Why Marijuana Legalization is a Very Bad Idea

By *Paula D. Gordon, Ph.D.
Thursday, October 22nd, 2020 @ 12:22PM

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Marijuana contributes to the opioid Crisis, growing homelessness, and societal unrest. It has long term harmful effects on the brain and body of adults, children, and future generations, as well as on the environment                  

The use of marijuana violates federal law. Marijuana should not have been allowed to be legalized by any state or U.S. jurisdiction and it should not be allowed to be further legalized if for no other reason than this: Marijuana with its active principle, (−)Δ9-trans-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), is low to a high-level hallucinogenic drug with many harmful mental and physical effects, including idiosyncratic effects on mental health and mental functioning (Isbell et al., Psychopharmacologia, 1967). 

Unlike the minimal or moderate use of alcohol and tobacco, the use of even a small amount of marijuana affects a person’s mental functioning in a variety of predictable and unpredictable ways. For example, it is known to have triggered psychoses and schizophrenia in normal individuals (Miller, 2018 and Miller, 2019). Because of the unpredictable effects of marijuana, no amount of regulation could ensure the “responsible” or “safe” use of this low to a high-level hallucinogen.

The impact that marijuana is having in the State of Colorado alone is apparent from the annual Rocky Mountain High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Reports (RMHDTA, 20182019, and 2020) and from watching the Pueblo Physicians Code Red series of videos (2016). An excellent video to begin with, is a presentation by Dr. Karen Randall (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gs9X2qpGoUY). The Code Red series of videos features emergency room doctors in Colorado who describe in graphic detail what has been going on there since marijuana was legalized there, including psychotic breaks, violent behavior, suicidal depression and acts of suicide, the cannabis hyperemesis syndrome (violent screaming and vomiting), and miscarriages. Below are reports of the harmful and costly impacts of marijuana legalization in those jurisdictions where it has been legalized.

Those responsible for the welfare of the public must become familiar with the voluminous scientific research and longitudinal studies that have been done concerning the effects of marijuana on the user, and the impacts that it is having on society. Decades ago researchers established that THC, the active ingredient of marijuana, causes “idiosyncratic psychotomimetic” effects in healthy human subjects (Isbell et al., Psychopharmacologia, 1967). Yet, advocates of marijuana use and legalization and those with a vested interest in the commercialization of marijuana either are ignorant of the depth and breadth of the extensive scientific literature or dismiss it evidence altogether.

Surely no reasonable person familiar with these and subsequent studies linking THC to psychotomimetic effects would support any legislation that allows and sanctions the use of a substance that has been shown to have such a potential for harm. Doing so is akin to playing Russian Roulette with one’s mental health and cognitive faculties, including concentration, memory, and reasoning, and decision-making capabilities. 

Since the first most notable study with THC on healthy human subjects was done, other studies, including longitudinal studies have established that marijuana use can trigger psychoses and schizophrenia, as well as suicidal depression, and suicides. For a compilation of such research, see Gordon. Also see Miller, 2018, and Miller, 2019. It is important to study the growing research literature and not rely on the cherry-picked summaries of studies done decades ago involving users of marijuana that had extremely low levels of THC. 

There is also a set of extremely important research findings, the significance of which has only recently begun to be assimilated by researchers and acknowledged.  This set of findings establish a definite connection between exposure to or use of marijuana and a predisposition to opioid use. The Surgeon General has alluded to this phenomenon as a “priming of the brain”. Dr. Nora Volkow, head of the National Institute of Drug Abuse, has referred to it as a “sensitization of the brain”.  This connection between exposure to or use of marijuana and a predisposition to opioid use helps explain why the increase in the number of users in states in the U.S. legalizing marijuana has mirrored the increase in the use of opioids and opioid overdose deaths.  Understanding the implications of these research findings may well convince a majority of thoughtful individuals that not only is today’s marijuana a definite “gateway” drug to other drugs, but also that today’s marijuana with its vastly higher THC content than the marijuana of Woodstock days, can be a seen as “speedway drug” to marijuana dependence and addiction, polydrug use, and opioid use and addiction. 

