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Biden Admin to Make It Easier to Access Marijuana, Experts Warn It's Anything but Benign

Marijuana Plant
Marijuana Plant

The Biden administration is proposing one of the most significant changes to drug policy in decades.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration is seeking to reclassify marijuana as a less dangerous drug.

If approved, the proposal will move marijuana from a class including heroin, ecstasy, and LSD, to one that carries less risk for addiction.

The change, which must be approved by the White House Office of Management and Budget, would not legalize marijuana but would make it easier to prescribe for medical use.

Despite 63% of voters saying they favor legalizing recreational use of marijuana nationwide, opponents including several former top DEA officials who say the potency of today's marijuana can have dangerous side effects, including psychosis and anxiety disorder.

"This is a political act - it's not following the science," said former DEA Administrator Tim Shea. "It's politics in election year. It's like forgiving student loans. It's aimed at a select group of people and the impact is going to be bad."

"Law enforcement can't believe it's happening," Shea added. 

As CBN News has reported, THC-related emergency room visits are on the rise, especially where the products are more widely available.

Patients who ingest high levels of THC can also experience severe vomiting, heart and lung complications, sexual dysfunction, and stomach paralysis. 

Former marijuana addict Zach Plant told CBN News the drug almost took his life.

"I had thoughts of other people wanting to hurt me, thoughts of the only way of being safe was to end my own life," he said.

Zach was admitted to the hospital and was diagnosed with Cannabis-Induced Psychosis. Symptoms include losing touch with reality, hallucinations, delusions, and paranoia. Zach recalled the stark warning doctors gave him.

"'If you smoke marijuana again, there's a chance you don't come out of psychosis. You go back into it and your brain may never recover,'" Zach said.

Nora Volkow, M.D., Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, told CBN News these types of episodes are becoming more common as the modern versions of marijuana get stronger.

"The higher the dose of THC for example, the higher the likelihood that you will end up with a psychotic episode," she said. "And that will lead you to the emergency room department."

Kevin Sabet, Ph.D., the president and CEO of Smart Approaches to Marijuana, said the potency of the drug has morphed over time. 

"This is not your Woodstock weed; we're seeing products up to 99.9 percent pure THC," he told CBN News. "And if you smoked marijuana 20, 30 years ago, you wouldn't even recognize these products."   

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"It's coming in gummy bears, cookies, candies, lollipops," Sabet continued.

Laura Stack says marijuana stole the life of her son Johnny.  

He began using marijuana at age 14 when his home state of Colorado legalized its recreational use. 

"He took his own life when he was 19 years old, five years later, after he became psychotic, very delusional, and paranoid, and suspicious, from using the marijuana," she said. 

Laura didn't realize that most of today's marijuana contains at least 10 times the psychoactive compound THC than it did 20 years ago. 

"In my head, I said, 'It's just weed. I used it when I was a girl. I'm fine. It's no big deal,' and I was so wrong," she said. 

Dr. Raymond Wiggins, an oral surgeon and author of "Weeding Out the Lies About Marijuana," told CBN Digital despite its popularity the drug is anything but benign.

"If you want to talk about psychosis, for those who start using marijuana at a young age and who use it on a regular basis, there's a two and a half times risk of psychosis," Wiggins said. "One study … actually showed a six times risk for those who used it regularly."

With the mental health crisis on the rise among teens and young people, Wiggins finds the normalization of marijuana usage disturbing.

"Marijuana actually causes bipolar disorder," he said citing a recent study he found. "And the statistics are just incredible on that … and anyone who uses marijuana will have an increased risk of bipolar disorder, according to this study."

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