The Ethics of Marijuana Usage

By James Rochford

Western culture is changing rapidly. As it changes, Christian believers should stay ahead of the ethical considerations that confront us, as our culture’s moral compass spins wildly. In particular, debates about the use and limitations of marijuana are flaring up in our culture, and believers should be ahead of this topic.

Washington and Colorado legalized the recreational use of marijuana in 2013. In 2010, California’s proposition 19 came very close to passing, and it will make another effort this year. In the last decade, American culture largely favored the use of recreational marijuana use. In fact, most of the youth are in favor of recreational legalization.

 

Should Christians consider smoking a joint in the same category as cracking open a beer or drinking a glass of wine?

What is marijuana?

Before investigating the scientific and ethical questions surrounding the use of marijuana, it is important to clearly explain what marijuana is, and how it functions in the human body. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is one of 85 cannabinoids in marijuana. The other cannabinoids “do not produce a high in the absence of THC, but they interact with THC to affect its impact in a variety of ways.”[1] Thus THC is the primary intoxicant in marijuana, but the other cannabinoids have other varying effects on the brain, repressing neurotransmitters in the brain. The stem and stalk contain virtually no THC. The leaves contain very little, and the buds a little more. The hair-like trichomes contain almost all of the THC in the plant. The female plants contain the most resin for trapping the pollen of male plants. Thus growers will leave female plants unpollinated for the purpose of producing plants with more resin (this is called sinsemilla).

Hashish is the strongest form of marijuana. It is produced by extracting the hair-like trichomes of the plant into a resin, and it “can exceed 40 percent THC.”[2] Ditchweed is the lowest level of THC—often below 1 percent. This is the stuff that grows on the side of the highway by accident.

Cannabidiol (pronounced can-uh-bid-DIE-all, CBD) is not intoxicating, and “some claim it may calm the anxiety sometimes produced by high doses of THC. It may even have antipsychotic activity.”[3] Marinol is synthetic THC in a capsule form, and Sativex is a 50/50 mixture of THC and CBD in a pill form. These are not yet sold in the United States.

The Scientific Case Against Moderate Marijuana Use

Many will argue that taking a puff from a joint is analogous to drinking a glass of wine. Why oppose one and favor the other? Yet this is not a fair analogy. Even moderate marijuana use is different than moderate alcoholic use.

1. Marijuana is FAT soluble—whereas alcohol is WATER soluble

Marijuana lodges itself in the fatty portions of the body—particular the brain. Mary Brett (UK spokesperson for EURAD) writes, “[THC is fat soluble] This means it stays in brain cell membranes for a long time. Fifty per cent is still there a week later and ten per cent after a month. A monthly joint will ensure the drug a permanent presence in the brain.”[4] Pacula (et al.) write, “The main psychoactive constituent in marijuana is THC, and although its acute psychoactive effects often last only a few hours, it remains detectable in blood for several hours and, for some chronic users, up to 7 days after use.”[5]

This fundamental difference between the two substances demonstrates that we are really comparing apples with oranges. While a person can metabolize a glass of wine within the hour, it takes weeks to get THC out of our system. Thus even casual or moderate use of marijuana will allow us to have the drug permanently in our system. The same is simply not the case with alcohol.

2. Marijuana contains more intoxicants than alcohol

Beer, wine, and whiskey are measured by the percentage of grain alcohol per beverage. This can be easily measured and tested for the consumer. Of course, some people will call themselves a “light weight,” meaning that they only need a little alcohol to be buzzed. But generally, the effect of alcohol on a person can be measured fairly well. Marijuana, however, is not this simplistic. Since there are 85 cannabinoids in marijuana, we cannot just measure intoxication by the THC level in the blood alone.

Additionally, even low levels of THC can have varying effects on the user—most likely because of the balance of these other cannabinoids. Battistella (et al.) write, “It has been shown that the impairing effects of cannabis may happen even with very low blood levels of THC and that complex concentration-effects relationships and pharmacokinetics might preclude using a particular THC blood threshold to make fair legal determinations of impairment.”[6] The balance and effect of cannabinoids on the brain are far different than just the amount of percentage of THC. Thus, again, we find a clear difference between alcohol and marijuana. We are comparing apples with oranges.

