The Best Damn
& Author 2
“When I was a kid I inhaled frequently.
That was the point”
President of the United States
LIABILITY & DISCLAIMER OF WARRANTY:
The Author makes no representations or warranties regarding the accuracy or completeness of the contents of this work. The advice, theories, and strategies listed in this book are of the Author(s) own opinion and may NOT be suitable for all situations. Any use of this information in violation of any federal, state or local law is prohibited. All trademarks, trade names, services marks and logos referenced herein belong to their respective companies.
“When you smoke the herb,
it reveals you to yourself”
Table of Contents
Introduction & Overview
Chapter 1: Death by Tobacco!
Chapter 2: Death by Alcohol!
Chapter 3: Death by Marijuana? Not possible.
Chapter 4: Side Effects of Ganja
Chapter 5: “Fear & Loathing of the US Government”
Chapter 6: History of Marijuana
Chapter 7: Ganja is our Friend
Chapter 8: …and so is Cousin Hemp
Myths & Facts
“I now have absolute proof that smoking even one marijuana cigarette is equal in brain damage to being on Bikini Island during an H-bomb blast”
Ronald Reagan, former US President
Introduction & Overview
In 2004 the United Nations published an interesting statistic. According to them, about 4% of the world’s adult population was engaged every year in a recreational pastime that was in most countries illegal.
That 4% equates to 162 million people.
And what were they doing that was deemed so inappropriate for today’s society?
Those who were engaging in this illicit pursuit of recreation, said the UN, numbered well over 22 million every day.
It is illegal to use the drug in many countries around the world. It has been outlawed in South Africa, Jamaica, Britain, Canada and here in the US.
But why is marijuana illegal in the US?
Why is one of the oldest, most verifiably harmless plants known to man continually vilified and demonized by our politicians and men in power?
Because the voice of Government says marijuana is a dangerous substance that harms its’ people. What do they base their reasoning on? Myths, and lies, and false information. What are they really afraid of?
Losing control of their people?
That’s why people take the drug in the first place: to free the mind or relax the body or alleviate pain and suffering, to make life easier and more pleasant.
Marijuana provides what the institutions of government can’t – a degree of happiness.
That is what government is scared of – losing its’ grip on its’ populace. It’s called repression.
That’s one theory. The other is that marijuana has been demonized because of the threat to big business. It does seem rather too much of a coincidence that The 1937 Marijuana Tax Act was introduced just at the time when the huge economic potential of the wonderfully fibrous hemp plant (marijuana’s cousin) was being developed.
Many think that it was the moneymen behind the country’s paper industry (namely Walter Randolph Hearst) brought pressure on the Federal Bureau of Narcotics to outlaw marijuana and ultimately hemp.
But that was over 80 years ago. Why is marijuana still demonized in the face of so much evidence as to the plant’s relative harmlessness?
Perhaps it is the moneymen in the tobacco and alcohol industries who are now the bearers of pressure on government legislation?
It makes sense. After all, the billionaires would be very upset if the government were to make drinking alcohol illegal or smoking tobacco illicit.
What? Ban cigarettes and alcohol? You must be mad you say.
But you would think that is what the government would do if they were really concerned with protecting its’ citizens from harm.
It is the stated goal that marijuana is a danger to the public because it leads to addiction to cocaine or heroin or other opiates and will ultimately, in the government’s eyes, lead to untold deaths or at least harm to those who use marijuana.
It is the only theory with which the government bases its’ argument to prevent the legalization of marijuana.
But this theory is quite plainly nonsense…for it is a plain fact that smoking tobacco, and drinking too much alcohol is the two biggest causes of death in the US.
If the government really wanted to safeguard the health of its’ citizens it would ban the sale of beer and wine, cigarettes and cigars.
The statistics speak for themselves:
• Deaths caused by alcohol poisoning each year: over 85,000
• Deaths caused by smoking tobacco each year: more than 443,000
• Deaths caused by marijuana each year: 0
That can’t be right? you say. But it’s true it’s not a spelling mistake. There has not been one recorded instance of a death being directly attributed to someone smoking marijuana.
The simple truth is –
Marijuana is a non-toxic substance,
it cannot cause death –
even by overdose
According to the eminent British medical journal, The Lancet:
“The smoking of cannabis, even long-term, is not harmful to health … It would be reasonable to judge cannabis as less of a threat … than alcohol or tobacco.” (Nov. 14th, 1998).
In the 1988 US Department of Justice, Drug Enforcement Administration, ‘In the Matter of Marijuana Rescheduling Petition’, it states:
“There is no record in the extensive medical literature describing a proven, documented cannabis-induced fatality.”
This is astonishing…but it’s an undisputed fact.
Even organizations such as the National Institute on Drug Abuse have had to concede that there is “no positive associations between marijuana use and lung, upper respiratory, or upper digestive tract cancers. Thus the link between marijuana smoking and these cancers remains unsubstantiated at this time.”
Nowhere on their website is there any mention of deaths caused by marijuana.
In this book we spell this out, we explode the myth, we bring forth the facts and reveal the truth, we hammer home the point…
Marijuana is far less dangerous than alcohol or tobacco
Marijuana should be legalized
The two most popular recreational drugs in the US are alcohol and tobacco. These two drugs can be readily bought in any high street store. They are deemed legal.
Marijuana is the third most popular recreational drug in the US and has been used by around 100 million of its’ people. Yet this drug has to be bought in secret, down a dark alley, or from a man who knows a man in a clandestine location.
In other words: this drug is illegal – even though it is actually, compared to a lot of things we consume, relatively harmless.
Compare it to aspirin for instance, a commonly used over-the-counter medicine: aspirin has been known to cause hundreds of deaths each year.
In efforts to determine how deadly marijuana could be researchers have conducted tests based on animal experiments.
When tests are carried out on lab monkeys something called an LD-50 rating is used to determine how much of a drug being tested would have to be administered to the animals to cause fifty percent of them to die through toxic poisoning.
The researchers were unable to deduce how much marijuana would be needed to kill the monkeys – because they found they would not be able to give the monkeys enough marijuana to kill them. According to statistics, it is estimated that the LD-50 contained in marijuana is between 1:20,000 – 1:40,000. In simple terms it means a human being smoking marijuana would have to inhale 20,000 to 40,000 times as much marijuana as is contained in just ONE single joint.
That is actually the equivalent of someone smoking a stack of marijuana weighing 1,500 pounds in about 15 minutes – only then might you die!
In the words of the DEA, “In practical terms, marijuana cannot induce a lethal response as a result of drug-related toxicity.”
Francis Young, the DEA’s Administrative Law Judge even concluded:
“In strict medical terms marijuana is far safer than many foods we commonly consume. For example, eating 10 raw potatoes can result in a toxic response. By comparison, it is physically impossible to eat enough marijuana to induce death. Marijuana in its natural form is one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man. By any measure of rational analysis marijuana can be safely used within the supervised routine of medical care.”
This coming from the Administrative Law Judge of the Drug Enforcement Administration!
“If you substitute marijuana for tobacco and alcohol, you’ll add eight to twenty-four years
to your life”
Deaths Caused by Smoking Tobacco
So, let’s examine the facts more closely. The recreational use of marijuana is currently prohibited in the United States because the lawmakers still deem the substance to be dangerous to its’ citizens.
So what about tobacco? That is safe, is it?
Plainly not. We all know the risks of smoking tobacco. It even tells you on the packet. But are the risks real? Of course they are.
Fact: Tobacco causes more deaths in the United States than any other substance.
Part of the work of The World Health Organization (WHO) is to study human behavior and trends. Human consumption is one of the areas it collects data on. The inhalation of tobacco smoke by humans has been the most extensively covered of all forms of consumption.
In a 2003 report by Emmanuel G. Guindon, and David Boisclair, it was estimated that by 2010 the smoking of tobacco by members of the world’s population would number 1.45 BILLION.
In its’ most recent report, WHO puts the figure of deaths caused by tobacco, in 2004, at 5.4 million across the globe and 100 million during the whole of the 20th century.
That’s a hell of a lot of people. What was that figure for deaths caused by marijuana? Oh yes, 0.
But back to tobacco.
It is estimated that male smokers lose an average of 13.2 years of life through smoking tobacco. Female smokers can expect to lose 14.5 years of their life through the inhalation of cigarette smoke. (European Heart Journal, 2003).
It is three times more likely that a smoker will die before a non-smoker before reaching their 60th or 70th birthday.
It has been calculated that a male smoker is 22.2% more likely to die from lung cancer before he has reached the age of 85 than a life-long non-smoker. For a female smoker the figure is 11.9% chance of death from lung cancer before reaching 85. The chances of a lifelong non-smoker dying from lung cancer is a paltry 1.1%. For a female it is 0.8%. (PubMed Central, 2008).
In the United States alone, at least 443,000 people die prematurely EACH YEAR because of smoking. (Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, 2008).
To put it more graphically, tobacco kills the equivalent of three jumbo jets full of people crashing every day, with no survivors, 365 days of the year (Peter Jennings, ABC), and continuing the analogy, the World Health Organization likened it to 1 jumbo jet per hour, 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year.
But however one cares to view the statistics – it’s a hell of a lot of people dying from otherwise preventable diseases, all because of smoking!
The inhalation of tobacco can cause any one or more of these illnesses in the smoker:
Cancer of the larynx
Cancer of the oral cavity
Cancer of the esophagus
Cancer of the stomach
Cancer of the bladder
Cancer of the pancreas
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (bronchitis)
There is also evidence linking smoking to an increased risk of contracting the following:
Cancer of the gall bladder
Cancer of the adrenal gland
Cancer of the small intestine
And let’s not leave cigars out of the equation. Cigar-smokers, who inhale deeply or only moderately, are still increasing the risk of premature death at the same level as cigarette smokers.
Smoking cigars is not a safe, cancer-free alternative to cigarette tobacco, as The National Institute of Health determined in 1998 when it advised, “Cigar smoking causes a variety of cancers including cancers of the oral cavity (lip, tongue, mouth, throat) esophagus, larynx and lung.”
And if you think smoking a pipe will let you off the hook, it won’t. Oral cancer awaits.
In cases involving periodontitis (or inflammation around the teeth), around a half have been attributed to the effects of smoking. It has been estimated that up to 90% of periodontitis patients who don’t receive normal treatment are smokers.
Those who smoke 20 cigarettes a day or more are two to four times more likely to catch an infectious disease such as tuberculosis. It has also been discovered that smokers lose considerably more bone height than nonsmokers.
