Role of Marijuana in Youth Violence

Role of Marijuana in Youth Violence

 The role of marijuana needs to be added to policy discussion of youth violence and mass murders.  Ten days ago three participants were shot at the 420 celebration rally in Denver.

 It’s probably more than just a coincidence that Arizona shooter Jared Loughner and Aurora Colorado shooter James Holmes were long-time stoners.  Now we can add Dzhokhar Tsarnaev to the list of criminals who smoked marijuana regularly—and committed acts of mass violance.  

Unlike the Arizona and Aurora shooters, Tsarnaev was not labeled a “nut” by his classmates and observers.  Why the big change from nice kid to terrorist?  Sure, he was radicalized by others, but why was it so easy to influence him?  Well, the common link between these three young men is that they lived in states which have passed laws allowing medical marijuana.  The THC content in today’s marijuana is much higher than it was in the pot of the 1960s and 1970s.

The more the marijuana lobby pretends that medical marijuana is about compassion for those dying of cancer or suffering from HIV/AIDs, the more our youth is getting the dopey idea that marijuana is not dangerous.  Most casual observers in states with medical marijuana agree that if is far easier for children to get pot than alcohol.

Of course, there are other societal problems which add to mass violence, but the role of marijuana in fostering psychosis needs to be added to the list when we consider policy. 

Yet, the pot lobby claims that marijuana doesn’t change the brain, doesn’t cause addiction, cannot bring psychosis.    When they come across studies – even those from other countries as diverse as Denmark and New Zealand – they’re convinced researchers have been paid off by a conspiracy of the United States government and the drug companies to come to their conclusions.  In truth, the marijuana lobby is trying to get a younger clientele for their product, hoping to get them hooked when the day arrives that it becomes legal.   The cynical promoters of cannabis know that a “weed” cannot be taxed and regulated, so they spread the message by lying to say it will bring new tax revenue

Perhaps it is the power of the marijuana lobby that is preventing studies that could link marijuana usage to the onset of Parkinson’s at a young age and to the higher incidence of autism in the children of parents who smoke marijuana or have smoked it regularly.  (Casual observers on the autism websites have written/spoken about a correlation between pot users and having children with autism.)  Of course, any problem which affects such a large number of people is likely to have multiple causes.

We should not be increasing our tolerance of marijuana at this time.  There is a reason the federal government took many years to study why marijuana should remain a Schedule I drug, recently upheld by an Appeals Court.

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  1. RedHerring, thumbs up.

    Going back the last three or four decades, one is hard pressed to find any mass murderers who didn’t smoke marijuana!

    Lately comes Loughner, Holmes, Lanza and of course, the Boston Marathon bombers, all potheads, all pyschopaths.

    Most of the investigation of the Boston Bombers centers around their radicalization and foreign connections, but aren’t they really very similar to the Oklahoma City Bombers? (who also smoked a ton of pot in prior years.) (and tt appears that the Weather Underground bombers in prior years smoked marijuana.) They all had a hatred for the US government, they were all US citizens and they ALL smoked copious amounts of marijuana.

    Marijuana use may be pushing all these individuals over the edge because it alters brain chemistries in ways we have yet to prove scientifically.

    • redherring

      The machine operator who killed 6 people while knocking down a building in Philadelphia last week tested positive for marijuana and prescription drugs. There was also the Pentagon shooter 2 years ago. He was in his 30s but from California, and very addicted to marijuana for years. California has had medical marijuana since the mid-90s.
      The list is very long if go back in time to the people who used pot and were put under the control of Charles Manson. Pot advocates would call it mind expansion, but it can have dangerous side effects and psychosis is one of them. On the other hand, it does not seem that Adam Lanza had marijuana or any other drugs in his system.

      • Good points. Not saying the perpetrators were necessarily ‘under the influence’ at the times of the crimes, but suggesting massive prior use of marijuana, as with Lanza and many others, either by itself or in the conjunction with other substances, may be creating the psychosis we are seeing.

  2. Margaret Lynn

    I would not like to see it decriminalized, the new marijuana is way too powerful to be used recreationally, and I am really not to sure about the medical aspect of it either. I stopped smoking it many years ago, before the higher THC levels, but fell for the medical marijuana scam, after being diagnosed with MS.
    Used the medical marijuana for about 2 and 1/2 years, and recently began having psychotic episodes, really bad, wasn’t sure what had happened.

    I got a gut feeling, so I stopped the marijuana, and have not had any more of those episodes. I believe the marijuana lobbyists are lying to folks, and it’s bothered me to no end now that they’ve gotten to Dr Gupta. The news pundit doctor to say it is okay, it’s not. I won’t ever touch this stuff again, and it had never done that to me years ago, when the marijuana had less THC. This crap today is dangerous.

