By Christine Bennett, Letter to the Editor, Portland Press Herald, October 8th, 2016
I am a pediatrician practicing in Portland. I applaud Scott Gagnon’s Monday Maine Voices about the risks of passing Question 1. In contrast, I am disappointed by Maine’s medical community for not taking a stand against legalizing recreational marijuana.
I’ve also been dismayed by the misinformation relayed to me by my patients: “Pot is safer than alcohol.” “Pot can cure certain diseases.” “Pot is not addictive.”
Research has shown that the parts of the brain that are affected by marijuana are still developing even in a person’s mid-20s. Young people who regularly use develop impaired memory and concentration and a lower IQ.
Regular marijuana use is also linked to psychological problems, including anxiety, paranoia, panic attacks and hallucinations. It contributes to poorer lung health and drug dependence in adulthood.
So let’s be honest about the risks associated with using marijuana, and please help us maintain the health of the young people of Maine.