But what is the worst illness you could expect to suffer from if you were a (heavy) marijuana smoker? A bit of bronchitis, which would of course clear up after a period of abstinence.
And of course you can add “passive smoking” to the list of deadly illnesses tobacco causes – for breathing in secondhand smoke can kill those who don’t actually smoke, mainly young children.
Dr. Isaac Adler, first put forward the strong suggestion of a link between smoking and lung cancer, in his 1912 book, “Primary Malignant Growth of the Lung and Bronchi.”
Dr. Adler’s findings came at a time when prior to World War 1, lung cancer was viewed as a rare disease which most physicians would probably never encounter among patients under their care in the whole of their careers in medicine.
Smoking became fashionable in the late 19th century with the invention of machinery that made possible the mass production of cigarettes at low cost. It wasn’t long before smoking became elegant among society men.
More evidence of the smoking-cancer link came in 1929 when Fritz Lickint of Germany published the results of his studies, which demonstrated that lung cancer sufferers were likely to be smokers.
To Lickint, his evidence explained the fact that men were found to have lung cancer four to five times more often than women, as women smoked much less.
From 1938 onwards, various studies were conducted leading to the 1950 announcement that, “smoking was powerfully implicated in the causation of lung cancer.”
The same year the British Medical Journal published its’ own study ‘Smoking and Carcinoma of the Lung’ which concluded, “heavy smokers were fifty times as likely as non-smokers to contract lung cancer.”
The US Health Service issued the first public statement on cigarette smoking in 1957. In this report Dr. Leroy E. Burney announced that smoking was the cause of lung cancer.
Every government Surgeon General since has been prompted to issue further warnings, each warning becoming stronger with every report. In all of these reports it says there is a link between smoking and heart disease, and lung cancer, chronic lung disease, other cancers and the overall increase in mortality.
London doctors at the Royal College of Physicians concluded in 1962 that, “Cigarette smoking is a cause of lung cancer and bronchitis, and probably contributes to the development of coronary heart disease and various other less common diseases. It delays healing of gastric and duodenal ulcers.”
In 1964 millions of American smokers quit following that years report from the Surgeon General. This is the year warning labels were first placed on packets of cigarettes, and certain tobacco adverts were banned.
Wind the clock forward to 1979 and United States scientists were announcing there was no use denying it – smoking was strongly related to coronary heart disease for both men and women.
The Surgeon General was more adamant in his 1982 report, stating, “Cigarette smoking is a major cause of cancers of the lung, larynx, oral cavity, and esophagus, and is a contributory factor for the development of cancers of the bladder, pancreas and kidney.”
In 2006, the Surgeon General’s report said that secondhand smoke was the cause of disease and premature death in children and adults who do not smoke.
Exposing children to secondhand smoke was putting them at risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) – acute respiratory infections, ear complaints, and severe asthma.
Lung growth in children was found to be hampered and respiratory symptoms seen to develop. Adults being exposed to secondhand smoke were found to suffer immediate adverse problems to the cardiovascular system, as well as coronary heart disease and lung cancer.
Believe it or not, nonsmokers breathing in the fumes of their dearly beloved at home or sucking it up courtesy of their colleagues in the work place are 25-30% more at risk of contracting heart disease and 20-30% more likely to be hit by lung cancer.
It has been estimated that the fumes from smokers is causing 38,000 deaths per year in the US, with 3,400 of those fatalities occurring due to lung cancer in nonsmokers.
According to the Surgeon General in a latest report, there is no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke.
Compare all that to smoking marijuana. The worst you might get from smoking this plant is a case of bronchitis. You certainly would not contract cancer of any kind or any of the other diseases linked to smoking tobacco.
Marijuana has been scientifically proven to be non-toxic. In other words, the carcinogens that appear in tobacco and cause lung cancer in cigarette smokers, is not present in marijuana.
Marijuana to all intents and purposes, is safe when compared to tobacco.
“Herb is the healing of a nation,
alcohol is the destruction”
Deaths Caused by Alcohol
Alcohol abuse is the third highest preventable cause of death in the US, behind tobacco and poor diet/physical inactivity.
Believe it or not, some doctors have actually been promoting alcohol consumption extolling the supposed health benefits alcohol possesses.
It is said that 1-2 drinks a day may be beneficial to the cardiovascular system – however the health benefits from moderate intake of alcohol is highly controversial and have been slammed by physicians.
Dr. Peter Anderson, of the World Health Organization said:
“To talk about alcohol as though it were some new prophylactic drug is ridiculous and dangerous. In a clinical trial it would fall at the first fence: it’s addictive, it impairs neurological function, it increases the risk of violent death, suicide, hypertension, haemorrhagic stroke, cirrhosis, and many cancers and causes huge social problems.”
He added: “All those present at the Novartis Foundation meeting concurred that global recommendations such as ‘1-3 drinks a day is good for you’ are not only meaningless but also irresponsible.” (Sara Abdulla, Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, Dec 1997).
To some physicians and researchers, it seems the alcohol industry has been following in the “shady footsteps of the pharmaceutical industry” in exaggerating the health benefits that arise from drinking alcohol. (New Zealand Medical Journal, 2009).
But really, alcohol should be seen for what it is – a recreational drug. It should be viewed in the same light as tobacco and marijuana and other substances.
But unlike marijuana, the use of alcohol can lead to serious adverse effects to health. It should not be recommended for any health benefits.
Like tobacco, alcohol is highly addictive. And like tobacco, the long-term use of alcohol causes all manner of diseases and illness:
Coronary Heart Disease
Cancer of the Respiratory System
Cancer of the Digestive System
Cancer of the Liver
Cancer of the Ovaries
Damage to the Central and
Peripheral Nervous System
In effect, the heavy, long-term consumption of alcohol can damage nearly every organ and system in the body. (Drink, Drugs, and Dependence, 2002).
The World Health Organization has classified alcohol as a Group One carcinogen, or cancer-causing agent. The WHO report states: “There is sufficient evidence for the carcinogenicity of alcoholic beverages in humans…Alcoholic beverages are carcinogenic to humans.” (International Agency for Research on Cancer, Vol. 44, Alcohol Drinking, 1998).
In 2000 the US Department of Health & Human Services’ National Toxicology Program listed alcohol as a known carcinogen.
Further research into alcohol-related cancer cases found that 3.6% of all cancer cases worldwide are related to drinking alcohol, resulting in 3.5% of all cancer deaths.
The World Cancer Research Fund found evidence “convincing” that alcoholic drinks increase the risk of a variety of cancers: mouth, pharynx and larynx, oesophagus, colorectum (men), breast (pre and post menopause).
Liver disease is a major public health issue in the US with around 2 million people carrying alcohol-related liver complaints. Up to half a million of those develop cancer of the liver. The most common symptoms of alcohol-induced liver disease are:
(yellowing of the skin and eyes)
Increased white blood cell count
Spider-like veins in the skin
(fluid build-up in the abdominal cavity)
A liver transplant is often the only course of action to cure disease of the liver.
Excessive alcohol intake can also cause acute pancreatitis and chronic pancreatitis which may develop into full-blown pancreatic cancer.
Lung disease is another potential consequence of alcohol abuse, and recent research has suggested that alcoholic lung disease is comparable to liver disease in the alcohol-related mortality table.
Atlanta doctors Corey Kershaw and David Guidot concluded in their 2008 paper ‘Alcoholic Lung Disease’:
“In addition to its’ well-know association with lung infection (i.e., pneumonia) alcohol abuse now is recognized as an independent factor that increases by three-to four-fold the incidence of the acute respiratory distress syndrome, a severe form of acute lung injury with a mortality rate of 40 to 50%.
“This translates to tens of thousands of excess deaths in the United States each year from alcohol-mediated lung injury which is comparable to scarring of the liver (i.e., cirrhosis) in terms of alcohol-related mortality.”
It has now been well established that women who drink alcohol during pregnancy put their babies at considerable risk of acquiring Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.
The Washington-based National Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome says that the condition is the leading preventable cause of mental retardation and birth defects and the leading known cause of learning difficulties.
It affects 1 in 100 infants each year more than autism, downs syndrome, cerebral palsy, cystic fibrosis, spina bifida and sudden infant death syndrome combined.
It affects anyone regardless of ethnicity, income or educational level. (The NOFAS website, 2010).
Consumption of alcohol impairs the development of the brain, causes brain shrinkage, dementia, increases neuropsychiatric and cognitive disorders, distortion of the brain chemistry and physical dependence.
This is especially so for young adults, their developing brains being particularly vulnerable to the toxic effects of alcohol. Binge drinking among adolescents hinders the critical stages of their neurodevelopment.
It has been observed that verbal and non-verbal and visuo-spatial functioning was affected in youths with histories of heavy drinking during early and middle adolescence.
But as the authors of ‘The Influence of Substance Use on Adolescent Brain Development’ note:
“Heavy marijuana users show some subtle abnomalies too, but generally not the same degree of divergence from demographically similar non-using adolescents.” (Squelia, Jacobus, Tapert, 2009).
Heavy drinking hits the brain hard. The psychiatric disorders which are associated with alcoholism include:
General Anxiety Disorder
Abuse of alcohol can lead to neurologic deficits such as impairments of working memory, emotions, executive functions, visuospatial abilities, gait and balance.
We all know that a little alcohol can help us in certain social situations or when under duress – but longer term alcohol dependency has been seen to worsen social phobia symptoms and can lead to panic attacks and disorders.
Researchers at the University of Brazil found that anxiety disorders were higher among patients dependent on alcohol than the general population, and that those members of the public who already experienced anxiety disorders tended to be dependent on alcohol and or other drugs.
The study also revealed that during intoxication those patients experiencing social phobias saw an improvement in their condition, while those prone to panic attacks found the attacks worsening. (Terra, Figueira, Barros, 2004).
It may seem obvious, but evidence that mental disorders are affected by alcohol is born out by the fact that the neurochemistry in the brain is improved as a result of prolonged abstinence from drinking.
Researchers at the Johns Hopkins University School of Hygiene and Public Health conducted analysis of 4,994 people with mental disorders in 1990.
Their results found a staggering 800% increased risk of psychotic disorders in men and a 300% increased risk of psychotic disorder in women.
These studies revealed that alcohol caused a significantly higher risk of increased psychotic disorders than with marijuana-users.
It has been demonstrated that prominent hallucinations are present or delusional behavior displayed when a patient is intoxicated. In other words, of all the recreational drugs we are looking at (tobacco, alcohol and marijuana) the abuse of alcohol is the major cause of psychotic disturbances.