Several factors come into play regarding the marijuana/opioid connection. First, marijuana legalization has led to an exponential increase in marijuana use by all ages. Another factor is that the THC levels of today’s marijuana are much higher. The higher the level of THC, the active principle of marijuana, the greater the deleterious impacts on the brain, not to mention the cardiovascular system, the respiratory system, the nervous system, the functioning of the liver, and more. (See the FDA Submission by S. Reece, 2014, for extensive references concerning arteriopathy, teratogenic and genotoxic effects, and a variety of birth anomalies.)  

The research that many proponents of marijuana cite to try to make their case that marijuana is a “relatively harmless drug” has involved marijuana that had a very low THC content. Some who cite such research as definitive, are ignoring the growing body of research on the harmful effects of marijuana on the brain alone. Others may be ignorant of this growing body of research out of disinterest, absence of knowledge, or lack of ability to understand the scientific literature. Some may be mired in groupthink or may have allowed social pressure to dictate their point of view. Their view of the harmfulness of marijuana may have simply been “acquired” and not be a product of their own study of the subject. 

Other advocates of the use and legalization of marijuana may be engaged in “magical” thinking. They may believe that marijuana is a natural plant that it therefore must be safe to use. (Those individuals conveniently forget that ricin, hemlock, belladonna, and various varieties of deadly mushrooms are also natural plants.) Yet others may no longer be interested in what the research says but may be driven by their belief that what they view as being social justice is best served by allowing the unhindered use of and legalization of marijuana. These advocates are willfully denying the damage that marijuana use and legalization are doing to the mental, psychological, and physical, wellbeing of those who use it, not to mention the effects that the use and legalization of marijuana and other psychoactive drugs have on the unraveling of the social fabric and on the sense of moral responsibility of the citizenry. Who would argue that the actions of a person who is stoned, high, or hallucinating can be said to have an intact moral compass?  

It should be noted that some researchers are themselves so entrenched in their areas of specialty that they are reluctant to acknowledge, let alone study the wide range of harmful effects that do not fall within their areas of expertise. Some know about the harmful effects but do not share what they know out of “political correctness”, concern for their reputations, or an absence of concern regarding what scientific evidence has shown to be the case. Simple lack of courage can also be a factor that may keep them from acknowledging what they know to be true.

Not all researchers appear to be aware of the research showing that exposure to or use of marijuana with THC increases the sensitization of the brain to opioids. Both animal and human studies are showing that the sensitization of those exposed to marijuana or those who use marijuana, results in their becoming pre-disposed to opioid use, and, hence, opioid addiction. Those researchers who know about such findings have not always been effective in sharing the findings with others.

This set of findings involves the results of studies on the brains of aborted or miscarried fetuses that have been exposed to marijuana in utero. Researchers found that the brains of the fetuses had undergone modifications not found in the brains of aborted or miscarried fetuses that were not exposed to marijuana.  Researchers have found “discrete opioid gene expression impairment in the human fetal brain [to be] associated with maternal marijuana use” (Wang et al., Pharmacogenomics Journal, 2006 and Spano et al., Biol Psychiatry 2007). A related set of animal research findings has shown that when animals are exposed in utero to marijuana, that when grown, they will opt for opioids when given a selection of things to choose from in an experimental setting. Those not so exposed do not opt for opioids (Cadoni et al., Psychopharmacology, Berl., 2001). 

The implications of such a connection between exposure to marijuana and the impairment of gene expression in the brains of human and animal fetuses exposed in utero would seem to mean that exposure to and/or use of marijuana might well have a like effect on the brain at all stages of its development. Indeed, studies by Spano et al.  (Biol. Psychiatry, 2007) and Stropponi et al. (European Neuropsychopharmacology, 2014) indicate just such a connection. (Dr. Elizabeth Stuyt provides an overview of these research findings in a Code Red presentation she gave. )

When considering effects on the brain, it is important to know that the brain is developing beginning at conception and continuing at least through age 25 and some experts say age 29 or even 40. Others even say that the brain is still developing through age 50 and beyond. Proof of a hypothesis that marijuana will impair gene expression in all stages of brain development would explain the observable predisposition of marijuana users, not to mention the progeny of users, to opioid use, addiction, and overdose. Indeed, the U.S. Center for Disease Control has said that marijuana users are three times more likely to become addicted to heroin than non-marijuana users (CDC, 2015). Other researchers have found that “Cannabis use appears to increase rather than decrease the risk of developing nonmedical prescription opioid use and opioid use disorder” (Olfson et al., American Journal of Psychiatry, 2018). To complete the connecting of the “research” dots, studies have shown that a majority of those who die of heroin or fentanyl overdoses have on average a 10 – 15-year history of marijuana use (Sabet, Capitol Hill Briefing, January 11, 2018). An additional implication of these findings is that owing to the genotoxic harm done by THC, DNA damage is being passed on from one generation of users to another. This would help explain why so many children of users from the sixties and so many of their children and their children’s children have an apparent propensity for becoming ensnared in drug-taking behavior.

