New Federal Report on Marijuana Use
is Misleading, Groups Say
Tim King, Salem-News.com, 2008-05-10
Is this a reaction to the beginning of the end of marijuana prohibition?
With some comments in italics by Peter Meyer, 2008-05-12.
(SALEM, Ore.) A new federal government report on the ill effects of marijuana on teens may be a last-ditch effort to demonize the medical weed before it sees its own day of emancipation. As it stands, even the most hardcore marijuana legalization advocates do not support children using anything that causes intoxication.
This new report uses scare tactics and seems to regard medical facts as a meaningless burden, and its authors are enlisting the help of celebrities with big money and big media ties to drive their message home. (See: TEEN "SELF MEDICATION" FOR DEPRESSION LEADS TO MORE SERIOUS MENTAL ILLNESS, NEW REPORT REVEALS)
"Don't be fooled into thinking that pot is harmless," said Dr. Drew Pinksy, internist, addiction expert, and host of VH1's Celebrity Rehab. "Marijuana is an addictive drug. Teens who are already depressed and use marijuana may increase their odds of suffering from even more serious mental health problems." ["May"? "Increase their odds"?]
But medical marijuana and pharmacology experts like Dr. Phil Leveque of Molalla, Oregon, who writes regularly for Salem-News.com, suggest that there is no truth to the statement, and that most of those who ultimately suffer from mental illness already would have.
"One of the biggest claims from the federal government is that marijuana causes 'euphoria' and if anyone needs that explained to them, it means the opposite of depression," Leveque said.
He and most other advocates say kids should stay free and clear of marijuana use unless it is medically necessary, but it is a pussycat next to more deadly things like alcohol, prescription drugs, heroin and meth that potentially lead to death. Marijuana has no lethal quality; it can't kill a person. It seems like a waste of time to get people listening, and then only tell them the bad data on marijuana. It seems very irresponsible. [PM: The U.S. federal government does not see it as a waste of time (or taxpayer money) because maintaining the criminal status of marijuana use is vital to the profits to be made from the use of prescription drugs (with "contributions" from the pharmaceutical industry to the government), from the prison system and from "rehabilitation programs", plus, of course, the huge profits from the drug trade conducted by the CIA.]
Marijuana is not "Different Today"
Marijuana is a natural herb that is cultivated to have better potency. The herb is the same that it has always been, and the ability of people to grow it well and to learn about the agricultural significance has improved. In the 1970's most marijuana was sold under the name "commercial" and it all came from Mexico. In that country the male and female plants are not separated, and the result is a below average grade of marijuana packed with seeds.
When the government tries to suggest that marijuana is "different today", they are suggesting that a human process has changed marijuana into something it didn't used to be. This is scientifically impossible. No doubt far more money is invested in other types of ag research, and so far fruit is about the same as it used to be, except maybe for the addition of human-added poisons to increase its marketability.
But this study, like others that benefit the pharmaceutical companies that don't want to compete with marijuana as a medical product, is more of the same, "The potency of smoked marijuana has risen consistently over the past decades and higher potency translates into serious health consequences for teens."
They also stated, "Some studies show that higher potency marijuana may be contributing to an increase in the number of American teens seeking treatment for marijuana dependence."
Marijuana dependence? This in and of itself is extremely debatable. For the most part, doctors agree that marijuana is only mildly addicting and that relates to a mental addiction, not a physical addiction. One interesting fact always deleted from the federal studies is that for many years, marijuana was considered the best substance for getting people off hard drugs. Heroin addicts given marijuana, can kick their deadly habit.
Of course funding all of those taxpayer-funded, court-ordered "marijuana addiction" programs is another concern of the federal government. They make money from marijuana being illegal, plain and simple. The notion of "marijuana addiction" is unique to the groups and agencies and courts that profit directly from it.
The new federal report suggests that marijuana use can cause a small percentage of users to consider "suicide." [PM: "Suggest"? "Can cause"? Lots of people occasionally consider suicide, whether or not they smoke marijuana. Might as well claim that consuming milk "can cause a small percentage ...". And how about consuming alcohol?] Perhaps if this is true, it is based more on the stigma that the federal government, fully in bed with the pharmaceutical groups, gives to marijuana.
It is not very different from the so-called "Gateway Theory" that marijuana leads to harder drugs. Many believe that the seed is planted by the theory, and that kids feel compelled to "move to harder drugs" because that is what the government and the D.A.R.E. officer told them would happen. It is a simple notion called "programming" that has undeniable impact on a person's mode of thinking, their overall knowledge, and ultimately their actions.
Those willing to face the truth on a daily basis know that half of what is wrong with people in this country is a result of adverse and negative programming. [PM: Plus having to live continually in a neurotic, superficial, terminally dysfunctional materialistic society with apparently no way out which itself is sufficient to cause major depresssion.]
