For those of us of a certain age, who remember Vietnam and Woodstock, hippies who smoked pot are inextricably linked with peace, love, and being cool, man. Ever since the 1960s, the move to separate cannabis, also known as marijuana, pot, weed, and a boatload of other street names, from its formerly bad reputation has been underway.
But a new cutting-edge study may demonstrate that, contrary to the general belief that pot is a relatively benign drug, such a line of thought is way off-course, and could be sending us into an even more violent era than the one we are already experiencing.
With eight US states have already legalized pot for recreational use, and another 19 allowing it for medicinal purposes, this Pandora may be pretty hard to get back in the box, if the study’s shocking findings are true. Researchers found a more constant and direct link between pot use and violent crime that has ever been uncovered in the past.
In fact, cannabis users are simply more prone to commit violent acts, the study says, due to brain changes caused by smoking the drug regularly. The study was conducted on 1,136 US psych ward patients, following them after their release, and discovered that crimes such as rape, knife attacks, and even beheadings, were not uncommon among those who use weed.
Clearly anticipating public reaction and disbelief, the researchers went on to say that there is no similar correlation between previously violent people who then start smoking pot. They say the cannabis itself is basically the instigator of the crimes, due to its ability to chain brain function, often creating extreme paranoia and delusions.
In fact, imagining that they were being followed, or thinking someone was a horrible ogre of some kind, was not uncommon of those convicted of extremely violent crimes following steady cannabis use. The study, which came from five Canadian researchers, followed patients in Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Missouri.
The team conducted interviews with the released patients every ten weeks for a year after they were set free. They found that at everyone these ten-week check-ins, those who were smoking pot were close to 2 ½ times more likely to have committed a violent crime than those who had not done so.
Given that since Colorado’s 2012 recreational use legalization of pot, usage has grown to 57% among high school students in the state, this information could open the door to some foreboding fears for what our future in America may look like in the years to come.
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