Researchers have tentatively attempted to compare that 7-10 nanograms per milliliter of THC is equivalent to a BAC (blood alcohol concentration) of %0.05.[7] But even 7-10 nanograms per milliliter has significant effects on a person’s brain function. Battistella (et al.) write that even “a single dose of THC impairs tracking performance, divided attention, and inhibitory control in occasional cannabis users… During the investigated fMRI time-period, THC levels ranged between 2.9 and 23.7 ng/ml (median value 9.4 ng/ml)… These relatively low concentrations, which have detrimental effects on several specific tasks related to driving, are also similar to those found in a previous study and are above the lower limit that was suggested for a significant level of driving impairment (2 to 5 ng THC/ml of serum, i.e. about 1 to 3 ng THC/ml of whole blood) established in a recent paper.”[8] Battistella (et al.) write, “We have shown that in occasional smokers cannabis globally altered the activity of the main brain networks involved in cognition despite the low THC concentrations.”[9]

3. Marijuana has become much more potent in the last several decades

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, marijuana has become much stronger since the 1970s. On average, the THC content of confiscated marijuana was 0.74% (1975), 0.71% (1976), 0.90% (1977), 1.37% (1978), 1.67% (1979), and 2.06% (1980).[10]

Today the average THC content in marijuana is 8.52%, and it can be as high 27%. This means it is four to eleven times stronger (on average) than marijuana from the 1970s—stronger still for marijuana from the 1960s. This would be comparable to going from drinking Budweiser to Bacardi. Mary Brett (UK spokesperson for EURAD) writes, “THC content in the herbal form of cannabis in the 1960s was around 1-2%. In cannabis resin it was 4-6%. The new form of cannabis, Skunk, which now constitutes about 80% of the British cannabis market and is mostly home grown, has a THC content that now averages 14 to 16%.”[11]

4. Marijuana withdrawal affects emotional health

The neurotransmitter dopamine is affected by THC, increasing its production. Anandamide[12] usually produces dopamine naturally, and it controls for regulating eating, motivation, and behavior. When THC replaces its role, anandamide decreases in the body. Mary Brett (UK spokesperson for EURAD) writes, “Production of anandamide decreases as it is being substituted. If a person stops taking cannabis, the receptor sites will stay empty and withdrawal will set in: anxiety, sleeplessness, irritability, even violence can follow.”[13] The key difference between THC and hard drugs is that it leaves the system slower, so withdrawal isn’t as drastic and physical addiction isn’t as noticeable.

5. Marijuana use—even in moderate usage—has deleterious effects on the brain

Marijuana has been demonstrated to impede brain function—even in casual use. In a recent journal article from the Journal of Neuroscience (2014), a number of researchers (from Harvard Medical, Northwestern University, and Massachusetts General Hospital) contend that even occasional pot use has deleterious effects on the brain. In testing students from 18-25 years old, researchers found that even weekly pot use showed brain abnormalities:

The present study demonstrates that, even in young, nondependent marijuana users, morphometric abnormalities relative to nonusers are observable, many of which are exposure dependent. These observations also demonstrate that fundamental relationships observed in covariance analyses among structural measures of controls are absent in marijuana users, suggesting that marijuana use may be associated with a disruption of neural organization in the a priori regions of the nucleus accumbens and amygdala.[14]

The present study did not find any differences in amygdala volumes between marijuana users and control participants, but did find that surfaces of the right amygdala were deformed inwards and this diminishment was highly correlated with drug use behavior.[15]

This study demonstrates that different aspects of brain morphology may be affected by cannabis. In this study, shape—and voxel—based morphometry measures of subcortical regions were consistently affected in an exposure-dependent manner by cannabis, whereas volume was less affected.[16]

The multimodal convergence of these findings also points to the salience of structural differences in the brain related to drug exposure and strongly argues that human addiction research, if not all psychiatric study, must move past a predominant focus on neurotransmission.[17]

The results of this study indicate that in young, recreational marijuana users, structural abnormalities in gray matter density, volume, and shape of the nucleus accumbens and amygdala can be observed… These results extend prior studies showing that drugs of abuse that are known to elevate DA release are associated with structural abnormalities in the brain and related disruptions in behavior (Makris et al., 2004; Makris et al., 2008).[18]