Some questions that may now come to mind are these: 

Why would any person in a role of public responsibility want to repeat or commit the tragic error in judgment of legalizing marijuana, an error in judgment made by so many in a growing number of states in the U.S.? 

Why would those in positions of public responsibility in any nation believe that they could regulate the use of a substance that has so many known harmful effects, including the impairment of mental functioning and the lowering of IQs? 

Why would those entrusted with protecting the public good of any nation want to sanction the use of marijuana which is known to have unpredictable and seriously debilitating effects on mental health, effects that include brain anomalies, not to mention other physical anomalies, including anomalies involving the heart and other internal organs (including gastroschisis where a baby is born with its intestines outside of the stomach wall)? (S. Reece, 2014). 

Why would a nation consider, for even a minute, sanctioning the use of marijuana when scientists have now established that the brains of those exposed and those who use marijuana are sensitized to opioids and are predisposed to use opioids? 

Why would those in roles of public responsibility allow the use of marijuana that has resulted in untold costs in human suffering and incalculable damage done to the lives of individuals, families, and communities, and the social fabric, as well as the body politic? 

Why would any nation take an action that would lead to lowering the IQs of those with developing brains, as well as the diminished reasoning capabilities and brainpower of all users of all ages? 

Why would any person in a role of public responsibility support policies that allow the use of marijuana? 

Why would any reasonable person support policies that have allowed those of all ages to be guinea pigs in a senseless human and social experiment that is now known to cause such great damage? 

Many in the U.S. are increasingly recognizing the experiment for what it is: an abysmal failure with tragic consequences for the lives of millions, not to mention the very future stability of the nation. Why would a nation enact any law that would result in spreading the use of marijuana and hence of opiates, now taking over 100 lives a day in the U.S.?

It is important to note that the use of heroin has increased in places where marijuana is legal. A key reason is that black marketers and cartels can easily sell marijuana for lower prices than state-sanctioned marijuana dispensaries that must include tax in the price. Black marketers can also sell heroin for less than black-market marijuana (Many documentaries have noted how illegal trafficking has increased, not decreased with legalization. See also Randall, 2016, Code Red Series; & Gurman, as cited by Winter et al., 2017, Journal of Drug Abuse). The activity of the cartels and the black market has vastly increased in jurisdictions where marijuana can be purchased in “legitimate” government dispensaries. 

For the sake of people everywhere, as well as generations to come, legislators must recognize how that the research findings cited here show that there is a definite connection between the legalization of marijuana, the increasing use of marijuana, the anomalies in the developing brains of those exposed to marijuana and of those using marijuana, the sensitization of those with developing brains to opioids, and the spreading epidemic of opioid use and addiction. The lowering of I.Q.s has also been established as has the fact that one in six youth who use marijuana becomes addicted and one in ten adults becomes addicted (NAS, 2017 and Hall, 2014). With higher and higher THC content, even more, youth and adults can be expected to become addicted. Marijuana addiction can be as hard to overcome as heroin addiction. Ask the therapists who work with those who are addicted. Ask former users as well. 

The vaping of THC is causing an increasing number of deaths and damaging the health of increasing numbers of persons. The phenomenon of cannabis hyperemesis syndrome is more and more widely reported. Severe damage to the kidneys and other organs can result from the painful, constant vomiting and dehydration. Death has even resulted. Toxicology assessments done in a hospital in Colorado on those who have committed suicide are showing that a majority have THC in their systems. (For the latter see Dr. Steven Simerville’s presentation https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K4bcl9FqfIs ). Toxicology assessments of those involved in violent crimes, including mass shootings and terrorist bombing have revealed marijuana in their systems. (See Miller, 2018; Miller, 2019; and Berenson, 2019). 

