Dear Doctors, who are mandated to do 'No Harm'!
My name is Karen Randall. I am an emergency physician (also residency trained in pediatrics and family medicine).
I spent numerous years as an academic teaching physician at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit. I moved to Colorado to be back home. I moved here in 2013. I moved just in time to see this town I live in, Pueblo, go from a blue collar working town to a drug infested town that is not safe.
I appreciate your article about brain sizes, View Link, but I need you to stand with me and let kids know that this high dose highly concentrated THC is NOT alright for them. Our kids here are, without a doubt, using younger and using a lot more concentrated THC. We, medically, almost nothing about what high dose, high concentration THC products (without CBD - ? maybe some protection) will do to a person. I can tell you firsthand what I am seeing and experiencing and we, as physicians need to get the facts out.
1) I have seen way more youth using than ever before. You must know that these middle schoolers and high schoolers are getting vape pens to vape marijuana, right? There is open concern about the vaping - which in itself will lead to lung damage, but, at least here, they are vaping pot.
2) Many are using earlier - emulating what the adults in their lives are doing and are dropping out of school. Our school district has a 38% chronic absenteeism rate. Imagine that for your school district and imagine, if you have children, how that might affect them.
3) I have seen numerous acutely and frankly psychotic young people who have only done cannabis. The youngest acutely psychotic person I have seen so far - 13 yo. I am not talking about seeing a child or youth on occasion who is psychotic, it has become routine. That is the saddest aspect of all of this. The industry has pummelled our community with retail and “medicine” stores. Pueblo has about 160,000 people, we have nearly 50 retail stores. Our community is predominantly a community of colour. I would hazard a guess that there are not 50 retail stores in Aspen, Vail or Breckenridge. These kids use younger and then drop out of school, they have no skills, no education, and due to chronic cannabis use, they have no motivation to change their lives. Those who have supportive families, who want to change, find that there are minimal resources for kids who become addicted to cannabis. These families (69% of our community is on medicaid) most of the time, have no resources or finances to send them to a long term rehab facility. These kids end up on the streets. Sadly, their drug usage doesn’t stop at cannabis. I recently saw a high school kid (18) who had been using cannabis with his friends. He told me his parents were “ok” with that because it was just cannabis. He and his senior in high school friends, moved on to LDS and cocaine. These are kids. The child in question was living with his grandmother who has no resources other than what medicaid will cover to get him treatment. Those children who use, whose parents are sober and want their children help, often tap every financial resource they have - including retirement, home equities, savings, etc. This leaves parents - at a time when they should be saving for retirement, destitute, needing to live on a hopeful social security.
4) There is no question that maternal use of cannabis while pregnant leads to fetal harms - the full picture of those harms won’t be apparent for another 5-10 years, until these babies being born now start school. A recent University of Colorado study found that a huge percentage of medical dispensaries in Colorado were recommending cannabis for pregnant women. View Link
5) The cannabis industry has commercialized and weaponized all aspects of THC and CBD. Did you know that you can purchase a THC infused tampon? Did you know that many irresponsible cannabis companies promise that cannabis will cure their cancer? Did you know that, based on that alone, patients in our community are being placed straight from the ED to hospice when their cancer is too extensive to provide anything but comfort care? I recently saw a 39 y/o male who elected the “cannabis cure” for his brain cancer. It did not work. Who do we hold at harm for that? The patient, who was clearly misled by the industry? The doctors, who can’t save him when he presents with end stage/terminal cancer? The industry? I will enclose a few ads to support this claim at the end.
Finally, please, as a physician - do no harm. Do not promote a product that is so damaging and has so many consequences. Know that what the industry is selling now, in no way, shape or form, resembles the pot of Woodstock. This is supercharged high potency THC - a hallucinogen. You do not have to take my word. You are a physician. Come work a day in my ED with me. We are the 3rd busiest ED in Colorado. I have a longitudinal study and data base at my hospital. Not only did cannabis use go up, but in the last 5 years, all drug usage has gone up and in the last 8 months, methamphetamine use has tripled. Help inform the public that there are significant harms.
Feel free to contact me. You have my email. I am asking you as a physician, to speak up for our youth. Do not promote a product that does and will have devastating consequences.
Dr. Karen Randall, FAAEM
VP Case Management SCEMA
Chairman of the Board, SCEMA
The work carried out by the Neuropharmacology Laboratory highlight the influence of environmental factors such as stress on the harmful effects of the exposure to cannabis during early ages
A new study conducted on laboratory animals shows that exposure to cannabis and stress during adolescence may lead to long-term anxiety disorders characterized by the presence of pathological fear. The work carried out by the Neuropharmacology Laboratory-NeuroPhar at Pompeu Fabra University, was led by the researchers Fernando Berrendero, now at Francisco de Vitoria University, and Rafael Maldonado, and has been published in the journal Neuropharmacology.
The Independent - January 2019
Teenagers who use cannabis just once or twice may end up with changes to the structure of their brain, scientists have warned.
A study, conducted by researchers at Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne, Australia, found that there were clear differences on brain scans between teens who said they had smoked cannabis a couple of times and those who had never tried it.
Alex Berenson’s new book delves into research linking heavy use with violent crime and mental illness. by Stephanie Mencimer Mother Jones (San Francisco), January 5, 2019.
It’s been a few years since Alex Berenson has “committed journalism,” as he likes to say. As a New York Times reporter, Berenson did two tours covering the Iraq War, an experience that inspired him to write his first of nearly a dozen spy novels. Starting with the 2006 Edgar Award-winning The Faithful Spy, his books were so successful that he left the Times in 2010 to write fiction full time. But his latest book, out January 8, strays far from the halls of Langley and the jihadis of Afghanistan. Tell Your Children is nonfiction that takes a sledgehammer to the promised benefits of marijuana legalization, and cannabis enthusiasts are not going to like it one bit.
The book was seeded one night a few years ago when Berenson’s wife, a psychiatrist who evaluates mentally ill criminal defendants in New York, started talking about a horrific case she was handling. It was “the usual horror story, somebody who’d cut up his grandmother or set fire to his apartment – typical bedtime chat in the Berenson house,” he writes. But then, his wife added, “Of course he was high, been smoking pot his whole life.”
Berenson, who smoked a bit in college, didn’t have strong feelings about marijuana one way or another, but he was skeptical that it could bring about violent crime. Like most Americans, he thought stoners ate pizza and played video games – they didn’t hack up family members. Yet his Harvard-trained wife insisted that all the horrible cases she was seeing involved people who were heavy into weed. She directed him to the science on the subject.
We look back and laugh at Reefer Madness, which was pretty over-the-top, after all, but Berenson found himself immersed in some pretty sobering evidence: Cannabis has been associated with legitimate reports of psychotic behavior and violence dating at least to the 19th century, when a Punjabi lawyer in India noted that 20 to 30 percent of patients in mental hospitals were committed for cannabis-related insanity. The lawyer, like Berenson’s wife, described horrific crimes – including at least one beheading – and attributed far more cases of mental illness to cannabis than to alcohol or opium. The Mexican government reached similar conclusions, banning cannabis sales in 1920 – nearly 20 years before the United States did – after years of reports of cannabis-induced madness and violent crime.
Tell Your Children:
The Truth About Marijuana, Mental Illness, and Violence by Alex Berenson
(New York: Free Press, 2019) Hardcover: 272 pages ISBN: 978-1982103668 RRP: US$26.00
Book description An eye-opening report from an award-winning author and former New York Times reporter reveals the link between teenage marijuana use and mental illness, and a hidden epidemic of violence caused by the drug – facts the media have ignored as the United States rushes to legalize cannabis.