And studies of reported hospital cases involving people attempting suicide found that alcoholics were seventy-five times more likely to go on to achieve suicide than non-alcoholic would-be suicide bidders.
“The only dead bodies from marijuana are in the prisons and at the hands of the police…”
Deaths Caused by Marijuana?
Oh yes, 0.
In 1972, the National Commission on Marijuana and Drug Abuse concluded, “A careful search of the literature and testimony of the nation’s health officials has nor revealed a single human fatality in the United States proven to have resulted solely from ingestion of marijuana.
“Experiments with the drug in monkeys demonstrated that the dose required for overdose death was enormous and for all practical purposes unachievable by humans smoking marijuana. This is in marked contrast to other substances in common use, most notably alcohol and barbituate sleeping pills.”
The World Health Organization reached the same conclusion in 1995.
It was also found to be highly unlikely that smoking marijuana would leave you suffering from any cancer to any part of your body.
In a study titled, ‘Marijuana Use and the Risk of Lung and Upper Aerodigestive Tract Cancers’, the conclusion was drawn that, “…contrary to expectations, we found no positive associations between marijuana use and lung or UAT cancers…Despite several lines of evidence suggesting the biological plausibility of marijuana use being carcinogenic, it is possible that marijuana use does not increase cancer risk…”
“Tetrahydrocannabinol is a very safe drug,” Leslie Iversen declared in his study, ‘The Science of Marijuana’.
“Laboratory animals (rats, mice, dogs, monkeys) can tolerate doses of up to 1,000 mg/kg (milligrams per kilogram). This would be equivalent to a 70 kg person swallowing up 70 grams of the drug – about 5,000 times more than is required to produce a high. Despite the widespread illicit use of cannabis there are very few if any instances of people dying from an overdose.
In Britain, says Iversen, official government statistics listed five deaths from cannabis in the period 1993-1995 but on closer examination these proved to have been due to inhalation of vomit that could not be directly attributed to cannabis (House of Lords, 1998).
“By comparison with other commonly used recreational drugs these statistics are impressive,” Iversen concluded.
In a World Health Organization report in 1998, the view was that there were health risks associated with the use of cannabis on a daily basis over years or decades, but added, “Considerable uncertainty remains about whether these effects are attributable to cannabis use alone, and about what the quantitative relationship is between frequency, quantity and duration of cannabis use and the risk of experiencing these effects.”
It concluded, “On existing patterns of use, cannabis poses a much less serious public health problem than is currently posed by alcohol and tobacco in Western societies.”
In the same report it quoted a report from a 1982 Institute of Medicine study that had compared marijuana, alcohol, nicotine and opiates. The report stated that there was no evidence that smoking marijuana “exerts a permanently deleterious effect on the normal cardiovascular system.”
The report also looked at the theory of “adult amotivation”. The WHO said: “It is doubtful that cannabis use produces a well defined amotivational syndrome.”
The report also went on to draw scorn on those that support the amotivation theory by saying they were “limited by their small sample sizes,” as well as a shortfall in the social and cultural groups used in the research.
Iversen in a 2005 report ‘Long Term Effects of Exposure to Cannabis’” said that a review of current literature suggested that the majority of cannabis users who used the drug occasionally rather than on a daily basis “will not suffer any lasting physical or mental harm.”
Iversen also suggests that those people who suffer psychotic tendencies might precipitate those thoughts with the use of cannabis. The author adds that those who “consume large doses of the drug on a regular basis” are likely to have lower educational achievement and lower income, and may suffer physical damage to the airways. They also run a significant risk of becoming dependent upon continuing use of the drug.”
But most tellingly Iversen ends by saying, “There is little evidence, however, that these adverse effects persist after drug use stops or that any direct cause and effect relationships are involved.”
A 1999 study published by the Johns Hopkins University examined the effects of marijuana on the cognition of 1,318 participants over a 15-year period. The study revealed there was “no significant differences in cognitive decline between heavy users, light users, and non-users of cannabis.”
They also found no male-female differences in cognitive decline. “These results,” it added, “seem to provide strong evidence of the absence of a long-term residual effect of cannabis use on cognition.”
A 2002 Canadian study into the effects of marijuana on young adults came to the conclusion that, “Current marijuana use had a negative effect on global IQ score only in subjects who smoked five or more joints per week. A negative effect was not observed among subjects who had previously been heavy users but were no longer using the substance. We conclude that marijuana does not have a long-term negative impact on global intelligence.”
A 2003 report by the Cambridge University Press found in conclusion that, “our meta-analysis of studies that have attempted to address the question of longer term neuro-cognitive disturbance in moderate and heavy cannabis users has failed to demonstrate a substantial, systematic, and detrimental effect of cannabis use on neuropsychological performance. It was surprising to find such few and small effects given that most of the potential biases inherent in our analyses actually increased the likelihood of finding a cannabis effect.”
“Marijuana you can give up, I’ve given it up for fifteen years now and it never occurs to me to smoke it anymore”
Side Effects of Smoking Marijuana
Yes, there are side effects that some people experience while enjoying the “high”. Paranoia and panic attacks are probably the most alarming of them, although these effects wear off within a few hours.
And if they are that alarming, then it is arguable that that individual may not try marijuana again. As we have highlighted, marijuana is non-toxic it is totally chemical-free. Addiction and abuse of marijuana is rare.
There may be a degree of dependency by some people – but they are more likely to be depending on marijuana for it’s medicinal qualities (which we shall come to later).
But other than that, that is all one experiences – side effects. Remember – no one anywhere can find one recorded event of a death caused by smoking marijuana.
Side effects, yes. But the seriousness of these are even in dispute and some researchers have called into question the assertions of the anti-cannabis brigade.
Cannabis has psychoactive and physiological effects when consumed. Evidence suggests that 10 micrograms of THC is required per kilogram of body weight to produce a noticeable psychoactive effect.
So what are the effects of ingesting marijuana?
A change in perception and mood
An increase in heart rate
Lower blood pressure
Impairment of short-term memory
Impairment of working memory
Impairment of psychomotor coordination
Impairment of concentration
The long-term effects are open to continuing debate.
But it is clear from evidence across the wide spectrum of the marijuana discussion that given the effects of other illicit drugs and even legalized prescribed drugs and those that are available over the counter at any corner store, the effects of ingesting marijuana are comparatively harmless.
A study in 1995 indicated that some young people who used marijuana might be more likely to drop out of high school and experience job instability in young adulthood.
In response to this report, The World Health Organization noted in 1998 that, “the apparent strength of these cross-sectional studies…has been exaggerated because those adolescents who are most likely to use cannabis have lower academic aspirations and poorer high school performance prior to using cannabis, than their peers who do not.”
“Well, as I understand it, the main supporters are beer companies and the pharmaceutical companies. I’d like them to show me the dead bodies from marijuana. But they can’t because there aren’t any”
The Gateway Theory
The fear of the US government, so they will have the public believe, is that people who smoke marijuana will go on to try other harder drugs such as cocaine and heroin and then society will be hell.
This is called The Gateway Theory. But that is precisely what it is – a theory.
And it’s not a very good one at that.
There is no proof whatsoever that people who smoke marijuana will then feel automatically compelled to try the more dangerous recreational drugs from the illegal market stall.
In fact there are any number of permutations. It usually begins with teens experimenting with drink and tobacco first. Then marijuana might be chosen. If someone is already a drinker and a tobacco smoker and then becomes interested in marijuana, it’s possible they may want to try cocaine or ecstasy.
Just because one smokes marijuana does not mean you are automatically going to want to try cocaine.
A report by The Institute of Medicine in 1999 said: “There is no conclusive evidence that the drug effects of marijuana are causally linked to the subsequent abuse of other illicit drugs.”
It also says in the same report, “Patterns in progression of drug use from adolescence to adulthood are strikingly regular. Because it is the most widely used illicit drug, marijuana is predictably the first illicit drug most people encounter. Not surprisingly, most users of other illicit drugs have used marijuana first.
“In fact, most drug users begin with alcohol and nicotine before marijuana, usually before they are of legal age.” (The Institute of Medicine, Washington DC: National Academy Press 1999).
Sociologist Lynn Zimmer and professor of pharmacology John P. Morgan, both of New York City University, have some useful things to say on marijuana and the Gateway Theory.
In their book ‘Marijuana Myths, Marijuana Facts’, they say, “The ‘risk factor’ is large not because so many marijuana users experiment with cocaine, but because very few people try cocaine without trying marijuana first.”
They paint an apt analogy to shoot a massive hole through the ‘gateway’.
“Most people who ride a motorcycle (a fairly rare activity) have ridden a bicycle (a fairly common activity). Indeed the prevalence of motorcycle riding among people who have never ridden a bicycle is probably extremely low. However, bicycle riding does not cause motorcycle riding, and increases in the former will not lead automatically to increases in the latter.”
“Casual drug users should be taken out and shot”
Head of Los Angeles Police Department &
United States Senate Judiciary Committee
In a 2009 United Nations estimate, between 143 and 190 million people had used cannabis at least once in 2007. The highest levels of use were in the US and Western Europe.
In a 2006 World Drug Report it said that cannabis was “by far the most commonly used drug in the world”. The most prevalent use being in Oceania, followed by North America and Africa.
The report goes on to add that while Asia has the lowest prevalence per head of the population, in real terms it is home to around 52 million cannabis users, more than a third of the estimated total.
The US government (and indeed many government’s across the world) are hard on people using marijuana as a recreational drug because they believe people using marijuana will then go on to use cocaine or heroin or crack.
And yet there are no widely accepted studies or conclusive research to substantiate the claims of successive governments.
The reality is people who use marijuana for recreation are doing so in the same way people use alcohol or tobacco cigarettes as part of their daily life routine and have no interest in moving on to the “harder” drugs.
The other reality is, tobacco and alcohol are far more dangerous and harmful than marijuana – and yet they are not outlawed. Seems perverse doesn’t it?
Could things be different?
Well, possibly, if it hadn’t been for the involvement of one man: Harry J. Anslinger.
Through his actions alone we have the current state of affairs that has resulted in the demonization and unjust persecution of the humble plant called cannabis.
It all began on August 12, 1930 when the US Treasury Department created a new branch of government bureaucracy – the Federal Bureau of Narcotics.
Harry J. Anslinger was appointed head of this new bureau by President Hoover and within seven years he had managed to persuade Congress to pass the law that was to make the possession and cultivation of marijuana illegal.