Why would anyone want to repeat a failed experiment and one that is doing so much irreparable damage, including damage to our DNA? (Such damage has been well established for decades. See Braude (1984), the annual Rocky Mountain High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Reports (RMHDTA) (20182019, and 2020) also provide a source of documentation of the many ways in which the legalization of marijuana experiment has failed, including the impacts legalization has had on health and safety and the proliferation of use among all age groups. Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM) has also tracked the damaging impacts of marijuana legalization (20192020).

Tragically, the Federal government has failed to vigorously enforce the Federal Controlled Substances Act. They have allowed medical marijuana use to spread widely. They have just recently taken steps to alert the public concerning the harmful effects that medical marijuana is known to have. The Federal government has allowed the recreational use of marijuana in violation of Federal laws and international treaties to which the U.S. is a signatory (Gordon, “The Illegality of Legalizing Marijuana Use…” 2014a). For the most cogent arguments concerning the reasons why marijuana should remain a Schedule 1 drug and why Federal laws should be enforced, see Bertha Madras, Ph.D., and Dave Evans, Esq, and their contributions to a Brookings Debate in 2014.

The “cat is out of the bag”. What can be done now? What would be the responsible thing for those in roles of public responsibility to do? 

Turning around the nation’s drug crisis will require a “full-court press” on the part of the President and his appointees, Members of Congress, as well as all other public officials. 

The multi-pronged approach that needs to be taken might be seen as being similar to the approach that China had to take to quell the rampant use of opium that had plagued their country in previous decades. China eventually stopped the use of opium and worked hard to undo the damage that had been done, using education, treatment, rehabilitation, and strong enforcement. 

Portugal is another example of a nation with a multi-disciplinary approach to stop drug use and addiction problems. 

Those who persist in promoting the use of marijuana will eventually have to do what can be done to address the damage that has been done, to undo the damage that can be undone, and to prevent further damage. The costs of that damage are incalculable and could never be covered by tax revenues from marijuana sales, revenues that Governor Christie has so appropriately called “blood money”. Recent studies in the U.S. indicate that the economic and social costs of marijuana legalization can be expected to far outweigh the anticipated tax revenues.  Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM) has highlighted the findings of several economic and social impact studies. Researchers in one such study concluded that economic and social costs in Rhode Island can be expected to “total $61.2 million for 2020, exceeding the revenues projected by pro-legalization activists by over 25 %.” The damage being done extends to the environment and natural resources. 

The effects on the environment and the widespread damage being done to the ecology by growing marijuana legally and illegally, are only noted here. Such damage seems to have escaped the attention of even the most normally concerned environmentalists (Morgan video, 2018a, and Morgan reports 2018b). Beyond the consequences of marijuana use for human health, safety, and welfare; it is having incalculable impacts on society, business, and industry, as well as property.

It is essential that those in roles of public responsibility reject subjecting citizens of the U.S. to such a seriously flawed and costly failed experiment, an experiment that is making some people rich while destroying the potential and the lives of untold numbers of others, seriously affecting productivity, while also dumbing down the electorate. 

Marijuana use undermines the mental and physical health of current generations and is playing a major role in fueling the opioid epidemic. It is also affecting the health of those yet unborn. Indeed, it is affecting the reproductive health of both males and females. Miscarriages are now known to be associated with the use of marijuana by the father. The use of marijuana during pregnancy is the last thing a pregnant woman should do. While warnings regarding the use of thalidomide for morning sickness spread rapidly decades ago; warnings by government officials regarding the harm that follows from using marijuana have not been as loud. Magical and wishful thinking has tended to prevail among hundreds of thousands of women who have used marijuana during pregnancy and the misinformed individuals who have encouraged such use.

Those in roles of immense public responsibility are in a position not only to choose to influence a wiser and more humane path and reject the further sanctioning and legalization of marijuana use and begin to take needed steps to reverse the legalization of marijuana in all jurisdictions in the nation. This can be and needs to be accomplished through keeping marijuana use illegal and making it once again illegal where it has been made legal. This can be accomplished through using the justice system to provide individuals with non-punitive “in lieu of incarceration” options, along with record expungement options if the users opt to accept support in ceasing their use of drugs (Gordon, 2016; Gordon, 2019a; and Gordon, 2019b). 

