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Oct-15-2010 20:22printcomments

Marijuana Studies Clear the Air For Those That Care to Look

Falsehoods are put to rest by going straight to the source: read the studies.

Cannabis learning
Salem-News.com

(SALEM, Ore.) - In our ongoing coverage of the pros and cons of Cannabis, we get many submissions that are worthy of publishing. The following list from reader Malcolm Kyle is especially valuable because he details ten significant marijuana studies that "the Feds wish they'd never commissioned".

US Attorney General Eric Holder has made it clear that our state laws are moot. More people are showing concern for the federal government's apparent lack of respect for the will of the voters, at least at state level, affirmed in the top cop's recent letter to former administrators of the DEA.

Holder said in the letter, obtained by CNN, that the Justice Department would continue to "vigorously enforce" the federal Controlled Substances Act "against those individuals and organizations that possess, manufacture, or distribute marijuana for recreational use, even if such activities are permitted under state law."

Sadly, it is the American public who are the losers here. Without a policy mandating upfront, truthful and transparent discussions on the subject of cannabis use and the effects of its prohibition, nothing can be gained.

This historical move by Eric Holder inexplicably demonstrates that until the Federal government shows respect for the law-abiding citizens of our country and allows us to be in charge of our personal health and safety decisions, we will all be at their mercy. That is, unless "states rights" carry some weight when push comes to shove.

If California's Proposition 19 passes next month, and it is still polling high, the entire country will be watching to see what happens.

The list below is just an example of the many studies that have been overlooked, swept under the rug, or discredited -often by the very people that commissioned them. They are worthy of contemplative research, and fodder for many an intelligent debate.

These studies and more will be included in the "Cannabis De-Classified" section soon to launch on Salem-News.com, for the benefit of our educated, and vastly interested readers.

This should definitely increase your ability to discuss the subject at a higher level.

1) MARIJUANA USE HAS NO EFFECT ON MORTALITY:

A massive study of California HMO members funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) found marijuana use caused no significant increase in mortality. Tobacco use was associated with increased risk of death. Sidney, S et al. Marijuana Use and Mortality. American Journal of Public Health. Vol. 87 No. 4, April 1997. p. 585-590. Sept. 2002.

2) HEAVY MARIJUANA USE AS A YOUNG ADULT WON'T RUIN YOUR LIFE:

Veterans Affairs scientists looked at whether heavy marijuana use as a young adult caused long-term problems later, studying identical twins in which one twin had been a heavy marijuana user for a year or longer but had stopped at least one month before the study, while the second twin had used marijuana no more than five times ever.

Marijuana use had no significant impact on physical or mental health care utilization, health-related quality of life, or current socio-demographic characteristics. Eisen SE et al. Does Marijuana Use Have Residual Adverse Effects on Self-Reported Health Measures, Socio-Demographics or Quality of Life? A Monozygotic Co-Twin Control Study in Men. Addiction. Vol. 97 No. 9. p.1083-1086. Sept. 1997

3) THE "GATEWAY EFFECT" MAY BE A MIRAGE:

Marijuana is often called a "gateway drug" by supporters of prohibition, who point to statistical "associations" indicating that persons who use marijuana are more likely to eventually try hard drugs than those who never use marijuana - implying that marijuana use somehow causes hard drug use. But a model developed by RAND Corp. researcher Andrew Morral demonstrates that these associations can be explained "without requiring a gateway effect."

More likely, this federally funded study suggests, some people simply have an underlying propensity to try drugs, and start with what's most readily available. Morral AR, McCaffrey D and Paddock S. Reassessing the Marijuana Gateway Effect. Addiction. December 2002. p. 1493-1504.

4) PROHIBITION DOESN'T WORK (PART 1):

The White House had the National Research Council examine the data being gathered about drug use and the effects of U.S. drug policies. NRC concluded, "the nation possesses little information about the effectiveness of current drug policy, especially of drug law enforcement." And what data exist show "little apparent relationship between severity of sanctions prescribed for drug use and prevalence or frequency of use."

