WEST ORANGE, N.J., April 16, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- "As many states move to legalize marijuana for recreational use, evidence of the ill effects of marijuana continue to accumulate," said Dr. Indra Cidambi, Medical Director, Center for Network Therapy (CNT). "Recent data point to the folly of legalizing recreational use of marijuana."
One of the arguments for legalization of marijuana is that it would help to ease the opiate epidemic, as marijuana could possibly alleviate opiate withdrawal symptoms and mitigate pain. Some states have approved medical marijuana to treat opiate addiction, but as Dr. Cidambi stated: "The Journal of Addiction Medicine just published a study, which threw cold water on these assumptions. Individuals using marijuana in conjunction with opiates experienced higher rates of mental illnesses and expanded the number of drugs they abused." Specifically, they experienced higher rates of depression and anxiety and higher rates of use of alcohol, cocaine and opiates. The study also found that marijuana use did not help to further alleviate pain.
Another important data point comes from Quest Diagnostics, which provides testing services. Workplace testing results showed a 5% increase (2018/2012) in marijuana use in safety-sensitive workers and a related rise in the use of opiate painkillers, while the rate of positive opiate results for the broader workforce fell. "This suggests that marijuana opened the way for experimentation with other substances," said Dr. Cidambi. Indeed, 4.7% of samples sent to Quest in 2018 after a workplace accident or a personal issue were positive for illicit drugs, relative to 3.1% in 2012.
It's About Our Kids: Marijuana is not only addictive, it also affects brain development and hurts our teenagers' and young adults' ability to achieve their potential at school and life. Chronic use of marijuana causes long-lasting changes to the brain's reward system, opening up the reward pathways to experimenting with other, more addictive drugs. The vaping craze adds to the concerns as marijuana can be vaped. 60% of marijuana sales in Colorado are non-plant products, which typically contain more than 50% THC concentration - they are extracts (liquids), which can be consumed using vapes or e-cigarettes as drug delivery systems.
"For most of my patients marijuana was their first illicit drug, and they started using at around age 13," continued Dr. Cidambi. A comprehensive, long-term study showed that average IQ dropped 6-8 points by mid-adulthood for those who started marijuana use in their adolescence. The heavier the use in adolescence, the lesser the chances of recovering those IQ points later in adulthood.
Lowers Risk Perceptions Connected to Illicit Drug Use: By legalizing marijuana for recreational use, we send the dangerous message that it is okay to use mind-altering substances to relax, recreate and self-medicate, added Dr. Cidambi.
About Dr. Cidambi
Indra Cidambi, M.D., Medical Director, Center for Network Therapy, is a pioneer in Addiction Treatment. She introduced Ambulatory Detoxification for treating withdrawal from Alcohol, Benzodiazepines, and Opiates. She has a fellowship in addiction from NYU/Bellevue and is board certified in Addiction Medicine and Psychiatry. Dr. Cidambi is the President of the NJ ASAM.
About Center for Network Therapy (CNT)
CNT is New Jersey's first facility to be licensed to provide Ambulatory (Outpatient) Detoxification and Withdrawal Management for alcohol, anesthetics, benzodiazepines, and opiates. Led by Board Certified Addiction Psychiatrist, Indra Cidambi, M.D., experienced physicians and nurses provide high-quality treatment. Dr. Cidambi and team have successfully detoxed over 2000 patients in 6 years.
SOURCE Center for Network Therapy