"Recreational Marijuana" Is a Myth, Says Doctor

Psychiatrist Asserts Marijuana Is a 1st Step to Other Drugs

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ROME, JUNE 17, 2007 (Zenit.org).- There is not a single scientific report that has proven that the recreational use of marijuana offers any benefits, says an expert in systemic-relational psychotherapy.



Italy was recently shocked by the death of a 15-year-old who died in the hallways of his Milan school after smoking marijuana. So ZENIT spoke with Doctor Maria Del Poggetto about the debate over legalizing the drug.

Del Poggetto explained that while it is clear "that marijuana serves as an 'entry door' for the use of other drugs, we also know that the use of marijuana, especially during adolescence, contributes to the development of schizophrenic disorders."

Del Poggetto lamented "having heard by chance on the radio a colleague who, instead of identifying the use of marijuana as both the origin and product of behavioral problems, declared that youth need to be taught 'where, when and why' to consume marijuana, as if there were 'a where' and 'a when' in which it is beneficial to get high."

She added: "The medical profession is progressively increasing people's awareness of the dangers caused by the use of marijuana.

"It is no coincidence that the American Academy of Pediatrics, aware of these harmful effects, has published an article titled, very poignantly: 'The Use of Marijuana: Why Legalization Is Not a Good Idea.'"

"Sadly," the psychiatrist said, "what we frequently see in family therapy is the result of an educational attitude adopted by parents, usually unconsciously, characterized by a friendly" approach to their children and drug use.

"Such an attitude, though it has some positive elements, frequently ends in the parents expecting a level of responsibility and maturity for which their children are not ready," Del Poggetto warned. The "young people have not yet received ethical maps capable of offering them the proper guidance."

For parents, "it is not a matter of assuming an authoritarian role," she explained, "but of recovering a dimension of authority."

"If certain myths are not abandoned," about marijuana use, Del Poggetto maintained, "we will be responsible for entire burnt-out generations."