is a lot.

> While it's 21 more than I have a week these days, I've gone stretches in my younger years with several beers a night. Easily drinking 21 a week.

So...you used to drink a lot. What's your point?

> 21+ drinks per week is 2 nights out for some people.

Yes, some people are very heavy drinkers. Again, what's your point?


> What's your point?

That in my experience, for youngsters, 21 drinks a week isn’t a lot.

> Again, what’s your point?

Please see above.

I’d wager a significant (20% or so) portion of youth (< 25) drink 21+ per week semi regularly.

That’s relevant to the comment I was replying to, and the studies it references.

Now that I’ve clarified things, what is your point?


What is the role of THC here? Presumably THC will change your behavior, and if your behavior over a long period of time impacts IQ or any of the metrics mentioned (e.g., "executive function, processing speed, memory, attention span and concentration...") then it is difficult to say that THC is the direct cause of "damage." When we say that being poor lowers your IQ or decision making capabilities, most infer that this is the result of secondary effects like stress and anxiety rather than your actual wealth alone. Is the message that THC causes damage like cigarette smoking, or like being poor---or both?


IQ is mostly invariant of behavior, and absent gross brain injury, is largely fixed over one's lifetime.


This is absolutely not true. There are multiple factors which have been proven to affect an individual's IQ over time-

* Schooling, * How stimulating their environment is, * Nutrition, * Disease (although this is generally towards the negative).

All of these can be influenced by behavior- people's eating habits affect their nutrition, and people who seek out intellectual stimulation are more likely to find it than those who don't.


I'm having trouble reconciling your statement with what I've heard of a variety of behaviours. Having a bad night sleep has a very measurable effect on IQ, and I'm sure there's many others (stress included).

Do you have any sources for that bold claim?


Alcohol damages brains of all ages, as well.

I don't write that to dispute the point of the article. However, many findings do dispute the age of adulthood.


Does alcohol induce long-term damage on the brain in proper adults?


Yes. It has an acronym - ARBD (alcohol related brain damage).

It includes things like Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome (also called Korsakoff's Phychosis), and alcohol-related dementia.

It's likely that younger people are more susceptible to alcohol related harm.

People who drink heavily are at higher risk.

This would be people who drink more than about 50 units a week for men, or 35 units per week for women. (Current safe drinking guidance is to drink no more than 14 units a week, spread out, with some days drink free).

There are roughly 40 units in a litre bottle of spirits.

18 UK pints of 5% ABV beer would be 50 units. Over a week that might be 2 pints a day and a big session on friday and saturday.

It's hard to know how many people drink this heavily because the stats are all self reported, people don't know what a unit is nor how strong the alcohol they drink is, and alcohol affects memory so people can't remember what they've drunk or when. But we think about 4% of men and 3% of women drink this much. https://www.drinkaware.co.uk/research/data/consumption-uk/


I don't really see where the humour is here, so just on the off chance you genuinely don't know: Yes, it does.


Are you being sarcastic?


Of course you wrote that to dispute the point of the article.

Alcohol is not what is being discussed.


I smoke this stuff everyday since I was 16 so I'm biased. Basically I need more than experimental evidence or correlations to believe the results as this completely invalidates my past behavior. Don't expect me to flip my opinion over night based on logic. Humans aren't logical creatures. If I changed my opinion then I'm basically admitting to taking drugs to make my brain stupider since I was a kid.

Of course putting something in my brain that never belonged in the first place would likely be bad for my brain judging from common sense. However, thanks to the fact that I've been enjoying getting high for years and due to the fact I don't want to admit I've been damaging my brain I'm going to google search very specific results that support my bias.

See here: https://www.inc.com/cynthia-than/the-surprising-way-to-be-be...

The above link is a more convenient scientific result to believe so despite offering nothing more then the NYtimes article (just correlation and experimental evidence) I'm going to choose what I like to believe and this harvard study is it.

Logical conclusion: Marijuana increases IQ. Also I'm high right now, which makes my judgement more precise because my IQ is higher at this very moment.


I wonder if the I.Q decline is caused by the use of Marijuana or if it's caused by the life style of Marijuana users?


Being a heavy stoner through 25 is highly correlated with at least alcohol consumption, pre-existing mental health problems, and polysubstance abuse.

That said intuitively that weed makes you stupid and crazy doesn't surprise me in the slightest. Unfortunately smoking weed is the most fun before things get serious with work and family in late 20s.

