01.28.19 | Reefer Madness
If there were ever a film to cure any nostalgic pangs for the good old days this would be it. Originally titled "Tell Your Children," this church-financed American propaganda piece made in 1936 revolved around melodramatic events that ensue when high school students are lured by pushers to try marijuana -- hit-and-run accidents, manslaughter, suicide, attempted rape, hallucinations, and descent into madness. This would-be morality tale smoldered in the shadow of the 40s and early 50s (at one time panned as one of the worst films ever made) until it was rediscovered and relabeled Reefer Madness to wonderful satirical effect. Watch the trailer . . . . and be thankful you now live in such an enlightened world Reefer Madness ORIGINAL TRAILER - 1936 (Not the full film).
Did someone say enlightened? Of course. After all, it's legal, acceptable, and widely available, may be inhaled, topically applied, or ingested in one of a dozen different flavors, and addresses everything from anxiety to chemo, epilepsy, Tourette's, Huntington's, Parkinson's, and Irritable-bowel syndrome even as it seems to invite the user to party like it's 2019 in a benign delightful haze.
But now comes the National Academy of Medicine to suggest the haze is actually one of uncertainty. A panel of sixteen medical experts concluded in a four hundred and sixty-eight page report that we need proper studies to verify the claimed efficacy as well as to determine the health effects on children and teen-agers and pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers not to mention the older populations and the heavy users.
It suggests the data are just not there, resulting from the simple fact that the relative speed of marijuana legalization has not allowed for enough time in which to evaluate the drug in the way the F.D.A. typically determines the safety and efficacy of other drugs undergoing the application process.
Now enter an investigative reporter who has written a short manifesto, "Tell Your Children: The Truth About Marijuana, Mental Illness, and Violence" (not sure whether the Tell Your Children part was meant as an ironic reference to the pre-Reefer Madness title). At the top of the worst-case scenario was a conclusion consistent with the finding of the aforementioned National Academy panel i.e. "Cannabis use is likely to increase the risk of developing schizophrenia and other psychoses; the higher the use, the greater the risk." Uh oh, suddenly getting a little paranoid, especially with regard to the follow-on question: do the delusions that often accompany (such) psychoses trigger violent behavior?
We'll now convene our own panel -- the not-ready-for-prime-time Member Monday group, consisting of the patients in search of a remedy, the occasional recreational users (in search of the simple thrill of a good night's sleep), and a smattering of doctors who may be skilled in the art -- to discuss personal experiences, to evaluate certain base assumptions and logic behind the reports (e.g. correlation vs. causation), and to otherwise conduct our very own F.D.A.- like study.
May we take some comfort from another article (The Guardian) with the self-explanatory title, The mature stoner: why are so many seniors smoking weed?