As marijuana guru and author Ernest L. Abel so eloquently puts it in his seminal work ‘Marijuana – The First Twelve Thousand Years’, “Without Harry Anslinger, the marihuana maelstrom might have been just a passing breeze.”
Anslinger would appear to be a contrary fellow. On the one hand, according to Abel, he was undoubtedly “a dedicated and conscientious public servant who worked hard and long at combating what he felt was a national and international menace,” yet Anslinger was also an “astute and calculating bureaucrat.”
Initially, it would seem, Anslinger was “cool” towards those clamoring for tough action against outlawing marijuana.
But when it became apparent that the Bureau of Narcotics might become subject to severe budget cuts and even total shutdown, Anslinger swung into action to preserve his job.
To do this, Anslinger had to prove there was a new drug menace about to threaten the country, a threat that required immediate federal attention. “To prove the reality of the menace,” says Abel, “Anslinger was prepared to spare no effort or guile.”
Cue the media. In a campaign that has similarities with the sort of media frenzy we see today when dealing with high profile “public issues”, Anslinger flooded the press with scare stories alleging the great danger of marijuana on the very fabric of society.
Up until then, marijuana was relatively unknown among the wider general public and the use of it was primarily among Mexican-Americans and the black jazz community.
But Anslinger didn’t care about that. They were fair game as far as he was concerned, perfect fodder for his media onslaught.
Anslinger even wrote some of the stories himself. This excerpt first appeared in an article for American Magazine in 1937:
“The sprawled body of a young girl lay crushed on the sidewalk the other day after a plunge from the fifth story of a Chicago apartment house. Everyone called it suicide but actually it was murder. The killer was a narcotic known to America as marihuana, and history as hashish. It is a narcotic used in the form of cigarettes, comparatively new to the United States and as dangerous as a coiled rattle snake.”
There was more like this and it was typical of the bureau’s self-proclaimed “educational campaign describing the drug, its identification and its evil effects”.
In tandem with this media assault, Anslinger campaigned hard to get marijuana included in the Uniform State Narcotic Act that was at the time doing the rounds of various state legislatures. This law empowered all states to arrest addicts for possession of illegal drugs.
Says Abel, “Had it not been for Anslinger’s campaign against marihuana, few of the states adopting the act would have included marihuana in its provisions.”
Spring, 1937: the Congress Hearings to determine the Treasury’s application for an Act to outlaw marijuana from American society. And what did the Treasury have up its’ sleeve as its’ number one weapon? Horror stories.
“Horror stories, that’s what we want,” a Treasury lawyer said to Anslinger. “Have you lots of cases on this?”
Of course he did. Horror stories were Anslinger’s aces in the hole. But in a sudden moment of uncertainty, Anslinger turned to the department’s leading authority on drugs and asked in all sincerity whether the doctor thought that marijuana really did produce insanity. He got no definite answer.
Undeterred, Ansinger proceeded and Clinton M. Hester the Treasury’s assistant general counsel put the bill forward. Following a two-year study by Anslinger and the Bureau of Narcotics, it was revealed that the drug was “being used extensively by high school children in cigarettes.”
“It’s effect,” he added, “is deadly.”
As Abel says, there were no estimates or discussions as to how many Americans were actually using marijuana.
There were no qualified experts summoned to support the bureau’s claim that schoolchildren were lighting up behind the bike shed. There was no substantive evidence that marijuana was responsible for American citizens going on a crime rampage. No proof was offered that marijuana was “deadly”.
All Congress heard was horror stories, culled from the newspapers. Stories that were given to the media in the first place by Anslinger and his bureau.
Only one man stepped forward in an attempt to dispel the “spin”. Dr. William Woodward, from the American Medical Association (AMA).
He approached the committee at the last moment – because the AMA had not been aware until the last moment that the bill to outlaw marijuana was even being put before Congress.
He boldly challenged the findings and fears of Anslinger and the Bureau of Narcotics saying:
“We are told that the use of marihuana causes crime. But as yet no one has been produced from the Bureau of Prisons to show the number of persons addicted to marihuana. An informal inquiry shows that the Bureau of Prisons has no information to this point.
“You have been told that school children are great users of marihuana cigarettes. No one has been summoned from the Children’s Bureau to show the nature and extent of the habit among children. “Inquiry into the Office of Education, and they certainly should know something of the prevalence of the habit among school children of this country, if there is a prevalent habit, indicates that they had not occasion to investigate it and know nothing of it.”
The danger, as Abel says and Woodward insisted at the time, “was only in the minds of the Bureau of Narcotics.”
Nevertheless, Congress bought it and President Roosevelt signed the bill on August 3, 1937.
The US Penal Code has these possible sentences for anyone violating the marijuana laws:
If you were to possess 1,000 kilograms or more of a mixture or substance containing a detectable amount of marijuana, or 1,000 or more marijuana plants regardless of weight, you would be facing a prison sentence of not less than 10 years behind bars, but “not more than life”.
If you were to possess a lesser amount of 100 kilograms or more of a mixture or substance containing a detectable amount of marijuana, or 100 or more marijuana plants regardless of weight, you would receive a prison term not less than 5 years and not more than 40.
If you had less than 50 kilograms of marijuana, except in the case of 50 or more marijuana plants regardless of weight, 10 kilograms of hashish, or one kilogram of hashish oil –
then you would go to jail for not more than 5 years, or receive a fine not to exceed the greater of that authorized in accordance with the provisions of title 18 or $250,000 if the defendant is an individual or $1 million if the defendant is other than an individual or both.
Whatever the penalty, it seems harsh in the extreme for cultivating a plant that has been scientifically proven to be harmless to human beings – and without doubt less of a danger than tobacco and alcohol.
In fact, as we shall see later, marijuana generally does more good than harm.
And what is the cost of enforcing the prohibition of marijuana in the US? Currently $10 billion a year.
A 2009 report by the London-based Center for Economic Policy Research came to this conclusion about prohibition of marijuana:
“Prohibition has two effects: on one hand it raises supplier costs, disrupts market functioning and prevents open promotion of the product; on the other, it sacrifices the authorities’ ability to tax transactions and regulate operation of the market, product characteristics and promotional activity of suppliers.
“The cannabis prevalence rates…show clearly that prohibition has failed to prevent widespread use of the drug and leaves open the possibility that it might be easier to control the harmful use of cannabis by regulation of a legal market than to control illicit consumption under prohibition.
“The contrast between the general welcome for tobacco regulation (including bans on smoking in public places) and the deep suspicion of prohibition policy on cannabis is striking and suggest that a middle course of legalized but limited consumption may find a public consensus.”
In fact attempts to undo the law that Anslinger initiated back in 1937 have been going on for years.
And actually it was Anslinger himself who realized his strategy of blaming marijuana for evil violent crimes was in fact backfiring on him when two men accused of murder avoided the death penalty because their lawyers successfully argued that they were not responsible for their actions because of the drug.
The jury went along with this and recommended life sentences instead of capital punishment. That trend continued in other cases and Anslinger had no choice but to backtrack and change the tact of the Bureau of Narcotics policy towards marijuana.
“The bureau’s new position,” says Abel, “was that the effects of marijuana were so variable that no general statement could be made as to its effects on criminality.”
Nevertheless, the lurid stories of New York’s youth engaging in a spate of marijuana sex crimes continued to fill the newspapers and forced the Mayor of the time Fiorello LaGuardia to commission a new scientific report.
The report in 1944 made some poignant revelations among which were:
“The practice of smoking marijuana does not lead to addiction in the medical sense of the word”.
“The use of marijuana does not lead to morphine or heroin or cocaine addiction and no effort is made to create a market for these narcotics by stimulating the practice of marijuana smoking.”
“Marijuana is not the determining factor in the commission of major crimes.”
“Marijuana smoking is not widespread among schoolchildren.”
“Juvenile delinquency is not associated with the practice of smoking marijuana.”
“The publicity concerning the catastrophic effects of marijuana smoking in New York City is unfounded.”
The report’s findings were based on the tests conducted on 77 volunteers, some who had taken marijuana before, and some who had not.
Many of the side effects we highlighted earlier were discovered among the participants, but the LaGuardia Report concluded:
“Marijuana does not change the basic personality structure of the individual. It lessens inhibition and this brings out what is latent in his thoughts and emotions but it does not evoke responses, which would otherwise be totally alien to him. It induces a feeling of self-confidence, but this is expressed in thought rather than in performance.”
In other words the LaGuardia Report completely contradicted the view of Anslinger’s Bureau of Narcotics.
A separate report by the United States Public Health Service came into being following the implementation of its own experiments. Six prisoners were allowed to smoke as many marijuana cigarettes as they liked during the thirty-nine day test. The Bureau of Narcotics supplied the marijuana, and ironically all six prisoners had been imprisoned for breaching the Marijuana Tax Act.
The most notable conclusion of the research was the general lack of “aggression and belligerency” viewed among the subjects.
Despite these scientific reports and numerous others dispelling the “fears” about the herbaceous plant called marijuana, the men in government continued to blame the drug for causing criminal activity.
This humble grass was still somehow seen as the scourge of American society.
In 1951 Congressman Hale Boggs campaigned for new tougher laws to fight the supposed rise of young drug addicts. The Boggs Act came into being with stiffer prison sentences for drug violations and marijuana was included in the list of illegal substances.
The claim made by Boggs was that marijuana was the “stepping stone” to the harder drugs such as heroin.
It was the precursor to the modern Gateway Theory and was one that Anslinger added to his “weaponry” in the fight against the evil he still perceived marijuana to be.
“Over fifty percent of those young addicts started on marijuana smoking. They started there and graduated to heroin; they took the needle when the thrill of marijuana was gone,” Anslinger professed.
Convinced that marijuana posed a “dual threat to domestic tranquility (Abel),” Congress included it in the Narcotics Act of 1956.
Of course up until the early 60s, the use of marijuana was still principally in the minority black and Mexican-American communities. Most of the white population was still completely unaware of the existence of marijuana, let alone there being a “problem”.
But even if they were aware, the fact it was an ethnic matter meant most people didn’t give a damn anyway.
But this all changed in dramatic fashion when a sudden “epidemic” of marijuana use snuck up on white society with a boom and the middle class parents found their children were not only learning about academic subjects but also how to smoke the “ganja”.
