Sign the Resolution for a Federal Commission on Drug Policy
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Hemp FACT of the Day #11
Date: 95-01-21 11:10:30 EDT
More Misc. Med. Stuff.... Coming soon--How Hemp Saved George Bush
The recreational smoking of marijuana may have started in this country in New Orleans in about 1910, and continued on a small scale there until 1926, when a newspaper ran a six-part series on the use of the drug. The fad subsequently spread up the Mississippi and throughout the United States, faster than local and state laws could be passed to discourage it. The use of "tea" or "muggles" blossomed into a minor "psychedelic revolution" of the 1920s. Narcotics officers encouraged the enactment of local prohibitory laws and eventually succeeded in bringing about restrictive Federal legislation. In 1937 Congress passed the Marihuana Tax Act, the finale to a series of prohibitory acts in the individual states. Under the new laws, the already dwindling use of cannabis as a therapeutic substance in medicine was brought to a virtual halt. In 1941, cannabis was dropped from the "National Formulary and Pharmacopoeia."
Around the time of the passage of the Marihuana Tax Act, Walton postulated sites of action for cannabis drugs. Cortical areas, he found, are affected at low dosage, while at high dosage there seems to be a depressant effect on the thalamo-cortical pathways. Hyperemia of the brain appears to be a local phenomenon, unless centers controlling vasodilation might be located in the thalamo-cortical region. Similar possible mechanisms are suggested for the phenomenon of mild hypoglycemia, usual hunger and thirst and occasional lacrimation and nausea.
Despite restrictive legislation, a few medical researchers have had the opportunity to continue the investigation of the therapeutic applications of cannabis in recent years. In his study of the medical applications of cannabis for Mayor La Guardia's committee, Dr. Samuel Allentuck reported, among other findings, favorable results in treating withdrawal of opiate addicts with tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), a powerful purified product of the hemp plant.[1, 24] An article in 1949, buried in a journal of chemical abstracts, reported that a substance related to THC controlled epileptic seizures in a group of children more effectively than diphenylhydantoin (Dilantin_ref ), a most commonly p
Date: 95-01-24 10:51:59 EDT
Marijuana MYTH # 1 Marijuana causes brain damage
The most celebrated study that claims to show brain damage is the rhesus monkey study of Dr. Robert Heath, done in the late 1970s. This study was reviewed by a distinguished panel of scientists sponsored by the Institute of Medicine and the National Academy of Sciences. Their results were published under the title, Marijuana and Health in 1982. Heath's work was sharply criticized for its insufficient sample size (only four monkeys), its failure to control experimental bias, and the misidentification of normal monkey brain structure as "damaged". Actual studies of human populations of marijuana users have shown no evidence of brain damage. For example, two studies from 1977, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) showed no evidence of brain damage in heavy users of marijuana. That same year, the American Medical Association (AMA) officially came out in favor of decriminalizing marijuana. That's not the sort of thing you'd expect if the AMA thought marijuana damaged the brain.
Date: 95-01-25 11:19:11 EDT
Poster's Note: I DO NOT endorse the use of any drugs during pregnancy including aspirin.
Marijuana Myth #2. Marijuana damages the reproductive system
This claim is based chiefly on the work of Dr. Gabriel Nahas, who experimented with tissue (cells) isolated in petri dishes, and the work of researchers who dosed animals with near-lethal amounts of cannabinoids (i.e., the intoxicating part of marijuana). Nahas' generalizations from his petri dishes to human beings have been rejected by the scientific community as being invalid. In the case of the animal experiments, the animals that survived their ordeal returned to normal within 30 days of the end of the experiment. Studies of actual human populations have failed to demonstrate that marijuana adversely affects the reproductive system.
Date: 95-01-26 12:00:41 EDT
Marijuana Myth # 3.Marijuana is a "gateway" drug it leads to hard drugs.
This is one of the more persistent myths. A real world example of what happens when marijuana is readily available can be found in Holland. The Dutch partially legalized marijuana in the 1970s. Since then, hard drug use heroin and cocaine have DECLINED substantially. If marijuana really were a gateway drug, one would have expected use of hard drugs to have gone up, not down. This apparent "negative gateway" effect has also been observed in the United States. Studies done in the early 1970s showed a negative correlation between use of marijuana and use of alcohol. A 1993 Rand Corporation study that compared drug use in states that had decriminalized marijuana versus those that had not, found that where marijuana was more available the states that had decriminalized hard drug abuse as measured by emergency room episodes decreased. In short, what science and actual experience tell us is that marijuana tends to substitute for the much more dangerous hard drugs like alcohol, cocaine, and heroin.
3) The Dutch experience is written up in "The Economics of Legalizing Drugs", by Richard J. Dennis, The Atlantic Monthly, Vol 266, No. 5, Nov 1990, p. 130. See "A Comparison of Marijuana Users and Non-users" by Norman Zinberg and Andrew Weil (1971) for the negative correlation between use of marijuana and use of alcohol. The 1993 Rand Corporation study is "The Effect of Marijuana Decriminalization on Hospital Emergency Room Episodes: 1975 - 1978" by Karyn E. Model.