The nucleus accumbens and hypothalamus are portions of the brain closely associated with emotion and motivation. The volume, shape, and density of the grey matter was different in the casual pot smokers (Gray matter is the place where most cells in the brain are located). These areas of the brain were proportionally affected by the amount of pot that the subject smoked. One of the researchers, Hans Breiter (professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Northwestern) states, “This study raises a strong challenge to the idea that casual marijuana use isn’t associated with bad consequences… Some of these people only used marijuana to get high once or twice a week. People think a little recreational use shouldn’t cause a problem, if someone is doing OK with work or school. Our data directly says this is not the case.”[19]

A less probable—though still significant—effect of marijuana use is its connection with later psychotic disorders. Joseph Pierre (MD) writes, “In the past 15 years, new evidence has emerged from 7 [longitudinal] studies that cumulatively provide strong support for an association between cannabis use as an adolescent or young adult and a greater risk for developing a psychotic disorder such as schizophrenia… Three meta-analyses of these and other studies concluded an increased risk of psychosis is associated with cannabis use, with an odds ratio of 1.4 to 2.9 (meaning the risk of developing psychosis with an history of cannabis use is up 3-fold higher compared with those who did not use cannabis)… 1 study found an odds ratio of 7 for psychosis among daily cannabis users.”[20] He is reluctant to call this a causal link, but calls it a “component cause.”[21] In other words, after controlling for other possible causes, the researchers found that this was an unusually high correlation. Mary Brett (UK spokesperson for EURAD) writes, “People who smoke skunk, the extra strong cannabis grown in hothouse conditions, are 18 times more likely to develop psychosis that those who take the milder forms such as hash (cannabis resin).”[22] Wayne Hall and Louisa Degenhardt write, “If we had similar evidence of an association between using a pharmaceutical drug and an adverse effect, the drug would either be withdrawn from the market or would only be prescribed with clear warnings about the risk to patients and prescribers.”[23]

6. Marijuana affects memory loss, verbal skills, and attention deficit

Memory, verbal skills, and our ability to pay attention to a book or a person are all integral in Christian work. However, marijuana use seriously affects all three. Messinis (et al.) state, “[Long-term] users performed significantly worse on verbal memory and psychomotor speed. [Long-term] and [short-term] users had a higher proportion of deficits on verbal fluency, verbal memory, attention, and psychomotor speed. Specific cognitive domains appear to deteriorate with increasing years of heavy frequent cannabis use.”[24] In a later interview, Messinis (Department of Neurology of the University Hospital of Patras) said, “We found that the longer people used marijuana, the more deterioration they had in these cognitive abilities, especially in the ability to learn and remember new information… In several areas, their abilities were significant enough to be considered impaired, with more impairment in the longer-term users than the shorter-term users.”

7. Marijuana has serious effects on driving

Regarding “Principles of Responsible Cannabis Use,” even the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) write, “The responsible cannabis consumer [should] not operate a motor vehicle or other dangerous machinery while impaired by cannabis, nor (like other responsible citizens) while impaired by any other substance or condition, including some medicines and fatigue.” Even Switzerland (where marijuana has been largely decriminalized) has a zero tolerance policy on having marijuana in your system while driving.[25]

This is, no doubt, due to the fact that marijuana has serious effects on us as drivers. Richard Schwartz M.D. writes, “There is incontrovertible evidence that intoxication from marijuana impairs driving skills under controlled conditions… Marijuana use alone caused reaction time to increase 36% above that of an unimpaired driver, which translated to an additional 139 feet more at a speed of 59 mph.”[26]

If marijuana disqualifies us from doing something as simple as driving a car, then how can we be fit to do something as complex as doing Christian work? Marijuana users often argue that after a while, they are able to drive a car with no problem. But alcoholics make similar arguments. As our tolerance builds up for any drug, it’s remarkable what we are capable of functioning through.

The Biblical Case Against Marijuana Use

Now that we have understood the function and effects of marijuana, let’s consider this through the lens of biblical teaching on the topic.

The Bible never mentions marijuana directly. However, it does not follow that marijuana use is permitted in Scripture, simply because it is never mentioned. The Bible never mentions crack cocaine use either, but we can infer that such a practice is immoral. Moreover, the Bible says, “Do not get drunk with wine” (Eph. 5:18). Could we say that it is permissible to get drunk from Jim Beam or Mad-Dog 20/20? Such a legalistic interpretation is obviously absurd. As a matter of fact, the Bible doesn’t mention a number of immoral activities that are still wrong.

