Harvard psychiatrist on David Brooks' pot column: "His ignorance about this subject is vast."

"[David Brooks'] ignorance about this subject is vast. I hope he’s on more solid ground with the other things he writes about in the New York Times," says Dr. Lester Grinspoon of NYT columnist David Brooks. Grinspoon is a Harvard psychiatrist and author of the 1971 book, Marihuana Reconsidered.

Joe Dolce interviewed the 85-year-old Harvard professor emeritus about David Brooks' widely-ridiculed NYT opinion piece in which Brooks wrote that he'd had fun smoking pot as a youth but believes other people should be punished for smoking pot.

Here's a snippet from the interview:

Dolce: He insists that young people who smoke “suffer IQ loss and perform worse on cognitive tests.”

Grinspoon: Both of those statements are absolute nonsense. I’d like to see the data he finds convincing. I’ve been reading it for a long time now, and I find no data for either contention. A lot of those cognitive studies were compromised.

Let me give you a little anecdote. Years ago I got a call from the editor of a journal called Depression who asked me to give my feedback on an article on cannabis being useful in treating depression. I explored it and it seemed to be true. By the time the article was published, I noticed a new paragraph at the end that said we want the readers to know that while the studies say that marijuana is useful in treating depression, we in no way support its use for depression or any other purpose. And I said, “Why in the world did you add this last paragraph?” The editor almost started crying. She said, “Dr. Grinspoon, our lab is supported by NIDA [National Institute on Drug Abuse] and if we don’t include that we jeopardize our funding.” You’ve got to be careful with a lot of that literature. They won’t publish anything positive about marijuana.

Another choice bit from this must-read interview:

Dolce: Tina Brown, former editor of The New Yorker and Vanity Fair tweeted this after Brooks’ column appeared: “Legal weed contributes to us being a fatter, dumber, sleepier nation, even less able to compete with the Chinese.” Will pot be our nation’s downfall?

Grinspoon: I’ll tell you, I was delighted when Tina Brown was no longer editor of The New Yorker. I think this is emblematic of her point of view and that helps me understand why I never fond of her magazine. Pot has been around for at least 10,000 years, and the Chinese used it as a medicine as long ago as 5,000 years, so it’s likely that it grew somewhere near there and that wasn’t a lazy society. Fortunately it now grows all over the world.

Dr. Lester Grinspoon on David Brooks’ “Weed: Been There, Done That”

Notable Replies

  1. If they publish the truth, people will find out it makes food taste better, music sound better, sex feel better, and generally makes your day a better day.

    That would undermine attempts to prevent people from using it. That is completely true.

  2. Ratel says:

    "[David Brooks'] ignorance about this subject is vast. I hope he’s on more solid ground with the other things he writes about in the New York Times," says Dr. Lester Grinspoon of NYT columnist David Brooks.

    There's a pointless caveat. Has there ever been any evidence that David Brooks knows anything?

  3. "I hope he’s on more solid ground with the other things he writes about in the New York Times"

    He's not.

  4. Ygret says:

    Well, it seems to me that the entire stable of NYT op-ed columnists is a bunch of idjits. Okay, Krugman is occasionally correct on his subject, when he's not carrying water for the Dems. But then you have Brooks, Friedman, Dowd and Douthat: The Four Horses-asses of the Apocalypse.

    As the US deteriorates into banana republic status its purveyors of conventional wisdom, epitomized by NYT op-ed columnists, become more and more unmoored, decadent and just plain stupid. Label them left, right or center, it doesn't matter.

    This Brooks piece is special though. Blatantly ignoring the experience of roughly 90% of the populace is de rigueur for the Times. But entirely ignoring the massive destructive force of "the war on drugs" on tens of millions of Americans and writing about marijuana as if the law exists to gently nudge us away from imbibing this drug is a new low.

  5. This is a conservative writer on...

    Stupidity.

    You would think there would be ONE FUCKING conservative writer who could put a thought between the upper case at the beginning and the period at the end of a sentence. But Victor David Hansen, you would be wrong. These people get actual money for insulting us with essays that would flunk them in high school English.

    One of those eternal mysteries.

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