Top Federal Drug Official Admits Legalizers Were ‘Right’ About Teen Marijuana Use And Touts Psychedelics’ Therapeutic Potential

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The head of a federal drug agency acknowledged in a new interview that marijuana legalization has not led to increased youth use despite her prior fears, and she spoke about the therapeutic potential of certain psychedelics that have long been deemed “dangerous” under federal law. National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) Director Nora Volkow discussed a wide range of drug policy issues on a podcast hosted by a longtime legalization advocate that was published on Thursday, including the need to shift from a punitive approach to drugs to one that treats addiction as a public health matter. Volkow said on Drug Policy Alliance founder Ethan Nadelmann’s show that she was “expecting the use of marijuana among adolescents would go up” when states moved to legalize cannabis, but admitted that “overall, it hasn’t.” It was reform advocates like Nadelmann who were “right” about the impact of the policy change on youth, she said. She also acknowledged that changes to cannabis laws are having a broader range of diverse impacts, saying that some “states that have legalized actually have better outcomes” while “the adverse effects of marijuana use are much worse in some states.” “Understanding what policies basically protect from negative effects and may actually lead to better outcomes is crucial,” Volkow, who has been in office since 2003, said. “And we’re funding it.” That said, the top drug official pointed out that current federal law creates significant research barriers. As she’s discussed at various congressional hearings, Volkow said the process for scientists to obtain cannabis for studies is “extraordinary cumbersome, and as a result of that, researchers don’t want to get into the field.” A main limitation of federally backed marijuana studies to date is that scientists have had to rely on cannabis grown at a single authorized facility at the…

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Source : Top Federal Drug Official Admits Legalizers Were ‘Right’ About Teen Marijuana Use And Touts Psychedelics’ Therapeutic Potential

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