The Bible never speaks FOR drug use

A famous bumper sticker reads, “Man made beer. God made weed. Who do you trust?” Advocates of drug use often argue that “everything created by God is good” and “nothing is to be rejected if it is received with gratitude” (1 Tim. 4:4; c.f. Gen. 1:29). Since God created marijuana and hallucinogenic mushrooms, some argue that it would be wrong to reject God’s glorious creation. However, there are two major problems with this interpretation:

First, this interpretation doesn’t fit the context. In context, Paul is arguing against those who forbid marriage and certain foods (1 Tim. 4:3). He is not referring to those who forbid drug use! Likewise, Genesis 1:29 refers the consumption of plants for “food.” Of course, no one eats marijuana brownies for the taste—but for the psychoactive effects. (No one includes marijuana into their chocolate brownies because of the flavor!) Moreover, Genesis 1:29 refers to before the Fall—not after. Humans had free reign before the Fall with the exception of openly rebelling against God (Gen. 2:16-17), but the same is not true today. For instance, humans before the Fall were able to walk around naked (Gen. 2:25), but this is obviously prohibited today.

Second, while God’s creation is good, the use of his creation is not always good. For example, animals were created by God, and they are good. However, God didn’t create animals with the intention that they would become sex objects (Ex. 22:19; Lev. 18:23; 20:15). Imagine if someone said, “Everything created by God is good. Therefore, I’m going to go have sex with my farm animals.” This would be a misuse of God’s good creation! In the same way, God created poison berries, poison ivy, crownvetch, nightshade, poinsettia, and hemlock. However, these should not be used for eating, but instead for other purposes. Likewise, by smoking marijuana, we are misusing God’s good creation.

The Bible speaks AGAINST drunkenness and FOR sobriety

While the Bible never speaks for drug use, we are not merely making an argument from silence. Instead, the Bible strong commands against drunkenness and for sobriety.

Paul speaks in the harshest terms about “drunkards” (1 Cor. 5:11; 6:10). He includes “drunkards” in the context of those who can be considered for church discipline. This emphatic language alerts us to the fact that drunkenness is a serious sin—not just a minor ethical issue.

Additionally, the Bible explicitly speaks about being sober-minded. In 1 Peter 5:8, we read, “Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” All of us are in a serious spiritual battle. When we get high, we open ourselves up to further spiritual deception and attack. We need to be sharp and alert to battle with our enemy: Satan.

The Greek word for “sober” is nēphō. Throughout the NT, this word is used in the context of being “alert and sober” (1 Thess. 5:6), being “sober in all things” (2 Tim. 4:5), and having “sound judgment and sober spirit” (1 Pet. 4:7). It is no wonder that pot smokers (like others dependent on drugs) are often self-deceived about the seriousness of pot use. Like a person with spinach in their teeth, they are often the last person to know that they have a problem.

Finally, drunkenness is placed in contrast to being filled with the Holy Spirit. Paul writes, “Do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit” (Eph. 5:18). In other words, the reason why drunkenness is wrong for the fact that it is mutually exclusive with getting the joy of the Lord. When we are not sober, we are not allowing God to fill us with his Spirit and the joy that comes with it (Eph. 5:19). Moreover, Paul tells us to “pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another” (Rom. 14:19).

Isn’t marijuana safer for us than alcohol?

It depends what we mean when we ask this question. In one sense it is, but in another, it isn’t.

In large quantities, marijuana is better for you than alcohol. That is, honestly, I’d rather be a pothead than an alcoholic. Marijuana is (1) nearly impossible to overdose on it, (2) less addictive than alcohol, (3) far easier to withdraw from, and (4) associated with less aggressive behavior. Caulkins (et al.) admit, “Marijuana posed less addictive risk than tobacco, alcohol, cocaine, stimulants, or heroin, not only in terms of likelihood of dependence but also the degree of dependence, which they characterize as ‘weak.’”[27]

However, in small quantities, marijuana is worse for the believer than alcohol. As we have said, marijuana—even in small quantities—disrupts brain function to a detrimental degree.