Another thing that came to mind, in the creativity enhanced altered state I'm currently in and have been in since age 12, is the exact mechanism is still up for debate regardless of established causality. I'm hoping the IQ decline comes from sitting stoned playing video games over engagement in school and work, as opposed to THC itself directly causing neurological learning deficits that are not reversible


I don't remember the 'smartest' people turning up to school with cans of energy drink, going to parties, being obese, smoking every day and bragging about it, so that has always been my conclusion. I don't consider myself one of the smart ones, before anyone downvotes, I've had my own issues with addictive/compulsive behaviors which certainly took a toll on my academic & social performance in HS.


Ive only rarely had a good experience with weed and ironically have not had any since it was made recreationally available in CA. It usually just makes me feel sick or very paranoid. Probably best for my wallet.


I'm in the same boat. It makes me unbearably anxious and will ruin any evening out. I've tried multiple kinds, and even the varieties richer in CBD cause me anxiety. It's just not a substance I can enjoy.


Same here. For some people it's like this...

https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/gy8pa9/weed-causes-anxiet...


Right now Marijuana destroys your life in the US if you get caught with it. So worry about decriminalization/legalization and then worry about why poor Timmy isn't very swift. Cigarettes and alcohol damage most organs in the body, so educate people as best you can, but people a lot younger than 18 are going to use pot no matter what age it is legalized for so I am not sure what good this policy advice is from NYT.


This isn't actually advice from the NY Times. It's an editorial. As such, it represents the views only of the two writers involved.


If you sell a product, with known harmful effects, and you do not warn the buyer, are you not liable?

In other words, is there a liability issue?

Any lawyers care to chime in?


It seems to me that it poses roughly the same risk as alcohol. I wonder if legalization changes the amount of children with access to the drug. If all sales are illegal then someone selling it probably won't care if they are selling to an adult or a 15 year old but if selling to an adult is legal but selling to a child is not the risk is probably not worth it.


Agreed. When I was a teenager, everyone knew it was easier to buy marijuana than any sort of liquor, because there was basically no underground market for the latter. All the knee-jerk stoners in here spamming the same point are probably oblivious that regulated sales and minimum age is actually somewhat effective.


>It seems to me that it poses roughly the same risk as alcohol

Alcohol can kill you, both from ingesting too much and from quitting after heavy usage. Cannabis does neither, and that's not even close to "roughly."


I know someone who is dying of lung cancer due to years of smoking marijuana. Its not the same instant effect as one night of drinking way way too much but you can die from both.


I hate to harsh your mellow, but it was probably due to tobacco.


Smoking anything will give you lung cancer. That is a risk one should be aware of and accept if you so choose to inhale.

There are smokeless consumption alternatives, which anyone mindful of their lung health should choose instead.

No one is saying smoke doesn't cause lung cancer. What is being said is that cannabis consumption will not kill you via overdose.


Sorry about your friend. Is that the source of your contention that the risks between alcohol and cannabis are roughly equal?


Not nearly the same risk. But not safe for developing minds, for sure.


> The risk that marijuana use poses to adolescents today is far greater than it was 20 or 30 years ago, because the marijuana grown now is much more potent.

For any substance that is consumed repeatedly, it is useful to "binary search" for the minimum effective dose. This tends to cancel out potency as a variable, while reducing the effects of tolerance.


The potency stuff is such garbage. So before people smoked an entire joint to get as stoned as they now get off a few hits. So what? People titrate their intake. Whenever i see this line i just stop reading because i feel the author is not interested on honest argumentation.


TL; DR. Only oral administration. At least 3 weeks between uses.

IQ tests are too narrow to assess the real picture. Can't believe these are still in use. And what I think researchers should really test is level of "will power" i.e. self-control.

Once a week is indeed too frequent. You have to take longer breaks. If used recreationally at least 3 weeks between single uses, and once, or better twice, a year a 6-8 weeks break. Plus, never smoke it, only eat. Smoking is the most addictive way of administration.

Also, the title is misleading indeed. What marijuana does is sort of "conserving" your brain, not damaging it. It's absolutely the opposite. It's like neural back pressure.


This debate is just starting in NZ where we will be voting next year in a referendum on legalising personal use of cannabis. The draft legislation has set the legal age to be 20, though this has drawn criticism from those that say the age should be 25 based on the same arguments put forward in the linked article.