Date: 95-01-27 11:03:48 EDT
Marijuana Myth #4. Marijuana suppresses the immune system.
Like the studies claiming to show damage to the reproductive system, this myth is based on studies where animals were given extremely high in many cases, near-lethal doses of cannabinoids. These results have never been duplicated in human beings. Interestingly, two studies done in 1978 and one done in 1988 showed that hashish and marijuana may have actually stimulated the immune system in the people studied.
4) See a review of studies and their methodology in "Marijuana and Immunity", Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, Vol 20(1), Jan-Mar 1988. Studies showing stimulation of the immune system: Kaklamani, et al., "Hashish smoking and T-lymphocytes", 1978; Kalofoutis et al., "The significance of lymphocyte lipid changes after smoking hashish", 1978. The 1988 study: Wallace, J.M., Tashkin, D.P., Oishi, J.S., Barbers, R.G., "Peripheral Blood Lymphocyte Subpopulations and Mitogen Responsiveness in Tobacco and Marijuana Smokers", 1988, Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, ibid.
Date: 95-01-28 10:58:20 EDT
Marijuana Myth #5. - Marijuana is much more dangerous than tobacco.
Smoked marijuana contains about the same amount of carcinogens as does an equivalent amount of tobacco. It should be remembered, however, that a heavy tobacco smoker consumes much more tobacco than a heavy marijuana smoker consumes marijuana. This is because smoked tobacco, with a 90% addiction rate, is the most addictive of all drugs while marijuana is less addictive than caffeine. Two other factors are important. The first is that paraphernalia laws directed against marijuana users make it difficult to smoke safely. These laws make water pipes and bongs, which filter some of the carcinogens out of the smoke, illegal and, hence, unavailable. The second is that, if marijuana were legal, it would be more economical to have cannabis drinks like bhang (a traditional drink in the Middle East) or tea which are totally non-carcinogenic. This is in stark contrast with "smokeless" tobacco products like snuff which can cause cancer of the mouth and throat. When all of these facts are taken together, it can be clearly
seen that the reverse is true: marijuana is much SAFER than tobacco.
5) The 90% figure comes from Health Consequences of Smoking: Nicotine Addiction, Surgeon General's Report, 1988. In Health magazine in an article entitled, "Hooked, Not Hooked" by Deborah Franklin (pp. 39-52), compares the additiveness of various drugs and ranks marijuana below caffeine. For current information on cannabis drinks see Working Men and Ganja: Marijuana Use in Rural Jamaica by M. C. Dreher, Institute for the Study of Human Issues, 1982, ISBN 0-89727-025-8. For information on cannabis and actual cancer risk, see Marijuana and Health, ibid.
Date: 95-01-30 11:04:40 EDT
Marijuana Myth #6. Legal marijuana would cause carnage on the highways.
Although marijuana, when used to intoxication, does impair performance in a manner similar to alcohol, actual studies of the effect of marijuana on the automobile accident rate suggest that it poses LESS of a hazard than alcohol. When a random sample of fatal accident victims was studied, it was initially found that marijuana was associated with RELATIVELY as many accidents as alcohol. In other words, the number of accident victims intoxicated on marijuana relative to the number of marijuana users in society gave a ratio similar to that for accident victims intoxicated on alcohol relative to the total number of alcohol users. However, a closer examination of the victims revealed that around 85% of the people intoxicated on marijuana WERE ALSO INTOXICATED ON ALCOHOL. For people only intoxicated on marijuana, the rate was much lower than for alcohol alone. This finding has been supported by other research using completely different methods. For example, an economic analysis of the effects of decriminalization on marijuana usage found that states that had reduced penalties for marijuana possession experienced a rise in marijuana use and a decline in alcohol use with the result that fatal highway accidents decreased. This would suggest that, far from causing "carnage", legal marijuana might actually save lives.
6) For a survey of studies relating to cannabis and highway accidents see "Marijuana, Driving and Accident Safety", by Dale Gieringer, Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, ibid. The effect of decriminalization on highway accidents is analyzed in "Do Youths Substitute Alcohol and Marijuana? Some Econometric Evidence" by Frank J. Chaloupka and Adit Laixuthai, Nov. 1992, University of Illinois at Chicago.
Date: 95-01-31 10:33:31 EDT
Marijuana Myth # 7. Marijuana "flattens" human brainwaves
This is an out-and-out lie perpetrated by the Partnership for a Drug-Free America. A few years ago, they ran a TV ad that purported to show, first, a normal human brainwave, and second, a flat brainwave from a 14-year-old "on marijuana". When researchers called up the TV networks to complain about this commercial, the Partnership had to pull it from the air. It seems that the Partnership faked the flat "marijuana brainwave". In reality, marijuana has the effect of slightly INCREASING alpha wave activity. Alpha waves are associated with meditative and relaxed states which are, in turn, often associated with human creativity.
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