Regulate The Reefer Already

Despite the fact that “Canadian teens were the most likely to smoke pot of all teens in the developed world,” Soraya Roberts isn’t ready to start toking:

Call it reefer madness, but I don’t trust my already-precarious anxiety-addled brain to survive pot intact. Particularly these days—this ain’t the pot my parent smoked. In the ’60s, you got high off a doobie with a potency of 4 percent. These days a hit peaks at 25 percent; such is the strength of “Dr. Grinspoon,” a strain named after the Harvard psychiatrist who wrote several books on cannabis, including 1970’s Marihuana Reconsidered and Marihuana: The Forbidden Medicine.  “If you take hold of Dr. Grinspoon and smoke a lot of it, you could probably have quite a reaction,” its namesake told me. Like insanity?, I didn’t reply. Research shows that people who have predisposition for schizophrenia can experience early onset from smoking marijuana. My genetic loading for mental health isn’t ideal. I wouldn’t want to rock the brain boat.

There is an irony to this thought process, stemming from the fact that I have taken prescription medication for years—for anxiety (peanut gallery: “Of course!”).

I don’t deny the paradox. But there is a certain security to be found in taking a legal drug that the government has tested. Even if the FDA’s methods are not up to snuff, that’s some kind of standard. With pot being illegal, there is no standard. Marijuana may be “healthier than anything you can buy from the pharmaceutical industry,” according to Grinspoon, but how could I ever ensure I was getting the real McCoy? “I’ll try it if you can assure me it will be clean,” I told an acquaintance recently. “Clean? Like, you want it to be washed?” he quipped. Um, no, but I don’t want it to be laced with meth or cut with those synthetic cannabinoids that leave seizures and high blood pressure in their wake. I don’t have any scruples about smoking an illegal joint, but I’m not willing to risk my health for it.

Update from a reader:

Weed laced with meth? Had there been liquid in my mouth when I read that line, I would have done a spit-take. Does she really believe weed dealers put meth in their product so you’ll smoke it and stay up for three days? Clearly Soraya Roberts hasn’t the first clue what she’s talking about when it comes to marijuana. And of course she makes the same old tired objection about today’s cannabis being stronger than ‘my parent’s’ cannabis, with nary a nod toward the dose-response relationship – as though people decide the quantity of weed they will smoke and then do it without regard to the potency and resulting effect.