It’s possible to have a drink without getting drunk, but it’s not possible to smoke a joint without getting high. Some have argued that taking a puff from a joint doesn’t get them high—only “buzzed.” But we need to remember that this is only because they have abused the drug for so long. Should we allow people to abuse the drug, building up a tolerance, just so they can take a puff from a joint without serious consequences? Of course not! Instead, in these special situations, the person should try to get off their dependency and abuse of the drug.

Moreover, because marijuana is fat soluble, rather than water soluble, it stays in the brain, body, and blood for a longer amount of time. Thus even intermittent recreational use should be prohibited.

We might compare alcohol to fluoride, but marijuana to vomiting. In small quantities, fluoride is good for our dental health, but high concentrations can cause fluorosis or even death. By contrast, vomiting is never really good for your teeth, but over time, it will eventually destroy them. Yet at the same time, vomiting will never really kill you. Thus while fluoride and vomiting are both bad for you in large quantities, one is better than the other in small quantities.

What about the claim that marijuana is good because it is natural?

This claim makes the appeal to nature fallacy. This fallacy is committed when we claim that something is good just because it is natural. Clearly, this isn’t always the case. Poison berries are natural. Cancer is natural. Tornadoes are natural.

Pastoral Concerns

Many Christian leaders wonder how strong of a stance we should take against marijuana use. For instance, does this mean that non-Christians should be urged to quit marijuana use before coming to Christ?

Of course not! We need to remember the obvious: We come to Christ as we are! Christ will come into our lives and forgive us for whatever lifestyle we’re in. Most of the pastors and leaders in our church (including myself) came to Christ from the party lifestyle. Quitting drugs is not a condition for coming to Christ. Instead, however we come to Christ, he begins to transform us from the inside out.

We regularly see that believers who smoke pot start to feel the tension of this lifestyle. Over time, the Holy Spirit brings conviction, and God replaces our need to be high by elevating the rest of our lives. We find that following Christ is deeply enriching, joyful, and exciting. As we experience the goodness of God through discipleship and fellowship with him, we don’t feel the urge to smoke in the way that we did. Paul’s instruction to Timothy captures this process well: “Flee from youthful lusts and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart” (2 Tim. 2:22). Notice the combination here: resisting sin by replacing it with the love of God and Christian fellowship.

While patience and encouragement are in order for new believers, there reaches a point at which an unrepentant lifestyle of drug use should be met with the admonition and rebuke of the church. Just like the abuse of alcohol or any other substance, believers are called to sobriety. We are often disappointed with a hypocritical approach to drug use in churches today, where a pot-smoker is admonished while a drunkard is not. Both are wrong, and both can possibly be met with church discipline if a believer is unrepentant in light of 1 Corinthians 5:11.

What is the best way to approach a Christian who is a habitual pot-smoker?

Cover the relevant research on the topic. Many have been inculcated to believe what they’ve read about marijuana from High Times or the Huffington Post. We need to remember that most people have not really researched this and are ignorant on what the research actually states.

Make conservative claims. Like any other area of apologetics, we do not want to over exaggerate the detriments of pot use. When people sense that we are exaggerating the data for effect, they become cynical of our other claims.

Depend on the work of the Holy Spirit who will surely convict the person. After meeting Christ, the Holy Spirit irritates us when we get into sin. Sin lacks the luster that it used to. A friend of mine recently told a believer, “The next time you get high, ask God if this is what he really wants for you.” His friend came back to him the next week, saying, “I hate that you said that… I smoked weed this last week, and God was convicting me on this issue!” Remember that our role is to speak the truth to others, but God’s role is to bring the conviction to change.

Emphasize Satan’s role in deceiving us. One of the major reasons for being sober is the fact that Satan can deceive us when we are high. It’s important to ask our friend, “How would you know that you’re not deceived on this issue?”

Discern false beliefs about smoking marijuana. For some, marijuana has been the self-prescribed “medicine” that they have been using to abate anxiety, depression, or stress. Very often, they do not realize that Christ wants to be the One to battle these problems for them. Paul writes, “Do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit” (Eph. 5:18). Too many people focus on the first part of this passage without spending much time on the second. When we’re filled with the Holy Spirit, we don’t feel the need to turn to booze, drugs, or anything else. In fact, this gives us the stimulation of the soul to “sing and make melody in our heart” (v.19). We need to remember that God wants to replace this substance with something even better for us: his Spirit.