By 1969 it has been estimated that around 70 percent of students at various colleges had apparently tried marijuana at least once. Very soon there was consternation among white college-kid parents, the fear that their sons and daughters could end up in jail rife in their minds. There was only one way to prevent that – change the law regarding the use of marijuana.
President Kennedy set up a Panel to explore the evils of marijuana and it’s report found no real link between marijuana and sexual abuse and criminality. It dismissed the dangers of marijuana as “exaggerated” and challenged the tough sentences for possession of the drug.
It was a similar story with the 1963 findings of President Kennedy’s Advisory Commission on Narcotics and Drug Abuse and with President Johnson’s 1967 Commission on Law Enforcement and Administration of Justice, when the “stepping stone” theory was brought into serious question.
But any advances in the attempt to decriminalize marijuana use, was again thwarted during Richard Nixon’s 1970s Presidency.
“As you know,” he said, “there is a commission that is supposed to make recommendations to me about this subject, and in this instance, however, I have such strong views that I will express them. I am against legalizing marijuana. Even if this commission does recommend that it be legalized, I will not follow that recommendation…I do not believe that legalizing marijuana is in the best interests of our young people and I do not think it’s in the best interests of this country.”
Actually, the Commission on Marijuana and Drug Abuse only went half way. It recommended that private use be permitted, but that public possession is subject to penalty.
The 1972 Nixon report concluded that, “Marijuana’s relative potential for harm to the vast majority of individual users and its actual impact on society does not justify a social policy designed to seek out and firmly punish those who use it.
“This judgment is based on prevalent use patterns, on behavior exhibited by the vast majority of users and on our interpretations of existing medical and scientific data. This position also is consistent with the estimate by law enforcement personnel that the elimination of use is unattainable.”
Despite Nixon’s decision to ignore the call for the legalization of marijuana, the campaign continued at national level with the formation of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) in 1970.
This influential group is still prominent today and continues to press for changes in the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act, which was passed in the same year.
Since 1969, government-appointed commissions in the Canada, England, Australia and the Netherlands concluded, after reviewing the scientific evidence, that marijuana’s dangers had previously been greatly exaggerated, and urged lawmakers to drastically reduce or eliminate penalties for marijuana possession.
Yet in the United States of 2008, widespread arrests were still ongoing. Out of the 1,702,537 total arrests for all drug violations, nearly half involved marijuana – that’s 847,863. Of those 754,224 were arrested for possession alone.
But not only were there widespread arrests in 2008 – there was also widespread destruction of cannabis plants. In the primary marijuana cultivation M7 states (California, Hawaii, Kentucky, Oregon, Tennessee, Washington and West Virginia), more than 7 million plants were eradicated under the Domestic Cannabis Eradication/Suppression Program. What a waste.
The UK Cannabis Internet Activists (UKCIA) says on its’ website: “The dangers created by prohibition…far outweigh anything the plant can do. Nothing on earth is ‘safe’, especially things we all enjoy doing for fun and cannabis is no exception.
“But prohibition prevents any rational, informed debate or study of the real dangers cannabis may or may not be capable of. Instead we are fed a diet of hype, misinformation and downright lies. Even to the extent that this illegal, uncontrolled, and unregulated substance is called a ‘controlled drug’ by politicians and police. ‘Controlled’, of course, is the one thing cannabis is not. Indeed many of the dangers the law claims to exist to protect us from are caused by the law in the first place.”
As for the multi-billion dollar industries that feed off the addiction of smokers to tobacco, they will do anything to keep up their profits – even at the expense of life.
They are so determined to ensnare as many people as they can they spend around $12.5 billion dollars a year on advertising their deadly drug.
Some tobacco companies have conducted their own research into the effects of tobacco on health – to only then suppress the findings or doctor them to suit their own agenda, claiming that smoking isn’t as bad as everyone thinks.
Private research conducted by tobacco giant Philip Morris in the 1980s revealed that secondhand smoke was toxic – yet the company continually kept their findings hidden for the next 20 years (American Lung Association, 2007).
Not surprising really when you are investing that amount of money into luring new young customers with the aim of turning them into addicts.
“The War on Drugs has been an utter failure. We need to rethink and decriminalize our marijuana laws”
President Barack Obama, 2009
The History of Marijuana
In the words of marijuana spokesman Ernest L. Abel:
“Of all the plants men have ever grown, none has been praised and denounced as often as marijuana. Throughout the ages, marijuana has been extolled as one of man’s greatest benefactors – and cursed as one of his greatest scourges.
“Armies and navies have used it to make war, men and women to make love. Hunters and fishermen have snared the most ferocious creatures from the tiger to the shark, in its Herculean weave. Fashion designers have dressed the most elegant women in its supple knit.
“Hangmen have snapped the necks of thieves and murderers with its fiber. Obstetricians have eased the pain of childbirth with its leaves. Farmers have crushed its seeds and used the oil within to light their lamps. Mourners have thrown its seeds into blazing fires and have had their sorrow transformed into blissful ecstasy by the fumes that filled the air.”
So where did it come from? The answer is China, well to be more precise, Taiwan, an island just off China, around 10,000 years ago in the Stone Age.
Remnants of pots were found to contain hemp fibre as decoration. There were also tools found that resembled tools that were later developed by other communities used for stripping the fibres free from the cannabis plant.
But it is in China that the use of hemp evolved first. Once the potential of the fibre had been discovered, the Chinese were soon weaving garments and making shoes from hemp.
The invention of paper followed, as did the use of the cannabis stalks in the slaying of demon spirits for those who were lying prone on their sickbed.
In 2003, an ancient Chinese mummy was found to be in possession of marijuana leaves. The 2,800 year-old shaman had them in a little leather basket by his side.
These ancient physicians then discovered that the plant extract could be used as medicine and potions, leading to the use of marijuana as a form of anaesthetic.
Cannabis resin mixed with wine was used by the famous Chinese surgeon Hua T’o in the second century A.D.
It is said that he used this concoction to render his patients “insensible” and was able to carry out some very tricky surgical procedures, such as amputations and re-sectioning of intestines, the patient enduring these ordeals without any pain.
As Abel says, “Since the Chinese are the first people on record to use the marijuana plant for their clothes, their writing materials, their confrontation with evil spirits, and in their treatment of pain and disease, it is not surprising that they are also the first people on record to experience marijuana’s peculiar psychedelic effects.”
The proof was found in an ancient tomb, and the discovery of an inscription chiselled into the stone that bore the symbol for the marijuana plant. It also had a symbol that stood for the word “negative”.
In what could be viewed as something of a paradox, it is the psychedelic properties of marijuana that would appear to be the only element of marijuana that met with disapproval in early Chinese culture.
With the spirit of Taoism growing in 600 B.C. China, the marijuana ‘high’ was frowned upon by spiritual leaders of the time. Taoism is a philosophy rooted in nature and the elements and the spiritual future of the human being, anything that contained ‘yin’ was seen as counter to the Taoist way.
Marijuana was viewed as the weakening ‘yin’, and therefore the immediate opposite of the vitality and positivity of ‘yang’.
We also know that ancient Hindus and Nihang Sikhs of India and Nepal were using cannabis thousands of years ago. It’s where the term ganja comes from, ganjika in Sanskrit language. The ancient Assyrians then got hold of it, and learned of the cannabis high from the Aryans. It quickly passed on to the Greeks, as well as Bulgarians and Turks.
The use of marijuana continued throughout the historical and cultural development of the world evolving into ritual use by some communities, and it has also been claimed that early Jews and Christians used the plant during religious ceremonies.
Yes, Cannabis sativa L., the plant that Mankind has been using since 3,000 B.C. for religious, spiritual, recreational, and medicinal purposes: the wonder plant that even the great bard William Shakespeare is thought to have partaken of.
It’s true. Clay pipes discovered in Shakespeare’s garden in Stratford Upon Avon were found to contain traces of cannabis. This has led many historians to believe that Will might even have referred to the influence of smoking ganja in two lines that appeared in his Sonnets 27 and 76. In Sonnet 27 he writes of the “journey in my head”, and in Sonnet 76, the “noted weed.”
Freeing the mind is perhaps the main reason for using marijuana, so it is perhaps not surprising that cannabis has been used as a means of extracting the truth…by government agencies!
The Office of Strategic Services, an intelligence arm of the US government formed during World War Two, found marijuana to be the most effective truth drug and caused a detainee to be “loquacious and free in his impartation of information.”
And in 1943, an enforcer for gangster Lucky Luciano was given cigarettes spiked with THC concentrate from cannabis and was quickly spilling the beans about his boss’s heroin operation.
“Instead of taking five or six of the prescriptions, I decided to a natural route and smoke marijuana”
Marijuana is our Friend
Far from being the foe we are supposed to fear – marijuana should be embraced and hugged as a friend in our times of need both recreationally and medicinally.
Medicine? You say. Don’t be preposterous!
We’re not. It has been clinically proven that cannabis possesses many beneficial, wholly natural properties that bring comfort and relief to many forms of pain and physical suffering humans endure.
In fact, according to author Mark Eddy, the medicinal potential of marijuana was first recognized by some US physician’s way back in the 1840s. Cannabis was even included in the United States Pharmacopoeia between 1850 and 1941.
But by 1936, says Eddy, all 48 states had introduced laws to regulate marijuana as new forms of pain relief such as morphine and aspirin were developed. (‘Medicinal Marijuana: Review and Analysis of Federal and State Policies’, 2009).
A year later, don’t forget, and the 1937 Marijuana Tax was in force making the possession and cultivation of cannabis illegal.
And since marijuana still resides in Schedule 1 of the 1970 Controlled Substances Act (CSA), efforts to research the medicinal potential of the plant are still obstructed by legality.
Schedule 1 of the 1970 CSA states: “(A) The drug or other substance has a high potential for abuse. (B) The drug or other substance has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States. (C) There is a lack of accepted safety for use of the drug or other substance under medical supervision.”
But those three points under the CSA categorization do not stand up with today’s evidence and scrutiny: the evidence from extensive, widespread research from hundreds of physicians and scientists and research experts from all across America and around the globe.
The following pages illustrate the depth of the work that is being carried out to free marijuana from the shackles of unfounded demonization and vilification, to free it from the dungeon of darkness and bring it out into the light.
The following information is all true and verifiable. It’s solid, factual, scientific evidence.
It’s the cannabinoids found in the Cannabis sativa plant that we have to thank for this natural remedy to some of mankind’s most troubling ailments.
Extensive research is continually being conducted to fathom the true potential of this derivative of the plant that has been so demonized since the late 1930s.
