Recreational marijuana is now legal in nine states. Almost all Americans believe the drug should be legal for medical use. Advocates argue cannabis can help everyone from veterans to cancer sufferers. But legalization has been built on myths– that marijuana arrests fill prisons; that most doctors want to use cannabis as medicine; that it can somehow stem the opiate epidemic; that it is not just harmless but beneficial for mental health. In this meticulously reported book, Alex Berenson, a former New York Times reporter, explodes those myths:
• Almost no one is in prison for marijuana;
• A tiny fraction of doctors write most authorizations for medical marijuana, mostly for people who have already used;
• Marijuana use is linked to opiate and cocaine use. Since 2008, the US and Canada have seen soaring marijuana use and an opiate epidemic. Britain has falling marijuana use and no epidemic;
• Most of all, THC—the chemical in marijuana responsible for the drug’s high—can cause psychotic episodes. After decades of studies, scientists no longer seriously debate if marijuana causes psychosis.
Psychosis brings violence, and cannabis-linked violence is spreading. In the four states that first legalized, murders have risen 25 percent since legalization, even more than the recent national increase. In Uruguay, which allowed retail sales in July 2017, murders have soared this year.
Berenson’s reporting ranges from the London institute that is home to the scientists who helped prove the cannabis-psychosis link to the Colorado prison where a man now serves a thirty-year sentence after eating a THC-laced candy bar and killing his wife. He sticks to the facts, and they are devastating.
With the US already gripped by one drug epidemic, this book will make readers reconsider if marijuana use is worth the risk.
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About the Author
Table of Contents
Introduction: Everything You're About to Read Is True xi
Part 1 Then And Now
1 Madness on Two Continents 3
2 Schizophrenia, (Mis)Understood 17
3 Getting High in the 1970s 33
4 The First Real Proof 47
5 Medical Marijuana Wins 57
Part 2 Proof
6 A Round-the-World Search for Evidence 81
7 An Unlikely Theory Gains Traction 101
8 Study After Study After Study 120
9 Stories from the Front Lines 128
10 An Epidemic Arrives 140
Part 3 The Red Tide
11 Laboratory Studies, Real-World Facts 165
12 Axes and Knives 179
13 One Bad Trip 192
14 Myths, Spreading 209
Epilogue: What Now? 219