It happens when clergy sexually abuse children and tell them they will go to hell if they ever talk to their families or police. It is the conditioning applied to people in Communist nations that makes them believe Americans and western countries are all evil, and it is the same poison given to Islamic fundamentalist radicals whose lives are entirely based on fear. Our government needs to give it up and move into the light of truth.
Marijuana may not be "great" to anyone except a medical patient who directly benefits from it, but it is a plant and a flower that God placed on the earth and it is entirely vain and ironic of our society to place what is probably the single most useful plant on the planet in an illegal criminal category with heroin and meth. It reflects our own ignorance as a nation. [PM: Or more exactly, the official lies about marijuana are believed by many in the U.S. because that nation is full of naïve, ignorant people who get their "information" from the mainstream media which just parrots the disinfo provided by U.S. government agencies.]
The nation's second largest association of doctors, the American College of Physicians, stated in a report that marijuana has been smoked for its medicinal properties for centuries, and preclinical, clinical, and anecdotal reports suggest numerous potential medical uses for marijuana. (See: American College of Physicians Position Takes Aim at Marijuana Laws)
They confirm that the use of medical marijuana in treating HIV wasting and chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting has been well documented, and they believe additional research is needed to clarify marijuana's therapeutic properties and determine standard and optimal doses and routes of delivery.
Reports like this new one from the federal government do not help doctors learn the real facts about medical marijuana.
In fact, the oldest continuously published pediatric journal in the country, the Journal of the American Medical Association, called the "Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine", released new information in November 2007 (see: Study Shows Surprisingly Few Negative Impacts on Kids Who Use Marijuana) indicating that pot-smoking teens tend to function at better levels than teens who also smoke tobacco, and better in some ways than kids who abstain from both.
The study, completed in Switzerland, did not have an obligation to demonize marijuana on behalf of the pharmaceutical companies as the U.S. studies seem to. The report should actually make parents feel much better about teens and marijuana. The study compared students who smoked both pot and cigarettes, with kids who smoke marijuana only.
The study revealed that those who use only cannabis were more socially driven, and showed no more psychosocial problems than those who had never taken either of the substances.
As far as marijuana leading to harder drugs, the authors of the study say an accurate listing of the problems actually fall in a different order, and that cancer-related illnesses suffered by cigarette smokers are the biggest risk of all.
The government report suggests that "Not only are adolescents at greater risk for drug abuse, but they may suffer more consequences," said Nora D. Volkow, M. D., Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse. [PM: Adolescents are "at greater risk" for "drug abuse" simply because people such as Volkow use the term "drug abuse" to mean "illegal use of any drug" and teens are known to be inclined toward risky behavior, such as doing what is illegal.] "There is also some evidence that in vulnerable teens because of genetic factors the abuse of marijuana can trigger a schizophreniform disorder." [PM: "Some" evidence? "Vulnerable" teens? Obscure "genetic factors"? "Can trigger"? "Schizophreniform" disorder? Volkow may or may not herself "abuse" marijuana but clearly she is abusing the English language, and is really stretching, presumably in an effort to please her employer, the U.S. federal government.]
Groups involved in marijuana laws and policy say the report is misleading. U.S. News and World Report quoted Bruce Mirken, director of communications at The Marijuana Policy Project, saying "We agree that kids shouldn't smoke marijuana, but we simply have to be honest to teens and parents. This report [is] deliberately confusing correlation with causation." (See: Teen Depression Worsened by Marijuana, Government Says [PM: If the "Government Says" it then you know it must be false, or at best misleading.])
The Washington-based group Mirken represents intends to remove criminal penalties for marijuana use and make medical marijuana available to seriously ill patients with doctor's approval.
"This very week the British government's official scientific advisors on illegal drugs issued a report saying they are 'unconvinced that there is a causal relationship between the use of cannabis and any affective disorder', such as depression." Mirken also questions the lack of warning about alcohol's relationship to depression, which is completely left out of their new report. "Data linking alcohol to depression is much stronger and alcohol use by teens is greater than marijuana use," he notes.
Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton have each been clear that they do not see marijuana as a problem in our society that requires federal money and intervention and incarceration. Perhaps this new federal report represents the death throes of a movement that began in the 1930's as an effort to remove hemp rope from the commercial marketplace.
Hemp, the industrial marijuana plant, provides the strongest natural fiber known to man. Dow Chemicals, Dupont and the Hearst Newspaper chain were the biggest foes of marijuana at the time. They funded the movie "Reefer Madness." Today the pharmaceutical companies that manufacture addictive "prescription drugs" are enlisting the federal government's help to produce more fiction presented as fact. The list of marijuana opponents is different in this century, but the corporate spirit of greed that made it illegal in the first place is alive and well.
Copyright © 2008 Tim King and Salem-News.com
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