Not only does marijuana get you high in a recreational sense – but it would appear to be a fact that cannabis is highly concentrated with palliative qualities to ease suffering and pain.
It’s almost too good to be true.
Manuel Guzman has conducted widespread research into the potential of cannabinoids and has made a number of telling and hopeful statements.
In his 2003 report for ‘Nature Reviews’, Guzman says, for instance, “Cannabinoids exert palliative effects in patients with cancer and inhibit tumour growth in laboratory animals.”
He goes on to say that the best-established effect of cannabinoids in cancer patients “is the inhibition of chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting.”
He adds that other positive effects include the stimulation of appetite and reduction of pain for patients suffering from cancer. Cannabinoids work, says Guzman, by modulating key cell-signalling pathways, which thereby induce direct growth arrest and death of the tumor cells.
Cannabinoids are also selective “anti-tumor” compounds because they kill tumor cells without affecting non-cancerous cells.
“It is probable,” says Guzman, “that cannabinoid receptors regulate cell-survival and cell-death pathways differently in tumor and non-tumor cells.”
(‘Cannabinoids: Potential Anti-cancer Agents’; Nature Reviews: Cancer, October 2003)
Other research has indicated that cannabinoids have antioxidant properties that could have a seriously beneficial effect for a variety of oxidation diseases that are ischemic, age-related, inflammatory and autoimmune.
It is thought cannabinoids will be valuable in the treatment of stroke and trauma patients, as well as Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. Even HIV dementia could be eased as a result of cannabinoid intervention.
Since 1996, fourteen states have passed laws that permit the cultivation of medical marijuana. These laws were designed to protect patients who have been granted certification or recommendation from their doctors to possess medical marijuana without incurring the wrath of the police or DEA.
These states are: Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington.
Since 1978, thirty-six states have passed various forms of medicinal cannabis legislation – most of which has never been operable because of the federal Controlled Substances Act.
In other words, because marijuana is classified a Schedule 1 drug, doctors are barred from writing prescriptions for medicinal cannabis use.
Thus local laws such as Therapeutic Research Programs; Symbolic Pseudo-Prescriptions, and Rescheduling, which have been passed by these thirty-six states, are to all intents and purposes null and void because of the federal jurisdiction. (Marijuana Policy Project, ‘State by State Medical Marijuana Laws’, 20008).
But in 1996, Californian voters passed Proposition 215 under the Compassionate Use Act paving the way for ill and terminal patients to be granted use of marijuana as a medicine for pain relief and alleviation.
And on March 8th, 2010, Tom McClellan, divisional Deputy Director of the National Drug Control Policy in President Obama’s White House, highlighted the need for more research into marijuana-derived products for medicinal purposes.
Although McClellan stressed that the Obama administration still opposed smoking marijuana for its medicinal benefit, he acknowledged more research was needed to deliver the medically useful ingredients in a non-smoked form.
“We have the safest medications in the world,” McClellan said, “and it’s not a coincidence. We have an enviable process by which we approve medications, and that’s through the FDA (Food and Drug Administration).”
Dr. Robert Melamede, President and CEO of Cannabis Science, was delighted with the enthusiasm of the Obama Administration.
Cannabis Science, Inc. is dedicated to the creation of cannabis-based medicines, both with and without psychoactive properties, to treat disease and the symptoms of disease, as well as for general health maintenance.
The company adheres to scientific methodologies to develop, produce, and commercialize phyto-cannabinoid-based pharmaceutical products.
As reported by USA Today, Dr. Melamede felt more confident than ever that their efforts to provide America’s “wounded warriors” with an alternative to treatments that are not working would be fairly examined. He went on to say Cannabis Science would be submitting its’ non-smoked cannabis pharmaceutical products to the FDA for clinical trials.
Richard Cowan, the former CEO of NORML (National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws) who is now CFO of Cannabis Science said it was important that the Obama Administration wanted more FDA clinical trial research.
He said the company would be proceeding rapidly with the development of a cannabis-based medicine for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and hoped the FDA shared their sense of urgency, “because PTSD is killing not only our veterans, but also our active duty troops. In January alone, more of our active US military troops died of suicide than were killed in Iraq and Afghanistan wars combined.” (USA Today, March 8, 2010).
Both long-term advocates of the full legalization of marijuana, Cowan and Dr. Melmaede support the rights of patients to use the plant for medicinal use, including through smoking.
Meanwhile, The Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research at the University of California, San Diego, issued a report in 2010 revealing that studies had shown that the use of marijuana with randomly selected patients had helped alleviate muscle spasms in those suffering from multiple sclerosis.
Patients with neurological pains also experienced an easing of their suffering, as did those with injuries to the spinal cord. Five studies were conducted with either marijuana or placebos being used.
“There is good evidence now that cannabinoids may be either an adjunct or a first-line treatment,” said psychiatrist Igor Grant, the director of the research center.
The center was set-up in 2000 by the California Legislature to research the effectiveness of medical marijuana. So far the State of California is the only region devoting funds to such investigations (Consumer Health News).
In 2007 the Harm Reduction Journal published a report by Thomas J O’Connell and Che B Bou-Matar who had studied the drug-use patterns of 4,117 applicants seeking to be granted medical cannabis in California.
They analyzed the demographic and social characteristics of a large sample of applicants and their findings support the interpretation of long term non-problematic use by many who had first tried it as adolescents, and then either continued to use it or later resumed its use as adults.
“In general, they have used it at modest levels and in consistent patterns which anecdotally-often assisted their educational achievement, employment performance, and establishment of a more stable life-style. These data suggest that rather than acting as a gateway to other drugs, (which many had also tried), cannabis has been exerting a beneficial influence on most.”
For young adults, marijuana is often seen as the only alternative for those experiencing difficult health problems when medical treatments have failed or when they lack access to appropriate health care.
(’Relief-Oriented Use of Marijuana by Teens’, report by the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, Prevention and Policy, Vancouver 2009).
One such synthetic drug being developed is MARINOL (dronabinol) Capsules.
The description tells us that Marinol contains dronabinol, which is synthetic delta-9-tetrahydocannabinol (delta-9-THC). Delta-9-THC is the naturally occurring component of Cannabis sativa L. which. As you will all know by now, Cannabis sativa L. is also our noble friend – Marijuana.
MARINOL Capsules are to be used in the treatment of anorexia associated with weight loss in patients with AIDS and nausea and vomiting associated with cancer chemotherapy in patients who have failed to respond adequately to conventional antiemetic treatments.
The makers of MARINOL Capsules do inform us that both psychological and physiological dependence had been noted in healthy individuals receiving dronabinol, but “addiction is uncommon and has only been seen after prolonged dose administration.”
They go on to say, “Chronic abuse of cannabis has been associated with decrements in motivation, cognition, judgment and perception.
“The etiology of these impairments is unknown, but may be associated with the complex process of addiction rather than an isolated effect of the drug.
“No such decrements in psychological, social or neurological status have been associated with the administration of MARINOL Capsules for therapeutic purposes.”
Unimed Pharmaceuticals goes on to say in their published information to go with the medication that in studies with AIDS patients over a five-month period, there was no evidence of “abuse, diversion or systematic change in personality or social functioning” despite the inclusion of a “substantial number” of AIDS patients who had in the past been drug abusers.
In the warning issued about the possible consequences of overdosing on MARINOL Capsules, it says that mild overdosing includes “drowsiness, euphoria, heightened sensory awareness, altered time perception, reddened conjunctiva, dry mouth and tachycardia.” Moderate overdosing would result in “memory impairment, depersonalization, mood alteration, urinary retention and reduced bowel motility.” Severe intake of MARINOL Capsule would cause “decreased motor coordination, lethargy, slurred speech, and postural hypotension. The directions for use end by saying that apprehensive patients “may experience panic reactions and seizures may occur in patients with existing seizure disorders.”
When analyzed, that list of side effects that could occur if one was to ingest beyond the recommended amount of MARINOL Capsule is pretty tame compared to the reactions that can arise from overdosing on more mainstream medications such as sleeping pills and barbiturates – ie: death. From the sounds of it, taking MARINOL Capsule would not be a whole lot different from smoking marijuana.
“Cannabinoids have a favourable drug safety profile,” says Manuel Guzman. He goes on to add that cases of fatality due to cannabis intake by humans have not been substantiated and that, “Cannabinoids are usually well tolerated in animal studies and do not produce the generalized toxic effects of most conventional chemotherapeutic agents.”
According to Guzman, during a 2-year administration of high oral doses of THC to rats and mice, “no marked histopathological alterations in the brain and other organs were found.” He adds that in fact THC treatment tended to “increase survival and lower the incidence” of primary tumors.
Further evidence in this long catalogue of weighty support for the marvelous qualities of the Cannabinoid can be found with Guzman when he says that long-term epidemiological surveys “usually show that neither patients under prolonged medical cannabinoid treatment nor regular cannabis smokers have marked alterations in a wide array of physiological, neurological and blood tests.”
In a report in the London-based Harm Reduction Journal, Amanda Reiman states, “Eighty-five percent of the BPG (Berkeley Patients Group) sample reported that cannabis has much less adverse side effects than their prescription medications.”
The top two reasons listed by participant’s as reasons for substituting cannabis for other medications were the less adverse side effects from cannabis (65%) and better symptom management from cannabis (57.4%).
Reiman concludes, “Medical cannabis patients have been engaging in substitution by using cannabis as an alternative to alcohol, prescription and illicit drugs.”
The best illustration of how muddled the whole marijuana issue is can be seen in the case of speech instructor Robert Randall. In 1976, he became the first American for 45 years to be allowed to smoke marijuana legally.
Suffering from glaucoma, and told he only had three to five years’ left of sight, Randall discovered the healing power of marijuana was clearing up the blindness and he became a regular user.
Randall successfully won a court battle in Washington DC when the Supreme Court acquitted him of the offence of growing marijuana to ameliorate the pain. He was thus granted permission to use the herb without the threat of further arrest.
As Randall puts it in ‘Marijuana, the Forbidden Medicine’: “Ganja is good for you.”
In a remarkable account given to authors Lester Grinspoon and James B. Bakalar, Randall gives a vivid description about how the array of prescribed chemical drugs he was fed by doctors was only making the glaucoma worse and hastening his blindness.
And then he discovered the magic of the weed and never looked back. In fact having only been given up to five years of eyesight left in 1972, Randall went on seeing right up until his death in 2001.
