Marijuana is not a source of aggression

Letter to the editor

Posted: Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Thanks so much for covering the governor's renewed efforts to overturn the court decision to allow adults to possess marijuana for personal use. There seems to be some confusion about marijuana's impact on aggression. I testified before the Senate Health, Education and Social Services Committee on this topic before. Laboratory studies reveal that normal people do not grow more aggressive after smoking marijuana, even if they are provoked.

One study actually showed that people who smoked marijuana were less aggressive than those who smoked a placebo. In contrast, alcohol, an American favorite, increases aggression quite reliably. In my laboratory, drunk people not only aggress against those who provoke them, they are hostile to innocent third parties who have done them no harm. Clearly, the drug that needs more control in Alaska and throughout the world is not marijuana.

Mitch Earleywine

State University of New York

Albany, N.Y.

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