I share the same opinion as others in this thread that say there is a certain age where you should be considered an adult and therefore old enough to determine whether or not you should do something that is bad for you.


This focuses on IQ and memory but doesn’t it also impact creativity?

I’d be interested in seeing studies about marijuana’s impact on the brain’s creative abilities to contrast with this.

Because the devil’s advocate in me thinks “We have enough high IQ people in this world and not enough high creativity people.”


I would be interested in this as well, but how do you measure creativity? Data on long-term effects of marijuana is rare to come by and that's when we are looking at a clear metric like IQ.


There are a couple tests available that measure divergent thinking, which is a part of creativity, but I’m not aware of any others.

There certainly is an abundance of anecdotal evidence that marijuana boosts creativity from artists and musicians.


Are all drugs tested to see if they affect IQ tests over extended periods?


Drinking too much water also damages young brains. Maybe we should restrict access to water also.


See it's what you do after taking it! Marijuana will just help you with it! Just like you eat lot of junk food and sit at one place every day that's not going to make you fit and you can't blame the food it's you! If you learn to focus after taking marijuana it's the best thing and if you try to distract it's the worst thing too!


also damages young brains: binge watching, caffeine, social media, bullying, sleep deprivation...


Got a source for caffeine damaging the brain?



I don’t see any references to brain damage there.


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caffeine#Adverse_effects

Not brain damage per se: > Caffeine can have negative effects on anxiety disorders. According to a 2011 literature review, caffeine use is positively associated with anxiety and panic disorders. At high doses, typically greater than 300 mg, caffeine can both cause and worsen anxiety. And > Caffeine-induced anxiety disorder is a subclass of the DSM-5 diagnosis of substance/medication-induced anxiety disorder.

However I will note that it does list a bunch of positive effects of caffeine use; including reduced risk of depression ("although conflicting results have been reported").


How does adderall compare?


[flagged]


Maybe for comparisons between people and populations, but change in IQ score across an individuals time seems much more meaningful.


Yup. IQ is outdated. Research already shows the presence of multiple intelligences.

I am pretty sure there is a positive correlation between musical intelligence and marijuana.

While we are on the topic of addiction let's stop blaming phones and blame mirrors first.


If the test is only measuring part of your intelligence that still doesn't change the fact that part of it has dropped so there has still been damage unless somehow another part has increased and is just as valuable to you.


And M.I.T Chinese students are abusing amphetamines before the exams, irony. Almost every high I.Q person I have met is alright with using drugs ... maybe ask the high I.Q persons before we act as a nanny in charge of their well being? What a radical idea right?

I'm pretty sure you don't understand the difference between long and short term usage.

Try drinking 40 cups of coffee a day and not sleeping for four nights. That's detrimental for your brain too.


> Marijuana Damages Young Brains

That's just... like, your opinion, man.


Reefer Madness! Keep your children away from the devil's cabbage!

* This unbiased message brought to you by big Pharm and America's alcohol brewers.


So, presumably, there's some data showing that the authors' thesis is incorrect?


What does it matter?

Are we going to risk the lives of our children based upon a thesis which might or might not be correct?

All I know, is that my cousin got high once and you know, he started eating like really weird foods. And then he just felt like he didn't belong anywhere. You know kinda like "Twilight Zone".


Legalizing Marijuana is being interpreted by the general youth population as an endorsement of it as a recreational drug.

Marijuana advocates should prepare themselves to take moral responsibility for the many significant negative consequences of increasing use, including increased schizophrenia rates, traffic fatalities, industrial accidents along with overall lower worker productivity.

The “but compared to alcohol” is a shallow argument used by these biased advocates selfishly looking for approval for their own recreational vice.


Keeping it illegal supports a large prison-industrial complex, takes otherwise relatively benign and productive people and ruins their lives far out of proportion to the offense, and helps to continue to fund large organized crime operations, probably with ties to human trafficking and larger things than selling marijuana, and gives law enforcement further excuse to practice civil forfeiture (seizing property without due process of law) and gives them one more excuse to justify curtailing other civil liberties in pursuit of the "war on drugs."

I don't see you calling for any moral responsibility there.


Your argument mostly extends to full legalization of all drugs as much of your points apply to all illegal drugs. Perhaps that is worth trying.


