P R O V E N :
  C A N N A B I S   I S  

S A F E   M E D I C I N E

By Ian Williams Goddard

        In reaction to medical cannabis access referendums on 
        the ballots in Arizona and California, former presidents 
        Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, and George Bush signed a let-
        ter stating that they ``categorically oppose'' access to 
        cannabis for its many proven therapeutic uses such as the
        prevention of blindness and epileptic seizures [1].

        Their chief concern was that legal medical access would 
        send the message that cannabis is safe.  The presidents 
        can, however, lay their safety concerns to rest because 
        the scientific literature overwhelmingly confirms that 
        cannabis is both an effective and safe medicine.


        The Cannabis Safety Profile 

        The journal PHARMACOLOGICAL REVIEWS [2] reports that
        decades of research prove that, "Compared with legal
        drugs...marijuana does not pose greater risks."  Yet
        based upon mortality statistics,  we can safely con-
        clude that cannabis is one of the safest medical drugs
        known, for, while prescription drugs, defined as safe
        by the FDA, kill up to 27,000 and aspirin up to 1,000 
        Americans per year, cannabis kills 0 per year [3].

        When we know the facts we can understand why in 1988, 
        after extensive review of the scientific literature, 
        the DEA's own administrative judge Frances Young con-
        cluded that ``Marijuana is one of the safest thera-
        peutically active substances known to man.'' [4]

        Opponents of legal cannabis access would have us be-
        lieve that there is not enough research available to
        determine its safety.  Nothing could be further from 
        the truth. Cannabis is one of the most thoroughly re-
        searched drugs in history, and the evidence gathered 
        over the centuries clearly proves that it is safe:

        * The Indian Hemp Drugs Commission Report (1894): an
        exhaustive seven-volume, 3,281-page report that con-
        cludes: "Moderate [cannabis] use produces practically 
        no ill effects." [5][6][7]

        * The Panama Canal Military Study (1916-1929), amass-
        ing extensive data on the health impact of cannabis
        smoking upon  American soldiers stationed in Panama,
        recommended that "No steps be taken by the Canal Zone 
        authorities to prevent the sale or use of Marihuana." 
        The research also concluded that, "There is no evi-
        dence that Marihuana...is...'habit-forming.'" [7][8]

        * The LaGuardia Report (1939-1944), commissioned by
        New York City Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia, which includ-
        ed evidence gathered over thousands of years,  con-
        cluded that "Smoking marihuana does not lead to add-
        iction... does not lead to morphine, heroin, or co-
        caine addiction"  and that  "the publicity concern-
        ing the catastrophic effects of marihuana smoking
        in New York City is unfounded." [7][9]

        * The Baroness Wootton Report (1968), commissioned 
        by the Advisory Committee on Drug Dependence of the 
        United Kingdom Home Office, concluded, "There is no 
        evidence that...serious physical dangers are directly 
        associated with the smoking of cannabis." The report 
        also noted that "Cannabis use does not lead to heroin 
        addiction" and that  "there is no evidence that [can-
        nabis]...is producing in otherwise normal people con-
        ditions of dependence or psychosis, requiring medical
        treatment." [7][10] 

        The HARVARD MEDICAL SCHOOL MENTAL HEALTH LETTER [11]
        reports the findings of other major cannabis studies:

             In three major studies conducted in Jamaica, 
             Costa Rica, and Greece, researchers have
             compared heavy long-term cannabis users 
             with non-users and found no evidence of 
             intellectual or neurological damage, no 
             changes in personality,  and no loss of 
             the will to work or participate in society. 

        The Jamaican study states that,  even as cannabis use
        in Jamaica "is pervasive" and is used "in heavier quan-
        tities with greater THC potency than in the U.S.," its 
        use is "without deleterious social or psychological 
        consequences." [12]

        What's more, the three studies cited, the largest human
        cannabis studies to date, also revealed that heavy long-
        term cannabis users scored slightly higher on IQ tests, 
        had slightly lower rates of illness and cancer, and liv-
        ed longer on average than non-users. Users also proved 
        to be more relaxed and sociable than non-users [4][12]
        [13]. The best evidence indicates, contrary to GovtMedia 
        disinformation, that cannabis is safe and good for you.

