Ask Dr. Mitch: Toker Truths

Potent Pot: Why Is Weed Getting Stronger?
Photo by Nico Escondido

Dr. Mitch Earleywine, the author of Understanding Marijuana and The Parents’ Guide to Marijuana, dishes on diabetes, how to legalize, pot use per capita and overdose deaths.

Can cannabis help diabetes?
— Larry K. Sweets

Hi Larry,
Eight studies have shown that regular users are less likely to have diabetes, but the link could be spurious. The association doesn’t mean that cannabis would actually help how we metabolize sugar. A munchie-induced muffin binge could be hellish on insulin levels. However, we do know that cannabis can help with the neuropathic pain often associated with diabetes.

What might convince prohibitionists that we can handle a legal market?
— Lance Persuader

Hello Lance,
Although my free-market libertarian pals will scream, we could promise to keep pot advertisements limited, ensure that only adults get access, and keep prices below the underground market’s cost. If parents don’t have to worry about their kids seeing ads for “DABS” at the corner store or tricking a dispensary owner with a fake ID, they’ll feel better about voting for tax-and-regulate. But if we don’t keep prices low, folks will stick with their unlicensed dealer. It doesn’t sound like perfect freedom, but it’s an approach with good chances.

Does Jamaica have the most tokers?
— Steve Miller

Hi Steve,
Countries with the highest total number of users are generally those with the most people. Identifying which country has the highest percentage of users can be more informative. Jamaica’s in the top 10, with about 10 percent of people using, according to United Nations data. But Iceland (18 percent), Zambia (18 percent) and the United States (15 percent) lead the world. Even Canada (12 percent) surpasses Jamaica in terms of pot use.

I heard that more people die from prescription meds than from weed. Is this a true fact, or just hippie propaganda?
— Curious George

Hi CG,
Never badmouth hippie propaganda! In 2103 (the latest data available), the U.S. government’s own Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported about 16,000 deaths from prescription-drug overdose and zero deaths from cannabis. The stats are buried on the CDC’s website.

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