Many examples of such alternatives are found in drug court programs and probation departments throughout the nation. Educators, law enforcement, emergency responders, emergency room physicians among many, many others, need to be able to refer users to a support system to help them get out of the drug-taking cycle. (For excellent insights into that cycle, see the Volkow/Dalai Lama video, 2013 and the Calderon-Abbo video, 2017. Also see Dupont, 2018).

There is a multitude of programs that are helping those entrapped in the use of mind-altering and mood-altering substances. These substances include low to high-level hallucinogens such as marijuana, psychoactive drugs, and opiates. Many programs and approaches can help entrapped individuals to overcome their dependence or addiction to these chemicals of enslavement. Multi-pronged approaches, such as those increasingly used in Portugal and similar in ways to those used in China during its struggles with opium, need to be employed in the U.S. Such non-punitive approaches can provide individuals the opportunity to become drug-free. Individuals can become drug-free through education and through taking part in early intervention and counseling programs, and, where needed, treatment, and rehabilitation programs. Those in need should also be provided an array of social, employment, and housing services designed to help them recover from and successfully overcome the cycle of drug-taking and addiction (Gordon, 2016; Gordon, 2019a; and Gordon 2019b).


Alex Berenson (2019) Tell Your Children the Truth about Marijuana, Mental Health, and Violence. Free Press: New York.  See https://www.amazon.com/Tell-Your-Children-Marijuana-Violence-ebook/dp/B07GNV64PJ

M. Braude, ed. (1984) National Institute of Drug Abuse Monograph 44.    Marijuana’s Effects on the Endocrine and Reproductive Systems.   See 

https://www.semanticscholar.org/paper/Marijuana-effects-on-the-endocrine-and-reproductive-Braude/3a953e01f8cc6446e4d08db31b0ee157342c3858  .

Centers for Disease Control (July 2015). Today’s heroin epidemic Infographics more people at risk, multiple drugsabused. CDC, 7 July 2015  https://www.cdc.gov/vitalsigns/heroin/index.html

Centers for Disease Control (2016) Opioid Drug Overdose Death Data.  https://www.cdc.gov/drugoverdose/data/statedeaths.html.  

C. Cadoni, A. Pisanu, M. Solinas, E. Acquas, & G. Di Chiara. (2001). Behavioural sensitization after repeated exposure to Delta 9-tetrahydrocannabinol and cross-sensitization with morphine. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2001;158(3):259-266. See   https://www.researchgate.net/publication/11640927_Behavioral_sensitization_after_repeated_exposure_to_D9-tetrahydrocannabinol_and_cross-sensitization_with_morphine .    (Cannabis, when given to animals, tends to “primethe pump” and increases an animal’s reactivity to other drugs they are exposed to later, including opiates.)

R. DuPont (2018) Chemical Slavery: Understanding Addiction and Stopping the Drug Epidemic. www.IBHinc.org .

Maria Ellgren, Sabrina M Spano, & Yasmin L Hurd (2006) “Adolescent Cannabis Exposure AltersOpiate Intake and Opioid Limbic Neuronal Populations in Adult Rats.” Neuropsychopharmacology 32.3 (2006): 607–615.  See https://www.nature.com/articles/1301127

P. Gordon (1973) “Toward the Resolution of the Controversy Surrounding the Effects and Social Health Implications of Marijuana Use,” J. Drug Education, 3(4), 1973. Posted at http://GordonDrugAbusePrevention.com.

P. Gordon (1976) “Cigarette Smoke and Marijuana Smoke as Environmental Health Hazards and Infringements on the Civil Liberties of Those Subjected to Passive Inhalation”.  (U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare HEW Fellow Monograph).  Posted at http://GordonDrugAbusePrevention.com .

P. Gordon (2009) “The Harm Caused to Individuals and Society by the Use of Marijuana in the U.S.”  Published by Family Security Matters. December 29, 2009. (Posted at http://GordonDrugAbusePrevention.com ).

P. Gordon (2014a) “The Illegality of Legalizing Marijuana Use: An Open Plea to the President and All Other Sworn Federal, State, and Local Public Officials Concerning Marijuana Policies and Laws in the United States: What Part of ‘I swear to take Care that Laws be faithfully executed’ or ‘I swear to support and defend the Constitution’ Do You Not Understand?”  August 4, 2014. Posted at http://GordonDrugAbusePrevention.com and published by Family Security Matters.

