California became the latest state to legalize recreational weed on Tuesday, and of course, the folks at Fox News are certain that it spells doom for Californians. And in case you don’t want to take resident idiot Steve Doocy’s word for that, Fox brought in one of their “experts” to explain how legal marijuana signals the coming of the apocalypse — or something to that effect.
Dr. Marc Siegel, one of the people who Fox turns to when they want to spout some nonsense that their followers will eat up, joined the curvy couch crew of Fox and Friends on Wednesday morning. There he offered a mix of unsubstantiated claims and outright insanity about marijuana.
Siegel starts out by going right to the insurance industry’s favorite statistic about pot — fatal car accidents involving marijuana in Colorado have doubled since the state legalized its possession and use. He does temper that by saying that it doesn’t mean that pot is the cause. But, he adds, they’re finding twice as many people who die in auto accidents with weed in their system as was the case before legalization. Experts would call this a “well, duh” statistic. Something that is legal is more easily accessible and it stands to reason that more drivers would test positive for it. That still doesn’t mean it’s a culprit.
According to the Fox doctor, “It’s worse than alcohol in some ways. It stays in your system for days and days and days — THC — so it impairs judgment.” And for good measure, he adds, “It’s got to increase car accidents!”
Siegel again is sort of correct when he says that pot stays in your system for “days and days.” He seems to want Fox viewers to think you can hit a doobie and then float around high for days on end. But that’s not how it works.
THC, the active ingredient in weed, is fat soluble. And what shows up on most drug tests isn’t active THC, it is metabolites of the substance, which linger in the body long after any effects from getting high are gone. The THC itself actually exits the bloodstream in fairly short order. So, depending on the type of test used, you could hit a bong on Monday, be involved in a fatal accident on Saturday, and still test positive for marijuana use.
The good doctor can believe what he believes, but an actual medical study done by other doctors concluded that marijuana isn’t nearly as dangerous as alcohol for drivers. Those doctors concluded,
Detrimental effects of cannabis use vary in a dose-related fashion, and are more pronounced with highly automatic driving functions than with more complex tasks that require conscious control, whereas with alcohol produces an opposite pattern of impairment. Because of both this and an increased awareness that they are impaired, marijuana smokers tend to compensate effectively while driving by utilizing a variety of behavioral strategies.
Many doctors think marijuana is an appropriate solution for women with severe morning sickness, although the medical community is somewhat divided on the topic. But Siegel believes that expectant mothers with morning sickness shouldn’t use marijuana for their symptoms. He tells host Brian Kilmeade,
I’m worried about morning sickness, Brian. When you’re pregnant and you have morning sickness it can be a really awful symptom. But I always tell my pregnant patients, don’t take anything. Maybe some Mylanta. Not marijuana.
And of course, it wouldn’t be a right-wing discussion about marijuana without a mention that pot is a “gateway drug.” Host Ainsley Earhardt opines about marijuana users having to move on to harder drugs because they don’t get high enough from weed after having smoked it for a while. Siegel agrees and argues that going after weed is a great way to attack the opioid crisis. Never mind the fact that marijuana use for pain has been found to cut down on opioid abuse and subsequent deaths.
This is Fox News, where legal marijuana leads to dumber children, strung out pregnant women, and babies born as crackheads.
Here’s Dr. Siegel, blathering on about something he really knows nothing about: