This morning’s Minneapolis Star Tribune has an opinion letter from Dan DeWitt, a writer for the Tampa Bay Times, that says “Marijuana Use Dulls the Mind.” A link appears Here. In his article, he refers to a 2008 article by Washington Post writer Neil Howe who referred to the “Dumbest Generation,” (A book title) that attributes low SAT test scores to cell phone use, high divorce rates, and etc. DeWitt says the cause is “one activity in which my age group achieved historically high marks-marijuana use.” He goes on to describe the rampant use of pot among his age group during that period.
When I read this opinion piece, I remembered a woman who was a patient at a drug rehab center in 1976. Where most of the patients were there for alcohol, she was there for marijuana. There was then a notion that marijuana was a non-addictive, non-gateway drug that was less harmful than alcohol and tobacco. So what was this woman doing in a rehab center for use of such a product. Her story was very interesting.
She told me that mariijuana created a dependence in her that controled her life. That her daily use kept her in a perpetual somnolent state and that she had lost a job over “diminished performance.” She said she pretty much acted normally, was never arrested, had no physical signs of abuse, but she said she had no relationships that were real and that she couldn’t do her job. Marijuana was supposed to have no effect on work and relationships so I asked what the problem was. She said, “I’m an English professor and poet. I can’t write poetry anymore.” I asked if that was due to pot, she said,” I didn’t think so until a math colleague told me that he was losing his ability to do complex math and he attributed it to his pot use. I think the same parts of the brain are involved.” She came to treatment because she wanted to get off pot that she said was more subtle and destructive than booze.
As it turned out, she was right and she learned that pot had long term effects that were destructive of long term activities. It was like running a file over the edge of a sharp knife; the knife may still cut, but not well. She could still write, but not well, as her math colleague could still do math, but not well. That may be why DeWitt says that pot use is the cause of low SAT scores for his generation. The SAT tests English and Math. The long term effects of pot may come from the fact it is stored in body fat, some say in the nerve’s myelin sheath.
We are now seeing a surge in legalization of this dangerous substance. In wondering why this is, we need only look at the politicians favorite substance, a drug for the people. This was Margaret Mead’s (a famous anthropologist) request that “government develop a drug to allow people to deal with the traumas of modern life and legalize marijuana.” She said this in 1969, or so, however, dealing with the traumas of modern life is what propels us forward and improves modern life. It is the search for cures, solutions and improvements that solves society’s problems. By legalizing marijuana, we may be giving the “opiate for the people,” (Karl Marx said this in reference to religion.) that politicians have sought for some time. How can you vote against your drug dealer? Just think about this when the issue of legalizing pot comes up in your state.
Marijuana dulls the brain as that woman and her math colleague learned so long ago. It may be that is what we are seeking or our political leaders are seeking for us. It is easy to control a stoned society, but a stoned society does not cure its ills, solve its problems or improve its situation. Think about it.