What is Cannabis?
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Cannabis Cannabis has many different names, pot, hemp, marijuana and marihuana but its affects are all the identical. Firstly I would like to show where Marijuana stands compared to other legal and illegal drugs. Over 70 million Americans have smoked marijuana at some time in their lives. Of these, 18 million have smoked marijuana within the last year, and ten million are regular marijuana smokers. The French National Health and Medical Research Institute, INSERM, consulted with experts from other countries and rated drugs by their danger in 1998 at government request. They established 3 groups: * "Most dangerous" - heroin, alcohol, and cocaine * "Next most dangerous" - tobacco, amphetamines. * "Least dangerous" - Marijuana, since it has "low toxicity, little addictive power and poses only a minor threat to social behavior," [annual drug related deaths in the U.S. are about 400,000 for tobacco, 100,000 for alcohol, 10,000 for all illegal drugs, and zero for marijuana] Marijuana is Much less dangerous than heroin, alcohol, and cocaine. It is not a "gateway" that leads the use of any other drug, but making marijuana illegal does establish a "gateway." The primary focus of the drug war, draining half of its resources and tying up about a third of the criminal justice system. An 80% increase in marijuana arrests since 1993 has led to 700,000 annual arrests, about 88% for possession, more than the number of arrests for murder, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault combined.
Examples: * Governor Gary Johnson [R-NM] * Ralph Nader - presidential nominee, Green Party * Harry Browne - presidential nominee, Libertarian Party * The Lancet - arguably the world's foremost medical journal * Edward Ellison - retired head of the Scotland Yard anti-drug squad "Alcohol is the only psychoactive drug that in many individuals tends to increase aggressive behaviour temporarily while it is taking effect. Marijuana and opiates temporarily inhibit violent behaviour. In the case of alcohol, ... hazards tend to be related to use, while for illegal psychoactive drugs they tend to be related to distribution and purchase." - The Panel on the Understanding and Control of Violent Behaviour, 1994, established for the National Science Foundation (NSF), the National Institute of Justice (NIJ), and the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). For over 20 years, 85% of our young have told us that illegal drugs are "Easy to get." Today the figure has grown to 90% and most says marijuana is easier to get than alcohol. - National Survey Results on Drug Use from the Monitoring the Future Study, 1975-1995, Johnston. Retired head of Scotland Yard's Anti-Drugs Squad, Edward Ellison, 3-10-98: "'Legalised cannabis' does not mean 'encourage cannabis'. It means the reverse. I want to see the lowest level of drug abuse, with the least detrimental effect on everyone else.
For example, in a survey in 1997, MS patients said that cannabis helped many aspects of their disease. 97% said that spasticity (i.e. spasm) of their muscles improved, while many reported improvements in pain, tremor, emotional dysfunction, fatigue, double vision, bladder problems, balance, muscle control, and memory. The problem is, many of these claims are little more than anecdotal evidence - that is, personal reports from people who have tried it, or treated someone with it. Reliable scientific evidence, based on properly carried out clinical trials, is sparse. Just as the benefits really have yet to be proven, so has the hype and rumour about the risks, with little real evidence about the damage said to be done. Cannabis may cause short term memory problems, poor concentration, and slowed reaction times during acute intoxication, but no-one knows for sure whether these problems persist long term. There is concern because it undoubtedly has psychoactive effects (this is, after all, why people use it as a recreational drug, because it makes them feel good). But whether cannabis use leads to other more serious drugs, or whether it causes long term psychological harm, is subject of heated debate. One of the problems is that herbal cannabis contains hundreds of chemicals, which could be having different effects, and it is difficult to know exactly what you are getting, as well as what dose when you smoke it. Hasan Ali Khan Page: 1 Date: 25th September 2001
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