Editorial: Marijuana More Potent, Harmful
Source: Modesto Bee, The (CA)
Published: May 17, 2004
Copyright: 2004 The Modesto Bee
Contact: [email protected]
The marijuana kids smoke today is not the same pot their parents or grandparents used at Woodstock. Hydroponic growing techniques, in which the marijuana plant is cultivated in nutrient-rich solutions, and the selective use of seeds have produced a more potent form of marijuana that is showing up across the country.
As the potency has increased for one of the nation's most popular and widely used illicit drugs, there has been a correspondingly sharp increase in the number of marijuana-related emergency room visits by young pot smokers. The number of 12- to 17-year-old youths admitted to hospitals because they had an adverse reaction to marijuana tripled between 1994 and 2001, the last year for which federal officials provide figures.
They cite a number of different reason for the hospitalization. "Unexpected reaction" to the drug is the most common, followed by "overdose, chronic effects and accident or injury."
It's not just young people who are affected by the new high-octane pot. A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association this month reports an 18 percent increase in marijuana abuse and dependency over the last decade. Both young people and those aging baby boomers who continued smoking pot beyond their college and young adulthood report problems of concentration and with performing tasks that they did not have in the past, and more difficulty weaning themselves from the drug.
Marijuana use among Latinos and blacks has increased dramatically. Researchers offer a number of explanations. Because pot use is high among college students, increased minority college attendance may account for their greater use of the drug. Also, a crackdown on underage drinking and tobacco use and the higher costs of cigarettes may have had the unintended effect of steering low-income users to marijuana.
All of this argues that Americans should think again about the pervasive notion that marijuana is relatively harmless.
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