The IOM report also stated that “the gateway theory is a social theory. The latter does not suggest that the pharmacological qualities of cannabis/marijuana make it a risk factor for progression to other drug use. Instead, it is the legal status of marijuana that makes it a gateway drug.” In other words, the real “gateway” to hard drugs is marijuana prohibition, not marijuana!
The IOM also says that, despite considerable research, marijuana has not been shown to cause immunocological damage in humans. Despite their obsessions with the hazards of smoking, they had to admit that marijuana still has not been proven to cause lung cancer, or any other type of malignancy.
Alison Smiley, a University of Toronto researcher, did a study which shows that marijuana is not a factor in driving accidents. Her findings were presented at a symposium of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences in Florida in February 1999. Her paper was also published in Health Effects of Cannabis, a publication of Toronto’s Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, in March 1999.
Recent research into impairment and traffic accident reports from several countries shows that marijuana taken alone in moderate amounts does not significantly increase a driver’s risk of causing an accident – unlike alcohol, says Smiley, an adjunct professor in the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering. While smoking marijuana does impair driving ability, it does not share alcohol’s effect on judgment. Drivers on marijuana remain aware of their impairment, prompting them to slow down and drive more cautiously to compensate, she explains.
“The safety hazards of smoking marijuana and driving are overrated.”
“Both substances impair performance,” Smiley says. “However, the more cautious behavior of subjects who received marijuana decreases the drug’s impact on performance. Their behavior is more appropriate to their impairment, whereas subjects who received alcohol tend to drive in a more risky manner.”
Smiley says her results should be considered by those debating mandatory drug tests for users of transportation equipment such as truck or train drivers, or the decriminalization of marijuana for medical use. “There’s an assumption that because marijuana is illegal, it must increase the risk of an accident. We should just try to stick to the facts.”
A team led by scientists from the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) has demonstrated the prevalence of cannabinoid receptors in the retina, indicating an important role for cannabinoids, a family of compounds which includes the psychoactive components of marijuana and hashish, in retinal function and perhaps vision in general.
In the December 7, 1999 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), the UCSD researchers described for the first time the specific distribution and effects on retinal function of the cellular receptor proteins activated by cannabinoids.
These findings may provide a missing link in efforts to unravel the complicated and fascinating machinery by which the retina turns light into meaningful information in the brain.
In the March 2000 issue of Nature Medicine, a research team from Complutense University and Autonoma University in Madrid, Spain announced the findings of a study on rats and mice and stated that marijuana’s active ingredient called THC, killed tumor cells in advanced cases of glioma, a rare malignant cancer which heretofore has been 100 percent fatal.
Researchers injected the active compounds, called cannabinoids, directly into the brain cancers. Lead researcher Manuel Guzman says, “We observed a remarkable growth inhibiting effect.” The THC, for the first time, eradicated the brain tumors in one third of the treated rats and about one third of the treated rats lived “significantly longer” than those given no drug, some up to about three times as long.
Laboratory studies showed that THC killed glioma cells while leaving normal brain cells unharmed. The drug caused a build-up of a fat molecule called ceramide, which provoked a death spiral in the cancer cells.
Guzman tested THC at very low doses and at a late stage, when untreated mice were already starting to die. He predicts that THC should work better if given earlier.
It seems that the more research that is done relating to the medicinal value of marijuana, the more we realize how valuable marijuana is as a medicine (for Alzheimer’s disease, stroke, cancer tumors, glaucoma, multiple sclerosis, pain, nausea, and as an appetite stimulant, muscle relaxer, and who knows what else). We need to demand that research be allowed on marijuana. If it can save a life, or even improve the quality of life of any human being, this medicine must be studied. We must throw away all the years of misinformation and disinformation and seek the truth.
I have talked with so many people who have stated that before using marijuana as a medicine they felt that they were dying of their AIDS or their cancer, yet with marijuana as a medicine they feel they are living with their cancer or their AIDS.
In 2007, while many events on the hemp horizon seem promising, the government and DEA’s insistence in doggedly maintaining Anslinger’s absurd and oppressive laws of 1937 are continuing to inflict pain and suffering upon all Americans despite the fact a recent CNN poll indicates that 95% of U.S. citizens support the legalization of medical marijuana! An earlier poll of Californians showed 40% in sup-port of legalization of industrial, medicinal, nutritional and personal use by adults 21 years and older.
My fervent hope is that we are merely seeing the darkness before the inevitable dawn.