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Letter: On marijuana, time for common sense

Re “A serious risk to public health” (Monitor Forum, Nov. 20):

Tricia Lucas argues that marijuana causes addiction. Sorry, but there is no such thing as marijuana addiction, unlike alcohol, tobacco or an opiate such as morphine or heroin. Addiction is characterized by a physical dependence, complete with a set of symptoms that accompany withdrawal. Marijuana can produce a psychological dependence, not addiction.

One interesting fact is that opiate withdrawal, in and of itself, won’t cause death. High-dose alcoholic withdrawal, on the other hand, has a very good chance of killing the person going through it without medical intervention, as seizures and other very lethal reactions can occur. I’m glad that stuff is legal, huh?

Lucas also asserts that high THC content causes panic attacks. About the only panic attack you’ll ever experience with marijuana is when you just finish sharing a joint with friends in the park and the cops walk up to chat! The flawed study she may have seen failed to point out that the miniscule number of panic attack sufferers were already prone, with psych histories.

Rep. Steve Vaillancourt’s well written column, “It’s time to legalize marijuana” (Monitor Forum, Nov. 20) very much echoes my own feelings on the subject. I have been advocating marijuana legalization for 30 years. By the way, I’m a pharmacist. It’s about time for some common sense to prevail.

SHAWN McCORMICK

Pittsfield

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