A brief national media weed roundup:
The sober reporters at National Public Radio’s “Morning Edition” ran two stories today on pot and its health effects. Meanwhile, California Governor Jerry Brown appeared on NBC’s “Meet the Press” Sunday and said he’s concerned that legalization could lead to more widespread use, which he thinks could damage the state’s productivity and safety.
“I think we need to stay alert, if not 24 hours a day, more than some of the potheads might be able to put together,” Brown opined.
The first “Morning Edition” story examines the “hazy” evidence surrounding marijuana’s health effects:
Some interesting tidbits from the first story:
- There’s not a lot of evidence, largely because marijuana’s status as a Schedule 1 narcotic has made research difficult.
- Most “users” smoke a joint or less per week.
- Mark Kleiman, a professor of public policy at UCLA, says, “The main risk of cannabis is becoming habituated to cannabis and spending your whole life stoned.” But he doesn’t think the health risks are enough to override the push toward legalization.
- Addiction is possible, according to Kleiman, but the rate is much lower than it is for alcohol, cigarettes, cocaine, heroin or other opioids.
- People who are allowed to get as stoned as they want before driving (on a simulator) perform about as well as people who just meet the drunk-driving threshold. But doing both at once: bad idea.
The second “Morning Edition” story focused on the effects of weed use on the teenage brain.
The upshot? Probably not a great idea to let your kid blaze. Smoking weed can actually change the structure of developing teen gray-matter, according to a number of studies.
Lastly, the “Meet the Press” interview with Brown starts around the 38-minute mark of this video. If you’re not too high to completely lack initiative, you can skip to the marijuana talk at roughly the 42-minute mark, or read the transcript here.