What about medicinal marijuana?

My friend and colleague Jim Leffel has written on this topic (see “What about Medicinal Marijuana?”).

Further Reading

Brett, Mary. “Ten Key Facts that Teachers Need to Know about Cannabis” Education and Health. 26:3 (2008).

Caulkins, Jonathan P., Angela Hawken, Beau Kilmer, and Mark Kleiman. Marijuana Legalization: What Everyone Needs to Know. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2012.

Gilman, Jodi M. John K. Kuster, Sang Lee, Myung Joo Lee, Byoung Woo Kim, Nikos Makris, Andre van der Kouwe, Anne J. Blood, and Hans C. Breiter. “Cannabis Use Is Quantitatively Associated with Nucleus Accumbens and Amygdala Abnormalities in Young Adult Recreational Users.” Journal of Neuroscience. 34:16 (April, 2014).

Messinis, Lambros. A Kyprianidou. S Malefaki. Papathanasopoulos. “Neuropsychological Deficits in Long-term Frequent Cannabis Users” Neurology. 66:5 (March 2006).

Solowij, Nadia (et al.) Cognitive Functioning of Long-term Heavy Cannabis Users Seeking Treatment” JAMA. 287:9 (March, 2013).

[1] Caulkins, Jonathan P., Angela Hawken, Beau Kilmer, and Mark Kleiman. Marijuana Legalization: What Everyone Needs to Know. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2012. 6.

[2] Caulkins, Jonathan P., Angela Hawken, Beau Kilmer, and Mark Kleiman. Marijuana Legalization: What Everyone Needs to Know. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2012. 8.

[3] Caulkins, Jonathan P., Angela Hawken, Beau Kilmer, and Mark Kleiman. Marijuana Legalization: What Everyone Needs to Know. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2012. 7.

[4] Brett, Mary. “Ten Key Facts that Teachers Need to Know about Cannabis” Education and Health. 26:3 (2008) 47.

[5] Pacula, Rosalie, Beau Kilmer, Alexander Wagenaar, Frank Chaloupka, and Jonathan Caulkins. “Developing Public Health Regulations for Marijuana: Lessons From Alcohol and Tobacco.” American Journal of Public Health 104.6 (June 2014): 1025.

[6] Battistella, Giovanni. Eleonora Fornari1, Aurelien Thomas, Jean-Frederic Mall, Haithem Chtioui, Monique Appenzeller, Jean-Marie Annoni, Bernard Favrat, Philippe Maeder., Christian Giroud. “Weed or Wheel! fMRI, Behavioural, and Toxicological Investigations of How Cannabis Smoking Affects Skills Necessary for Driving” PLOS One 8:1 (January 2013): 1.

[7] Grotenhermen F, Leson G, Berghaus G, et al. “Developing Limits for Driving under Cannabis.” Addiction. 102:12 (2007) 1910-1917.

[8] Emphasis mine. Battistella, Giovanni. Eleonora Fornari1, Aurelien Thomas, Jean-Frederic Mall, Haithem Chtioui, Monique Appenzeller, Jean-Marie Annoni, Bernard Favrat, Philippe Maeder., Christian Giroud. “Weed or Wheel! fMRI, Behavioural, and Toxicological Investigations of How Cannabis Smoking Affects Skills Necessary for Driving” PLOS One 8:1 (January 2013): 10.

[9] Emphasis mine. Battistella, Giovanni. Eleonora Fornari1, Aurelien Thomas, Jean-Frederic Mall, Haithem Chtioui, Monique Appenzeller, Jean-Marie Annoni, Bernard Favrat, Philippe Maeder., Christian Giroud. “Weed or Wheel! fMRI, Behavioural, and Toxicological Investigations of How Cannabis Smoking Affects Skills Necessary for Driving” PLOS One 8:1 (January 2013): 13.

[10] National Institute on Drug Abuse. “Potency Monitoring Report.” Report 104. 2008-2009.

[11] Brett, Mary. “Ten Key Facts that Teachers Need to Know about Cannabis” Education and Health. 26:3 (2008) 47.

[12] Anandamine comes from the Sanskrit word “ananda” which means “joy” or “bliss.”

