A review of "Tell Your Children: The Truth About Marijuana and Mental Illness"

Published Mar 15, 2019 01:01 p.m. ET

With legalization becoming more and more prominent everywhere, it simply makes sense that the world would see an influx of new educational content become available from reputable sources. What many who sought out such information came across is a book titled Tell Your Children: The Truth About Marijuana. Many information seeking parents have since read it, and some are saying that its contents aren’t quite what they had expected. The book officially released on January 8, 2019 and was published by the Free Press. Since then, its teachings have garnered massive amounts of news coverage and even a bit of a following. With those against the views displayed in the book raising some suspicions about the New York Times reporter himself, and the validity of the claims that have been made in his report.

About the writer

Alex Berenson is most famously known as a New York Times reporter who first got the job in 1999. His responsibility was to cover almost any kind of news from global disasters like Hurricane Katrina to the weather and topics related to the drug industry. He is a Yale University graduate who retired from the big city and moved to Hudson Valley with his family where he began to focus on his writing career. Most of Alex Berenson’s novels so far have been fiction with his most recent release marking his second nonfiction title.

What Alex Berenson’s book is about

The book which is marketed towards parents of underage children claims to reveal links between marijuana use in teens resulting in mental illness and what he calls “an epidemic of violence caused by the drug.” The chapters themselves all focus on refuting popular claims that have been made by the National Institute of Drug Abuse and other agencies that support the legalization of cannabis for both medicinal and recreational use. Some of the main points suggest that no one is filling jails because of marijuana, that most doctors are refusing to prescribe cannabis, and some go so far as to suggest that cannabis use can be linked to our current opioid epidemic. Perhaps the most terrifying of claims made by Alex Berenson implies that THC is responsible for long-term psychosis, psychotic episodes, and bouts of uncontrollable violence.

The truth

The truth about the top-selling book is astounding as many of the claims made in the novel are easily refutable with peer-reviewed studies that almost anyone can find using google. All 276 pages of the anti-drug rhetoric appear to be based on personal opinion rather than any sort of fact. To quickly break things down we will cover just a few of his most dangerous assertions alongside evidence to the contrary of what Alex Berenson claims.

No one is in prison for marijuana

There are still currently more than 15000 people in Canada alone that are now behind bars for crimes related to marijuana possession.


Doctors will not prescribe cannabis for medicinal use

The fact is that the majority of doctors support medical marijuana for therapeutic use. Any hesitation seen from physicians is due to lack of education on correct dosages and lack of knowledge surrounding cannabis strains individual benefits. There are also several different brands of THC pills that are quite commonly prescribed by doctors across the United States and Canada.

Cannabis use is linked to opiate use

There have been two studies done that appear to show the opposite is true. One found that regions with high numbers of prescriptions of marijuana showed a dramatic decrease in opioid prescriptions and use. The second found that areas with access to legal marijuana often had much lower rates of opioid prescriptions begin requested.

THC is linked to psychotic episodes, psychosis, and violence

While we do know that marijuana can induce a temporary state of psychosis in a user, there is absolutely no evidence to show that any of those adverse reactions will last beyond the effects of the THC wearing off. There is not a single study that has shown any increase in psychotic episodes or random acts of violence in users of THC. If anything, THC tends to have the opposite which is a calming or sleep-inducing effect.


The majority of Alex Berenson’s book is nothing more than anti-drug rhetoric that isn’t scientifically based or established. The lesson to take from this would be to always fact check before you believe something that’s been written by a person that you adore. Fame doesn’t always equate to honesty, and books like this belong in the dark ages of prohibition. Not in the new world of cannabis acceptance and education we are trying to bring forward.



Related posts