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Thursday, January 2, 2014

Weed: Rather Not?

The jokes are already flying fast over David Brooks' new NYT column--someone asked dudes who smoked weed with Dave the Rave to email Gawker, like, right now. In the confession  he reveals that he was a bit of a pothead as a youth but quickly grew out of it and doesn't want others (for example, in Colorado) to waste their lives watching their potential go up in smoke, etc.  You mean Brooks wasn't high when he was writing all those let's-invade-Iraq  pieces?   And don't tell me he wasn't baked as recently as in the photo at left.

So let the jokes continue but let me ask a serious question: I have kept up on the latest medical claims about the down side of reefer so feel free to fact-check Brooks on all this:  "We didn’t give it up for the obvious health reasons: that it is addictive in about one in six teenagers; that smoking and driving is a good way to get yourself killed; that young people who smoke go on to suffer I.Q. loss and perform worse on other cognitive tests."


Anonymous said...

This is from Norml.org and cites two UK studies.


“Marijuana's effects on actual driving performance were assessed in a series of three studies wherein dose-effect relationships were measured in actual driving situations that progressively approached reality.

… THC's effects on road-tracking after doses up to 300 µg/kg never exceeded alcohol's at bacs of 0.08%; and, were in no way unusual compared to many medicinal drugs. Yet, THC's effects differ qualitatively from many other drugs, especially alcohol. Evidence from the present and previous studies strongly suggests that alcohol encourages risky driving whereas THC encourages greater caution, at least in experiments. Another way THC seems to differ qualitatively from many other drugs is that the formers users seem better able to compensate for its adverse effects while driving under the influence.”

REFERENCE: H. Robbe. 1995. Marijuana’s effects on actual driving performance. In: C. Kloeden and A. McLean (Eds) Alcohol, Drugs and Traffic Safety T-95. Adelaide: Australia: HHMRC Road Research Unit, University of Adelaide. Pp. 11-20.

“This report concerns the effects of marijuana smoking on actual driving performance. … This program of research has shown that marijuana, when taken alone, produces a moderate degree of driving impairment which is related to consumed THC dose. The impairment manifests itself mainly in the ability to maintain a lateral position on the road, but its magnitude is not exceptional in comparison with changes produced by many medicinal drugs and alcohol. Drivers under the influence of marijuana retain insight in their performance and will compensate when they can, for example, by slowing down or increasing effort. As a consequence, THC’s adverse effects on driving performance appear relatively small.”

REFERENCE: W. Hindrik and J. Robbe and J. O’Hanlon. 1993. Marijuana and actual driving performance. Washington, DC: US Department of Transportation National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Report No. DOT HS 808 078."

That pretty much takes care of Brooks's comment about driving skills. As Andrew Weil said in his book The Natural Mind, "I'd rather drive with someone who's smoked marijuana than with someone who's had any amount of alcohol in their system."

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