In a recently-released YouTube clip, Dr. Phil McGraw made some claims about the dangers of marijuana, in response to the case of allegedly violent 11-year-old named J.J. who smoked weed. Vice has taken on the MD's Mary Jane allegations and debunked them, one by one.
McGraw claimed that smoking weed has a negative effect on a young brain, similar to pouring water damaging a computer's internal system.
Journalist Manisha Krishnan spoke to David Juurlink, head of clinical pharmacology and toxicology at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Center. Juurlink stated that "it’s ludicrous to equate smoking cannabis with pouring water on a computer."
Maybe Dr. Phil should redirect hyperbole to alcohol, tobacco, opioids, and benzos, all of which are considerably more harmful, as is exploiting your troubled preteen on national television.
Dr. Michael Verbora is works with Aleafia Total Health Network, a group that helps Canadians get access medical cannabis. Verbora noted that pointing the finger solely at cannabis might be mistaken:
He said small pockets of youth who use cannabis frequently, come from a lower socio-economic background, and have a family history of mental illness are at higher risk of things like disassociation and hallucinations. There are also potential links between cannabis use and schizophrenia for people with a family history
McGraw alleged that IQ and motivation will drop with marijuana use. Verbora cited three studies debunking this claim. McGraw also implied violence and cannabis use might be linked for J.J.
University of Calgary professor Rebecca Haines-Saah, a public health policy expert, expressed concerns about this seemingly monolithic opinion. Krishnan added:
Haines-Saah said it’s concerning that Dr. Phil is linking violence in teens to weed when there seems to be a lot more going on in JJ’s case.