In the words of Randall:
“I smoked my first marihuana cigarette the day Richard Nixon was elected. Jerry Ford was President when I smoked my first legal “research” joint. Jimmy Carter was elected days before I walked out of a Washington, D.C., hospital carrying the nation’s first modern prescription for medical marihuana. I legally toked through the Reagan years, unscathed by the mindless War on Drugs. George Bush is President now. I still legally smoke medicinal marihuana and, as a result, still enjoy my sight.”
“I think people need to be educated to the fact that marijuana is not a drug. Marijuana is an herb and a flower. God put it here. If He put it here and He wants it to grow, what gives the government the right to say that
God is wrong?”
Cousin Hemp. “It Could Save The World!”
A lot of people may not know this – but marijuana has an equally much-maligned relative – cousin Hemp.
Industrial hemp, to be correct in the distinction, has been called a miracle commodity for many reasons – and with good reason.
Marijuana and hemp come from the same plant species: Cannabis sativa L.
Marijuana is the leafy part of Cannabis, Hemp is the fabulously, fibrously rich stalk.
But in fact this part of cannabis, hemp, was in use way before people started smoking it and was used and consumed in many different ways – as a food, as clothing, as part of industry, and as an early form of medicine and religious ceremony.
Hemp has been used to make paper, shoes, rope, and even chassis in the motorcar industry. It’s now being used in moisturizing creams and can be eaten too as a source of high protein.
The following is true:
The oldest relic of human industry is said to be hemp fabric from 10,000 BC.
The first paper, made in China in 150 BC, was made from hemp.
Hemp grows easily without need for herbicides, fungicides, or pesticides.
Presidents Jefferson and Washington both grew hemp.
Taxes were paid with hemp up until the early 19th century.
The first draft of the American Declaration of Independence and the first Gutenberg bibles were printed on hemp paper.
All the schoolbooks across America were made from hemp paper until the 1880s.
Rembrandt and Van Gogh both painted on hemp canvases (‘canvas’ is the Dutch word for hemp).
The sails and ropes on ships were made from hemp, as were textiles, fabrics, clothes, linen, drapes.
During the Colonial era, Americans were required by law to grow hemp for the home market as well as for supply to Britain.
Car manufacturer Henry Ford constructed his first Model T’s using plastic in the chassis made from hemp and the car was run on hemp gasoline.
After making it illegal in 1937, the U.S. federal government later subsidized hemp production during the Second World War. In 1942, they produced a film called Hemp for Victory, to promote hemp production for the war effort. Anyone who agreed to grow hemp was exempt from military service.
As a fabric, hemp is superior to cotton being softer, warmer, more absorbent, more breathable and longer lasting.
Hemp is higher in protein than all other vegetables other than soybeans.
One acre of hemp can produce as much paper as over four acres of trees.
Hemp fiber is now recognized by today’s governments as possessing valuable qualities usable in all kinds of modern socially acceptable and worthy products.
That hemp could “save the world” was the view of Anita Roddick, enterprising green guru of Body Shop. Her famous brands use hemp oil in their moisturizer products.
But actually governments have known this for years.
Strong, fast growing and resistant to pests, hemp has a versatility like no other plant. Popular for centuries, hemp was gradually driven underground by commercially grown cotton and political prejudice because of its kinship to marijuana the recreational side of Cannabis.
The federal government in 1937 to quell the “drug menace” of marijuana introduced the Marijuana Tax Law.
But the law did make a definite distinction between the drug and its cousin industrial hemp.
The 1937 Marijuana Tax Act defined marijuana as:
“(A)ll parts of the plant Cannabis sativa L., whether growing or not; the seeds thereof; the resin extracted from any such plant; and every compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of such plant, its seeds or resin; but shall not include the mature stalks of such plant, fiber produced from such stalks, oil or cake made from the seeds of such plant, any other compound, manufacture salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of such mature stalks (except the resin extracted therefrom), fiber, oil or cake, or the sterilized seed of such plant which is incapable of germination.”
The Treasury Department’s assistant general counsel, Clinton M. Hester who introduced the bill to the Senate Committee in 1937, made it clear:
“The form of the bill is such…as not to interfere materially with any industrial, medical or scientific uses which the plant may have. Since hemp fiber and articles manufactured therefrom are obtained from the harmless mature stalk of the plant, all such products have been completely eliminated from the purview of the bill be defining the term ‘marijuana’ in the bill, so as to exclude from its provisions the mature stalk and its compound or manufacturers.”
The head of the Bureau of Narcotics, Harry J. Anslinger, who pushed the campaign for the bill, was at pains to point out that the Tax Act was not meant to prohibit the cultivation of hemp.
Hemp farmers, he told the Senate Committee, “are not only amply protected under this act, but they can go ahead and raise hemp just as they have always done it.”
But after the Second World War, hemp production in the States declined due to competition from new modern synthetics, taxation and the burgeoning and incessant anti-marijuana frenzy that Anslinger continued to promote.
Hemp farming deteriorated and by 1958 all harvesting of hemp had ceased completely.
Then, in 1970 the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act replaced the Marijuana Tax Act and a very damaging new definition of ‘marijuana’ was included which further dented the hopes of hemp ever being cultivated again.
The new definition says: “The term ‘marijuana’ means all parts of the plant Cannabis sativa L., whether growing or not, the seeds thereof, the resin extracted from any part of such plant; and every compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of such plant, its seeds or resin…”
The key difference, says hemp breeder Dr David West, is that while the 1937 Act used a system of taxation and disclosure that allowed the government to penalize marijuana growers without punishing industrial hemp growers, the 1970 Act abolished the taxation approach and effectively made all Cannabis cultivation illegal, except where the DEA issued a limited-use permit, by setting zero tolerance for THC.
“There is no indication,” says Dr West, “that in the debate about the 1970 law, the implication of its passage on the future of industrial hemp were ever considered. By that time the domestic industrial hemp industry had disappeared, and there were no farmers to argue its case.”
Dr West is keen to point out that the legal history is clear and that the federal government has “long recognized” the distinction between hemp and marijuana.
He adds that the DEA has in its authority to recognize this history and to drop them from its narcotic schedule.
“Instead the DEA, unlike its predecessor, the Bureau of Narcotics, is aggressively trying to persuade Americans that hemp and marijuana are identical plants. We can speculate about the reasons,” Dr West adds, “The results are widespread confusion and the inability of America’s farmers and manufacturers to take part in the worldwide resurgence of hemp cultivation and use.”
“The reasons” Dr. West invites us to speculate on are the same as the reason The 1937 Marijuana Tax Act was passed in the first place: a few of the wealthiest men in the world at the head of the tobacco, alcohol, plastics, paper, and pharmaceutical industries would all see their wealth and dominance over world affairs decimated the moment marijuana and hemp were properly legalized.
However, despite the lack of decriminalization, hemp is creeping back.
Car manufacturer Daimler-Benz is looking at the potential of hemp as an alternative to fiberglass. It is also being considered as a supplement to wood pulp in paper. And hemp is making a comeback on the catwalk, with fashion designers such as Calvin Klein and Giorgio Armani praising its’ virtues leading to actor Woody Harrelson donning an all-hemp tuxedo for one gala event.
Even the royal horses of the British monarchy are enjoying the fineness of hemp, while young green drinkers are supping the nutty taste of hemp beer.
Hemp is grown freely in much of the world. In March, Canada legalized its commercial planting after a 60-year ban; and the EU subsidizes its production.
But, not surprisingly, the plant is causing a problem in God-fearing America.
Although importing hemp seeds into the United States is permitted, the DEA continues to crack down on anyone growing it on its’ own soil, and even spends some $500m a year trying to wipe out wild hemp.
The official DEA line is that hemp and marijuana plants are indistinguishable, therefore hemp plots could be used to hide marijuana bushes.
Controversy surrounds the DEA thinking because though both are members of the cannabis family, industrial hemp is grown and cultivated differently to recreational marijuana. They are distinguishable.
Anyway, hemp contains only a very small fraction of marijuana’s active narcotic, THC (about 0.03%). Most marijuana smoked for that purpose has between six and 20 per cent THC.
According to Sarah Broadfoot in What Magazine, a person would have to smoke “a truckload of industrial hemp” in one sitting to become intoxicated. She adds, “Someone getting high on hemp would be as weird as someone getting drunk on non-alcoholic beer (which does contain minimal amounts of alcohol)”.
Global entrepreneurs have been quick to play on the supposed ‘illicitness’ of hemp and its’ association with marijuana.
A Body Shop advertising slant for its’ hemp moisturizer claimed: “it softens your hands without short-term memory loss”, while the Mill Creek Brewery labeled its 420 Hemp Ale in honor of a police drugs raid.
As Sarah Broadfoot notes, “Up until the early 1900s, hemp fields were more common in North America than Starbucks outlets are now”.
Nevertheless, hemp is without a doubt on the way back as David West concludes:
“Hemp is making a comeback around the world. Whether it will be a miracle crop, as some of its enthusiasts claim, or simply another important addition to world agriculture, is yet unknown. Much research and development remains to be done. Sadly, the drug enforcement agencies, by disseminating false information, have created a mythology about Cannabis sativa that ill serves the nation, its farmers, and its industry.
“We are one of the few countries in the world that continues to insist that we should outlaw a crop simply because one of its botanical cousins can be used inappropriately.
“Thomas Jefferson, who experimented with different hemp varieties and invented a brake for separating out the fiber from hemp, once wrote that the greatest contribution a person could make to his country would be to introduce a new crop.
“If Jefferson could see the roadblocks amassed against hemp today, how would he judge us?”
It wasn’t until 1997 that the commercial cultivation of industrial hemp once again became legal in Canada, under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (CDSA).
But Americans shouldn’t go planting any in their backyards just yet!
Although some states in the U.S. have very recently legalized industrial hemp production, there are many more that still don’t have a clue.
For instance, at the end of March, the Kentucky Supreme Court told actor Woody Harrelson that he must stand trial for marijuana possession…even though the incident in question involved him planting just four hemp seeds.
Marijuana Myths & Facts
Myth: Marijuana can cause permanent mental illness.
Fact: There is no scientific evidence that marijuana causes permanent mental illness. After ingesting marijuana, some people may experience feelings of panic, anxiety, and paranoia. These feelings can be frightening, but the effects are temporary.
Myth: Marijuana is highly addictive.
Fact: Most people who smoke marijuana smoke it only occasionally. Less than 1 per cent of the United States population smokes marijuana on a daily basis. Not many people become dependent on it, and those who smoke marijuana heavily, frequently stop without difficulty. If people do experience withdrawal symptoms at all, they are remarkably mild.
