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In “a brilliant antidote to all the…false narratives about pot” (American Thinker), an award-winning author and former New York Times reporter reveals the link between teenage marijuana use and mental illness, and a hidden epidemic of violence caused by the drug—facts the media have ignored as the United States rushes to legalize cannabis.
Recreational marijuana is now legal in nine states. Advocates argue cannabis can help everyone from veterans to cancer sufferers. But legalization has been built on myths—that marijuana arrests fill prisons; that most doctors want to use cannabis as medicine; that it can somehow stem the opiate epidemic; that it is beneficial for mental health. In this meticulously reported book, Alex Berenson, a former New York Times reporter, explodes those myths, explaining that almost no one is in prison for marijuana; a tiny fraction of doctors write most authorizations for medical marijuana, mostly for people who have already used; and marijuana use is linked to opiate and cocaine use. Most of all, THC—the chemical in marijuana responsible for the drug’s high—can cause psychotic episodes.
“Alex Berenson has a reporter’s tenacity, a novelist’s imagination, and an outsider’s knack for asking intemperate questions” (Malcolm Gladwell, The New Yorker), as he ranges from the London institute that is home to the scientists who helped prove the cannabis-psychosis link to the Colorado prison where a man now serves a thirty-year sentence after eating a THC-laced candy bar and killing his wife. He sticks to the facts, and they are devastating.
With the US already gripped by one drug epidemic, Tell Your Children is a “well-written treatise” (Publishers Weekly) that “takes a sledgehammer to the promised benefits of marijuana legalization, and cannabis enthusiasts are not going to like it one bit” (Mother Jones).
A novelist and former New York Times reporter, Berenson (The Deceivers) brings strong persuasive skills, acknowledgment his cause may be lost, and frustrated desperation to this antimarijuana manifesto. Berenson compiles the strongest research he can find, including repurposed analysis of studies focused on related topics, international studies, sensational true-crime narratives, government data, and discussions with primary researchers, to make the case that marijuana is dangerous to the brain and associated with increased risks of developing schizophrenia or experiencing psychotic episodes. He argues that presentations of marijuana as a powerful medicine is misleading only the CBD component has been FDA approved as a seizure treatment and the evidence for effective use beyond mild pain relief is weak and sees the emphasis on medical use as paving the way for a business-centered legalization model in which high-THC products are king. Berenson also pushes back on the idea of legalization as a panacea for the opiate crisis or drug-linked crime, but primarily he aims to refute a widespread image of marijuana as an enjoyable, mellow, and harmless mild intoxicant. Those who favor legalization are likely to remain unmoved, but Berenson is certainly meticulous and coherent about making his case, and his well-written treatise never descends into Reefer Madness like hysteria.