While running for President, Bill Clinton joked that he “didn’t inhale,” when he tried marijuana in his college days. In his pre-presidential memoir, Barack Obama wrote of his marijuana use in high school as normal and as cherished memories. Current presidential hopeful Kamala Harris shamelessly boasted that she did inhale. Politicians may think of marijuana as a harmless issue that may help them win friends and votes. But marijuana is nothing to joke about.
Advocates of marijuana use promise that it is a superior therapy for chronic pain and mental illnesses such as depression. While any drug affects individuals differently, in general, marijuana fails to deliver on any of these promises. In truth, rather than the answer to serious problems such as pain and mental illness, the evidence of many years of research shows that marijuana is a significant factor in making things worse.
Teenagers become three times more likely to develop schizophrenia with regular marijuana use. Anyone who uses this drug has an increased chance to become psychotic (suffering a break with reality). Many people become paranoid as a result of their use of marijuana. As a pain reliever, marijuana is known to not be any stronger than alcohol—certainly nowhere nearly powerful enough to compare with opiates.
All four of the initial states to legalize recreational marijuana use—CO, WA, AK, and OR—discovered by 2017 that murder rates had risen 37% and aggravated assaults by 25% since before legalization in 2014. Those rate increases are considerably above the national average for the same period. Also, multiple scientific studies demonstrate that mentally healthy people who use marijuana regularly become two to five times more likely to commit violence.
Clearly, violence and mental illness are not the result of the blessings brought by the Spirit of God. These are not mere side effects of prescription pharmaceuticals. Something else is happening to users and to our culture as people open themselves to the influence of this deceptive drug.
For details on this, and for further information, see Alex Berenson’s book Tell Your Children: The Truth About Marijuana, Mental Illness, and Violence. Data in this article adapted from Alex Berenson, "Marijuana, Mental Illness, and Violence" Imprimis 48:1 (January 2019): 1-7.
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Nathan Wheeler, PhD, is the Preacher for the Eastside Church of Christ in Farming-ton, NM.