Speaking at the inauguration of the Adelson School of Medicine at Ariel University, Dr. Miriam Adelson, who specializes in treatment for drug addiction and abuse, took the opportunity to issue a warning on the dangers of cannabis, cautioning against legalization of the drug.

“Unfortunately, Western society is forgiving when it comes to the use of cannabis, often without this being a defined policy,” she said, adding that “while cannabis may help in coping with multiple sclerosis, epilepsy and more conditions, [the] research is in its infancy, and so is the research into whether such usage poses the risk of addiction.”

She stressed that “cannabis can be addictive,” saying “we must keep this in mind.”

Adelson said a lenient approach to the recreational use of cannabis is “very troubling,” further expressing the hope that recreational use of cannabis would not be legalized in Israel.

“Cannabis is a gateway drug for hard drugs. Normalizing cannabis in our society and letting normative adults use it freely would result in the drug trickling [down] fast to minors—a particularly vulnerable group because the human brain is only fully developed at the age of 21 or even 25,” she said.

Adelson went on to present studies showing that the IQs of children who had begun using cannabis was between six and eight points lower than that of those who had not.

“It is clear: This drug makes our teens, our future generations, less smart,” she said. “Israel has been blessed with human capital and amazing teenagers who have shown great talent in a variety of fields, with accomplishments on the world stage; we must not undermine this by legitimizing cannabis.”

Adelson was born in pre-state Israel during the British Mandate and grew up in Haifa.

She served in the IDF as a medical officer and completed a bachelor of science degree in microbiology and genetics at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem before pursuing her medical studies at Tel Aviv University’s Sackler Faculty of Medicine. She graduated with an M.D. magna cum laude.

Adelson specialized in internal and emergency medicine, serving as the head physician in each of these areas at the Rokach (Hadassah) Hospital in Tel Aviv.

Since 1986, she has been devoting her time to the research and treatment of drug abuse, as well to the biology of addiction, establishing drug clinics in Las Vegas and Tel Aviv.

In 1991, she married businessman and philanthropist Sheldon Adelson. Over the years, the two have contributed greatly to educational programs, as well as to Jewish organizations around the world.

The couple opened their first drug-abuse clinic in Tel Aviv in 1993. ‎Dr. Adelson helped develop a methadone program for teen ‎addicts and has co-authored numerous research papers on ‎methadone treatment‏.‏

This article first appeared in Israel Hayom.

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