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Researchers argue against President Obama’s marijuana statements

In a view that is diametrically opposed to President Obama’s recent statements that marijuana is no more harmful than alcohol, researchers at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital published new research in the Jan. 22, 201, edition of the journal Neuropsychopharmacology that indicates that adolescent exposure to tetrahydrocannabinol, the active component in marijuana, can produce genetic and behavioral changes in the next generation of offspring that have never been exposed to marijuana directly.

A medical marijuana advocate who goes by the name The Holy Hemptress holds a sign as she demonstrates outside of the W Hotel where President Barack Obama was holding a fundraiser on October 25, 2011, in San Francisco, California.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

The researchers conducted their tests on adolescent rats that had never been exposed to marijuana. The test animal’s parents had both been exposed to marijuana repeatedly at levels that are comparable to a human consuming one joint.

The scientists found that the adolescent rats that had never been exposed to marijuana had molecular changes in the most important excitatory pathway for neurotransmission in the brain. This physical alteration produced a higher level of habit formation, lower levels of goal-directed behavior, and higher levels of compulsive behavior.

This is the first experimental observation of the effects of using marijuana on offspring that have never been exposed to marijuana.

The researchers plan future studies to determine if the same effects can be seen in subsequent generations of rats that have never been exposed to marijuana.

Rats are used as test subjects because the chemistry of the rat brain is almost completely identical to that of humans.

One must ask oneself if the researchers are as politically or morally motivated in their findings as President Obama may have been in his recent speech.