Post by Ask Jan on Jun 19, 2011 6:34:44 GMT -8
Fact : Marijuana does not cause physical dependence
Marijuana--Fact or Fiction
"Myth: Marijuana is Highly Addictive. Long term marijuana users experience physical dependence and withdrawal, and often need professional drug treatment to break their marijuana habits.
Fact: Most people who smoke marijuana smoke it only occasionally. A small minority of Americans - less than 1 percent - smoke marijuana on a daily basis. An even smaller minority develop a dependence on marijuana. Some people who smoke marijuana heavily and frequently stop without difficulty. Others seek help from drug treatment professionals. Marijuana does not cause physical dependence. If people experience withdrawal symptoms at all, they are remarkably mild.
Myth: Marijuana Is More Potent Today Than In The Past. Adults who used marijuana in the 1960s and 1970s fail to realize that when today's youth use marijuana they are using a much more dangerous drug.
Fact: When today's youth use marijuana, they are using the same drug used by youth in the 1960s and 1970s. A small number of low-THC samples seized by the Drug Enforcement Administration are used to calculate a dramatic increase in potency. However, these samples were not representative of the marijuana generally available to users during this era. Potency data from the early 1980s to the present are more reliable, and they show no increase in the average THC content of marijuana. Even if marijuana potency were to increase, it would not necessarily make the drug more dangerous. Marijuana that varies quite substantially in potency produces similar psychoactive effects.
Myth: Marijuana Offenses Are Not Severely Punished. Few marijuana law violators are arrested and hardly anyone goes to prison. This lenient treatment is responsible for marijuana continued availability and use.
Fact: Marijuana arrests in the United States doubled between 1991 and 1995. In 1995, more than one-half-million people were arrested for marijuana offenses. Eighty-six percent of them were arrested for marijuana possession. Tens of thousands of people are now in prison for marijuana offenses. An even greater number are punished with probation, fines, and civil sanctions, including having their property seized, their driver's license revoked, and their employment terminated. Despite these civil and criminal sanctions, marijuana continues to be readily available and widely used.
Myth: Marijuana is More Damaging to the Lungs Than Tobacco. Marijuana smokers are at a high risk of developing lung cancer, bronchitis, and emphysema.
Fact: Moderate smoking of marijuana appears to pose minimal danger to the lungs. Like tobacco smoke, marijuana smoke contains a number of irritants and carcinogens. But marijuana users typically smoke much less often than tobacco smokers, and over time, inhale much less smoke. As a result, the risk of serious lung damage should be lower in marijuana smokers. There have been no reports of lung cancer related solely to marijuana, and in a large study presented to the American Thoracic Society in 2006, even heavy users of smoked marijuana were found not to have any increased risk of lung cancer. Unlike heavy tobacco smokers, heavy marijuana smokers exhibit no obstruction of the lung's small airway. That indicates that people will not develop emphysema from smoking marijuana.
Myth: Marijuana is a Gateway Drug. Even if marijuana itself causes minimal harm, it is a dangerous substance because it leads to the use of "harder drugs" like heroin, LSD, and cocaine.
Fact: Marijuana does not cause people to use hard drugs. What the gateway theory presents as a causal explanation is a statistic association between common and uncommon drugs, an association that changes over time as different drugs increase and decrease in prevalence. Marijuana is the most popular illegal drug in the United States today. Therefore, people who have used less popular drugs such as heroin, cocaine, and LSD, are likely to have also used marijuana. Most marijuana users never use any other illegal drug. Indeed, for the large majority of people, marijuana is a terminus rather than a gateway drug.
Myth: Marijuana's Harms Have Been Proved Scientifically. In the 1960s and 1970s, many people believed that marijuana was harmless. Today we know that marijuana is much more dangerous than previously believed.
Fact: In 1972, after reviewing the scientific evidence, the National Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse concluded that while marijuana was not entirely safe, its dangers had been grossly overstated. Since then, researchers have conducted thousands of studies of humans, animals, and cell cultures. None reveal any findings dramatically different from those described by the National Commission in 1972. In 1995, based on thirty years of scientific research editors of the British medical journal Lancet concluded that "the smoking of cannabis, even long term, is not harmful to health."
To read more Marijuana Facts & Myths Click Here!
information quoted courtesy of: drugpolicy.org
Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse. "Legalization: Panacea or Pandora's Box." New York. (1995): 36.
Turner, Carlton E. The Marijuana Controversy. Rockville: American Council for Drug Education, 1981.
Nahas, Gabriel G. and Nicholas A. Pace. Letter. "Marijuana as Chemotherapy Aid Poses Hazards." New York Times 4 December 1993: A20.
Inaba, Darryl S. and William E. Cohen. Uppers, Downers, All-Arounders: Physical and Mental Effects of Psychoactive Drugs. 2nd ed. Ashland: CNS Productions, 1995. 174.
Reference to the hemp plant (cannabis) appears as early as 2700 B.C. in a Chinese manuscript. European explorers arriving to the New World first observed the plant in 1545. It was considered to be such a useful crop that early Jamestown settlers in 1607 began its cultivation and later, in Virginia, farmers were fined for not growing hemp. In 1617, it was introduced into England. From the seventeenth to the mid-twentieth century marijuana was considered a household drug useful for treating such maladies as headaches, menstrual cramps, and toothaches. From 1913-38 a stronger variety of the marijuana plant was cultivated by American drug companies for use in their drug products. It was called Cannabis Americana.
Prior to 1910, the growth and trade of marijuana (and hashish—a resinous substance produced by the flowering parts of the plant) was fairly limited. However, following the conclusion of the Mexican Revolution, trafficking of the drug opened up, making growth and transport of the drug easier and more profitable. The business expanded to reach the ports of New Orleans where it was sold on the black market, alongside other strains of the plant, to sailors passing through, as well as local residents. It wasn't long before the trend of marijuana use began to overshadow the historic applications of cannabis as a medicine.