        In line with the findings of the Panama Canal study
        and the LaGuardia Report,  current research confirms
        that the addictive potential of cannabis is very low.
        The journal TRENDS IN PHARMACOLOGICAL SCIENCES states 
        that research shows cannabis has  "limited potential 
        for development of...psychological dependence due to 
        the weak reinforcing properties of Delta-9-THC." [14] 
        BRAIN RESEARCH journal observes that "cannabinoid 
        dependence and withdrawal phenomena are minimal." [15] 

        Research proves that cannabis is nontoxic. For example,
        in the journal FUNDAMENTAL AND APPLIED TOXICOLOGY [16], 
        Dr. William Slikker, director of the Neurotoxicology  
        Division of the National Center for Toxicological Re-
        search (NCTR), described the health of monkeys exposed 
        to very high levels of cannabis for an extended period:

             The general health of the monkeys was not 
             compromised by a year of marijuana exposure  
             as indicated by weight gain, carboxyhemoglobin 
             and clinical chemistry/hematology values.

        When THE ARKANSAS TIMES [17] asked Dr. Merle Paule of 
        NCTR about evidence of cannabis toxicity and the health 
        of the monkeys in the study, Dr. Paule said, "There's 
        just nothing there. They were all fine."

        The journal TOXICOLOGY LETTERS [18] published a study 
        that found no link between cannabis smoking and lung 
        cancer. The seven researchers in the study concluded:

             It has been suggested that marijuana smoking 
             is a proximal cause of respiratory cancer. 
             However, these intimations have not been 
             borne out by epidemiological investigation.

        Not only is the evidence linking cannabis smoking to 
        cancer negative, but the largest human studies cited in-
        dicated that cannabis users had lower rates of cancer
        than nonusers. What's more, those who smoked both can-
        nabis and tobacco had lower rates of lung cancer than 
        those who smoked only tobacco -- a strong indication
        of chemo-prevention [4][12][13]. Even more, in 1975 re-
        searchers at the Medical College of Virginia found that 
        cannabis showed powerful antitumor activity against 
        both benign and malignant tumors (the government then 
        banned all future cannabis/cancer research) [4].  In
        fact,  the NEW ENGLISH DISPENSATORY of 1764 recommends
        boiled cannabis roots for the elimination of tumors [19].
        Powerful evidence that cannabis not only does not cause
        cancer, but that it may prevent and even cure cancer.

        The few studies that the GovtMedia drums into the pub-
        lic mind over and over,  which claim to show that can-
        nabis is a harmful drug, are almost all the work of the
        the government's top hired gun, Dr. Gabriel Nahas. The
        NEW ENGLAND JOURNAL OF MEDICINE described Nahas's work
        as "psychopharmacological McCarthyism that compels him 
        to use half-truths, innuendo and unverified assertions." 
        The JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION also con-
        demned his work, stating, "Examples of biased selection
        and...omissions of facts abound in every chapter." [20]

        Conclusion:

        Not only does the best scientific research overwhelming-
        ly confirm that cannabis is both an effective medicine 
        and a safe drug, but that it may both prevent and cure
        cancer and may be generally beneficial to health. What 
        this shows us most clearly, in light of the consensus 
        to the contrary, is the enormous power of a Big Lie. 

        With its vast resources, the "GovtMedia elite" are 
        able to fabricate and fob off a pharmacological fraud 
        against both cannabis and the public interest. Through 
        sheer repetition and consistent suppression of contrary 
        information, they are able to construct an edifice of 
        public consensus which even the hardest scientific 
        facts fail to topple.

        The truth is no stronger than the ability of true in-
        formation to surpass the public distribution of false 
        and misleading information. The GovtMedia has a greater 
        ability to distribute a Big Lie than any other sector 
        of society has to distribute the truth. However, this 
        report right here contains copious quantities of care-
        fully referenced scientific facts that consistently 
        and conclusively confirm that cannabis is safe --
        thereby exploding the GovtMedia's Big Lie. 