In other words, there is no proof that prohibition - the cornerstone of U.S. drug policy for a century - reduces drug use. National Research Council. Informing America's Policy on Illegal Drugs: What We Don't Know Keeps Hurting Us. National Academy Press, 2001. p. 193.

5) PROHIBITION DOESN'T WORK (PART 2); DOES PROHIBITION CAUSE THE "GATEWAY EFFECT"?:

U.S. and Dutch researchers, supported in part by NIDA, compared marijuana users in San Francisco, where non-medical use remains illegal, to Amsterdam, where adults may possess and purchase small amounts of marijuana from regulated businesses.

Looking at such parameters as frequency and quantity of use and age at onset of use, they found the following: Cannabis (Marijuana) use in San Francisco was 3 times the prevalence found in the Amsterdam sample.

And lifetime use of hard drugs was significantly lower in Amsterdam, with its "tolerant" marijuana policies. For example, lifetime crack cocaine use was 4.5 times higher in San Francisco than Amsterdam. Reinarman, C, Cohen, PDA, and Kaal, HL.

The Limited Relevance of Drug Policy: Cannabis in Amsterdam and San Francisco. American Journal of Public Health. Vol. 94, No. 5. May 2004. p. 836-842.

6) OOPS, MARIJUANA MAY PREVENT CANCER (PART 1):

Federal researchers implanted several types of cancer, including leukemia and lung cancers, in mice, then treated them with cannabinoids (unique, active components found in marijuana).

THC and other cannabinoids shrank tumors and increased the mice's lifespans. Munson, AE et al. Antineoplastic Activity of Cannabinoids. Journal of the National Cancer Institute. Sept. 1975. p. 597-602.

7) OOPS, MARIJUANA MAY PREVENT CANCER, (PART 2):

In a 1994 study the government tried to suppress, federal researchers gave mice and rats massive doses of THC, looking for cancers or other signs of toxicity. The rodents given THC lived longer and had fewer cancers, "in a dose-dependent manner" (i.e. the more THC they got, the fewer tumors).

NTP Technical Report On The Toxicology And Carcinogenesis Studies Of 1-Trans- Delta-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol, CAS No. 1972-08-3, In F344/N Rats And B6C3F Mice, Gavage Studies. See also, "Medical Marijuana: Unpublished Federal Study Found THC-Treated Rats Lived Longer, Had Less Cancer," AIDS Treatment News no. 263, Jan. 17, 1997.

8) OOPS, MARIJUANA MAY PREVENT CANCER (PART 3):

Researchers at the Kaiser-Permanente HMO, funded by NIDA, followed 65,000 patients for nearly a decade, comparing cancer rates among non-smokers, tobacco smokers, and marijuana smokers. Tobacco smokers had massively higher rates of lung cancer and other cancers.

Marijuana smokers who didn't also use tobacco had no increase in risk of tobacco-related cancers or of cancer risk overall. In fact their rates of lung and most other cancers were slightly lower than non-smokers, though the difference did not reach statistical significance. Sidney, S. et al. Marijuana Use and Cancer Incidence (California, United States). Cancer Causes and Control. Vol. 8. Sept. 1997, p. 722-728.

9) OOPS, MARIJUANA MAY PREVENT CANCER (PART 4):

Donald Tashkin, a UCLA researcher whose work is funded by NIDA, did a case-control study comparing 1,200 patients with lung, head and neck cancers to a matched group with no cancer.

Even the heaviest marijuana smokers had no increased risk of cancer, and had somewhat lower cancer risk than non-smokers (tobacco smokers had a 20-fold increased Lung Cancer risk). Tashkin D. Marijuana Use and Lung Cancer: Results of a Case-Control Study. American Thoracic Society International Conference. May 23, 2006.

