Pubdate: Thu, 23 Jan 2003
Source: Abbotsford News (CN BC)
Copyright: 2003 Hacker Press Ltd.
Author: Eric Myrholm


Editor, The News:

Letter writer Paul Musgrave's concern about my labelling marijuana a 
"gateway drug" creates an interesting dilemma for me ('Time to tell truth 
about marijuana,' Opinion, Jan. 18).

I realize that there are two sides to every story - Paul's and mine - but 
who is correct?

There are studies which support both lines of thought.

The reason for the use of this drug seems to be to allow youth and adults 
to gain peer acceptance, escape from boredom or frustration and avoid 
emotional pain of low self-esteem, shame, loneliness or failure.

This may appear to brighten the moment, until the mind-altering effects 
wear off. What then?

The problem is still there, sometimes compounded.

The only area where marijuana may be of some use is that it can make cancer 
chemotherapy patients, and HIV and AIDS patients, hungrier.

It may add to comfort, but it is not a cure.

On Nov. 22, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN medical correspondent, gave the following 
information: "Twelve million people in the U.S. used marijuana in 2001, 
20.1 per cent of eighth graders and that number doubles by the time you get 
to the 10th graders.

"Forty per cent of 10th graders say they had used it at least once in a 
month before they were asked, about 42 per cent of the seniors. Marijuana 
use earlier in life actually may lead to an increase (30 per cent) in 
schizophrenia later in life.

"A study of of the history of 50,000 Swedish military people found that 
those people who are more likely to use marijuana, both in frequency and 
amount, are more likely to have the symptoms of schizophrenia."

An excerpt from Spencer Recovery Centers, Inc.: "Marijuana Dangers" reads: 
"Millions of people use marijuana habitually and many are quite addicted to 
the drug. Addiction is a disease and like any disease, tears away at the 
mind and body of the sufferer. Many pot smokers did not fully understand 
marijuana dangers as they began to smoke the drug early in life.

"Some pot smokers find themselves using the drug more than they would like 
and find it interfering with school,work and relationships with family and 
friends. This cycle can feed off itself in a negative way, causing more use 
of the drug and more consequences."

A study from UCLA suggests that marijuana may be a greater cancer risk than 

The THC in marijuana may promote tumour growth as tar in marijuana smoke 
contains higher concentrations of hydrocarbons than tar from tobacco smoke.

These hydrocarbons are a key factor in promoting human lung cancer.

Marijuana smoke deposits four times as much tar in the respiratory tract as 
a comparable amount of tobacco. The exposure to carcinogens is increased.

The above are only a few hazards of this dangerous drug. Should we not 
continue to warn our youth of the possible results?

What about stop signs and speed limits? Should they not be done away with, 
as they can cause rebellion in some individuals?

Eric Myrholm, Abbotsford
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