Jordana Willers: Health dangers of marijuana

Published: 11/24/2021 4:07:13 PM
Modified: 11/24/2021 4:06:58 PM

Three days in a row this week, articles on the front page highlighted the marijuana industry in a very positive light. I’m appalled and dismayed by both the quantity, quality, and overall impact of these articles on our community.

Every day, as a public health educator and statewide trainer, I work with providers who are trying to help youth and young adults who have been negatively affected by THC, and the slow-rolling devastation that cannabis use disorder causes many families.

Research shows that the addiction rate is 1 in 6 people for those who begin using marijuana before age 18 (and 1 in 10 for regular marijuana users), according to the CDC.

I work with hospital staff who see people showing up in ERs across the state with cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome (chronic vomiting and abdominal pain that can be fatal, but is typically curable when patients stop using THC). I work with treatment providers who witness young people struggling with both short-term and long-term psychosis as a direct result of their marijuana use.

THC levels are at an all-time high in cannabis products, even though research is demonstrating that marijuana use among youth tends to cause an increase in anxiety, depression, and suicidal ideation (even in young people who did not have mental health issues prior to using THC).

I am so angry about the constant barrage of cannabis industry advertising by the Gazette. Popular opinion about marijuana is not the same as objective medical science. Gazette staff, please do your research! And please try to find some real news to put on the front page, with balanced reporting. Enough is enough.

For those of you with loved ones struggling with drug use (which almost always starts with marijuana) please know that there is help: call the MA Substance Use Helpline at 1-800-327-5050 or go to www.helplinema.org. Families can get support from such organizations as Learn to Cope www.learn2cope.org and Allies in Recovery www.alliesinrecovery.net as well.

You are not alone, and there is hope!

Jordana Willers

Florence




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