[13] Brett, Mary. “Ten Key Facts that Teachers Need to Know about Cannabis” Education and Health. 26:3 (2008) 47.

[14] Jodi M. Gilman, John K. Kuster, Sang Lee, Myung Joo Lee, Byoung Woo Kim, Nikos Makris, Andre van der Kouwe, Anne J. Blood, and Hans C. Breiter. “Cannabis Use Is Quantitatively Associated with Nucleus Accumbens and Amygdala Abnormalities in Young Adult Recreational Users.” Journal of Neuroscience. April 16, 2014. 34(16): 5534.

[15] Jodi M. Gilman, John K. Kuster, Sang Lee, Myung Joo Lee, Byoung Woo Kim, Nikos Makris, Andre van der Kouwe, Anne J. Blood, and Hans C. Breiter. “Cannabis Use Is Quantitatively Associated with Nucleus Accumbens and Amygdala Abnormalities in Young Adult Recreational Users.” Journal of Neuroscience. April 16, 2014. 34(16): 5536.

[16] Jodi M. Gilman, John K. Kuster, Sang Lee, Myung Joo Lee, Byoung Woo Kim, Nikos Makris, Andre van der Kouwe, Anne J. Blood, and Hans C. Breiter. “Cannabis Use Is Quantitatively Associated with Nucleus Accumbens and Amygdala Abnormalities in Young Adult Recreational Users.” Journal of Neuroscience. April 16, 2014. 34(16): 5535.

[17] Jodi M. Gilman, John K. Kuster, Sang Lee, Myung Joo Lee, Byoung Woo Kim, Nikos Makris, Andre van der Kouwe, Anne J. Blood, and Hans C. Breiter. “Cannabis Use Is Quantitatively Associated with Nucleus Accumbens and Amygdala Abnormalities in Young Adult Recreational Users.” Journal of Neuroscience. April 16, 2014. 34(16): 5537.

[18] Jodi M. Gilman, John K. Kuster, Sang Lee, Myung Joo Lee, Byoung Woo Kim, Nikos Makris, Andre van der Kouwe, Anne J. Blood, and Hans C. Breiter. “Cannabis Use Is Quantitatively Associated with Nucleus Accumbens and Amygdala Abnormalities in Young Adult Recreational Users.” Journal of Neuroscience. April 16, 2014. 34(16): 5537.

[19] “Casual Marijuana Use Linked to Brain Abnormalities in Students.” Science Newsline. Published April 15, 2014.

[20] Pierre, Joseph (MD). “Cannabis, synthetic cannabinoids, and psychosis risk: What the evidence says” Current Psychiatry. 10:9 (September 2011): 50.

[21] Pierre, Joseph (MD). “Cannabis, synthetic cannabinoids, and psychosis risk: What the evidence says” Current Psychiatry. 10:9 (September 2011): 51.

[22] Brett, Mary. “Ten Key Facts that Teachers Need to Know about Cannabis” Education and Health. 26:3 (2008) 48.

[23] Cited in Caulkins, Jonathan P., Angela Hawken, Beau Kilmer, and Mark Kleiman. Marijuana Legalization: What Everyone Needs to Know. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2012. 73.

[24] Messinis, Lambros. A Kyprianidou. S Malefaki. Papathanasopoulos. “Neuropsychological Deficits in Long-term Frequent Cannabis Users” Neurology. 66:5 (March 2006): 737.

[25] Battistella, Giovanni. Eleonora Fornari1, Aurelien Thomas, Jean-Frederic Mall, Haithem Chtioui, Monique Appenzeller, Jean-Marie Annoni, Bernard Favrat, Philippe Maeder., Christian Giroud. “Weed or Wheel! fMRI, Behavioural, and Toxicological Investigations of How Cannabis Smoking Affects Skills Necessary for Driving” PLOS One 8:1 (January 2013): 52546.

[26] Schwartz, Richard. “Marijuana: A Decade and a Half Later, Still a Crude Drug With Underappreciated Toxicity” Pediatrics. 109.2 (February 2002): 287.

[27] Caulkins, Jonathan P., Angela Hawken, Beau Kilmer, and Mark Kleiman. Marijuana Legalization: What Everyone Needs to Know. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2012. 59.