P. Gordon (2014b) “Marijuana Legalization: A Man-Made Public Health Disaster Currently Unfolding in Two States in the U.S.”  Presentation December 5, 2014 Dupont Summit 2014, 

Washington, DC. (Posted at http://GordonDrugAbusePrevention.com and includes references to major studies on the negative effects of marijuana use, including research involving brain scans, that have been released since April 2014. A 33-page list of references on the harmful effects of marijuana is also posted on that website.) 

P. Gordon (2016) “A Case for Protecting the Brain:  Keeping the Federal Controlled Substances Act in Place and Providing Non-Punitive, Justice System-Based Public Health Options to Address the Use of Marijuana, Opiates, and Other Psychoactive and Mood-Altering Drugs in America”. Presentation at the International Criminology Conference, Washington, D. C., October 14, 2016. (See http://GordonDrugAbusePrevention.com).

P. Gordon (2019a) “Ways in Which Marijuana Use & Marijuana Legalization Are Fueling the Opioid Crisis”. Presentation to the Drug Enforcement Administration, U.S. Department of Justice. May 30, 2019.  (Posted at http://GordonDrugAbusePrevention.com .)

P. Gordon (2019b) “Drugs, Homelessness and a Growing Public Health Disaster”, December 11, 2019, DomesticPreparedness.com at https://www.domesticpreparedness.com/healthcare/drugs-homelessness-a-growing-public-health-disaster/ and also the Domestic Preparedness Journal, December 2019.

S. Gurman (2014) “Legal pot in Colorado hasn’t stopped black market”. Associated Press. See https://www.yahoo.com/news/legal-pot-colorado-hasnt-stopped-black-market-063104630.html

W. Hall (2014) “What has research over the past two decades revealed about the adverse health effects of recreational cannabis use?” First published October 7, 2014. See https://doi.org/10.1111/add.12703

H. Isbell, C.W. Gorodetzsky, D. Jasinski, V. Claussen, F.V. Spulak, & F. Korte. (1967) “Effects of (−)Δ9-trans-tetrahydrocannabinol in man”. Psychopharmacologia, 11 (1967), pp. 184-188.     See     https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/4871478 .    

C. Miller (2018) “The Impact of Marijuana on Mental Health” in: Contemporary Health Issues on Marijuana(Oxford University Press).  See https://www.oxfordclinicalpsych.com/view/10.1093/med-psych/9780190263072.001.0001/med-9780190263072

C. Miller (2019) “Before Maryland Legalizes Marijuana It Should Consider This: Pot is Linked to Psychosis”. Op-ed.  April 18, 2019, 6:00 AM, Baltimore Sun.  See https://www.baltimoresun.com/opinion/op-ed/bs-ed-op-0419-marijuana-psychosis-20190415-story.html and http://GordonDrugAbusePrevention.com  posted with a list of references linking marijuana to psychosis and a reference to Alex Berenson (2019) Tell Your Children the Truth about Marijuana, Mental Health, and Violence. Free Press: New York (See https://www.amazon.com/Tell-Your-Children-Marijuana-Violence-ebook/dp/B07GNV64PJ .

R. Morgan (2018a) Video: Environmental Damage of Marijuana in the West: A Roger Morgan Production, March 1, 2018  ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-vBaojpUju0 )  
“Legal” as well as illegal marijuana “grows” are having a devastating impact on the nation’s natural resources, including depletion of already scarce water and pollution of natural resources and destruction of wildlife.

R. Morgan (2018b) “Welcome to Silent Poison: Marijuana Cultivation Polluting Our Ecology”  (www.silentpoison.com).  Also see at the same website the report “Cultivating Disaster: The Effects of Cannabis Cultivation on the Environment of Calaveras County” Prepared by The Communications Institute commissioned by Calaveras County Supervisor Dennis Mills.

Mark Olfson, M.D., M.P.H., Melanie M. Wall, Ph.D., Shang-Min Liu, M.S., Carlos Blanco, M.D., Ph.D. (2018).Cannabis Use and Risk of Prescription Opioid Use Disorder in the United States.  American Journal of Psychiatry (https://doi.org/10.1176/appi.ajp.2017.17040413 )  Volume 175, Issue 1, January 01, 2018, pp. 47-53.  

