Archive for June, 2009

The Effects of Marijuana

posted by Dr. James G. Hood
Sunday, June 14, 2009

Now that I-1068, an initiative to legalize marijuana in the state of Washington, will be on the ballot in November, it is important to take a look at the effects of marijuana on a person’s health so that you can choose wisely when you cast your vote. Here is a brief list of side effects.

Moods and Depression

  • A number of studies have shown an association between chronic marijuana use and increased rates of anxiety, depression, suicidal ideation, and schizophrenia (NIDA, 2009).

Memory, perception and problem solving

  • Heavy marijuana use impairs a person’s ability to form memories, recall events, and shift attention from one thing to another. It also disrupts coordination and balance by binding to receptors in the cerebellum and basal ganglia (NIDA, 2005).


  • With marijuana in the blood stream, the ability of the blood to carry oxygen is restricted. This means that vital oxygen is not flowing to the heart properly. This can lead to elevated heart rate and higher blood pressure. Continued use of marijuana can ultimately increase the chances of heart attack.
  • Marijuana contains 50-70% more carcinogenic hydrocarbons than tobacco smoke (NIDA, 2005).


  • Studies have shown that marijuana smokers have increased absences, accidents, higher worker compensation claims, and job turnovers (NIDA, 2009).
  • Students who smoke marijuana get lower grades and are less likely to graduate from high school, compared with their non-smoking peers, (NIDA, 2009)


  • The majority of youth admitted to DASA-funded treatment list marijuana as their primary drug of choice. (DSHS Trends Report, 2008).
  • “Cannabis withdrawal is caused by cessation of cannabis use that has been heavy and prolonged.  It results in clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning… (DSM-V draft, 2010)
  • Street Marijuana that is readily available in the 2000’s is 5-14 times stronger than the marijuana of the ‘60s and ‘70s. (Inaba and Cohen, 2004).

Compiled by staff of Spokane County Community Services, Housing and Community Development Department.


Did You Know That You Can Write Poetry

posted by Dr. James G. Hood
Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Honor Moore, an American writer who writes poetry, creative nonfiction and plays, shares tips on how to write poetry… Let’s say I’m sitting in that room with you now. Take out a pad and pen, your favorite pen—the one that just slides across the paper. Be sure you have an hour or so, so you can take your time with each prompt.

12 Ways to Write a Poem

  1. Make a list of five things you did today, in the order you did them.
  2. Quickly write down three colors.
  3. Write down a dream. If you can’t remember one, make it up.
  4. Take 15 minutes to write an early childhood memory, using language a child would use.
  5. Write a forbidden thought, to someone who would understand.
  6. Write a forbidden thought, to someone who would not.
  7. Make a list of five of your favorite “transitional objects.” Choose one and describe it in detail.
  8. Write down three questions you’d ask as if they were the last questions you could ever ask.
  9. Write down an aphorism (e.g. “A stitch in time saves nine”).
  10. Write down three slant rhymes, pairs of words that share one or two consonants rather than vowels (moon/mine and long/thing are slant rhymes).
  11. Write three things people have said to you in the past 48 hours. Quote them as closely as you can.
  12. Write the last extreme pain you had, emotional or physical. If the pain were an animal, what animal would it be? Describe the animal.


  • Use one of the questions as the first line, each of the colors more than once, the slant rhymes, and the aphorism with a word or two changed.
  • Try using any part of, or all of, the material in any way you want—a line from your dream might work well on its own or your description of the animal might better describe your great uncle.
  • Let the poem be between 20 and 30 lines; let each line be 10 or more syllables long. Think of the poem as a dream or a psalm you are inventing, and don’t force it. Write in your own speech, allowing its music and sense to speak through you.

No human experience is unique, but each of us has a way of putting language together that is ours alone.

From the November 2001 issue of O, The Oprah Magazine