Re David Smiley’s April 2 In Depth article, “Pot growers capitalize in an uncertain market”: Medical marijuana is an oxymoron. Although a compassionate alternative to treating specific illnesses, including cancers, expanding the “medical” marijuana industry can also play a factor in contributing to severe addiction and health problems, including cancers.
As a certified addiction specialist, my message to young and old is: Beware marijuana’s potency, no matter the issue.
Studies show that smoking marijuana increases the risk of respiratory problems, including lung cancer, because it may contain from 50 percent to 100 percent more carcinogens than cigarette smoke. In fact, three to four joints a day can do as much damage as about 20 cigarettes. Also, pot smokers tend to smoke unfiltered joints and hold the smoke in their lungs longer to achieve a more-intense effect, contributing to potential pulmonary problems. THC impairs reaction time, making it a dangerous drug to consume while driving.
Let us not oversimplify the medical marijuana industry as big bucks for the big companies. Marijuana affects the risk of addiction and increases experimentation to harder drugs such as cocaine and heroin.
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Marino E. Carbonell,