Cannabis Truths

This post is a comment of a google knol, found here.  I wrote the following as a comment on that knol, since I doubt the comment will be approved, I re-post the comment here.

Truths, half-truths, and outright lies…

I will not spend my day going through this propaganda piece point by point. Suffice it to say that most of the information has already been disproved. I will only touch on two of the most egregious fabrications.Marijuana as gateway drug: Marijuana leads to hard drug use in the same way that kissing leads to pregnancy. Yes, many people who become addicted to hard drugs had previously smoked marijuana. Simple correlation does not mean cause and effect. The author, a self professed rehab specialist, knows this; it is one of the most basic building blocks of the scientific method. I could state that 95% of heroin addicts ate processed foods before trying heroin, would that mean that processed foods are a gateway drug to heroin? Obviously not, and to state such a thing would be ridiculous, just as ridiculous as the author’s statement. In fact, in our medical clinic we are finding cannabis (the proper term for marijuana) to be quite useful as a harm reduction substitute. Our clinic has used cannabis successfully to detox alcoholics, to taper and discontinue methadone, and to wean patients from poly-pharmacology. In each of these interventions there was significant increase to patient life satisfaction and health. Cannabis, properly utilized, is a potent tool for the treatment of addiction, a gateway drug back to reality. Cannabis dependence is always secondary to another problem, quite often PTSD or ADHD.

Cannabis Potency: Modern horticultural practices has led to some increase in cannabis potency, but how you interpret this change is the key to understanding it. Drug war zealots (and their cohorts in the treatment industry) use increased potency to try to convince people that today’s cannabis is inherently more dangerous than the cannabis they experienced in the past, there is no evidence that this is in fact true. Many parents who used cannabis in college know that it is not the harm that the prohibition industry wants them to believe it is, these parents may even condone cannabis use in their college aged children. The potency issue is trotted out in a tired attempt to have these people believe that somehow today’s cannabis is not the same as the cannabis their own experience has already shown to be safe. It is a scare tactic, nothing more. Increased potency simply means that it takes less to achieve the desired effects. This is a good thing, smoking anything is bad for the health. Higher potency means fewer pyrolitics and other harmful by products of the combustion process. It is far better to achieve the desired effect with a few tokes of high grade cannabis than to smoke multiple cannabis cigarettes of lower grade product.

All consumers of cannabis should consider obtaining a vaporizer device. A vaporizer heats the cannabis to a level that the active ingredients can be inhaled without bringing the material to a combustible level, thus avoiding the by products associated with smoking.

The most worrisome side effects of cannabis consumption are those propagated by the anti drug zealots, including legal prosecution and job loss.

Edit: Knowing that my comment would never be approved, I went ahead and reviewed the knol.  My review follows:

From the title “Marijuana: is Rehab Necessary?”, one would expect a treatment of both sides of the issue.  However, if this were one’s expectation, one would be disappointed.  The article regurgitates the same old tired dogma that the DEA and ONDCP have been reciting for years.  Even though studies have discounted nearly every point made in the article, none of this research is mentioned.  There is no research backing up the claims made by the author, so he/she states it as fact and neglects to include a single reference to back up the claims.

To understand the bias at work here one needs look at a single line:
Smoking marijuana can be habit-forming just like cigarette smoking, even though it lacks addictive nicotine found in cigarettes.One danger of marijuana addiction is…”

The author states that marijuana is habit forming, which is true as any behavior repeated enough can become habit forming.  Then the author compares marijuana to nicotine, but then admits that marijuana has no addictive elements.  Then the author continues as if he/she had not just made the concession.  This type of anti-intellectual argumentation will convince no one.

The rest of the article is equally weak and ineffectual, short on facts but long on unsubstantiated bias.  Had the author not prefaced the article with a question, I would not have bothered with it.  A better title would be “Marijuana: Why I Think It Is Bad.”

There are multiple links to a marijuana treatment facility in the same city as the author resides.  This article was nothing more than a poorly planned propaganda piece.  Pieces of the article were cut and pasted from the linked website…this piece is not true, has no facts to back it up, and is a poor example of an informative article.