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Commentary :: Education
Medical Marijuana: What’s wrong with it?
12 May 2010
Tampa, FL - Those who are proponents of medical marijuana would have you think that anyone who opposes the legalization of this drug is anti-help and pro-pain. After all, the chronically ill are said to benefit from the use of marijuana while undergoing chemotherapy or when suffering from pain or other chronic health conditions.
And they would have you believe that the debate should end right there.

Not so fast. Any examination of the subject must include a look at the wider effects that legalization could be having. Certainly, a thorough study of the subject would fill a book. Still, an examination of a few statistics released by the federal government on the effects this drug is having on our country would provide a little more context to the arguments for or against legalization for medical purposes.

To start with, is marijuana addictive or not? If it’s not addictive, then why worry about people promoting its use?

The easiest way to answer this question is to find out if anyone is going into drug treatment programs to get help with marijuana addiction. Every year, the U.S. government publishes Treatment Episode Data Sets (TEDS), an analysis of all the people who entered participating drug rehabilitation centers. In the 2007 TEDS report, we find that 287,933 people entering drug treatment stated that marijuana was the primary or only drug sending them there. In other words, they were experiencing enough damage to their lives that they needed to drop everything and get help.

Each year, more than two million people initiate use of marijuana. How many of these people are swayed in the direction of marijuana usage by the marijuana “culture” – the head shops, magazines, websites and news stories about legalization and medical use? There’s no way to know.

But one thing is for certain. Those who eventually wound up in drug rehabs were, by and large, youngsters when they started. Here are the ages at which those entering drug rehabs for marijuana addiction in 2007 started using the drug:
12 or under 25%
13 or 14 31%
15 or 16 25%
17 or 18 11%

If could be argued that twelve-year-old children are not yet qualified to make rational decisions about drug use. Enabling our children to grow up to adulthood drug-free may well be one of the best gifts we could give them. And if this is so, our greatest responsibility may well lie in finding other medications that bring benefit to those undergoing chemotherapy or experiencing pain or the other medical conditions that marijuana can help so we can “de-popularize” this drug.

Any drug legalization must be examined for all the effects it creates, not just the short-range benefits. Any person wishing to get the full story on marijuana addiction can get the facts at

And for the person whose drug use has turned into a drug problem, there are also real solutions to addiction. Narconon, a drug rehabilitation program that utilizes the methods of L. Ron Hubbard, has a success rate of more than 75%. For more information on this drug-free method of substance abuse treatment, visit

This work is in the public domain