Well, well, well.
If it isn't another mainstream story and clear scientific evidence that, in fact, conservatives from decades ago were absolutely correct.
This time, we come to the touchy subject of marijuana use. A new study recently published that shows that smoking pot clearly has negative mental effects and is directly related to all sorts of mental health issues, particularly in young people.
Who could have seen this coming?
...You know, besides every Republican for the last half century who has now been bullied into silence on the issue by the libertarian wing of the party.
There have always been plenty of reasons to oppose dope, but the clear evidence that it messes with your brain is reason enough to oppose legalization.
This newest study looks at DECADES of data and MILLIONS of people who have used marijuana and the results show that it has only served to harm the mental health of young people.
Over the last decade of diagnosing countless young patients with new psychotic disorders, one striking result has stuck out for New York City psychiatrist Dr. Ryan Sultan.
"Of all the people I've diagnosed with a psychotic disorder," he said, "I can't think of a single one who wasn't also positive for cannabis."
Sultan, an assistant professor of clinical psychiatry at Columbia Irving Medical Center, is one of many experts raising serious concerns about the increasing marijuana use by adolescents and young adults.
If someone comes in with psychotic disorders, according to this doctor, they have all, 100%, been positive for cannabis as well.
I know it's an anecdote, and correlation doesn't equal causation, but the odds of this being a coincidence shrink when you look at the studies.
Here's the simplified conclusion from the study:
Young males might be particularly susceptible to the effects of cannabis on schizophrenia. At a population level, assuming causality, one-fifth of cases of schizophrenia among young males might be prevented by averting CUD (Cannabis use disorder). Results highlight the importance of early detection and treatment of CUD and policy decisions regarding cannabis use and access, particularly for 16 – 25-year-olds.
Translation: 20% of schizophrenia cases could be prevented if young men and women simply didn't smoke pot as much as they do.
That's 1/5 of schizophrenia cases directly linked to pot usage.
Another study, led by Sultan and Columbia researchers published earlier this month, found that teenagers who use cannabis only recreationally are two to four times more likely to develop psychiatric disorders, including depression and suicidality, than teenagers who don't use cannabis at all.
All those "this is your brain on drugs" ads from back in the day? Well, we should have listened to them.
First, it was that marijuana was a gateway drug, so we should stop its use among young people. But evidence continues to come out that marijuana use itself is damaging to young people's brains.
Being 2 to 4 times as likely to develop psychiatric disorders is a big deal.
Yet we now live in a time when most people say that pot is completely harmless.
Dr. Deepak D'Souza, a psychiatrist at Yale University who has been studying cannabis for 20 years, insists there are too many lines of evidence to ignore.
"We may be grossly underestimating the potential risks associated with cannabis," he said.
Given increasing legalization and rising potency in cannabis products, D'Souza has never been more worried about the mental health effects of cannabis use among youth.
"This is a massive concern," he said. "We have been woefully inept in educating the public and influencing policy."
All the evidence shows that pot is most harmful to young people before their brain is fully developed.
Before the age of 26, it is becoming clear that pot messes with your mind and increases the risk of mental health issues, including suicidality, exponentially.
If states are looking to legalize weed, it definitely shouldn't be allowed for anyone under age.
D'Souza added that cannabis use can have serious impacts on the developing brain because of its effects on the endocannabinoid system, a complex signaling system in the brain that marijuana targets.
"Endocannabinoid systems play an important role in sculpting the brain during adolescence, which is when schizophrenia usually manifests itself," he said.
This is a real problem. Once again, the "live and let live" libertarian path appears to be a completely failed solution.