10) MARIJUANA DOES HAVE GREAT MEDICAL VALUE:

In response to passage of California's medical marijuana law, the White House had the Institute of Medicine (IOM) review the data on marijuana's medical benefits and risks. The IOM concluded, "Nausea, appetite loss, pain and anxiety are all afflictions of wasting, and all can be mitigated by marijuana."

The report also added, "we acknowledge that there is no clear alternative for people suffering from chronic conditions that might be relieved by smoking marijuana, such as pain or AIDS wasting."

The government's refusal to acknowledge this finding caused co-author John A. Benson to tell the New York Times that the government "loves to ignore our report... they would rather it never happened." Joy, JE, Watson, SJ, and Benson, JA. Marijuana and Medicine: Assessing the Science Base. National Academy Press. 1999. p. 159. See also, Harris, G. FDA Dismisses Medical Benefit From Marijuana. New York Times. Apr. 21, 2006

Much thanks to Malcolm Kyle for this submission.

There is significant evidence that cannabis has medical benefits for patients with a variety of diseases from cancer to arthritis. Seriously ill bedridden patients can develop bed sores, also called pressure ulcers. Nursing home bed sores can be prevented by changing a patient's position frequently and keeping them clean and dry. How cannabis can benefit these patients is an ongoing challenge.




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Msgt Vance November 30, 2010 8:02 am (Pacific time)

As the basis for marijuana prohibition is the perjured testimony of Anslinger, then all marijuana prohibition law is invalidated because it is based on LIES.


Malcolm Kyle November 2, 2010 6:33 am (Pacific time)

While bullets fly into El Paso, bodies pile up in the streets of Juarez, and thugs with gold-plated AK-47s and albino tiger pens are beheading federal officials and dissolving their torsos in vats of acid, here are some facts concerning the peaceful situation in Holland. --Please save a copy and use it as a reference when debating prohibitionists who claim the exact opposite concerning reality as presented here below: Cannabis-coffee-shops are not only restricted to the Capital of Holland, Amsterdam. They can be found in more than 50 cities and towns across the country. At present, only the retail sale of five grams is tolerated, so production remains criminalized. The mayors of a majority of the cities with coffeeshops have long urged the national government to also decriminalize the supply side. A poll taken earlier this year indicated that some 50% of the Dutch population thinks cannabis should be fully legalized while only 25% wanted a complete ban. Even though 62% of the voters said they had never taken cannabis. An earlier poll also indicated 80% opposing coffee shop closures. http://www.dutchnews.nl/news/archives/2010/02/public_split_on_cannabis_legal.php It is true that the number of coffee shops has fallen from its peak of around 2,500 throughout the country to around 700 now. The problems, if any, concern mostly marijuana-tourists and are largely confined to cities and small towns near the borders with Germany and Belgium. These problems, mostly involve traffic jams, and are the result of cannabis prohibition in neighboring countries. Public nuisance problems with the coffee shops are minimal when compared with bars, as is demonstrated by the rarity of calls for the police for problems at coffee shops. While it is true that lifetime and past-month use rates did increase back in the seventies and eighties, the critics shamefully fail to report that there were comparable and larger increases in cannabis use in most, if not all, neighboring countries which continued complete prohibition. According to the World Health Organization only 19.8 percent of the Dutch have used marijuana, less than half the U.S. figure. In Holland 9.7% of young adults (aged 15 to 24) consume soft drugs once a month, comparable to the level in Italy (10.9%) and Germany (9.9%) and less than in the UK (15.8%) and Spain (16.4%). Few transcend to becoming problem drug users (0.44%), well below the average (0.52%) of the compared countries. The WHO survey of 17 countries finds that the United States has the highest usage rates for nearly all illegal substances. In the U.S. 42.4 percent admitted having used marijuana. The only other nation that came close was New Zealand, another bastion of get-tough policies, at 41.9 percent. No one else was even close. The results for cocaine use were similar, with the U.S. again leading the world by a large margin. Even more striking is what the researchers found when they asked young adults when they had started using marijuana. Again, the U.S. led the world, with 20.2 percent trying marijuana by age 15. No other country was even close, and in Holland, just 7 percent used marijuana by 15 -- roughly one-third of the U.S. figure. thttp://www.alternet.org/drugs/90295/ In 1998, the US Drug Czar General Barry McCaffrey claimed that the U.S. had less than half the murder rate of the Netherlands. That’s drugs, he explained. The Dutch Central Bureau for Statistics immediately issued a special press release explaining that the actual Dutch murder rate is 1.8 per 100,000 people, or less than one-quarter the U.S. murder rate. Here is a very recent article by a psychiatrist from Amsterdam, exposing Drug Czar misinformation http://tinyurl.com/247a8mp


