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Old April 6th, 2005, 07:16 PM  
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Join Date: March 21, 2004
Location: England - United Kingdom

(Source:Juneau Empire)

Prof Who Is A 40-Year Student Of The Effects Of Marijuana Says Public Has Been Brainwashed

A representative from the Alaska Civil Liberties Union joined a handful of experts Friday to tell a Senate committee that marijuana is less harmful than alcohol and even tobacco.

"There has not been a single case of lung cancer or emphysema triggered by smoking marijuana found in medical literature," said Dr. Lester Grinspoon, an associate professor emeritus at Harvard Medical School who has studied the effects of pot for almost 40 years.

In his assessment, he said the public has been "brainwashed" on the effects of marijuana. Senators reviewing a criminalization bill were hesitant to agree. "
You say scientists are in full agreement that cannabis use is bad and has no positive effects. This is a professional, who has studied cannabis for years, along with a team of other scientists.

The most debated finding throughout the afternoon was whether an increase in marijuana's potency has led to more addictions and associated problems.

"The marijuana of Cheech and Chong had a THC level of 1.5 percent," said John Bobo, adviser to the office of drug and alcohol policy U.S. Department of Transportation. He claims THC levels of homegrown pot today can be as high as 22 percent to 24 percent.

Mitch Earlewine, assistant professor of psychology at the University of Southern California, said that those high percentages are rare and the national average today is closer to 6 percent.

"When we give people cannabis that has 1 percent in the laboratory, they get a headache and claim it is placebo and they find it inactive and don't want to use it again," said Earlewine. "Obviously this wasn't the case in the 1970s or people wouldn't want to try it again."

Muscular sclerosis sufferer Jim Welch of Eagle River said the potency was a hidden "healthy" benefit: "That means I'm putting less smoke in my lungs."

Kelly Drew, a University of Alaska Fairbanks chemistry professor, phoned in to say that it is unlikely for marijuana to be addictive since it stays in the body's fat cells for about 30 days. Therefore, the body doesn't suffer withdrawal symptoms, she said.

Bobo also said that people under the influence of pot are more likely to commit accidents on the highways. The senators wondered why they haven't heard about marijuana being linked to such highway collisions.

"The media does not want to acknowledge there is a problem," said Assistant Attorney General Dean Guaneli, the bill's sponsor.
This extract focuses on addiction, cannabis is not physically addictive, as a professor of psychology says, it has no withdrawl symptoms. This means the body can survive without hte drug.

A drug that is physically addictive, and in high enough doses, can kill the user if they don't get it on a regular basis, an example of this owuld be heroin, or hte legally prescribed drug morphine, or prozac, or methadone.....

Cannabis has no lethal effects, there has not been ONE single death from it's direct use, ever recorded in medical literature, and cannabis has been used, not abused, for thousands of years.

"There are many misunderstandings about drug abuse and dependence (see reviews by O'Brien14 and Goldstein54). The terms and concepts used in this report are as defined in the most recent Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV ),3 the most influential system in the United States for diagnoses of mental disorders, including substance abuse (see Box 3.1). Tolerance, dependence, and withdrawal are often presumed to imply abuse or addiction, but this is not the case. Tolerance and dependence are normal physiological adaptations to repeated use of any drug. The correct use of prescribed medications for pain, anxiety, and even hypertension commonly produces tolerance and some measure of physiological dependence.

Even a patient who takes a medicine for appropriate medical indications and at the correct dosage can develop tolerance, physical depen-

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