Letter to the Editor: Second thoughts on pot


This is Part II, Second Thoughts on Pot, of three parts from Dr. Steward Reese’s report to The American Conservative.  It was quite long, so I took the liberty to break it into three parts. I hope that you can share this with the readers.

Part II:

The leading states for cannabis use according to major recent US surveys are Colorado, Alaska, Oregon, Maine, Vermont and Washington. Scarily Alaska comes at or near the top of the list for: Down’s syndrome, atrial septal defect (ASD), ventricular septal defect (VSD) a defect called Encephalocoele where babies are born with a big bubble blown out the back of their skull where the neck joins, no arms, no ears and gastroschisis which is where the bowels are hanging out.  Colorado leads or co-leads the charge on the three chromosomal trisomies trisomy 21, 18 and 13 and no ears (anotia).  The four states which lead the pack on Downs syndrome are all cannabis liberal states: Colorado, Alaska, Oregon and Massachusetts.

Downs syndrome, ASD and VSD are relatively common congenital defects.  Congenital defects as a whole affect around 3 percent of the community – unless you live in Colorado which up until September 2018 reported a major congenital abnormality rate four times higher than that at 12.6 percent.  One notes that after that the problem “went away” because the state then changed all of their official congenital anomaly figures for the past 15 years after attention was drawn to these facts internationally.

And one cannot attribute these severe changes in Colorado to the use of other drugs as the national survey showed that the use of most other drugs has actually fallen across this recent period. So it is obviously a cannabis signal.

This strong “red flag” warning signal for cannabis also shows up loud and clear in the US nation’s leading mental health survey where cannabis use grew most strongly across the nation in the 18-25 year age group, which was also the age group with by far the worse mental health, which was also declining most rapidly. This implies that the decline in both the US nation’s minds and their gene pool is occurring in close relationship to cannabis use both across the nation geographically, across time with temporal variability, and also within defined demographic groups.

Cannabis is known to damage the epigenome of the sperm in a way which affects brain heart and immune development and has also been traced in human foetal tissue from live born babies. This damage is presently believed to be inheritable for four generations or 100 years. Scientists are very concerned about this serious risk.  In one study over 6,000 sites of DNA methylation were affected and thus reprogrammed, and that is a substantial number compared to our around 25,000 genes.

And most worryingly it was recently reported from Ain in the east of France near the Swiss border that the incidence of babies born without arms is 58 times higher than the normal background. And the same thing was seen in the cattle in the area.  However this was not seen in nearby Switzerland where it is not permitted to add hemp to the food chain via stock feed. Cannabis has previously been linked with such defects in a major Hawaiian study of over 300,000 births published in 2007.

Most of the cannabis teratological literature is fairly conservative. The Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta Georgia have admitted in 2014 that cannabis is linked with four defects – no brain (anencephaly – babies die within an hour or two mostly), bowels hanging out (gastroschisis) diaphragmatic hernia and oesophageal atresia with or without tracheooesophageal fistula. The American Academy of pediatrics has issued a position statement in 2007 saying that both ventricular septal defect (holes in the heart) and Ebsteins anomaly (damaged tricuspid valve) are known to be linked with cannabis use.

And the three longitudinal studies of babies born after prenatal cannabis exposure presently being conducted in Pittsburgh, Ottawa and Netherlands, all very consistently find persistent and subtle brain damage of executive functioning to be major issues.  This finding in three nations is the most concerning and likely by far the most common of all.

Submitted by Terry Wiley, DC, IHS

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