Anonymous October 18, 2010 12:09 pm (Pacific time)

Great job Bonnie.. Appreciated the posts also.


Peter Reynolds October 17, 2010 9:27 am (Pacific time)

An excellent summary of relevant evidence. Superb work. Thank you from Britain where we are engaged in the same struggle as you.


Common_Science October 16, 2010 2:00 pm (Pacific time)

“Even the heaviest marijuana smokers had no increased risk of cancer, and had somewhat lower cancer risk than non-smokers (tobacco smokers had a 20-fold increased Lung Cancer risk). Tashkin D. Marijuana Use and Lung Cancer: Results of a Case-Control Study. American Thoracic Society International Conference. May 23, 2006.” I recall about thirty years ago a newspaper article that had Donald Tashkin of the National Institute on Drug Abuse announcing that calls for marijuana legalization were wrong because of the likelihood that marijuana use lead to pulmonary disease and cancer. Over the years he seemed determined to project a pat viewpoint, consistent with NIDA compliance with Federal government motivations, that vilified marijuana as being much more harmful than society realized. I wish to express sincere gratitude to the professionalism of Donald Tashkin for revealing the contrary results of this exhaustive research, benefiting society through science, over the motivations of his employers.


Daniel October 16, 2010 12:19 pm (Pacific time)

Douglas James Madison had it correct , the proof is the sorry state of Americas health . Corporate America has been pushing their toxic imitation food stuff into our bodies for generations . The last 20 years has been an enormous increase of this process and the result has been cancer thru the roof and very unfit youth . Holders position is that of chief hypocrite , his timely announcement will help his party lose control . What a choice, gutless hypocrites or reactionary nuts . Shame on you ERIC !


Alex October 16, 2010 10:59 am (Pacific time)

Excellent paper! It is very nice to have all of these studies compiled together. I would suggest adding links to the sources as well. Thank you!!


Douglas Benson October 16, 2010 8:59 am (Pacific time)

"When the people let the goverment decide what foods they eat [GMO and the new food safety laws that make a garden a crime] and what medicines they take ,thier bodies will soon be in as sorry a state as the souls of those who live under tyranny." James Madison


J. Gravelle October 16, 2010 8:39 am (Pacific time)

Conservatives should be (literally) "up in arms" when der Attorney General decides that the commerce clause allows him to declare war on California: http://gravelle.us/content/atty-gen-declares-war-california But who's the bigger hypocrite in the marijuana issue: - a liberal who demands that the federal government stay out of their health issues; or - a conservative insistant that Washington impose its will upon the states? http://www.dailyscoff.com/?p=2847 Legalization is a conservative position, and prohibition a progressive one. BOTH sides of the aisle are schizophrenic on the matter... -jjg


johnny1 October 16, 2010 8:15 am (Pacific time)

After scientific study's show that Cannabis shrink cancerous tumors , the US government still claims Cannabis is a dangerous narcotic good article M Kyle has some intelligent arguments on cannabis prohibition I look forward to his comments Malcolm Kyle should be elected drug czar!


Ian October 16, 2010 7:17 am (Pacific time)

I think it is criminal that cannabis is illegal.

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