Opinion: Comments on marijuana and vaccines
I appreciate the article by Margaret Moran last week about the dangers of the current and evolving attitudes toward marijuana. I agree the acceptance and easy access to medical marijuana creates issues for our teen population.
While I recognize the dangers of addiction and gateways to other drugs, some hard evidence has led the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) to issue a policy statement against legalization and certainly use in teens.
Most scientists and physicians agree that while marijuana deserves research regarding its uses, valid uses are very limited. In addition, for indicated uses there may be better studied and more effective alternatives. The “herbal” label seems to buy pot a lot of latitude. Quite honestly, most find relief in the high.
Here are the AAP’s specific points. 1. It interferes with judgment, concentration, reaction time, and coordination in the class and in the car, 2. New research shows that marijuana use during adolescence during important stages of brain development can lead to permanent problems with memory, learning, and thinking; and 3. Youth who use marijuana regularly are less likely to finish high school AND more likely to commit suicide.
They emphasize what may seem obvious, but adults should not use marijuana around youth. We are seeing more use in pregnancy, and it’s logical that could be a factor in infant brain development (rise in autism and ADHD?). Also beware — the e-cigarettes can deliver cannabis without the tell-tale smell.
As for my old friend vaccines, Dr. Sura is correct in her column last week, except for the statement that parents have until Jan. 1, 2016, to enter personal belief exemption. Those are due by the end of this month.
As for Donald Trump and Dr. Ben Carson’s comments about autism and vaccines being too frequent, shame on you. Read the science.
Chris Arth, MD
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