An eye-opening report from an award-winning author and former New York Times reporter reveals the link between teenage marijuana use and mental illness, and a hidden epidemic of violence caused by the drug—facts the media have ignored as the United States rushes to legalize cannabis.
Exclusive interview with author Alex Berenson on his book, Tell Your Children: The Truth About Marijuana, Mental Illness, and Violence
Recreational marijuana is now legal in nine states. Almost all Americans believe the drug should be legal for medical use. Advocates argue cannabis can help everyone from veterans to cancer sufferers. But legalization has been built on myths– that marijuana arrests fill prisons; that most doctors want to use cannabis as medicine; that it can somehow stem the opiate epidemic; that it is not just harmless but beneficial for mental health. In this meticulously reported book, Alex Berenson, a former New York Times reporter, explodes those myths:
• Almost no one is in prison for marijuana;
• A tiny fraction of doctors write most authorizations for medical marijuana, mostly for people who have already used;
• Marijuana use is linked to opiate and cocaine use. Since 2008, the US and Canada have seen soaring marijuana use and an opiate epidemic. Britain has falling marijuana use and no epidemic;
• Most of all, THC—the chemical in marijuana responsible for the drug’s high—can cause psychotic episodes. After decades of studies, scientists no longer seriously debate if marijuana causes psychosis.
Psychosis brings violence, and cannabis-linked violence is spreading. In the four states that first legalized, murders have risen 25 percent since legalization, even more than the recent national increase. In Uruguay, which allowed retail sales in July 2017, murders have soared this year.
Berenson’s reporting ranges from the London institute that is home to the scientists who helped prove the cannabis-psychosis link to the Colorado prison where a man now serves a thirty-year sentence after eating a THC-laced candy bar and killing his wife. He sticks to the facts, and they are devastating.
With the US already gripped by one drug epidemic, this book will make readers reconsider if marijuana use is worth the risk.
About Alex Berenson
Alex Berenson was born in New York in 1973 and grew up in Englewood, N.J. After graduating from Yale University in 1994 with degrees in history and economics, he joined the Denver Post as a reporter. In 1996, he became one of the first employees at TheStreet.com, the groundbreaking financial news Website.
In 1999, he joined The New York Times. At the Times, he covered everything from the drug industry to Hurricane Katrina; in 2003 and 2004, he served two stints as a correspondent in Iraq, an experience that led him to write The Faithful Spy, his debut novel, which won the Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America for Best First Novel. He left the Times in 2010 to devote himself to writing fiction. But conversations with his wife led him to begin researching the science around cannabis and mental illness, a project that became the book Tell Your Children, published in January 2019.
Berenson has now written twelve John Wells novels and two non-fiction books, The Number and Tell Your Children. Alex lives in the Hudson Valley with his wife, Dr. Jacqueline Berenson, a forensic psychiatrist, and their children.