Marijuana not as harmless as you thought?

Years back, I worked with a man who dabbled in still-photography. He was a great fellow who enjoyed the artistic world. He also enjoyed his cannabis. I don’t know how much of it he used, but it was enough that he confessed some time later that when he was “not high” he was surprised to discover that his photos were not as great as he thought at the time.

When he proudly showed his work to me, I always thought the photographs were dark, but I brushed it off thinking deep shadows were his “technique.” Turns out, it wasn’t technique, it was illusion from a distorted perspective. I remember him saying he was “really embarrassed” to discover the truth.

Actually, our world prefers illusion. So why not indulge it, create it and raise our kids in it? Thus, the push for legitimizing marijuana for recreational uses. After all, alcohol is legal. And, look at how much fun it is.

Many in the science and medical fields have long known cannabis was not harmless, but suddenly, others are awakening. In fact, that “news” actually made recent headlines.

One warned: “Casual Marijuana Use Linked with Brain Abnormalities.” The expression “duh,” came to mind, but truthfully, I’m celebrating media exposure on the dangers of this popular, recreational drug. There’s a whole world of youth, who use, under the guise it is harmless.

My quotes come from, Healthy Living. Huffington is generally considered a liberal publication. Though it was widely reported, I chose that source for my favorite progressive readers. Maybe it’ll speak to them.

The report says that young adults who, before they underwent the study, “were not dependent on pot, nor did they show any marijuana-related problems.” After the study, these conclusions: “‘What we think we are seeing here is a very early indication of what becomes a problem later on with prolonged use,’ things like lack of focus and impaired judgment, said Dr. Hans Breiter, a study author.”

The study was notably small, 20 volunteers who used and 20 who did not. The authors of the study say they need to dig deeper. My question is: Now? Where have you been the last 60 years?

To clarify: I support marijuana as a proven medical remedy for the ill. (The truly ill), and that’s where it belongs. Those who use it as a play thing, as an escape, are foolish and ignorant. And, it’s clearly a “gateway” into heavy substances.

Even with this additional evidence, many will still support legalization of cannabis. They’ll say legalization will take the intrigue away, thus eliminating temptation for those who seek illegal thrills. Ya’ think? Has that worked with alcohol?

Or, is it Arizona’s responsibility to alert their youth (and adults, too), through laws, to the dangers of certain substances and drugs; one more barrier? Why lie to kids? It’s our job to tell them over and over from toddler through teen.

But, OK let’s celebrate the latest research and plans for more. Let’s take another 60 years to ponder what many have warned about. And, decades more children and brain cells will be lost to the future. But sure, double check. Let’s get this information into the can, so that as with alcohol dependence, those who tamper with poison can never say they were never warned.

There is something intriguing, though, in all this: When you lose brain cells, how do you know?

• East Valley resident Linda Turley-Hansen is a syndicated columnist and former veteran Phoenix TV anchor. She can be reached at

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.