Commentary: Recent Research Suggests ... 

Commentary: Recent Research Suggests ... 
Posted by CN Staff on November 15, 2002 at 09:16:13 PT
By Iain Murray, UPI Business Correspondent
Source: United Press International
This week, two British studies about increased cancer risks made news. Neither of them indicted the usual suspect, tobacco. First, CBS News reported Tuesday that a new study from the United Kingdom had demonstrated a link between drinking and breast cancer. Although CBS claimed that the study "analyzed 150,000 women around the world" it was actually a re-analysis of 53 separate studies. These "meta-analyses" are always questionable because different studies generally apply different methods, and accounting for differences may be difficult.
Nevertheless, the study has a decent basis for its allegations. It does not claim to show that drinking causes breast cancer, but it does demonstrate that the risk of the disease increases as more alcohol is consumed daily (a "dose-response relationship"). It also postulates a credible biological pathway -- a damaged liver hinders the metabolization of estrogen, increasing breast cancer risk.Yet the actual risks of drinking in itself are very small. It is only when one drinks heavily that the risk becomes appreciably large. A woman who has, on average, one alcoholic drink a day, suffers a 3-percent increased risk of breast cancer. Two drinks implies a 13-percent increased risk, three a 20-percent increased risk, and so on (six drinks a day gives a 46-percent increased risk). Given that, according to the CDC, 3 percent of women drink five or more drinks in a day 12 times or more a year, this particular health risk will affect very few people. Moreover, the health risks of such abuse of alcohol are already well-known. This adds to the litany of reasons why it is bad for you to drink so heavily.In short, the study shows that there is one more increased health risk for women who drink heavily. For the average woman who enjoys a drink or two every now and then, there is nothing to worry about. Indeed, as CBS says, women with no family history of breast cancer but with a family history of heart disease should not be swayed from the beneficial effects provided by a moderate intake of alcohol.Meanwhile, another study did indict smoking as a cancer risk, but again, it was not tobacco that was at fault. The British Lung Foundation, a charity dedicated to preventing lung cancer, released a report entitled "The Smoking Gun," which compiled all the evidence about the effects of marijuana smoking on respiratory health.The results were sobering. The analysis concluded that cannabis smoked today is, on average, 15 times more potent than the average cannabis cigarette from the 1960s. Moreover, because of the way cannabis is smoked, the inhalation is held in the body for four times longer than the average puff of tobacco. Therefore the carbon monoxide and smoke particles such as tar common to both forms of smoking place a greater burden on the respiratory system. Concentrations of the known carcinogens are also up to 50 percent higher in a cannabis than a tobacco cigarette, and four times as much tar is deposited in the respiratory tract when smoking a cannabis cigarette than when smoking an unfiltered tobacco cigarette. When it comes to cancer, although few studies have been done, it is clear that benzpyrene is an ingredient in the tar of cannabis cigarettes. This substance has been shown to promote alterations in one of the main genes that suppresses the development of tumors, gene p53. The failure of this gene is thought to play a role in 75 percent of all lung cancers. When it comes to other respiratory ailments such as chronic bronchitis, three or four cannabis cigarettes smoked per day appear to be as bad for you as smoking 20 cigarettes.This is all very interesting, especially as cannabis smoking is regularly touted by its medical use proponents as harmless. Indeed, the British Lung Foundation was spurred into action by a poll of British schoolchildren that found that 79 percent thought that marijuana was "safe." Modern medicine, of course, is not about inhaling burning leaf smoke. It took many years before the dangers of tobacco smoking hit home with the public. With any luck, the public's learning curve will be shorter this time.There is more evidence from the heartland that American mathematical skills are lacking. The Salt Lake Tribune reported last month that a Salt Lake County health inspector had told a restaurant that, as FDA research indicated one in four eggs were infected with salmonella, they should never use more than three when making a quiche. When the restaurant manager asked if they should just throw away every fourth egg, the inspector said she would research the issue. Further comment is impossible.This column examines the facts behind recent statistical studies that have made the news but been misinterpreted, failed to make the news for some reason or are just plain weird.From the Business & Economics DeskSource: United Press InternationalAuthor: Iain Murray, UPI Business CorrespondentPublished: November 15, 2002Copyright 2002 United Press InternationalWebsite: Contact: Articles & Web Site:BLF - Report on Cannabis - PDF Format Wisdom - Guardian Unlimited Doesn't Cause Lung Cancer 
Home Comment Email Register Recent Comments Help

Comment #7 posted by afterburner on November 17, 2002 at 17:50:27 PT:
The True Meaning of Tobacco.
