Listen to presentation on dangers of drug

by: SUBMITTED PHOTO - The city of Madras passed a marijuana facilities moratorium April 22.The Madras City Council took final action to declare a one-year moratorium on medical marijuana facilities April 22, after a presentation on the dangers of marijuana by a team from BestCare Treatment Services.

Mandi Puckett and Cindy Brockett, certified prevention specialists, and Marie Watkins, who is working on her certification, addressed what they consider "significant misinformation" on the safety and uses of marijuana.

The first myth is that marijuana is natural, according to Puckett. "Natural marijuana is not what's grown today," she said, noting that over the past 30 years, the composition of marijuana has changed from a ratio of 1 percent THC — the chemical responsible for the "high" users experience — to 1 percent CBD — the beneficial component, up to as much as 37.2 percent THC and as low as 0.5 percent CBD.

"It's manmade, chemically and genetically modified, and has no seed," said Puckett.

As part of the Jefferson County Drug Task Force, they put together a program consisting of 16 educational marijuana ads, which has received national attention.

Among the findings in their research, they reported that most 11th-grade and eight-grade students in Oregon do not use marijuana, which "impairs coordination, balance, perception, motivation, memory, and judgment. It also slows reaction time and increases the risk of injuries in activities and sports."

Comparing it to tobacco, Puckett said that marijuana has over 400 chemicals, including THC, while tobacco has about 200, including nicotine. Marijuana has 50-75 percent more carcinogens than tobacco, which leaves daily users at more risk of emphysema.

"Marijuana is the most commonly identified substance in fatal car crashes," she said, pointing out that smoked marijuana is harmful to health and not an approved medicine.

New research shows "a permanent drop in IQ when marijuana is used regularly before age 18," Puckett said.

Additionally, she said that about 68 percent of medically necessary drug treatment admissions for youths from ages 12-17 are for marijuana.

"It's addictive," she said. "The facts are, about one out of 11 (marijuana users) become addicted, and one out of six if they try the drug before age 18."

Brockett said that a recent study by Northwestern University analyzed 20 marijuana smokers and 20 nonsmokers and found significant brain abnormalities in shape, volume and density.

In Oregon, Watkins said there have been 59,183 medical marijuana cards issued. "Cardholders don't have to be an Oregon resident," she said.

The City Council, which had preliminarily passed the moratorium on April 8, unanimously passed the moratorium without further discussion.

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