Marijuana use leads to mental illness and violence

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Last week's Photo News featured an article about Governor Cuomo's planned legislation to legalize marijuana. "The time for talking is over," Cuomo exhorted.

What's being ignored by advocates and media alike, however, is a mountain of studies revealing the dangers of marijuana use. Veteran journalist Alex Berenson describes these dangers in his book "Tell Your Children: The Truth About Marijuana, Mental Illness and Violence."

Peer-reviewed research in top medical journals show that marijuana can cause or worsen severe mental illness, especially psychosis.

Teenagers who smoke marijuana regularly are about three times as likely to develop schizophrenia.

People with schizophrenia are almost 20 times as likely to commit homicide.

Dozens of studies show the link between marijuana usage and violence.

Furthermore, Berenson tells us that the marijuana available today is much more potent than ever before, as measured by the amount of THC, the chemical responsible for its psychoactive effects. In the 1970s, most marijuana contained less than 2 percent THC; today, marijuana routinely contains 20-25 percent THC.

While we are rightly focused on opioid use and overdose deaths, we should not ignore the mental illness and violence that follow the use of marijuana.

Governor Cuomo, the time for talking - about the dangers of marijuana - is hardly over.

Cyrille Velasco

Tuxedo Park

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