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Letters to the Ledger

Published on November 29th, 2017 | by LedgerOnline


Marijuana does not enhance the Havdalah service

We are very troubled by your recent article “Making Havdalah the ‘High’ Point of the Week” (Nov. 24). The article is so uncritical, so one-sided, that it amounts to an advertisement for the marriage of Jewish rituals and marijuana.

Jewish observances are rich enough on their own that they do not require altered states of consciousness to be meaningful and appreciated. Marijuana, on the other hand, is not as beneficial as portrayed in the exaggerated claims made in the article.  While there may be a few benefits, many of the claims have not been validated. To make matters worse, marijuana is not harmless – it carries a substantial risk of developing a dependence that is hard to break. “Medical marijuana” is a clever concept that was used to sell legalization to cash-strapped state legislatures looking for ways to increase revenues.

Most important, in publishing this misguided article, the Ledger seems to be endorsing the use of marijuana as an enhancement, illusory as it is, to beautiful and poignant rituals that, on their own, have inspired Jews for millennia, without any need for spurious “enrichments.”


Renana Kadden

Ronald Kadden, PhD

West Hartford


Dr. Kadden is professor emeritus at the UConn School of Medicine, where he directed clinical and research programs focused in part on marijuana abuse and dependence.

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