With all the hysterical media in Britain going on and on about how marijuana makes everyone go psychotic, I’ve been surprised that I haven’t heard more of that Reefer Madness style reporting in the U.S. — in fact, there’s been little in the press here about the connection.
Well, the Boston Globe tackled the subject in Studies Link Psychosis, Teenage Marijuana Use by Carey Goldberg. And it’s a remarkably well-balanced job of reporting. (Even the headline uses the word “link” instead of indicating causality.)
While showing the potential concern over the subject, the article makes clear that causality has not been determined, that even if marijuana does provide some cause for concern, it’s only for a small percent of the population, only for those pre-disposed toward psychosis, and only for those who start smoking as children. And the reporter got reactions from NORML as well. Other than missing the opportunity to mention self-medication, the reporter did a good job.
As this story gets more play in the states, it seems to me that there’s two things we need to continue to emphasize.
- The lack of strict causality evidence, and the fact that there are other reasonable explanations for the links
- The fact that marijuana legalization models include regulating the abuse of marijuana by children, something that prohibition does not. If we want to seriously think about reducing abuse at young ages, we need to look at legalization and age regulation.