Beware Advice About Cannabis from Addiction Specialists Like Dr. Joseph Haraszti

Addiction specialist Dr. Joseph Haraszti is quoted in this dubious article by Heath Newgen.

Who is Heather Newgen and why is she writing terrible things about marijuana?

I noticed her  Jan. 1 hit article at Eat This, Not That, titled, "What Smoking Marijuana Every Day Does to You." She followed up on Jan. 2 with "Sure Signs You Smoke Too Much Marijuana." 

The Eat This, Not That website is an offshoot of David Zinczenko's book series of the same name. Zinczenko got his start with Men's Health. In 2013, he worked at American Media, home of National Enquirer. Perhaps this explains the tone of Newgen's recent articles. 

Newgen's LinkedIn profile says she also currently writes for the Filipino publication NewsBreak and the Voluntourist. She apparently has no backgpround in science reporting, yet Newgins keep filing these negative cannabis stories. 

Newgen quotes Dr. Joseph Haraszti, described as "a world-renowned Psychiatrist and Addictionlogist in Pasadena, CA," throughout the first article.

We asked our favorite cannabis expert Dr. Mary Clifton for her comments.


Point 1: Addiction

Haraszti: "With people who use it daily, they can experience irritability, a tremendous craving, trouble thinking, trouble with their memory and so on."

Clifton: "Marijuana may be addictive, but if it is, it's considerably less addictive than many other 'street drugs' and prescription therapies. People more often benefit from its use to manage addiction."


Point 2: Hard to Treat

Haraszti: "It's an extremely addictive substance and the detox for marijuana is very difficult. We don't have any specific substance to combat or aid in the detox for marijuana."

Clifton: "Many people benefit from the use of safe available marijuana to help them detox from extremely addictive substances, and cessation of marijuana is generally not required due to its low risk of side effects."


Point 3: Overdosing

Haraszti: "There have been some reported deaths of people who were vaping with marijuana. It has not been proven that it was definitely caused by marijuana, but there certainly is an association between these deaths and vaping with high concentrations of marijuana."

Clifton: "Overdose due to marijuana has never been documented as a cause of death in the history of medicine."


Point 4: Adolescence

Haraszti: "Marijuana can lower your IQ by 8-10 points if you use it daily and you use it during your  adolescence."

Clifton: "Pregnant women, breast-feeding women and adolescents should avoid cannabis, but in certain cases such as seizure or cancer, the risks of other treatments may outweigh the risks of cannabis for the developing brain."

Point 5: Psychosis

Haraszti: "Marijuana can trigger psychosis in someone who is susceptible."

Clifton: "Many different substances can trigger psychosis in predisposed people, including alcohol and heroin."

Dr. Mary Clifton: "Overdose due to marijuana has never been documented as a cause of death in the history of medicine."


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Steve Bloom

Steve Bloom

Publisher of, former editor of High Times and Freedom Leaf and co-author of Pot Culture and Reefer Movie Madness.