Ask Dr. Mitch
Addiction, impaired driving and mental health.
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I heard someone say that marijuana is as addictive as coffee. How do we know? T. Mason
Hi T., Comparing the addictiveness of different drugs is a bit like comparing zebras and beans. My lab and others have done surveys of mental-health professionals, who tend to view opiates and cocaine as very addictive, with tobacco usually coming in beneath those two. Caffeine and cannabis appear comparable to each other and get placed way on the low end of the scale: Only hallucinogens like LSD and Ecstasy get rated as less addictive. And when you ask experts to consider actual harm—not just addictiveness—plenty of legal drugs are rated far more damaging than cannabis.
You and your ilk need to understand that any drug that impairs driving needs to be illegal or people will die. Learn to value human life more than your cheap momentary pleasures.
Czar Kevin Kennedy
All hail Czar Kevin!
By the same logic, since painkillers, anti-anxiety drugs and antihistamines can also impair driving, I guess we’d all better get accustomed to agony, angst and runny noses while we build more prisons. And maybe we can make being tired illegal as well, since fatigue impairs driving too.
On the other hand, driving while impaired is already illegal, and enforcing those laws would actually be a more direct way to keep our roads safe than trying to prohibit cannabis (but not, apparently, alcohol) because it might possibly lead to impaired driving.
I’ve heard that cannabidiol decreases schizophrenic symptoms, but It seems like we already have drugs for that. What’s the big deal?
The experiment you mention is small but very promising, since cannabidiol has fewer side effects than standard antipsychotic drugs. You can’t blame schizophrenics for failing to take a medicine that causes tremors, excessive thirst, sexual dysfunction or weight gain. If cannabidiol can keep hallucinations and troublesome thoughts away without creating those nasty side effects, it’ll be one of the most humane treatments for psychosis ever discovered! ^
Dr. Mitch Earley wine, PhD, is a professor of psychology at SUNYAlbany and the author of Understanding Marijuana and The Parents’ Guide to Marijuana.