        As truth is only as powerful as it is known, do all 
        that is in your power to make these powerful facts 
        known, that we might put an end to the destructive 
        and illogical prohibition of the proven safe and ef-
        fective drug cannabis,  for possession of which 10 
        million Americans have been arrested since 1965 [21].

************************************************************************
 IAN GODDARD (igoddard@erols.com)   Q U E S T I O N   A U T H O R I T Y
------------------------------------------------------------------------
 VISIT Ian Goddard's Universe   ----->    http://www.erols.com/igoddard 
________________________________________________________________________

        _____________________________________________________
        [1] "Three Former U.S. Presidents Oppose Medical 
            Marijuana Measures," Associated Press (10/30/96).
        [2] PHARMACOLOGICAL REVIEWS: Health Aspects of 
            Cannabis. 1986, 38:1, 1-20. pg. 17.
        [3] Bureau of Mortality Statistics, 1988. U.S. Public
            Health Service statistics. National Institute of
            Drug Abuse statistics. U.S. Surgeon General's Report.
        [4] The Emperor Wears No Cloths. Jack Herer, Queen 
            of Clubs Pub, 1991. Recommended: 213-392-1806.
        [5] INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF ADDICTIONS. Spring 1968, 
            digest of 1894 Indian Hemp Drugs Commission Report. 
        [6] The Indian Hemp Drugs Commission Report of 1894. 
            Jefferson Press, Silv.Spring, MD, 1969, John Kaplan.
        [7] http://www.natlnorml.org/research/studies.shtml
        [8] MILITARY SURGEON. 1933, vol:73, pages 269-280.
        [9] The La Guardia Report, reprinted in "The Mari-
            juana Papers," Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1966. 
        [10] The Consumer's Union Report: Licit & Illicit 
             Drugs. Mt. Vernon, New York, 1971.
        [11] HARVARD MEDICAL SCHOOL MENTAL HEALTH LETTER:
             Marijuana. L. Grinspoon, vol. 4, no. 5. Nov, 1987. 
        [12] Ganja in Jamacia: A Medical Anthropological Study 
             of Chronic Marijuana Use. 1975. Anchor Books, NY.
        [13] Cannabis in Costa Rica: A Study of Chronic Mari-
             juana Use, 1980-82, Institute for the Study of 
             Human Issues, 3401 Science Center Philadelphia, PA. 
        [14] TRENDS IN PHARMACOLOGICAL SCIENCES: Neurobiology 
             of Marijuana Abuse. 1992, 13:201-206. pg. 203. 
        [15] BRAIN RESEARCH: Chronic cannabinoid administra-
             tion alters cannabinoid receptor binding in rat
             brain: a quantitative autoradiographic study.
             1993, 616:293-302. pg. 300. 
        [16] FUNDAMENTAL AND APPLIED TOXICOLOGY: Chronic
             Marijuana Smoke Exposure in the Rhesus Monkey. 
             1991, Aug; 17, 321-34.
        [17] THE ARKANSAS TIMES: Refer Madness. 9/16/93.
        [18] TOXICOLOGY LETTERS, "No Increase in Carcinogen-DNA
             Adducts in the Lungs of Monkeys Exposed Chronically 
             to Marijuana Smoke," 1992, Dec;63 (3): 321-32.
        [19] Marijuana: The First 12,000 Years. Plenum Press, 1980.
        [20] The Great Drug War, Macmillan Publishing, 1987.
        [21] Marijuana Policy Project, 202-462-5747, P.O. Box
             77492, Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C. 20013.
             http://www.mpp.org, MPP@MPP.ORG

             For info on the medical uses of cannabis visit:

                http://www.erols.com/igoddard/hemp-med.htm


(c) 1996 Ian Williams Goddard - (*) free to copy nonprofit w/ attribute.

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