On Wednesday, December 18, 2013, Gretchen Carlson on the Fox News show, The Real Story, brought up the issue of pot-smoking teenagers. I felt compelled to send her an email, which she will probably not read. The following is what I sent to her.
Dear Ms. Carlson:
I just watched your Wednesday, December 18th program in which you brought up the subject of adolescents smoking marijuana. I believe you and at least two of your panel stated that, of course, marijuana kills brain cells. This article from
states quite clearly that marijuana does not kill brain cells. That does not
mean that it is completely harmless however. But then even moderate drinking of
alcohol has it's own set of problems. Vanderbilt University
Marijuana is an intoxicant. Minors should not be using any intoxicants (and adults should not be driving or operating machinery under the influence of intoxicants). The brains of children go through a growth spurt at about the time of puberty, as this article from PBS explains, then the brain begins pruning back the weak neuron connections and reinforcing others for the next several years. That is, the adolescent brain is a mess until it sorts itself out in early adulthood and adding any intoxicant to that mess can only slow and interfere with that process.
The author of the PBS article quoted Dr. Jay Geidd, National Institute of Mental Health,
: "If a teen is doing
music or sports or academics, those are the cells and connections that will be
hardwired. If they're lying on the couch or playing video games or MTV, those
are the cells and connections that are going to survive." That would be
with or without marijuana. Bethesda,
I do not smoke marijuana. I tried it several times as a young man (my first time I was 18) but never really liked it so I stopped using it although nearly everyone I knew and associated with smoked it. The vast majority of those people went on to have successful careers and families. Most of the ones who didn't generally had a bigger alcohol problem.
The linked articles above should be read in their entirety. Hopefully, you, or someone associated with The Real Story can do that so that you have more factual information.
I do not promote drug use, including alcohol among adults. I am totally against recreational drug use by adolescents or any minors. The brain is a beautiful but delicate instrument that needs to be properly nourished and stimulated in order for the child to have a chance at fully developing his or her potential as an adult. Having said that, however, if we truly have inalienable rights, then, as adults, we have the right to any behavior that does not violate the rights of others even if that behavior is or may be harmful to us. Again, as adults, not minors. That would include smoking marijuana regardless if others believe it is wrong and immoral. As Lysander Spooner said: "Vices are not crimes."
I like your program, Ms. Carlson. Keep up the good work.