For an interesting read on the true meaning of tobacco, see Flesh of the Gods: The Ritual Use of Hallucinogens Edited by Peter T. Furst, Chapter 2, “Tobacco and Shamanistic Ecstasy Among the Warao Indians of Venezuela” by Johannes Wilbert. "Tobacco (Nicotiana spp.) is not generally considered to be a hallucinogen. Yet, ... tobacco has long been known to play a central role in North and South American shamanism, both in the achievement of shamanistic trance states and in purification and supernatural curing. Even if it’s not one of the 'true' hallucinogens from a botanist’s or pharmacologist’s point of view, tobacco is often conceptually and functionally indistinguishable from them. "We know that the Indians from Canada to Patagonia esteemed tobacco as one of their most important medicinal and magical plants and that some employed it as a vehicle of ecstasy. We know that everywhere and almost always in prehistoric and more recent historic times its use was strictly ritualistic. Its increasing secularization among Indians is a modern development, adopted from Europeans (to whom tobacco was of course unknown prior to the first voyage of Columbus). Nevertheless, ancient ritual meanings associated with native tobacco persist: in many tribes the tobacco they themselves cultivate or collect in the wild state is reserved for ritual and ceremonial use, whereas the white man’s tobacco, or 'Virginia tobacco,' a hybrid domesticate of Nicotiana tabacum, is freely smoked...."The Warao believe they inhabit a saucer-shaped earth surrounded by a belt of water. The 'stepped' celestial vault covers both earth and ocean and rests on a series of mountains situated at the cardinal and intercardinal points. Much of a Warao Indian’s life is spent in propitiating a number of Supreme Spirits (Kanobos) who inhabit these mountains at the ends of the world and who require nourishment in the form of tobacco smoke from the people."The priest-shaman (wishiratu) visits these spirits in his dreams or in a tobacco-induced trance and, on returning from such a visit, transmits the message of the Supreme Spirits to the community. One of the four major spirits is usually present among the people in the form of a sacred stone. The annual moriche festival, called nahanamu, over which the priest-shaman presides, is celebrated in propitiation of the Supreme Spirits who request that the ceremony be held and who will protect the community if their command is heeded. Sickness is believed to be caused by one or another of the deified Kanobos, who thereby expresses his dissatisfaction with man and sends his hebu (spirit) to do harm or even kill...."In the old days, ordinary mortals hesitated to smoke for fear of precipitating an undesirable encounter with tobacco-craving spirits. Nowadays cigarettes and tobacco in every form are smoked freely by most Warao;... But the long indigenous 'cigars' are exclusively shamanic....Warao shamans must never attempt to feed the Supreme Spirits with 'Virginia blends,' because the foreign 'perfumed' aroma is offensive to the spirits. (Unaware of this prohibition, on one ceremonial occasion I deposited a Camel cigarette as an offering in the sanctuary of the Kanobo spirits. The officiating priest-shaman immediately asked me to replace it with a piece of 'black' tobacco. Not only would it be more suitable for the Kanobos, its smell would also be free of the offensive odor of the burning cigarette paper.)"
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #6 posted by AlvinCool on November 15, 2002 at 15:48:46 PT
According to the study this references marijuana is so potent and addictive that if we turned it loose the nation would be stoned in hours. I guess everyone will buy those double joint hats with a line that allows you to smoke two at a time. You'll need that after you build up your tolerance, right? I expect, from all these NEW studies, that so many people will be smoking so much that a pack of 20 will soon be considered "light" smoking.BAH, they shovel it out and we have to take it.
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #5 posted by krutch on November 15, 2002 at 12:35:42 PT:
Nothing is safe, nothing is harmless
Here is that straw man again. I never heard anybody say cannabis is harmless. No medicine is harmless. Taking any medicine requires a cost benefit analysis. The question is, Do the benefits of the treatment outweigh the risks?On the 15 times stronger argument: Stronger pot is better. You smoke less and get the same effect. 3 joints of kind bud is allot to smoke. 3 joints of dirt weed is not. I would rater take a couple of hits of the good stuff then smoke a bunch of marginal bud.Nice propaganda piece. Let's all drink to a drug free society. Cheers.
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #4 posted by DdC on November 15, 2002 at 11:36:15 PT
Safe Ways to Abuse Booze, More Lies on Ganja...
