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Letters to the Editor: A few marijuana horror stories aren’t evidence of major risk

A billboard advertises Weedmaps, which helps customers locate cannabis shops.
(Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: Instead of arguing over the possible benefits or downsides to cannabis use, and instead of discussing the much more harmful effects of alcohol consumption, I’d simply like to ask for evidence to support Robin Abcarian’s assertions in her column, “Cannabis has downsides, especially for kids. We need to acknowledge them.”

She says cannabis use can contribute to adolescent mental illness, but her evidence consists of “horror stories” from parents.

It’s a reasonable assumption that depression, anxiety and psychosis exist independent of cannabis use, and those who are suffering are desperately trying to cope in an unfriendly world. There are plenty of depressed and anxious people who have never tried pot.

Abcarian uses emotional appeals to scare readers. That does not relate the truth.

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Jake Gotta, San Diego

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To the editor: Thanks to Abcarian for her spot-on column.

I am the mother of a son with no known genetic or biological factors who ended his pain at age 30. His psychiatrist (whom he started seeing when he began using marijuana at age 16) and I believe the early cannabis use led to psychosis, which led to schizophrenia, which led to his death.

Young people have grown up hearing the term “medical” used with “marijuana.” No wonder many teens as well as adults think it might even be good for you. Now, we have billboards normalizing its use.

We urgently need research and voices like Abcarian’s.

Cheryl Downey, Santa Monica

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To the editor: Legalization of cannabis carries risks, but it might reduce the black-market trade with its attendant violence and enable safeguards against impurity. If it were sold by a state-run monopoly (as in Uruguay), there would be no profit motive, hence no incentive to pitch it to minors.

Also, there should be a ban on edibles like “gummy bears.”

At the federal level, cannabis is listed on Schedule I of the Drug Enforcement Administration, which encompasses substances with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse. Cannabis’ Schedule I status is a serious roadblock to better research into medical uses.

Herbert Klein, Santa Monica


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