The drug soon became popular (especially its stronger derivatives - hashish, charas, ghanja, and bhang) among musicians who maintained that smoking marijuana gave them the inspiration they needed to play their music. These musicians glamorized the use of marijuana. Some claimed it gave them contemplative vision and a feeling of overwhelming freedom and verve; others not only used the drug themselves, but sold it to a variety of customers. As the entertainers went on the road, so did their drugs. Eventually, use of marijuana, alcohol, and other mind-altering drugs spread and soon became prevalent in major cities worldwide, such as Chicago, New York, London, and Paris.
Many of the musicians and entertainers of the Jazz Age who used drugs and alcohol relied heavily on gangland kings for their "gigs" (jobs). Frequently, these gangsters were able to provide (for a fee) a variety of drugs and bootleg alcohol for the performers and their staffs.
In the 1920s, as a result of the amendment prohibiting the use of alcoholic beverages (Prohibition), marijuana use as a psychoactive drug began to grow. Even after the repeal of Prohibition in 1933, marijuana was widely used, as were morphine, heroin, and cocaine.
In 1937, 46 states banned the use of marijuana along with other narcotic drugs. The popular perception, however, was that marijuana was not as addictive as narcotics. It is classified today as a drug that alters mood, perception, and image, rather than as a narcotic drug. It is still considered a Schedule I drug, which means it is considered a dangerous drug with no medical use. A bill has been proposed to re-classify marijuana as a Schedule II drug, a dangerous drug with limited medical use.
By the 1960s it was widely used by the young from all social classes. It is estimated that in 1994, 17 million Americans had used marijuana, and about 1.5 million of these Americans smoke marijuana regularly.
The presence of more potent strains of marijuana has widened the debate between the drug enforcement authorities and the advocates of decriminalizing marijuana use because it is, they argue, not in the same class as the more addictive drugs. Others assert that marijuana is a "gateway" drug to the harder drugs and therefore argue that rigid laws against its use and distribution should remain in effect.
Since 1976 laws allowing the limited use of marijuana for medical purposes (medical marijuana) have been enacted in 35 states (by 2003 some of these laws had expired or were specifically not renewed by state legislators). In 2002 there were broad efforts to decriminalize marijuana use in Canada and the United Kingdom. Within the United States, most state level reforms are rendered ineffectual by over-riding federal drug laws. Despite federal laws, since 1996, eight states have enacted various laws that effectively allow the limited and controlled use of medical marijuana. In those states, however, doctors and medicinal users still face possible federal criminal prosecution.
In May 1999, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) released a policy that described the need for further research into the use of marijuana for medical treatment. The NIH maintains that the use of marijuana for medical reasons must involve an analysis of the benefits of use as well as the potential risks.
A number of marijuana legalization initiatives—ranging from legalizing limited personal use of marijuana to allowing farmers to grow marijuana to produce non-psychoactive hemp—have been rejected by voters in recent years. In November 2002, a trio of proposed reforms in Nevada, South Dakota, and Arizona were defeated by voters in those states. Supporters of marijuana legalization cite non-binding resolutions in San Francisco and Massachusetts that encouraged local and state legislators to develop decriminalization strategies as evidence of continued public interest in reforming marijuana laws.Supporters of marijuana-law reform also continue to assert poll evidence that indicates a significant portion of the public supports exploring the limited legalization of marijuana for medical use.
Now, Arizona becomes the 15th state where voters have demanded a medical marijuana program be established with the passing of proposition 203. And we here at Arizona Cannabis Society are excited to be leading Arizona into this new age of medicine and industry.
How Does Cannabis Work?
Cannabis contains over 300 compounds. At least 66 of these are cannabinoids, which are the basis for medical and scientific use of cannabis. This presents the research problem of isolating the effect of specific compounds and taking account of the interaction of these compounds. Cannabinoids can serve as appetite stimulants, antiemetics, antispasmodics, and have some analgesic effects. Five important cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant are tetrahydrocannabinol, cannabidiol, cannabinol, ß-caryophyllene, and cannabigerol.
Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the primary compound responsible for the psychoactive effects of cannabis. The compound is a mild analgesic, and cellular research has shown the compound has antioxidant activity. THC is believed to interfere with parts of the brain normally controlled by the endogenous cannabinoid neurotransmitter, anandamide. Anandamide is believed to play a role in pain sensation, memory, and sleep.
Cannabidiol (CBD), is a major constituent of medical cannabis. CBD represents up to 40% of extracts of the medical cannabis plant. Cannabidiol relieves convulsion, inflammation, anxiety, nausea, and inhibits cancer cell growth. Recent studies have shown cannabidiol to be as effective as atypical antipsychotics in treating schizophrenia. Because cannabidiol relieves the aforementioned symptoms, cannabis strains with a high amount of CBD would be ideal for people with multiple sclerosis, frequent anxiety attacks and Tourette syndrome.
Cannabinol (CBN) is a therapeutic cannabinoid found in Cannabis sativa and Cannabis indica. It is also produced as a metabolite, or a breakdown product, of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).CBN acts as a weak agonist of the CB1 and CB2 receptors, with lower affinity in comparison to THC.
Part of the mechanism by which medical cannabis has been shown to reduce tissue inflammation is via the compound ß-caryophyllene. A cannabinoid receptor called CB2 plays a vital part in reducing inflammation in humans and other animals. ß-Caryophyllene has been shown to be a selective activator of the CB2 receptor. ß-Caryophyllene is especially concentrated in cannabis essential oil, which contains about 12–35% ß-caryophyllene.
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