Cannabis News Media Awareness Project
  Medical Marijuana is Bad Medicine
Posted by FoM on December 17, 1999 at 21:31:09 PT
By R. Bruce Upchurch  
Source: Des Moines Register  

DEA Normally when a new drug is introduced onto the market, vigorous scientific testing is required before it is allowed for public use. This process guarantees that drugs are safe and effective, that the benefits outweigh the risks and that physicians have had sufficient information to permit accurate prescription.

This is particularly important for a drug with a potential for abuse such as marijuana.

But proponents for legalizing marijuana for medicinal purposes are not content to subject marijuana to the same high standards of scientific research as for other drugs. Instead, they are using the political process to get their way, and thereby placing the public safety, in particular our youth, at risk with their efforts.

Of the medical research already conducted, there is ample evidence that marijuana causes much more harm than good. A 1997 statement from the Office of National Drug Control Policy stated: "Proponents of [medical marijuana] ballot initiatives present marijuana as a benign substance. However, the latest scientific evidence demonstrates that marijuana is not. Smoked marijuana damages the brain, heart, lungs and immune system. It impairs learning and interferes with memory, perception and judgment. Smoked marijuana contains cancer-causing compounds and has been implicated in a high percentage of automobile crashes and workplace accidents. Marijuana related visits to hospital emergency rooms have tripled since 1990. Marijuana is also associated with gateway behavior leading to more extensive drug use. This phenomenon poses serious concerns given the significant increase in marijuana use by teenagers."

History has shown that when the public perceives a drug not to be harmful as would clearly be the case if marijuana were viewed as medicine then abuse increases dramatically.

Unfortunately, the marijuana legalization drive has already taken a toll on our young. The Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse reports nearly half of the teens and children who entered treatment in 1996 were admitted for abuse or addiction to marijuana alone.

And according to a survey conducted by the Iowa Department of Education, regular or heavy use of marijuana by Iowa youth nearly doubled between 1990 and 1996. The last thing Iowa needs is further reinforcement of the view that marijuana is harmless.

But do our efforts to protect Iowa's youth mean that victims of cancer, glaucoma and AIDS are condemned to suffer needlessly?

No. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration recently eased restrictions on Marinol, a byproduct of marijuana. Barry McCaffrey, director of national drug control policy, said the capsulized form of Marinol is the "safe and proper way" to provide medical relief for sick people. Marinol allows doctors to prescribe a specific dosage, which they cannot set with marijuana use.

In addition, Marinol does not pose the added concern of potential lung damage from smoking marijuana. There are other safe alternatives to smoking pot as well.

In an Aug. 4, 1997, letter to thenGov. Terry Branstad, McCaffrey wrote that "researchers have shown that the main active ingredient in marijuana has precisely the same impact as heroin on a key brain site that influences addiction to many drugs. The same researchers also found that abrupt cessation of longterm marijuana use causes the same kind of cellular withdrawal reaction in lab rats as that produced by other major drugs of abuse."

Given the danger poised by marijuana, it isn’t surprising that the advocates of "medicinal marijuana” would select politics over the long established process of rigorous scientific scrutiny to get their way.

Note: R. Bruce Upchurch is Iowa's Drug Enforcement and Abuse Prevention coordinator. He previously served as a drug interdiction agent for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

Pubdate: Wed, 16 Dec 1999
Copyright: 1999, The Des Moines Register

Submitted To MapInc By:
Carl Olsen
http://mojo.calyx.net/~olsen/

News Article Courtesy Of MapInc.
http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v99/n1368/a09.html


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Comment #7 posted by Me, of course on March 22, 2001 at 21:25:41 PT:

It's not a war on drugs, it's a war on our freedom
Dear american Government... please f*** off!! you corrupt everything you come in contact and try to control it for political power. Thanx for listening:)

[ Post Comment ]
 
Comment #6 posted by Miguet on December 19, 1999 at 03:32:34 PT:

A thought or two on the DEA spin
Huh?!

First marinol is synthetic THC or the "active" ingredient in marijuana or even more specifically an exact copy of the substance they test for to show that the vegetable matter you are busted with is actually illegal marijuana.

Second He failed to mention that the "downscheduling" of marinol is the VERY FIRST "downscheduling" of ANY DRUG since the inception of the CSA 30 years ago.

Finally,he doesn't seem bothered to say that marinol has been made more easily available [by schedule three you can get refills because "the drug has little potential for abuse"]and the active ingredient [aka. marinol] acts like heroin in the brain in the same breath even though the two statements directly contradict each other!

After reading the words of the war criminals [aka drugwarriors] I feel like washing my brain out with soap!