National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine; Health and Medicine Division; Board on Population Health and Public Health Practice; Committee on the Health Effects of Marijuana: An EvidenceReview and Research Agenda (“2017 NAS Report”).  http://nationalacademies.org/hmd/reports/2017/health-effects-of-cannabis-and-cannabinoids.aspx .

     Pueblo Physicians’ Code Red Videos (2016):   

     S. Reece (2018) FDA Federal Register Submission on the Harmful Genotoxic, Teratogenic, and Arteriopathic Effects of THC.  Posted http://GordonDrugAbusePrevention.com   

    Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (RMHIDTA)(2017) RMHIDTA Report. See chart on increase in death from opioids, p. 130. http://www.rmhidta.org/html/FINAL%202017%20Legalization%20of%20Marijuana%20in%20Colorado%20The%20Impact.pdf

    Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (RMHIDTA)(2019) RMHIDTA Report. The Legalization of Marijuana in Colorado: The Impact.  Vol. 6 (September 2019) https://rmhidta.org/files/D2DF/FINAL-Volume6.pdf

    Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (RMHIDTA)(2020) RMHIDTA Report. The Legalization of Marijuana in Colorado: The Impact.  Vol. 7 (September 2020) https://rmhidta.org/documentdownload2.aspx?documentid=19&getdocnum=1

    Smart Approaches to Marijuana (2017) Marijuana and Opioids, https://learnaboutsam.org/toolkit-2/

Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM)  (January 24, 2019)  Colton Grace, “The Costs of Marijuana Legalization”,  https://learnaboutsam.org/costs/

Smart Approaches to Marijuana (2020) Fourth Annual Report on Harms of Marijuana Legalization, https://learnaboutsam.org/sam-releases-fourth-annual-report-on-harms-of-marijuana-legalization/

     M.S. Spano, M. Ellgren, X. Wang, & Y.L. Hurd. (2007) Prenatal Cannabis Exposure Increases Heroin Seeking with Allostatic Changes in Limbic Enkephalin Systems in Adulthood. Biol Psychiatry 2007; 61:554 –563. See  http://www.biologicalpsychiatryjournal.com/article/S0006-3223(06)00557-9/abstract.

S. Stropponi et al. Chronic THC during adolescence increases the vulnerability to stress-induced relapse to heroin seeking in adult rats (2014). European Neuropsychopharmacology. Volume 24, Issue 7 (2014), 1037 -1045.  See  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24412506 .

N. Volkow and the Dalai Lama (2013)  The two hour and twenty-minute addiction workshop exchange in Dharmshala in the fall of 2013 between Dr. Nora Volkow and the Dalai Lama at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1aLDyTgkTvY.  Also of interest concerning the addiction cycle and recovery, see webinar presentation in 2018 by Dr. Calderon-Abbo at https://cmbm.org/webinar/addiction-recovery-for-mind-and-body/ .

X. Wang, D. Dow-Edwards, V. Anderson, H. Minkoff, & Y. L. Hurd. Discrete opioid gene expression impairment in human fetal brain associated with maternal marijuana  use (2006).  The Pharmacogenomics Journal (2006) 6, 255–264. See  https://www.nature.com/articles/6500375  .

K.C. Winters & K.A. Sabet (2017) Marijuana and Health. J Drug Abuse. 2017, 3:1. See  http://drugabuse.imedpub.com/marijuana-and-health.php?aid=18575                                                                 


Paula D. Gordon, Ph.D. is an educator, writer, and consultant, based in Washington, D.C.  S She has developed and is currently teaching online courses for Auburn University Outreach on topics that include the following: “A National Public Health Disaster ~ Drug Abuse, Addiction, and the Opioid Crisis: The Role that Marijuana Use and Legalization are Playing ” (http://www.auburn.edu/outreach/opce/emergencymgmt/ ); “The Effects and Impacts of Marijuana Use ~ Policies and Approaches Addressing the Challenges” (http://www.auburn.edu/outreach/opce/marijuana.htm); and“Transforming and Leading Organizations and Organized Efforts” (http://www.auburn.edu/outreach/opce/tlo/ ).  She also teaches courses on Emergency Management and Homeland Security in an Emergency Management Certificate Program that she was instrumental in helping to develop. Her websites: http://GordonDrugAbusePrevention.comhttp://GordonPublicAdministration.com, and http://GordonHomeland.com.                                          .


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