Health Issues of Marijuana Debated
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Health Issues of Marijuana Debated
Posted by CN Staff on April 14, 2009 at 14:56:44 PT
By  Chris Davies, Daily Vidette Senior Staff
Source: Daily Vidette 
Illinois -- Though many people may see the potential benefit that the legalization of marijuana could provide to the economy, concerns over health effects from the use of the drug have prohibited many from supporting such actions.Allen St. Pierre, executive director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, does not think that the drug poses a significant health threat to users.
"Marijuana is remarkably safe," he said. "Pharmacologists rate drugs on a lethal dose rating with 50 being the lowest and things like cyanide being the highest at one. Marijuana is rated at 50."St. Pierre commented that though the drug had such a low rating, no drug is safe, including aspirin."Smoking is not good for pulmonary or respiratory health, but in a country where cigarettes and alcohol [are] legal, [I believe] cannabis is quite a bit safer," he said.Noah Conrad, alcohol and drug interventionist for Student Health Services, explained the effects of the drug compared to some legal drugs."First off, the easiest distinction to be drawn is that there is no nicotine in marijuana, nor is there any THC in tobacco, however, many of the dangerous components are found in both," he said.Some of the similarities he noted are total tar levels, carbon monoxide, hydrogen cyanide and nitrosamines. Additionally, benzopyrene, a potent carcinogen, is found in greater amounts in marijuana than in tobacco.Beyond the chemical composition of the drugs, the way the drug is used also plays a role in how detrimental it can be on the health of the user."Because the typical marijuana smoker does not ingest nearly the same amount of smoke per annual basis that a tobacco user does, it's hard to accurately compare the two in some aspects," Conrad said. "Marijuana users also tend to hold the smoke in for longer periods of time as compared to their tobacco counterparts and the effects are somewhat contingent on the concentration of the THC, meaning the more potent the pot, the more the effects will be evident."Though the health aspects can be debated, whether or not more issues will be seen as a result of legalization did not seem to be a large issue to either Conrad or St. Pierre."Most Americans who want to use marijuana already do despite prohibition," St. Pierre said. "Changing the law doesn't mean that more people will use the drug."Conrad believes that a change in the law may cause an increase of use, but only for a limited period of time."The first being that, if or when marijuana is decriminalized or legalized, acknowledging these are two completely [different] things, there will be an increase in usage for a period of time," he said. "I believe this because, there might be thousands, if not millions of Americans who will opt to try it now that it is legal and there are no ramifications that can be had.""After a short time period, one I envision lasting some where between three to five, possibly 10 years, the trend will plateau and remain that way for some time, just as we have seen with tobacco consumption."Source: Daily Vidette (IL Edu)Author: Chris Davies, Daily Vidette Senior StaffPublished: April 14, 2009Copyright: 2009 Daily VidetteContact: vidette ilstu.eduWebsite: Medical Marijuana Archives
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Comment #5 posted by museman on April 15, 2009 at 09:25:34 PT
"Obviously if we're allowed to smoke it in public it's gonna piss somebody off."You know what? The incredible falsenes, pretense, illusory values, and over-all general, appearance and obnoxious psychic (and literal) odorousness of 'acceptable' society 'pisses me off' very time I have to submit my sensibilities to their ignorance and presence in my reality -can I make a law against them? Can I get a lawyer to sue them? Oh, I forgot, only SOME people have rights in this country; validated, and qualified by either your bank account, or the assets you kiss on a daily basis.LEGALIZE FREEDOM
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Comment #4 posted by SkatMan on April 15, 2009 at 08:16:35 PT:
Radical Ideas
Quit smoking it PERIOD. Obviously if we're allowed to smoke it in public it's gonna piss somebody off. Cook it into your food or boil it into your tea and there's the end of that argument.Here's a good question: you know how they say you're not allowed to smoke on an airplane? What if you busted out a pocket vape? Think that would fly?
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Comment #3 posted by konagold on April 15, 2009 at 07:02:08 PT
it would take 32000 joints per year to consume a health effecting amount of benzopyrene 
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Comment #2 posted by konagold on April 15, 2009 at 06:59:15 PT
the benzopyrene numbers are bogus have been for yearscomes from a study which used non-representative tobacco and potby the same researcher who claimed pot caused brain damage from a study which strapped monkeys in gas mask and caused brain damage from carbon monoxide yet attributed it to potI think the fellows name is Gabriel Nehase [misspelled] 
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Comment #1 posted by knightshade on April 15, 2009 at 06:11:27 PT:
two things
do those total tar levels, hydrogen cyanide, and benzopyrene apply to the actual plant matter or the smoke it produces?and, does anyone know where to find a big list of substances and their lethal dose ratings? including caffeine, alcohol, and other common legal things 
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