By Thomas M. Loarie

Medical Science: What Politicians, the Media and For-Profit Marijuana Advocates Do Not Tell You About Pot Use

March 4, 2020
Column: CEO Learnings

A Review of Alex Berenson’s “Tell Your Children: The Truth About Marijuana, Mental Illness, and Violence

Over the past 35 years we have seen a sea-change in attitudes on recreational marijuana drug use. According to Pew Research an overwhelming majority of U.S. adults (91%) say marijuana should be legal either for medical or recreational use (59%), reflecting a steady increase over the past decade. Fewer than one-in-ten (8%) prefer to keep marijuana illegal in all circumstances, according to Pew.

California was the first to legalize medical cannabis in 1996. Since then, thirty-three states have legalized some form of marijuana and eleven states have legalized its recreational use.

This legalization has happened over the objections of every health and psychiatric association in America.


Why do doctors—especially psychiatrists—object to legalized marijuana use?

With its legalization, the use of cannabis is rapidly becoming a personal choice. But is this choice a fully-informed choice?

The only people who fully understand the consequences of weed use are the scientists who study it, the psychiatrists who treat it – and the people who have first-hand suffered from its consequences or have watched family members suffer.


The Truth: What most of us don’t know about marijuana use

Prize-winning journalist and former New York Times investigative reporter, Alex Berenson, spurred on by his wife’s observations at the Mid-Hudson Forensic Psychiatric Institute, became interested in the legalization of marijuana use, its real costs to society, and how uninformed we are about its dangers.

Tell Your Children: The Truth About Marijuana, Mental Illness, and Violence” is the result of Berenson’s extensive research and interest in the truth of the matter.

Berenson, a libertarian by nature, paid no attention to the use and legalization of marijuana until his wife, a senior psychiatrist at the Mid-Hudson Forensic Psychiatric Institute, told him that all the patients there had smoked pot.

His wife urged Berenson to read the big studies on marijuana and its connection to schizophrenia and violence.

Mid-Hudson is one of three places the state of New York sends the criminally mentally ill; defendants judged not guilty by reason of insanity.

What he learned is captured in this book and should be read by all.


Follow the money, Beware the results

The grand marijuana human experiment, abetted by addiction-for-profit industry and politicians hungry for tax revenue in the “legal” states has begun.

The results found in states that legalized marijuana:

  • Hundreds of communities in the legal states are now banning pot shops
  • A marked increase in emergency room visits with doctors and mental-health clinicians creating new protocols, and insurance codes, to treat marijuana addiction, poisoning and hyperemesis
  • An increase in murders and aggravated assaults.
  • An increase in calls to poison control.
  • An increase in suicidal ideation, child abuse and neglect


Scientific research

Berenson highlights the evidence from key U.S. and non-U.S. studies including National Academy of Medicine’s 2017 Health Effects of Cannabis and Cannabinoids which examined and summarized thirty years of research.

Extensive scientific research documents that there is serious harm to brain development for teenage regular users, major consequences for pregnant and nursing mothers and significant impairment for drivers and others while performing sensitive tasks.

It also shows a correlation to schizophrenia and violence for frequent, heavy users.


Who really suffers?

My interest in Berenson’s work stems from my interest in addiction which has plagued my family for several generations, the recent loss of two young adults I knew who died from a drug overdose, and the challenges several friends are having with attempts and interventions to get their teen children or adult siblings “clean.”

The legalization of drugs is of grave concern. The pitfalls of marijuana legalization are denied or downplayed. The public needs to understand its true costs and risks.

Those who know the truth are not heard while proponents of legalization shout: legalize and everyone wins. Berenson’s Tell Your Children: The Truth About Marijuana, Mental Illness, and Violence,” while packed with facts, is an easy read and a great choice if you want to get at the truth.




Thomas M. Loarie is the CEO of BryoLogyx, a rotating host of THE MENTORS RADIO SHOW, and a senior editorial advisor and columnist for Catholic Business Journal. He may be reached at [email protected]

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