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Distortion 1: Drug Use After Prohibition Ends

Distortion 2: Drug Use Estimates

Distortion 3: Needle Exchange

Distortion 4: Harm Reduction

Distortion 5: Methadone Treatment

Distortion 6: Emergency Room Visits

Distortion 7: Gateway

Distortion 8: Ecstasy

Distortion 9: Cannabis As Medicine

Distortion10: Young People and Drugs

Distortion 11: Marijuana Potency

Distortion 12: Cannabis and Driving

Distortion 13: US Crime Rates

Distortion 14: Cannabis and Drug Treatment

Distortion 15: People Only Smoke Pot To Get High, Whereas They Drink Alcohol To Be Sociable

Distortion 16: ONDCP's 'Open Letter on Marijuana' & the AntiDrug Media Campaign

Distortion 17: Cannabis and Drug Treatment Part II

Distortion 18: Cannabis and Mental Illness

Special: NORML's Truth Report 2005, An Analysis & Response To The Drug Czar's Open Letter About Marijuana

Special: Debunking The Myths — Chronic Pain & Opiods, by Frank Fisher, MD

Distortion 19: Estimating the Size of the Illicit Drug Market

Distortion 20: Methamphetamines

Distortion 21: US Crime Rates & Arrest Rates

Distortion 22: Marijuana & Violence

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Distortion 9: Cannabis As Medicine

Distortion 9: Cannabis is no better that codeine at controlling pain and because of its undesirable side effects it has no place in mainstream medicine. (cited: British Medical Journal)

In 2001, the British Medical Journal did publish two reviews of existing scientific studies on cannabinoids, one on pain management, the other on nausea control. These reviews did not include data on herbal cannabis, also called marijuana; instead, the studies reviewed examined only oral THC and two synthetic cannabinoids.

The reviews found that "Cannabinoids are no more effective than codeine in controlling pain and have depressant effects on the central nervous system that limit their use," and "In selected patients, the cannabinoids tested in these trials may be useful as mood enhancing adjuvants for controlling chemotherapy related sickness. Potentially serious adverse effects, even when taken short term orally or intramuscularly, are likely to limit their widespread use."

Sources: Campbell, Fiona A., Martin R. Tramer, et al., "Are cannabinoids an effective and safe treatment option in the management of pain? A qualitative systematic review," British Medical Journal 2001; 323:13, July 7, 2001; Tramer, Martin R., Dawn Carroll, et al., "Cannabinoids for control of chemotherapy induced nausea and vomiting: quantitative systematic review," British Medical Journal 2001;323:16, July 7, 2001.)

Other medical experts support cannabis's therapeutic potential. According to the Canadian Medical Association Journal:

"Health Canada’s decision to legitimize the medicinal use of marijuana is a step in the right direction. But a bolder stride is needed. The possession of small quantities for personal use should be decriminalized. The minimal negative health effects of moderate use would be attested to by the estimated 1.5 million Canadians who smoke marijuana for recreational purposes. The real harm is the legal and social fallout. About half of all drug arrests in Canada are for simple possession of small amounts of marijuana: about 31,299 convictions in 1995 alone."

Source: "Marijuana: federal smoke clears, a little," Canadian Medical Association Journal, May 15, 2001, Vol. 164, No. 10, p. 1397.

In an editorial in the New England Journal of Medicine in 1997, Dr. Jerome Kassirer wrote:

"Federal authorities should rescind their prohibition of the medicinal use of marijuana for seriously ill patients and allow physicians to decide which patients to treat. The government should change marijuana's status from that of a Schedule 1 drug (considered to be potentially addictive and with no current medical use) to that of a Schedule 2 drug (potentially addictive but with some accepted medical use) and regulate it accordingly. To ensure its proper distribution and use, the government could declare itself the only agency sanctioned to provide the marijuana. I believe that such a change in policy would have no adverse effects. The argument that it would be a signal to the young that 'marijuana is OK' is, I believe, specious."

Source: Kassirer, Jerome P., MD, "Federal Foolishness and Marijuana," New England Journal of Medicine, Vol. 336, No. 5, Jan. 30, 1997, from the web at

In the US government's Institute of Medicine report on medical marijuana in 1999, the authors conclude:

"The accumulated data indicate a potential therapeutic value for cannabinoid drugs, particularly for symptoms such as pain relief, control of nausea and vomiting, and appetite stimulation."

Source: Joy, Janet E., Stanley J. Watson Jr., and John A. Benson Jr., "Marijuana and Medicine: Assessing the Science Base," Division of Neuroscience and Behavioral Research, Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences (Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 1999).

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Updated: Wednesday, July 15, 2009   ~   Accessed: 37684 times