Pot smoking has consequences
BY BILL SHERMAN World Religion Writer
Monday, November 12, 2012
11/12/12 at 6:34 AM
Because I Said So is a blog written by six parents and one grandparent.
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So the brilliant people of Colorado and Washington on Tuesday voted to legalize the recreational use of marijuana.
This comes at the same time that a National Academy of Sciences study found that persistent pot smokers who began in their adolescence can have an average drop in their IQ of eight points in their 30s, dropping them from the 50th percentile in intelligence to the 29th percentile. The change is permanent.
And in a Harvard medical survey of pot smokers, 90 percent said that significant pot smoking reduced their cognitive skills and memory, and more than half said it hurt their careers, social lives, and physical and mental health.
As a society, we seem to be developing a casual attitude toward pot, as if it were a harmless diversion, less dangerous than drinking and smoking cigarettes.
I know better. I came of age in the 1960s. I saw the effect of pot smoking first-hand in my own life and in the lives of dozens of my friends.
A drunk might act stupid, fall down and cut his head open or wrap a car around a tree. But if he survives, he's still the same guy. A cigarette smoker might look cool for 40 years before dying a slow breath-strangling death, or may live to be 100.
But pot smoking is different. Forget the physical/medical effects. Pot has subtle, insidious effects. It changes things science cannot measure - things having to do with self-identity, personality, spirituality, motivation, that inner drive to be and to do. I once thought back over all my high school friends, the ones who went on to achieve their goals, and the others, equally brilliant, who dropped out, lost their way, settled for less. More often than not, those in the latter group spent a lot of time in a cannabis-induced mental fog.
Studies show that 40 percent of U.S. teens tried pot in the last year and that teen pot use is up 21 percent since 2008. Legalizing it would certainly increase those numbers.
I think it's time to draw a line in the sand.
As parents and grandparents, we need to alert our precious progeny that smoking pot can have serious, long-term, adverse effects on their lives.
Bill Sherman 918-581-8398
People attending an Amendment 64 watch party in a bar celebrate after a local television station announced the marijuana amendment's passage, in Denver on Tuesday. The amendment would make it legal in Colorado for individuals to possess, and for businesses to sell, marijuana for recreational use. BRENNAN LINSLEY / Associated Press
Medical marijuana is packaged for sale in 1-gram packages at the Northwest Patient Resource Center medical marijuana dispensary in Seattle. After voters weighed in on election day, Colorado and Washington became the first states to allow possession of up to 1 ounce of legal pot for recreational use. TED S. WARREN / Associated Press