Myth: Marijuana is more potent today than in the 60s and 70s.
Fact: It has been proven that there has not been an increase in marijuana potency. Even if marijuana potency were to increase, it would not necessarily make the drug more dangerous. Marijuana that varies quite substantially in potency produces similar psychoactive effects.
Myth: Marijuana offenses are not severely punished.
Fact: US arrests for marijuana in 2008 were well over 850,000, with tens of thousands sent to jail for possession. More are receive punishments such as probation, fines, seizure of property, driving bans and jobs terminated. Despite this, marijuana continues to be popular and widely used.
Myth: Marijuana is more damaging to the lungs than tobacco.
Fact: This is the biggest myth. In fact it is an out and out lie. It has been clinically proven that smoking marijuana is less damaging to the lungs than tobacco. Marijuana users tend to smoke much less often than tobacco smokers, and over time, inhale much less smoke. Even heavy smokers of marijuana were found not to have any increased risk of lung cancer.
Myth: Marijuana has no medicinal value.
Fact: On the contrary, marijuana has been shown to be effective pain relief and reduce nausea and vomiting for cancer patients going through chemotherapy, AIDS patients, Parkinson’s Disease, Alzheimer’s Disease, glaucoma-sufferers, muscle spasticity in patients with neurological disorders. Many people use marijuana as a medicine today, despite its illegality. In so doing they risk arrest and imprisonment.
Myth: Marijuana is a ‘gateway’ to using other harder drugs such as cocaine or heroin.
Fact: There is no evidence for this. The theory is flawed. Using marijuana does not cause people to move on to harder drugs. Marijuana is the most popular illegal drug in the US today. People, who have used heroin, cocaine, and LSD, are likely to have also used marijuana, but most marijuana users never use any other illegal drug. In fact for many, marijuana is a terminus rather than a gateway.
Myth: Marijuana’s harms have been proved scientifically.
Fact: “The smoking of cannabis, even long term, is not harmful to health.” That was the view of eminent British medical journal The Lancet in 1995. And before that, in 1972, the National Commission on Marijuana and Drug Abuse concluded that the dangers of marijuana had been grossly exaggerated. Researchers have spent the last 38 years conducting thousands of studies of humans, animals and cell cultures. They have found nothing to differ from that 1972 conclusion.
Myth: Marijuana causes “amotivational” syndrome.
Fact: There is no conclusive evidence that smoking marijuana causes people to lose their drive and ambition. Working adults who ingest marijuana have been seen to earn higher wages than non-users. Grades for college students who use marijuana are no different to the grades of non-users, and studies of heavy marijuana-users high school that has been associated with school failure, has indicated that school failure usually comes first.
Myth: Marijuana policy in the Netherlands is a failure.
Fact: The drug policy in the Netherlands is the most relaxed in Europe. Dutch citizens over the age of 18 have been permitted to buy and use cannabis in government-sanctioned coffee shops for the last 20 years. The result? No dramatic rise in cannabis use. For most age groups, rates of marijuana use in the Netherlands are similar to those in the US, although the use among young adolescents, rates of marijuana use is actually lower than in the US.
Myth: Marijuana kills brain cells.
Fact: This claim is based on a speculative report from 25 years ago that has never been supported by any scientific study. Tests to detect brain damage in humans have found no harm from marijuana, even from long term high-dose use. Research on monkeys found no evidence of brain abnormality even after the animals were forced to inhale the equivalent of four to five marijuana cigarettes every day for a year.
Myth: Marijuana impairs memory and cognition.
Fact: Yes, but not for long. Changes in thought and perception are immediate, but temporary. Short-term memory is the most affected. Studies on subjects under the influence of marijuana have found the participants have no trouble remembering things they learned previously.
Myth: Marijuana causes crime.
Fact: The vast majority of marijuana users do not commit crimes other than the crime of possessing marijuana. All the statistics and research point to the one simple fact: marijuana does not cause crime and that marijuana decreases rather than increases aggression.
Myth: Marijuana interferes with male and female sex hormones.
Fact: Studies show that the impact of marijuana use on sex hormones, is slight, and temporary, and of no significant consequence for reproduction. No scientific evidence exists to suggest that marijuana delays sexual development in young adults has no feminizing effect on males, or any masculinizing effect on females. The fear that marijuana causes infertility in men or women is unfounded.
Myth: Marijuana use during pregnancy damages the fetus.
Fact: There is no evidence to show consistent physical, developmental, or cognitive deficits to newborn babies, infants, and children in relation to prenatal marijuana exposure. Given other available evidence, it is highly unlikely that marijuana causes cancer in children.
Myth: Marijuana use impairs the immune system.
Fact: On the contrary, recent research points to marijuana being of huge benefit to those with immune system frailties – namely the millions of AIDS sufferers in the US and indeed around the world.
Myth: Marijuana’s active ingredient THC gets trapped in body fat, which is slowly, released meaning the psychoactive effects may last for days or weeks following use.
Fact: It is true that traces of marijuana can be found in the body for days or weeks following ingestion – however the psychoactive effects have long gone by then. THC in the brain falls below the concentration required for detectable psycho-activity within a few hours of ingesting marijuana. There is no harm to any of the organs or the brain from the fact that the THC remains in fat cells. Marijuana’s slow release means that it can be traced in blood, urine, and tissue long after it is used, and long after its psycho-activity has ended.
Myth: Marijuana use is a major cause of highway accidents.
Fact: Studies have revealed that people driving cars under the influence of marijuana produce little or no car-handling impairment. In fact the studies show that motorists are more cautious and drive with more care, compared to those motorists driving while under the influence of alcohol or legal medications where dangerous driving practice have been shown to be adopted.
Myth: Marijuana related hospital emergencies are increasing, particularly among young adults.
Fact: Less than 2% of hospital emergency cases in 1994 involving drugs were marijuana-related. It has been proven that the use of marijuana does not cause overdose deaths. It is impossible to overdose on this non-toxic plant. There has been an increase in the number of people who say they have used marijuana when they are admitted to hospital – and this then tends to get recorded as a “marijuana-related” case when in fact marijuana ingestion may not have been the reason for that person to require a hospital visit. Also, teenagers in hospital emergency rooms mention marijuana more because marijuana is the drug more often used in rather than cocaine or heroin. Not only that, but there have been many instances where marijuana is mentioned, other drugs are named too.
Myth: Marijuana use can be prevented.
Fact: You can never prevent anyone from taking marijuana, the same way you can never prevent anyone from drinking alcohol or smoking a cigarette. It has been shown that young people are more likely to taste alcohol first or tobacco before trying marijuana. And it has been concluded that anti-drug messages do not diminish young people’s curiosity in drugs. In fact is has been seen that sometimes the reverse can occur, and anti-drug campaigns actually make drugs more attractive to schoolchildren and young adults.
It is interesting to note there was a decrease in the amount of that young people taking marijuana throughout the 1980s, and that it began increasing again in the 1990s. This increase occurred even though there was the most massive anti-marijuana campaign in American history.
(Based on information from the Drug Policy Alliance website and our own research).
“I think pot should be legal. I don’t smoke it, but I like the smell of it”
What conclusions can we draw?
Well, anyone reading this totally truthful, unbiased, factually correct, absorbingly informative book can only have one conclusion –
The goodness and benefit to be derived from the oldest plant God has given us has been criminally overlooked and buried underground by self-serving capitalists and blind politicians who are only interested in preserving the status quo and the on-going repression of the
Before 1937 the production of hemp was thriving and the existence of marijuana little known outside of Mexico.
Then, when a few men realized they might be losing their power and influence, and in one case their job, a whole industry was decimated and an otherwise beautiful plant providing nothing but good to the human species became the world’s worst enemy of the public.
And for the last 70 years or more a very few people have become very rich, while a very great many have grown poorer…and died.
People talk about the moguls in Big Business as being the world’s true movers and shakers, not the politicians we elect.
And nowhere is this more evident than when discussing the plight of the much-maligned Cannabis plant.
Alcohol and tobacco feature so heavily in our modern western culture to the point where millions of people depend on one or other or both of them to get through their daily existence, even though they are gradually killing themselves in the process.
The addictive qualities in tobacco and alcohol are what reels us in time and again.
It is these addictive qualities that the big alcohol and tobacco conglomerates feed on themselves. Without the addictive chemicals, people wouldn’t buy so much of the products.
That’s why of all the recreational “drugs” that exists in today’s society; marijuana is the number one most harmless of them all. It is non-toxic and has no addictive qualities. In its’ most natural state, marijuana is nothing but an innocent, harmless plant and it’s cousin hemp one of the most useful natural commodity’s man has ever known.
It stands to reason – marijuana & hemp could well be the only plant we need for the entire human race to survive and live happily on this planet.
Pass it around – the essence of Life, the meaning of Life has been all around us all the time.
The Cannabis Plant and its’ miraculous multi-faceted properties has been with us since time began.
It’s time we began to embrace what God has given us and give it the love and respect it deserves.
Marijuana, Hemp, Cannabis
Nurture it. Culture it. Worship it…
Incidentally, just in case you were wondering this book was not written by the authors on a constant supply of ganja and hemp seeds!
“I used to smoke marijuana. But I’ll tell you something: I would only smoke it in the late evening. Oh, occasionally the early evening, but usually the late evening – or the mid-evening. Just the early evening, mid-evening and late evening. Occasionally, early afternoon, early mid-afternoon, or perhaps the late-mid-afternoon. Oh, sometimes the early-mid-late-early morning…but never at dusk”
Sources & References not quoted in the Main text:
‘Morbidity & Mortality Weekly Report’,
Centres for Disease Control & Prevention, Atlanta, USA.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), website ‘InfoFacts: Marijuana’ as of 28/04/2010.
Cannabis Campaigners Guide
National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML)
‘Marijuana – The First Twelve Thousand Years’,
Ernest L. Abel (1980).
Drug Policy Alliance Network
Drug War Facts
The UK Cannabis Internet Activists
‘Marijuana – The First Twelve Thousand Years’,
Ernest L. Abel (1980)
Drug War Facts
Doug Yurchey, ‘The Marijuana Trick’, 2005
General Facts & Information on tobacco, alcohol, cannabis, hemp: http://www.wikipedia.org
‘Health effects of tobacco’
‘Long-term effects of alcohol’
Famous quotes from:
The Best Damn Marijuana Book!