All about marijuana

Liz Kinsman e.kinsman at
Wed Nov 6 13:12:15 EST 1996

Somebody wrote:-

(Main body of extremely long text snipped)

: Still more recent and a much more complete
:study of the "marihuana problem was issued by the New York Academy of
:Medicine at the request of the mayor of New York. That report, issued
:in 1944, is an exhaustive study of the medical, sociological and
:addiction problems of marihuana by a corps of experts. It is not
:without significance that their conclusions are almost precisely
:similar to those of the Indian Hemp Drug Commission issued fifty years
:ago. The Academy's main points may be briefly summarized thus:

:1. Smoking marihuana does not lead directly to mental or physical
:2. The habitual smoker knows when to stop, as excessive doses reverse
:its usually pleasant effects.
:3. Marihuana does not lead to addiction (in the medical sense) and
:while it is naturally habit forming, its withdrawal does not lead to
:the horrible withdrawal symptoms of the opiates.
:4. No deaths have ever been recorded that can be ascribed to
:5. Marihuana is not a direct causal factor in sexual or criminal
:6. Juvenile delinquency is not caused by marihuana smoking, although
:they are sometimes associated.
:7. "The publicity concerning the catastrophic effects of marijuana
:smoking in New York is unfounded."
:8. It is more of a nuisance than a menace.

50 years ago tobacco smoking was regarded as harmless, and only a couple
of weeks ago
I heard a tobacco company executive denying that tobacco smoking was addictive
(I do not know which dictionary he was relying on for his definition of
'addictive').  These days, however, few other than tobacco company
executives would deny that smoking tobacco poses grave risks to health and
is extremely addictive.

As a research scientist, I rarely refer to 50 year old texts but prefer to
seek out the most up to date literature.  In many areas of science our
knowledge may well be built on definitive work of 50 or more years ago,
but in many cases
long cherished hypotheses have been overturned by the application of new
ideas and/or technology.

The only argument for legalising cannabis, in my opinion, is that
commercial interests would then dictate that large sums of money be spent
researching its
pharmacological effects.  We would then learn what a truly dangerous drug
this is.
It is already believed to be a potent carcinogen - far more potent than tobacco.
Thorough research would no doubt demonstrate many other aspects of this
drug deleterious to health.  I believe there would then be a backlash
against its use and an end to the shallow propaganda cited.

Liz Kinsman
Royal Holloway
University of London
e.kinsman at

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