Cannabis News Stop the Drug War!
  Cannabis Less Harmful Than Aspirin, Says Scientist
Posted by FoM on October 19, 2000 at 19:58:55 PT
By Marie Woolf, Chief Political Correspondent  
Source: Independent U.K. 

cannabis Cannabis is a safer drug than aspirin and can be used long-term without serious side effects, says a book by a leading Oxford scientist. The Science of Marijuana, by Dr Leslie Iversen of Oxford University's department of pharmacology, found many "myths" surrounding marijuana use, such as extreme addictiveness, or links with mental illness or infertility are not supported by science.

He also found cannabis is an inherently "safe drug" which does not lead to cancer, infertility, brain damage or mental illness. Legalisation of the drug for medical conditions should be considered, he says.

Dr Iversen's findings will increase pressure on the Government to reopen the debate about the decriminalisation of marijuana.

The author, a fellow of the prestigious Royal Society, found cannabis was far less toxic than other drugs and had "an impressive record" compared with heroin, cocaine or tobacco and alcohol.

His study showed that the active element of cannabis, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which made users high, had a lot of potential as a safe drug to treat Aids patients and people suffering severe pain.

He also found "stoned" drivers were less dangerous and able to co-ordinate than people who were drunk. "By any standards, THC must be considered a very safe drug both acutely and on long-term exposure," he writes. "The available animal data are more than adequate to justify its approval as a human medicine, and indeed it has been approved by the FDA [American drug authority] for certain limited therapeutic indications."

The book says "alarming claims about the harmful effects of long-term exposure to cannabis" should be "put to rest", and there "is no evidence the drug causes any impairment in fertility or sexual function in men or women". He says people who stop using cannabis do not suffer long-term side-effects.

"Cannabis does not cause structural damage to the brains of animals as some reports had claimed, nor is there evidence of long-term damage to the human brain or other than slight residual impairments in cognitive function after drug use is stopped." The author says many adverse effects of cannabis are related to smoking the drug.

But cannabis itself did not appear to cause cancer. Compared with alcohol and cigarettes, which led to more than 100,000 deaths a year, cannabis had a far better record.

"Tetrahydrocannabinol is a very safe drug," he said. "Despite the widespread illicit use of cannabis here are very few if any instances of people dying from an overdose. Even such apparently innocuous medicines as aspirin and related steroidal anti-inflammatory compounds are not safe.

"Thousands of people die every year because of the tendency of these drugs to cause catastrophic gastric bleeding."

Keith Hellawell, the drug tsar, also agrees cannabis use does not lead to heroin addiction.

Source: Independent (UK)
Author: Marie Woolf, Chief Political Correspondent
Published: October 20, 2000
Copyright: 2000 Independent Newspapers (UK) Ltd.
Contact: letters@independent.co.uk
Address: 1 Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London E14 5DL
Website: http://www.independent.co.uk/

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Comment #5 posted by mungojelly on October 23, 2000 at 00:48:15 PT:

cannabis allergy?
Freedom Fighter, do you have any documentation of anyone dying as a result of ingesting cannabis, allergy or no? I have been unable to find documentation of ANY cases of death resulting directly from cannabis use -- I have a feeling that if there were any, we would be hearing about them daily from the prohibitionist propoganda machine, even if they had happened thirty years ago.

The closest I have seen to documented deaths from cannabis use was a group of people who inhaled cannabis laced with, if I remember correctly, chlorine bleach.


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Comment #4 posted by freedom fighter on October 21, 2000 at 18:00:39 PT
Peace
There are very few folks who did overdosed on cannabis but they were allergic to it just like some folks who were allergic to bee stings or peanuts. That is the way it is. It is just so rare tho. Let's put this way, more people are allergic to bees and aspirins than with cannabis. It is also true that if one ate 10 raw potatoes are likely to get toxic response to the potatoes than if one drink, eat, consume, or smoke the whole plant. So in reality, IT IS AIN'T MY BUSINESS IF YOU DO!(This should be a slogan!) \/

[ Post Comment ]
 
Comment #3 posted by legalizeit on October 20, 2000 at 07:59:32 PT
Media conspiracy
Interesting, how some stupid, unduplicated monkey experiement by prohibs is all over the DEAland national news, but anything that might show pot is less harmful than commonly thought is quietly overlooked.

It's time to get the media out of the hands of the prohibs.

[ Post Comment ]
 
Comment #2 posted by Ethan Russo, MD on October 20, 2000 at 04:52:00 PT:

Better Info from Dr. Iversen
I agree with the previous comment. This could have been an important supportive document. Dr. Iversen's book is "The Science of Marijuana" from Oxford University Press, and is available from amazon.com:

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0195131231/qid=972042708/sr=1-1/002-4554979-8196013

Its medical endorsement of cannabis is mixed, but is generally much more supportive, and well-reasoned than most. I reviewed this book for the Journal of Cannabis Therapeutics, which will be available in December from Haworth Press:

http://www.haworthpressinc.com/


[ Post Comment ]
 
Comment #1 posted by Peace on October 19, 2000 at 20:30:35 PT
Good/Bad Press
The content of this article is valuable, but presentation is very poor. I wish someone else had had the opportunity to write this information for the public.

And...

"...few if any instances of overdose..."

???? It's IMPOSSIBLE to overdose. Only the abused monkeys who were "force-fed" with masks 2000 times the normal amount of smoke at one time showed signs of brain damage.

Get it straight. This article, like I said, has good info but comes across unconvincingly, I think.

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