    I won’t do it, and won’t have anyone around me who does it, I believe that many people would not be dead, murdered In some of those mass murders episodes recently, if it had not been for marijuana, after experiencing the episodes I did. I will hold this view from now on. And I mean it, I wont even have any friends who are still using medical marijuana around me anymore. I told them, no way. I wont trust you, because I believe it to be bad medicine.

  3. Mary murphy

    I have worked with criminals for the last thirty years. I have yet to meet a person convicted of a violent crime who was stoned on pot. Alcohol is a totally other story. I am not condoning drug use but the arguement put forward by this article is not based on factual or scientific evidence.

    • thoughtfulness

      Guess it depends on where you live. In parts of US, 40% + of those committing crimes have tested positive for THC. Alcohol is easier and faster to test. The woman who killed 8 on Taconic State Parkway had both alcohol and marijuana in her system, recent use. She used it to help her get to sleep, but also had recent usage in the daytime accident.

  4. Mary- Many of the mass murderers had used marijuana, but were not currently under the direct influence during the crimes. Though it is true that some 54% of all violent criminals test positive for marijuana, it’s not necessarily correct to assume they were stoned at the time, That’s because the chemical from marijuana stays up to a month in the body, longer than from any other narcotic, and thus they test positive regardless.
    More likely, their mental derangement occurred months or years before the crimes. Timothy McVeigh, along with Michael Fortier, smoked copious amounts of marijuana several years prior to blowing up the Alfred Murray Federal Building in Oklahoma City, The Tsarnaevs also smoked copious amounts of marijuana years prior to Bombing the Boston Marathon, Klebold and Harris who shot up Columbine High School, were former pot users, etc. So, while high, the sedative affect usually takes place, and the chemicals (there are hundreds, perhaps a couple thousand} head for the brain. Later while sober, they are then the clear minded psychopathic killers. Thus a Squeaky Fromme, or John Hinkley Jr, both potheads who attempted to assassinate Presidents Ford and Reagan, won’t necessarily test positive for marijuana, Usually the information is found anecdotally, such as with Megan Huntsman the Utah woman in recent news who had been killing her babies for years. The damage is already done to the brain.
    The precise process is not quite known. Though now it is proven that marijuana can indeed induce mental illness, usually schizophrenia, especially in young minds. Also proven is a link between violence and addiction withdrawal and it’s shown that a certain percentage of pot users do become addicted.
    Plus with the pot candy/cookie deaths in Colorado, where instant “reefer madness” did occur, that is these two guys went instantaneously, murderously insane, there is shown to be a chemical link from marijuana to the brain that can induce homicidal mania. What or how that occurs is not known, but obviously it exists.
    So there are several routes medically that marijuana can induce violent tendencies in some predisposed individuals.

  5. Oh, in my earlier post here, I must have erred claiming Adam Lanza smoked marijuana. Originally I thought I read that Ryan Lanza said Adam self-medicated with pot or used it to calm down or something, yet I must have imagined this since there seem to be no such reports to substantiate my claim whatsoever.

    Thus sorry for jumping the gun with that statement. It must be retracted, my mistake. (Of course, Lanza may have anyway, I personally suspect he did, but we simply do not have complete, transparent records, other than the fact he tested negative for marijuana, but that is only good for 30 days prior.)

  6. Though bogus, numerology can be interesting: The concept of the 420 celebration, April 20, and the cluster of violence on or about that date, is just plain creepy! To wit:

    April 20 is Adolf Hitler’s birthday, for one thing.

    And April 15, 2013 is the date of the Boston Marathon bombing (perpetrated by potheads).

    From CNN: — April 19, 1993: the FBI’s siege of the Waco compound leaves 76 dead.

    – April 19, 1995: the bombing of a federal building in Oklahoma City kills 168 people. (perpetrated by potheads or former users)

    – April 20, 1999: A mass shooting at Columbine High School leaves 15 dead. (perpetrated by potheads, or former users)

    – April 16, 2007: The Virginia Tech massacre kills 33. (perpetrated by a pothead)

    (The parenthetic notes are my addition.)

    What a horrible date to celebrate marijuana!

  7. I see my response to Mary above is being held up, likely because it is too long-winded!

    Getting right to the point, many mistakenly believe whatever harms from marijuana usage (like alcohol) should be observed when users are “under the influence”- ie being ‘stoned’. Seldom is that the case.

    It is true that two individuals in Colorado ingested pot candy or cookies and went instantly, murderously insane, “reefer madness” style. Yet that is rare.

    Instead the primary concerns are the mental health problems that arise from long term pot usage. And those violent, sometimes homicidal tendencies may emerge months or years later when they are not using marijuna. The mental derangement has already occurred.

    So the direct influence of marijuana has a sedative effect on users. Seldom if ever are users stoned and violent. Yet hundreds of chemicals are slowly working their way to the brain, which fortunately do not adversely affect most users.

    But some predisposed marijuana users either induce or exacerbate underlying mental derangement. At some later point in time, when they may not even be using marijuana any more, they can be dangerously violent.

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