Again for the upteeth time. Adding chemicals to American cigarettes, not found in ganja or organic tobacco just might play a role in the disease business. This attempt at removing the fear factor from booze use and breast cancer is really sickning to see the length these fascist will go in protecting their profits. Again cannabis the expectorant will make a patient cough up, and out, the harmful effects of American chemical cigarettes and any harm of using paper to roll joints. Not found in drinking bhang. It is smoked in joint form including paper only in western cultures under prohibition. Prohibition also causes schwag to be smoked do to the price of black market ganja. The countries using ganja, thousands of years report no cancer risk. Yet still those supposidly responsible for the safety of the lungs are propagandizing on bogus cop science. Nahas lives and lies again. Beating a dead horse chasing hobgobblins and removing civil liberties to promote the product cancer. Remedied by Pharmaceuticals from the very same companies selling the chemicals to the tobacco companies. Chemicals not discussed by the "experts" or the when comparing American cigarettes to ganja. Another false study without an actual victim. Another "theory" to keep ganja out of the profits of these killer chemical Korpses. The United Kingdom of Anemika really deserves the chemicals and really don't deserve ganjameds. Let em suffer in the same agony they profess ganja med users should suffer, only not from the ganja, from the prohibition of it. I have no mercy left for these ignorant sheople grazing on wishes. Let em die!Peace, Love and Liberty or a slow agonizing!DdC"The size of the lie is a definite factor in causing it to be believed, for the vast masses of the nation are in the depths of their hearts more easily deceived than they are consciously and intentionally bad. The primitive simplicity of their minds renders them a more easy prey to a big lie than a small one, for they themselves often tell little lies but would be ashamed to tell a big one." From Benito Mussolini contributing to the "London Sunday Express," December 8, 1935 "How many murders, suicides, robberies, criminal assaults, holdups, burglaries and deeds of maniacal insanity it causes each year, especially among the young, can only be conjectured...No one knows, when he places a marijuana cigarette to his lips, whether he will become a joyous reveller in a musical heaven, a mad insensate, a calm philosopher, or a murderer..."
HARRY J ANSLINGER Commissioner of the US Bureau of Narcotics 1930 1962 "All propaganda must be so popular and on such an intellectual level, that even the most stupid of those towards whom it is directed will understand it. Therefore, the intellectual level of the propaganda must be lower the larger the number of people who are to be influenced by it." Just Say NO!Criminal Misconduct
Before Anslinger started the pacifist zombie-marijuana scare in 1948, he publicly used jazz music, violence, and the “gore files” for five to seven more years (1943-50) in the press, at conventions, lectures, and Congressional hearings. "Through clever and constant application of propaganda, people can be made to see paradise as hell, and also the other way around, to consider the most wretched sort of life as paradise."
From Benito Mussolini contributing to the "London Sunday Express," December 8, 1935 "There are 100,000 total marijuana smokers in the US, and most are Negroes, Hispanics, Filipinos and entertainers. Their Satanic music, jazz and swing, result from marijuana usage. This marijuana causes white women to seek sexual relations with Negroes, entertainers and any others." Harry Anslinger, U.S. Commissioner of Narcotics, testifying to Congress on
why marijuana should be made illegal, 1937. (Marijuana Tax Act, signed Aug. 2, 1937; effective Oct. 1, 1937.) "The masses have little time to think. And how incredible is the willingness of modern man to believe." Paraphernalia laws directed against marijuana users make it difficult to smoke safely. These laws make atomizers, 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."Another weapon I discovered early was the power of the printed word to sway souls to me. The newspaper was soon my gun, my flag - a thing with a soul that could mirror my own."
Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini together in the heyday of 1930s fascism. CANNABIS LUNG CLEANER AND EXPECTORANT Cannabis is the best natural expectorant to clear the human lungs of smog, dust and the phlegm associated with tobacco use. Marijuana smoke effectively dilates the airways of the lungs, the bronchi, opening them to allow more oxygen into the lungs. It is also the best natural dilator of the tiny airways of the lungs, the bronchial tubes - making cannabis the best overall bronchial dilator for 80% of the population (the remaining 20% sometimes show minor negative reactions). (See section on asthma - a disease that closes these passages in spasms - UCLA Tashkin studies, 1969-97; U.S. Costa Rican, 1980-82; Jamaican studies 1969-74, 76.) Statistical evidence - showing up consistently as anomalies in matched populations - indicates that people who smoke tobacco cigarettes are usually better off and will live longer if they smoke cannabis moderately, too. (Jamaicna, Costa Rican studies.) Millions of Americans have given up or avoided smoking tobacco products in favor of cannabis, which is not good news to the powerful tobacco lobby - Senator Jesse Helms and his cohorts. A turn-of-the-century grandfather clause in U.S. tobacco law allows 400 to 6,000 additional chemicals to be added. Additions since then to the average tobacco cigarette are unknown, and the public in the U.S. has no right to know what they are. Many joggers and marathon runners feel cannabis use cleans their lungs, allowing better endurance. The evidence indicates that cannabis use will probably increase these outlaw American marijuana-users' lives by about one to two years - yet they may lose their rights, property, children, state licenses, etc., just for using that safest of substances: cannabis. RX Marijuana Uses
