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Researchers Debunk Negative Cannabis Assertions Made by Thriller Author



[dropcap class=”kp-dropcap”]A[/dropcap]t the start of the year, a thriller novelist named Alex Berenson published a cannabis-themed op-ed article for The New York Times and just a few days later, also released a new book on the subject. In both works, he claims to reveal a link between adolescent cannabis consumption, mental illness and prevalent violence. Since both the article and book have been published, many industry researchers have reached out to strongly disagree with Berenson’s claims.

A handful of experts—some cited in a book that Berenson wrote and released on Jan. 8, entitled Tell Your Children: The Truth About Marijuana, Mental Illness and Violence, have already publicly debunked the book’s assertions. Mark A. R. Kleiman, a reputed economist who has regularly expressed concern about the adverse effects of legal cannabis sales, pointed out that since the early 1990s, as cannabis consumption in America has radically increased, violent crime has considerably decreased. RAND Drug Policy Research Center co-director Beau Kilmer, tweeted in response to Berenson, a rather broad study showing, “Marijuana use does not induce violent crime.”

Similarly, Ziva Cooper, the research director for UCLA’s Cannabis Research Initiative and committee member on the 468-page National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine report who has been cited by Berenson and Gladwell, said in a conversation with Rolling Stone that Berenson completely misunderstood the report’s conclusions around schizophrenia. “To say that we concluded cannabis causes schizophrenia, it’s just wrong, and it’s meant to precipitate fear,” she says. Rather, the scientists found an association between schizophrenia and cannabis use, but do not yet have enough evidence to determine causality. As Cooper puts it: “People who have schizophrenia are also known to be very heavy tobacco smokers, but we don’t say that tobacco causes schizophrenia.”

If consumers are interested in reading about legitimate concerns surrounding cannabis legalization, it is always recommended that they seek out content produced by scholars, drug policy researchers or experts on the subject.




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