|Marijuana Persists as Substance Abuse Issue|
Posted by FoM on March 30, 2000 at 12:05:56 PT|
By Susan L. Oppat, News Staff Reporter
Source: Michigan Live
Like bell-bottoms and tie-dye, illicit drugs come and go - and come again.
But marijuana seems to be forever.
"I think pot is always a baseline drug," says Mike Marek, a longtime substance abuse counselor, now director of clinical services at the HIV/AIDS Resource Center.
Dr. Lloyd Johnston, a researcher at the University of Michigan, says marijuana use hasn't really changed much in the last 25 or 30 years, since it became widely available to adolescents.
Johnston conducts the Monitoring the Future study at the Institute for Social Research that tracks participants. It's a long-term survey that has helped direct national substance abuse policies and funding. The survey follows people beginning in middle school, some for decades.
Scientists no longer use the term "gateway drug," but Johnston says the issue of whether marijuana leads to other substance abuse remains unresolved.
"There is a very high correlation between using marijuana and going on to use many other drugs. The vast majority of people who use (drugs) first used marijuana."
That doesn't mean that everyone who uses marijuana goes on to other drugs. Most probably do not, Johnston said.
Johnston says marijuana is the most popular of all illicit drugs among young people. He said usage hit a peak about a decade ago and has remained steady since then.
"For a while, the drug issue just wasn't on the national map. It fell off the screen about the time of the buildup for the gulf war. News coverage of the drug issue in general just plummeted.
Congress was allocating less money for prevention efforts in the schools, and parents were talking to their kids less about the issue," Johnston said.
But now, he said, parents are encouraged to talk to their children about it, and drug prevention programs are on the rise in schools. There even have been less favorable portrayals of drug use in general in the entertainment industry - largely, Johnston believes, because some of the stars in music, movies and fashion overdosed.
By the mid-'90s, Johnston said, more marijuana users were high school students than college-age and young adults.
And those younger people are using much stronger marijuana, according to Marek.
In the 1960s and '70s, marijuana generally contained about 1-2 percent of its active ingredient, THC. Now, THC content commonly is up to 12-14 percent.
And that can make it addictive.
"People begin to use a drug and build tolerance to that drug. It takes more of the drug to get the same effect.
"Do people come to depend on that, lose control? Sure, just like they do with cigarettes. Do they come to depend on the mood swings to handle stress and things in their environment? Sure. It becomes a lesser choice, rather than a healthy alternative," Marek said.
But Johnston doesn't see the Hash Bash as much of an indicator of the problem of drug use.
"To some degree, I think the Hash Bash is just a long-term ritual struggle between youth and authority, which is age-old. Marijuana has always been the favorite ground on which to challenge legitimacy of adults' rules and limitations."
That line, however, is sometimes blurry. Hash Bash organizer Rich Birkett, who attended the first Bash 29 years ago, is now 47.
Susan Oppat can be reached at (734)994-6823
Published: Thursday, March 30, 2000
Related Article & Web Site:
Ann Arbor Hashbash
Annual Hash Bash Draws Differing Points of View
|Comment #5 posted by dddd on March 30, 2000 at 23:28:29 PT|
|Comment #4 posted by Dave in Florida on March 30, 2000 at 15:18:27 PT|
Would you believe because Barry pays for them !
|Comment #3 posted by greenfox on March 30, 2000 at 15:16:25 PT|
First of all, there is no potency data for the 60's, so this is of course a farce.
Secondly, where are the numbers to support this claim? How do they gather consistincy based off of what "common medium"?
"And that can make it addictive."
The rocks that these reporters are smoking is, indeed, addictive.
|Comment #2 posted by DontArrestMe on March 30, 2000 at 14:10:31 PT|
The vast majority of people smoke bud that comes from Colombia and they always have. Do you really think that the Colombians do anything special to the plant now that would make it more potent than it used to be? Of course not. It is quantity not quality that they are concerned about.
The average weed today is not 12-14%. I think it has always been in the 3-5% range. That range might be true for sinsimellia, which ranges from 10% to 30%. The only reason we see more of it now (the so called potent marijuana) is because more people are growing marijuana locally and putting it on the black market.
More potency does not mean more addictive (or addictive at all). Is everclear more addictive than beer? No. Intoxication is directly related to how much of the substance is ingested. That is why people don't pay $400 for a premium once and smoke the whole thing in one night by themselves.
Unless you smoke several times a day, the tolerance curve is inverse which means that less is needed to achieve the same effect. Its theraputic value isn't diminished at all. Those few people who get pot from the government receive 300 joints of 3-5% thc pot each month. That equals 10 joints a day and while the euphoria is less, the medical effects are constant.
Comparing pot with cigarettes is terrible. Nicotine only takes hours to build tolerance. It is also physically addicting.
Comment #1 posted by Alexandre Oeming on March 30, 2000 at 13:16:06 PT:|
I really wish they'd stop spouting this filth. Has anyone out there in readerland EVER come across some kind bud that is 12-14 percent THC?!? If so, direct me there. :)
>And that can make it addictive.
More garbage. Following this "logic", McDonald's should be raided b/c adding another patty of grease ... errr, meat makes fatty and highly UNhealthy "food" much more addictive. Watch out for the gateway Big Mac! Tell your kids!
>"People begin to use a drug and build tolerance to that drug. It takes more of the drug to get the same effect.
This guy obviously has less than no clue as to the effects of tolerance wrt MJ. What a maroon. To help illustrate, i was at a 311 concert last night in Vail, CO, and had three (count 'em! Thuh-reeee!) puffs off of a fellow fanatic's cigarette and kept a nice buzz for the whole set ... all two hours' worth. So much for building up that "tolerance" over the last six years, huh? I apologize for my alma mater as this idiot represents the minority of close-minded money-whores at UoM, not the majority of us freedom-lovers. Go blue!