http://marijuana-uses.comShared Stories of Medical Cannabis comments and observations New Medical related articles researchers who made the claim of increased potency used as their baseline the THC content of marijuana seized by police in the early 1970s. Poor storage of this marijuana in un-air conditioned evidence rooms caused it to deteriorate and decline in potency before any chemical assay was performed. Contemporaneous, independent assays of unseized "street" marijuana from the early 1970s showed a potency equivalent to that of modern "street" marijuana. Actually, the most potent form of this drug that was generally available was sold legally in the 1920s and 1930s by the pharmaceutical company Smith-Klein under the name, "American Cannabis".Get Over It's Prescription for Bloated Police BudgesIncredibly, a famous study which found that cannabis reduces tumors (see Chapter 7), was originally ordered by the Federal Government on the premise that pot would hurt the immune system. This was based on the "Reefer Madness" studies done by the disreputable Dr. Gabriel Nahas of Columbia University in 1972.This is the same Dr. Nahas who claimed his studies showed pot created chromosome, testosterone (male hormone) damage, and countless other horrible effects which suggested the breaking down of the immune system. Nahas' background is in the OSS/CIA and later the U.S. where he worked closely with Lyndon LaRouche and Kurt Waldheim.In 1998, Nahas is still the darling favorite of the DEA and NIDA (National Institute on Drug Abuse) yet no anti-marijuana studies of Nahas' have every been replicated in countless other research attempts. Columbia University specifically disassociated itself from Nahas' marijuana research in a specially called press conference in 1975!Old, discredited Nahas studies are still trotted out by the Drug Enforcement Administration today, and deliberately given to unknowledgeable parents' groups, churches, and PTAs as valid research regarding the evils of pot.The dissemination of Nahas'* dangerous horror stories is paid for with your tax dollars, even years after the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in 1976 specifically forbade Nahas from getting another penny of U.S. government money for cannabis studies because of his embarrassing research in the early 1970s.* Nahas, in December 1983, under ridicule from his peers and a funding cut-off from NIDA renounced all his old THC metabolite build-up and unique chromosome petri dish tissue damage studies, conclusions, and extrapolations.Yet the DEA, NIDA, VISTA, the "War on Drugs," and now-deceased writer Peggy Mann (in Reader's Digest articles and her book Marijuana Alert, wilth foreward by Nancy Reagan) have used these discredited studies on parents' groups such as Parents for a Drug Free Youth, etc., often with Nahas as a highly paid guest lecturer, without a word of how his studies are really considered by this peers.This, we assume, is done to scare parents, teachers, legislators and judges, using scientific terminology and bogus non-clinical statistics, ultimately aimed at selling more urine-testing equipment. Therefore, more profits are created for the drug-rehabilitation clinics and their staffs of professionals; and to maintain funding for the DEA, local police, judicial, penal, corrections and other government pork barrel, police state interests.The "War on Drugs" is big money, so the shameless petitioning for more police and more jail cells continues. And we still have thousands of judges, legislators, police, Reader's Digest readers, and parents who have for years used and cited Nahas' studies in particular as the prime reasons to continue these unjust laws and to jail millions of Americans over the last decade. Continued...Dr. Heath/Tulane Study, 1974 The Hype: Brain Damage and Dead Monkeys"Certain American industrialists had a great deal to do with bringing fascist regimes into being in both Germany and Italy. They extended aid to help Fascism occupy the seat of power, and they are helping to keep it there." - William E. Dodd, U.S. Ambassador to Germany, 1937. Continued...
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #3 posted by goneposthole on November 15, 2002 at 10:44:31 PT
School children
79% thought marijuana use was "safe." They thought right.Actually, tobacco use was not really a great risk to one's health until pre-packaged cigarettes hit the market. Commercial production rolled tobacco into cigarettes by the billions. Acute health problems from tobacco abuse were manifested after the introduction of the packaged cigarettes. The added convienence of not having to 'roll your own' paved the way for increased abuse of tobacco.Belladonna leaves were burned to 'medicate' people with asthma.To concoct every kind of inorganic, chemically derived drugs is not true medicine, either.
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #2 posted by CorvallisEric on November 15, 2002 at 10:18:16 PT
Why don't these turkeys just come right out and
make the only logical justification for the juxtaposition of the "15 times stronger" statement (never mind whether or not it's valid) and lung damage? Here is what they should say:Since marijuana is infinitely addictive, it follows that all pot smokers will smoke non-stop - whatever the potency - until they pass out (which increased "tolerance" will prevent) or until their supply runs out.
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #1 posted by 420toker on November 15, 2002 at 09:58:42 PT
I dont get it
The author gave a nice accurate description about the first study and weighed it aginst reality in a responsible and scientific manner.Then totally and unquestionably supports the most questionable analysis of the two.I get the feeling this person drinks regularly and is trying to convince themselves its ok.
[ Post Comment ]

Post Comment