The one thing to remember about marijuana use – the stuff that’s out there today is NOT like the weed from the 1960s and 70s

May 22 – With the public surveys from the Washington County Health Department asking about opinions on marijuana use in the county, isn’t the toothpaste kind of already out of the tube? Or bong, as the case may be? 

Maryland has already approved recreational and medicinal marijuana in the state. What would be the point of the surveys? 

Pat Ryan of NewsTalk 103.7FM pointed out, “I applaud the ideas from the Washington County Health Department trying to get some more information here.”

Attorney Clint Barkdoll noted, “It’s interesting to know what the purpose of this would be because it is now legal in Maryland recreationally and just anecdotally, I’ve made the observation when I go to Hagerstown, that dispensary in Hagerstown, which I think is the western most dispensary in the state, their business seems to be booming. There are always cars just wrapped around that place every time you go by. Maybe the health department simply wants to know who’s using it demographically, ages, genders. How many are using it for medicinal purposes versus recreational purposes? I wonder if they’re seeing any increased pressure on healthcare needs or social safety net programs related to it? Maybe that’s what’s behind the survey that we won’t know until after it’s done perhaps.” 

Michele Jansen of NewsTalk 103.7FM said, “I think what really bothers me is that surveying the public you’re going to just get the propagandized responses about marijuana and unfortunately, we’ve really fooled the public at large that this is helpful, no worse than alcohol. Actually addiction wise in some cases it can be worse than alcohol, but the fact that it is actually causing more worsening depression, anxiety, psychosis and suicidal behaviors. People think it’s good for anxiety and even some people stupidly think it cures cancer. No, this is a potent drug, much more so than the old time ones that older folks will think back in the 70s and 80s. The fact that 21% of marijuana users struggle with dependency, and about 6% of those users are moderately to severely addicted to it. So this nonsense about it’s not addictive. It’s not harmful. It’s just not true, but that is opposite the public perception.” 

Ryan said, “If the champions of marijuana recreational and medicinal, if you’re such a big champion of that, then why don’t you step on the gas and go you know what? Let’s research it because that’s been your rally cry for a while here. We don’t know enough about it. Why don’t we research it? I would go back to the folks that are championing medicinal marijuana and recreational marijuana, let’s get the information. You won’t like the information, odds are very good, but let’s get the information then.”

Barkdoll said, “The dilemma is just like in Maryland, remember that was approved by voter referendum and many of these states that have legalized it recreationally, if it goes to a referendum, it overwhelmingly passes and the public, even in what I would consider more conservative states, they tend to support this regardless of what any research may show. So there’s where there’s this kind of dilemma and remember, this is still very much on the agenda in Pennsylvania. As we get into these last four or five weeks of budget season we know that legalized recreational marijuana is in the mix that Governor Shapiro has proposed, and we know that there’s actually some Republican support for it in the Senate. So we may be actually having this discussion in Pennsylvania in the very near future that it’s here.”

Ryan asked in terms of the survey, “what do you do with this information? Do you make it even more accessible to younger people and how much are you really relying on that survey? How do you temper that survey with what’s the truth here? Who’s responding?”

Barkdoll suggested, “Maybe it’s kind of all of the above in the sense if the survey is broken down by demographics, gender, age, maybe even things like occupation, maybe they’re going to use it, the health department, to target some messaging to that group. Not telling them not to do it, but maybe giving them some tips and education about the pros and cons of this if they do feel like they’re developing an addiction because, again, these dispensaries it’s not just marijuana you smoke. It’s a lot of edibles. There’s gummies. There’s candy, and maybe the health department is trying to get to how frequently people are using it, are people developing addictions and that’s certainly information that the health department would want to address.”

Jansen added, “It’s sad though, that we’re looking for this information after the fact, after we made recreational marijuana the law. The academic journals and research cannot compete with all the propaganda out there saying it’s great, including the propaganda of making medical marijuana come first in most of these states because that gave people the idea in their mind, this is good for me. Here’s one scary research that I’ll just give you from 2017, so it’s not like we haven’t known. A study published to the Journal of Psychiatry research found almost 129,000 cases of cannabinoid induced psychosis. It occurred in 2017 alone, or an average of one psychotic break every four minutes. We’re not getting these messages. We don’t really understand and it’s especially bad for under 25 when the brain is not fully developed. You are getting lots of psychosis and psychological problems. People think of taking THC gummies for bedtime, marijuana cannabis gummies for helping them sleep, except they don’t know that that keeps you from going into REM sleep which is the real restful and nourishing sleep that we need. THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana keeps you from getting that kind of sleep. People don’t understand that.”

Barkdoll said, “And you could be developing an addiction to it. If you start using these things to rely on whatever sleep or to ease anxiety and those are legitimate uses but at what point do you have to weigh that against does this become an addiction to the point that you need it every day for the rest of your life?”

To see the survey click here.