Miguet

[ Post Comment ]
 
Comment #5 posted by H. Finkel on December 18, 1999 at 23:44:22 PT:

Marijuana
I am hoping that Mr.Upchurch is a fictional character,or that he is somehow
intellectually challenged,because I am going to call him an idiot...I dont like
refering to anyone with this term,,but if Mr. Upchurch seriously believes that
somehow,marijuana has not been tested enough to prove what it is,then he
is an IDIOT!
Why do I say this?...Well consider this;In the last 5 or 10 years,a multitude of
drugs have been approved by the FDA.You can see commercials on national
television every day,for all manner of strange drugs to treat everything from
allergies to "Social Anxiety Disorder".At the end of these ads,they list the
possible side effects,,,headache,nausea,insomnia,,etc..Marijuana has been
around forever.Are we to believe that no one has had time to test it?This is
absurd!..My apologies for calling you an idiot,Mr Upchurch,but I am astonished
to think anyone could seriously believe what you say.
Is there anyone out there,who seriously believes,that marijuana is somehow
dangerous enough to throw you in prison for cruel and unusual "manditory
minimum"amounts of time?..And what about us voters?Why should anyone be
suprised that people dont vote,when the demagogs negate the will of the people,
concerning the use of a natural,harmless plant.
For the year 1999,The tax money spent on "The War on Drugs",was 17.8 BILLION
DOLLARS.That's more than $634.00 per second.
Is it just me,or is something a bit strange happening in our "free" country?

Hector Finkel
Corona del mar,CA


[ Post Comment ]
 
Comment #4 posted by R.Gutierrez on December 18, 1999 at 18:55:58 PT:

Get my two cents in!
more prohibitionist propaganda,i see.you know folks the facts are out there,we as readers of this web page and many other pro-reform pages,need to get the word out to others who might be on the fence in this issue to read and think for themselves.if we can get the support of more people who were just not aware of all the lies they've been fed,we have a much better chance to end the war on drugs.freedom has nothing to fear from the truth.

[ Post Comment ]
 
Comment #3 posted by kaptinemo on December 18, 1999 at 08:01:45 PT
Nark mouthpieces in reporters clothing
Just as in real life, you have to read the fine print at the bottom. The guy is a nark. That automatically nullifies anything he has to say, because narks *know* (some from personal experience) that cannabis is indeed an incredibly efficacious medicine for a wide variety of ills. But to preserve their jobs, they are not about to tell the truth.

Another thing: considering that the organizations charged with the responsibility of testing cannabis (NIDA, FDA, et al.) have done everything in their power to *avoid* testing it, the guy's premise is false from the git-go. They have actively *blocked* every attempt at an objective (translation: non-governmnetally controlled) study by refusing to provide any of the governmentally grown pot for research. They require researchers to jump through testing protocol hoops that no scientist at Eli Lilly has to do. And then, without a shred of peer-review-and-accepted scientific evidence, they make definitive claims.

There is a name for this, a dark and evil name that scientists cringe to hear when it is directed at them: Lysenkoism.

Lysenko was a Russian geneticist who knew which side of the bread the political butter was on. He had his nose so far up Stalin's a-- that he had to open his mouth to breathe. But his unproven theories, *theories that justified the status quo*, were accepted as Gospel, because Lysenko had Stalin's ear, and could denounce any scientist who dared challenge him. That usually meant that the scientist was taken out and shot.

But here, in America, we have the likes of Orrin Hatch holding up a copy of the MAPS newsletter and denouncing the physicians who wrote it as 'pot-head' doctors'. Lysenko must be laughing his head off from Hell.

[ Post Comment ]
 
Comment #2 posted by JRT on December 18, 1999 at 07:59:15 PT
Where was all that rigorous testing when...
So all drugs go through rigorous testing, eh? Let's see, what about Fen/Phen? Or that more recent weight loss drug, to which I can not remember the name? Both have been found to cause heart valve damage. It took many years on the open market for these symptoms to become apparant. Is that the result of vigorous testing?

What about Viagra? News sources have widely reported that Viagra was swept through the drug approval process more quickly than any other drug in history. So, it is not surprising to learn that there were several deaths among Viagra users immediately after release into the open market.

Of course, no real testing can be done on marijuana since the government requires marijuana researchers to jump through more hoops than the researchers for other drugs. I know, we can all say that marijuana will give long lasting erections. Maybe that will open up the door for testing.

It is time for the war on (some) drugs to end.

[ Post Comment ]
 
Comment #1 posted by Dave in Florida on December 18, 1999 at 06:54:16 PT
News Flash! Reporter does not reads reports!
Of the medical research already conducted, there is ample evidence that marijuana causes much more harm than good. A
1997 statement from the Office of National Drug Control Policy stated: "Proponents of [medical marijuana] ballot
initiatives present marijuana as a benign substance. However, the latest scientific evidence demonstrates that marijuana
is not. Smoked marijuana damages the brain, heart, lungs and immune system. It impairs learning and interferes with
memory, perception and judgment. Smoked marijuana contains cancer-causing compounds and has been implicated in a
high percentage of automobile crashes and workplace accidents. Marijuana related visits to hospital emergency rooms
have tripled since 1990. Marijuana is also associated with gateway behavior leading to more extensive drug use. This
phenomenon poses serious concerns given the significant increase in marijuana use by teenagers."

That is not what the all the reports that I have read say. The author should read something other than the government propganda. try consumers reports. http://www.druglibrary.org/schaffer/Library/studies/cu/cumenu.htm

In an Aug. 4, 1997, letter to thenGov. Terry Branstad, McCaffrey wrote that "researchers have shown that the main
active ingredient in marijuana has precisely the same impact as heroin on a key brain site that influences addiction to
many drugs. The same researchers also found that abrupt cessation of longterm marijuana use causes the same kind of
cellular withdrawal reaction in lab rats as that produced by other major drugs of abuse."

Really!, or are you telling lies again Barry.
What researchers ?


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