Our colleague, Dr. Mourad Gabriel, is the subject of a recent feature article by bioGraphic, a part of the California Academy of Sciences. Dr. Gabriel is the executive director of the non-profit Integral Ecology Research Center (IERC), and is affiliated with the Wildlife Health Center at the University of California, Davis. He has been a leading voice in sounding the alarm over the environmental impacts of marijuana cultivation, and he actively assists law enforcement in studying and remediating illegal marijuana grow sites. This article provides a very good overview of the environmental harms of marijuana, and of Dr. Gabriel’s work.
One of the most recent trends in the world of marijuana is the use of THC concentrates, usually via a method called dabbing. This entails heating a small amount of concentrate, often on the tip of a nail, and inhaling the resulting vapor. Proponents favor this method because the concentrates can be up to 90% THC, producing very strong highs very quickly and using relatively little product.
But the flip side of that, particularly for inexperienced users, is the potential for very harmful side effects. THC, the chief psychoactive component in marijuana, can have detrimental effects on the brain, particularly the immature brains of adolescents. And in high enough doses it is possible to overdose on THC.
A recent news story discusses the suicide of Marc Bullard, whose depression is believed to be related to his use of THC concentrates. View the full story here, including an interview with marijuana researcher Dr. Kari Franson.
Andrew Zorn was a young man who experienced a downward progression in his mental health largely due to heavy marijuana use. His mother, Sally Schindel, now runs an organization of women whose children have been negatively affected by marijuana use. Their goal is to “make the public aware of marijuana harms by sharing the stories of how our youth are experiencing devastating mental (and physical) health effects from using marijuana.”