A new book is due out next month from one of the associate editors at the Washington Compost that, based on lavisciouly gushing advance reviews by people of whom we’ve never heard, apparently does a quite fine job romantically chronicling President Lame Duck’s strange, illusory, left-leaning life. In particular and by its timing it is clearly intended to be a counter to the rightful claims that Romney’s high school years pale in comparison to BO’s history of adolescent and young adult drug abuse, not to mention an attempt to recapture the fascination of the American people pre-election 2008. Because it so blatantly attempts to convince us that his high school “choom” daze (so severe that his yearbook entry includes a thanks to his drug dealer, not his mother or grandmother) really just makes him “cooler” than the rest of us, we thought it might be helpful to point out the realities of going through high school stoned.
There are many ways that psychoactive substances can alter or damage the development of the adolescent brain. Firstly, psychoactive substances often target and alter function of neurotransmitters, the chemical messengers that allow nerves to communicate at their junctions. Interference with neurotransmitters can directly damage fragile developing neural connections. Secondly, use of these substances alters perception and may interfere with the developing perceptual skills. And finally, the habits and choices associated with the use of drugs and alcohol slowly become ingrained in the wiring of the brain. Repeated action becomes habit and the habits of thought, perception, and reasoning developed in childhood and adolescence can stay with a person throughout his or her lifetime.
Perceptual changes caused by drugs can also have long-term complications for adolescent development, since adolescent perceptive abilities are not fully mature. For example, MRI studies show that adults tend to use the frontal lobes, or logical problem solving, to determine facial expressions while adolescents use the amygdala, an area which normally processes emotions such as fear and worry. It holds true in many studies that where adults use problem solving areas of the brain to perceive the world adolescents use the more primitive areas of the brain more associated with emotions, and self-preservation; it also holds true that adult perception is generally more accurate.
Marijuana, like all drugs, changes perception. And like most drugs, it engenders perception that is fearful, emotional, defensive, and often inaccurate. Though the short term addiction potential of marijuana may be less than other drugs, the long-term impact of chronic marijuana use can be profound. Determining the feelings and motives of other people is necessary to function as an adult in society. If marijuana use is chronic or constant enough to hinder perceptual maturation, an adolescent user may encounter misunderstood failures in school, work, and relationships, which in turn re-enforce the desire to retreat to drugs.
Adolescents and young adults who are heavy users of marijuana are more likely than non-users to have disrupted brain development…..researchers found abnormalities in areas of the brain that interconnect brain regions involved in memory, attention, decision-making, language and executive functioning skills. (Ashtari, Manzar Ph.D., Director of Diffusion Image Analysis and Brain Morphometry Laboratory in the Radiology Department of the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Journal reference Manzar Ashtari, Kelly Cervellione, John Cottone, Babk A. Ardekani, Sanjiv Kumra, Diffusion abnormalities in adolescents and young adults with a history of heavy cannabis use. Journal of Psychiatric Research, 2009; 43(3): 189-204 DOI: 10,1016/j.jpsychires.2008.12.002.)
This last little tidbit comes up in article after article; to be fair there appears to be a genetic component that is still being researched.
“We believe there is now enough evidence to inform people that using cannabis could increase their risk of developing a psychotic illness later in life.” (Moore et el. Lancet 370, 319-328, 2007; Nordentoft and Hjorthoj Lancet (307), 293 294, 2007)
The literature really isn’t any different for alcohol or the “blow” in which President Lame Duck also indulged. Combining them simply makes the problems bigger.
Rather explains a lot, doesn’t it? Not just about TOTUS’ behaviors and his mindset but that of all liberal progressives who spent too much time during their youth in drug-induced or drunken stupors. The numbers that show the drug use and abuse of recently-graduated and current high schoolers helps to explain their propensity to avoid what common sense (and the Constitution) calls “personal responsibility”, with all its negative implications.
It sure doesn’t make us feel safe knowing someone like this is supposed to answer the red phone in the middle of the night.