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8 Myths About Marijuana

Discussion in 'JF Doctor' started by Nzi, Apr 20, 2012.

  1. Nzi

    Nzi JF-Expert Member

    Apr 20, 2012
    Joined: Oct 21, 2010
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    By Greg Campbell.

    There is no plant in the history of human existence with as checkered a reputation as cannabis. It is either a heaven-sent cure for all that ails us, or it's a scourge on society on par with the Black Death.

    Sussing out truth from fiction when it comes to marijuana is no easy undertaking, but after two years of intensive research related to the publication of my new book Pot Inc. [Sterling, $22.95], I can say with certainty that there are several old myths that can be put to rest for good (or at least put into context).

    And no, I'm not talking about the old canards that smoking pot can make you gay or turn you into an ax murderer. I'm talking about those more lingering concerns that Nancy Reagan fretted about and which, despite quantum leaps in scientific knowledge and medical research, President Obama's Administration hopes you will too.

    This information is important because, despite his campaign promises prior to the 2008 election, in which he said federal resources shouldn't be wasted busting medical marijuana patients and the state-compliant businesses that serve them, Obama has lately been embarked on a medical marijuana crackdown that Rolling Stone reported is on pace to go beyond George W. Bush's undertaking. Leaders in his administration routinely deny that marijuana can be medicinal and have reverted back to the Reagan-era fear mongering about how any slip in the public's perception of its harm poses a grave threat to the nation's youths.

    But it's precisely because of medical marijuana laws that are now in place in 16 states and Washington D.C. that more accurate knowledge of marijuana's relative risks and benefits are becoming more widely known. Think what you will about these often vague and easy to abuse laws; if nothing else, they've raised the level of debate in this country about a substance that has been maligned and vilified for more than seventy years, for no good reason.

    1. Marijuana is addictive

    This depends on your definition of "addictive." Coffee, sex and surfing the Internet can be addictive, but not to the same degree as cocaine, methamphetamine and nicotine are addictive.

    2. Marijuana is a "gateway" drug

    You've heard this one before--smoke pot and you run the risk of moving on to heroin and cocaine as you chase bigger and better (and more deadly) highs. Marijuana critics find evidence for this in that many hard-drug users report smoking marijuana before graduating on to worse things.

    3. Marijuana has no medicinal value

    And President Clinton didn't inhale. The number of studies that have concluded marijuana's high potential as a valuable therapy in numerous illnesses is too long to list here. But they've shown, in part, that marijuana relieves pain, quells nausea and vomiting, stimulates the appetite, relieves muscle spasticity, and may even fight cancerous tumors, among many other possible benefits. The National Cancer Institute reports on cannabis's many potential applications, including that it could help fight or prevent the spread of cancer; it notes, however, that there is little research on the topic to draw conclusions.
    4. Smoking marijuana can cause lung cancer

    More people die from smoking cigarettes every year than die of AIDS/HIV, car crashes, suicides, alcohol use and murders combines--and yet buying tobacco products is perfectly legal for anyone over the age of 18. The National Institute on Drug Abuse had tried to transfer that lethality to smoked marijuana as recently as 2010, noting on its website that "marijuana smoke contains some of the same cancer-causing compounds as tobacco, sometimes in higher concentrations."

    5. There is no "safe dosage" of marijuana

    This bit of fantasy comes only from the definition of a Schedule I controlled substance, a category of the most dangerous drugs listed in the Controlled Substances Act. It's a catchall definition that applies to marijuana, heroin, GHB, ecstasy and other narcotics. But compared to its other Schedule I kin (not to mention legal substances like tobacco and alcohol, the first and third leading causes of preventable deaths, respectively), scientists have not been able to determine a lethal dose for marijuana.

    6. Teen use of marijuana increases in medical marijuana states

    One of the last remaining arguments against approving medical marijuana (or legalizing it across the board) is the concern that doing so will "send the wrong message" to children by making it seem less of a menace than it's currently depicted, thereby encouraging them to give it a shot. But recent studies suggest that the availability of medical marijuana may actually decrease teen use. Researchers in Rhode Island (a permissive state) compared teen use there to young pot smokers in Massachusetts, which does not have a medical marijuana law, and found no difference in use rates.

    7. Hemp is the same as marijuana

    Hemp is in the same plant genus as marijuana, Cannabis L., but it is not the same as marijuana. Hemp has a very low concentration of delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the main ingredient in pot that gets you high. Moreover, hemp contains relatively high amounts of CBD, cannabidiol, an ingredient believed to block or counteract the effects of THC, meaning you could smoke a hemp cigar the size of your arm and still not get high.

    8. Marijuana can cure illnesses

    To date, there is no proof that marijuana cures anything except boredom. It has well known palliative effects, especially in dealing with such symptoms as lack of appetite, nausea and muscle spasticity. Those who aren't convinced about marijuana's medical potential often wonder why, if it's truly medicinal, it's not available at licensed pharmacies, but instead only at sometimes-dubious dispensaries run (more often than not) by those without a medical background.

    Source: Greg Campbell: 8 Myths About Marijuana