I personally doubt that we will see increased schizophrenia rates from legal weed. We may not see any of the other harms you list, either.

Sorry, the science just isn't that good on this subject.

> selfishly looking for approval for their own recreational vice

I'd say destroying the black market and keeping convictions off people's records is a total win, even in the eyes of the rest of us that don't smoke weed.


Ok I agree the science hasn’t been settled.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/17/health/cannabis-marijuana...

> I personally doubt that we will see increased schizophrenia rates from legal weed. We may not see any of the other harms you list, either. Sorry, the science just isn't that good on this subject.

What makes you doubt it? Why would it be more likely it is harmless than harmful? Even if I had no prior scientific data but tried to guess if regular use of a mind altering substance would be harmless or harmful, wouldn’t the prior lean towards harmful?

You might want to check recent data out of Colorado. It isn’t looking good.

> I'd say destroying the black market and keeping convictions off people's records is a total win, even in the eyes of the rest of us that don't smoke weed.

How do you know it is a win if we don’t know the unsettled science yet? Might be a pretty big gamble.

One of the biggest obvious problems with legalized Marijuana that they are struggling with in Colorado is the simple concept of having a test to determine if an individual is under the influence. Such a test would be a breakthrough in resolving some of the more serious immediate risks and enable enforcement of common sense rules.

Do you want your nurse at the ER impaired from Marijuana? Your bus driver? The construction crane operator?

I argue the legalization advocates are being irresponsible without “settled science” and without an ability to measure or detect use.


Meanwhile, in a parallel universe:

Do you want your nurse at the ER impaired from coffeebean junk? Your bus driver? The construction crane operator?


This is true. Weed is ok when you are older, you tend to partake infrequently. But if you take it young it becomes a habit.

I’d like to see legal age of use go up to 26. It seems like a good balance. Legalize, yes, but you have to be mature about it.

It’s time to realize that 16 to 25 you are still pretty immature.


I used to think 18 was a good age of majority, until I got a bit older and realised most 21-year-olds are pretty immature.

Then I thought 25 was a good age of majority, but as I got older I realised even 30-year-olds can act pretty immature.

Now I think 35 is a good age of majority... but then again even some of my peers can make some pretty poor decisions, so maybe 45?

Or we could just admit that this is what mature humans look like. We're still making dumb decisions and still learning from them, right up til we die.


Yeah thankfully older people vote more than younger people or we'd really be in a bad situation


You edited your answer down from 30 to 26. Which shows me you really haven’t thought about your statement at all. Aside from it being totally asinine to make a relatively harmless drug illegal for a 21 year old to use, there’s about a 0.0% chance you’d be able to enforce that. And why would you want to? If I can vote I should be able to do everything else, too.

Sincerely, a 25 year old who voted so he can legally smoke weed in Canada.


Hey, as long as you're consistent and agree that kids shouldn't be able to get loans or join the military until 26 either.

Edit (since you edited your number down from 30): And vote.


Why should one particular age (18) be regarded as a bright line for a range of activities? Wouldn't it be better to overcome the rigidity of present conventions in favour of a more rational system that correlates certain rights/obligations as a function of neurological development?


Simplicity. Neurological development takes place at different rates for different people, but it's an invidious thing to measure, so it's best not to try, at least until neuroscience gets better.


Because other systems lead to abuse where people are deemed "not X" for a variety of reasons including race, religion, gender, sexuality, politics, thoughts, and many other reasons.


>>other systems lead to abuse

All systems lead to abuse, including the existing system that artificially selects one age for a variety of rights/obligations with the notable exception being alcohol consumption. The rational approach would be to find a system that creates the minimal level of abuse. If that's the current system then so be it, but an effort should be made.


Please explain how an absolute system based on age to adulthood leads to abuse, because I'm not seeing it.

Edit: it's a binary system. You either are or are not.


The original article refers to one instance with potentially negative consequences where the age of majority (18) is the basis for access. Why not, in line with the authors' suggestion, increase the age to 25?


Because increasing the age is going to stop people from smoking weed or drinking? Haven't we learned this is a pointless strategy yet? Also let's not continue the dated system of two tier "adulthood" in the US. If you can vote then you can consent to the usage of "vice" products.

Do not cite cigarette purchase age limits as the cause of their decline. A combination of price and social rejection of cigs as disgusting has caused the decline in cigarette usage among youth.




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