Marijuana

I. Marijuana causes behavioral changes

A. Chronic Marijuana users become more aggressive

during withdrawal.

People who have smoked marijuana daily for many years display more aggressive
behavior when they stop smoking the drug, according to a new study by
researchers at Harvard Medical School. The study, funded by the National
Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), National Institutes of Health, is further
evidence that a withdrawal syndrome is associated with abstinence from long-term
marijuana use, and suggests that aggressive behavior is part of this syndrome.

Human and animal studies conducted since the early 1970\'s have suggested the
existence of a marijuana withdrawal syndrome, characterized by insomnia,
restlessness, loss of appetite, and irritability. "This syndrome--although
less dramatic than the withdrawal syndrome associated with alcohol, opiate, or
cocaine withdrawal--may contribute to relapse among those dependent on
marijuana," says NIDA Director Dr. Alan I. Leshner. "People addicted
to marijuana may continue to use the drug at least partly to prevent the onset
of withdrawal symptoms. Identifying the exact nature of this syndrome is crucial
to developing treatment strategies for those attempting to stop their marijuana
use."

The Harvard study, using a computer test of aggressive behavior, compared 17
long-term heavy users of marijuana with 20 people who were infrequent or former
smokers. All of the volunteers were abstaining from the use of marijuana and all
other drugs of abuse during the study. To avoid any suggestive influences, the
investigators did not reveal to the volunteers that their aggressive behavior
was being studied. Instead, the volunteers were told that they were
participating in a test designed to measure movements and a variety of
physiological characteristics, such as pulse rate and body temperature. They
were also told that another volunteer of the same sex was sitting in another
experimental chamber and would be participating in the test with them.

Facing each volunteer in the experimental chamber was a computer monitor and
a response panel. On a panel were two buttons, labeled A and B. Pressing A 100
times allowed the volunteer to gain 1 point, which was worth 50 cents. Pressing
B 10 times subtracted 1 point from the other participant, who, in actuality, was
not a person but a computer. Three 1-second beeps signaled that the
"opponent" was subtracting 1 point from the volunteer. The researchers
labeled the pressing of B as an aggressive response, and the point subtractions
from the volunteers as provocations.

The volunteers participated in one of these sessions on each of five
different occasions: at the beginning of the study, and at days 1, 3, 7, and 28
of abstinence. Results showed that the current marijuana users became
significantly more aggressive, as indicated by the number of times they pressed
B, on days 3 and 7 of withdrawal, as compared to the infrequent of former
marijuana users.

(National Institute on Drug Abuse)April 20,1999

B. Each youth’s brain wave tracings

(Electroencephalograms) Showed dysfunction

Research studies of youngsters from kindergarten through high school show
that previously well--adjusted and intellectually endowed children inexplicably
are falling apart academically and emotionally in the teenage years with the
only new factor being that of occasional marijuana use. Marijuana use leads to
an inability to recognize good from bad, an inability to retain a strong
self--image, and an inability to visualize and plan for the future. Using
marijuana makes "great" people average, and average people
"dumb". Marijuana use is toxic to all cells, and most especially toxic
to brain cells.

(Robert C. Gilkeson, M.D.)

C. Well adjusted and intellectually endowed children

Inexplicably are falling apart academically and

Emotionally with occasional marijuana use

Research studies of youngsters from kindergarten through high school show
that previously well--adjusted and intellectually endowed children inexplicably
are falling apart academically and emotionally in the teenage years with the
only new factor being that of occasional marijuana use. Marijuana use leads to
an inability to recognize good from bad, an inability to retain a strong
self--image, and an inability to visualize and plan for the future. Using
marijuana makes "great" people average, and average people
"dumb". Marijuana use is toxic to all cells, and most especially toxic
to brain cells.

(Robert C. Gilkeson, M.D.)

D. These impairments are the cause of the increase of violent and non violent
juvenile crimes

These impairments are the cause of increased violent and non-violent juvenile
crime, truancy and school dropout, teenage runaways and vagrancy, teenage
prostitution and pregnancy, venereal disease, adolescent depression and suicide,
poly-substance use and adolescent psychiatric referrals. Most alarming of all is
the fact that we have witnessed the appearance of a new chronic organic brain
syndrome called "burnout" caused by marijuana use.

Robert C. Gilkeson, M.D.)

Category: Social Issues