As the Biden administration seeks to loosen federal restrictions on marijuana and culture continues to normalize its usage, one doctor is speaking up about the drug’s dire mental and physical effects.
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Dr. Raymond Wiggins, a Texas-based surgeon, pushed back on the normalization and recreational legalization of weed, offering a counternarrative to contemporary understanding at a time when 23 states and Washington, D.C., have now legalized the substance.
“Marijuana has so many physical and mental health issues,” Wiggins said on the weekend edition of Fox News’ “Fox & Friends.” “There’s increased anxiety, schizophrenia, depression, bipolar disorder, suicide.”
The physician said there was one recent study that found marijuana leads “to a two-and-a-half times risk of schizophrenia if we start using it before the age of 18.”
And Wiggins said those who use the drug 50 times or more before the age of 30 are at a six times higher risk of schizophrenia.
Beyond mental health risks of increased depressive ideation and suicidal thoughts, Wiggins said marijuana also comes with serious physical effects — consequences ignored in a culture bent on standardizing the drug’s usage.
“There’s a 4.8 times risk of a heart attack for the first hour after smoking marijuana,” he said. “And 1.7 times for two hours.”
Wiggins said one study even found a 63% risk in heart attack among 18 to 44-year-olds who smoke in the last 30 days. Beyond internal issues, external problems from users high on the drug must also be considered.
“We could be looking at a whole lot more deaths from automobile accidents,” Wiggins warned.
The physician is hardly alone in his critiques. As CBN News reported last year, British journal The Lancet published a 2022 research paper warning THC, a chemical in marijuana products, can create both dependence and psychosis.
“Overall, use of higher potency cannabis, relative to lower potency cannabis, was associated with an increased risk of psychosis and cannabis use disorder,” the paper stated. “Evidence varied for depression and anxiety.”
Read more about that study here.
Wiggins’ warnings come as the Biden administration’s Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is recommending the Drug Enforcement Administration move cannabis from Schedule I to Schedule III, thus loosening restrictions on the drug, Politico reported.
Moving it to this lower-risk tier under the Controlled Substances Act, under which there are five schedules (Schedule I, where marijuana is now, is the most restrictive), would reportedly mean less stringent restrictions on the drug.
In the end, the Drug Enforcement Administration would make the final decision after HHS’s recommendation.
Reclassifying could have sweeping repercussions, including inching the drug toward national legalization. Either way, it could be used more frequently in medical treatment, among other factors.
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