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Europe: Marijuana Less Harmful Than Alcohol or Tobacco, Says British Drug Think-Tank

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #554)
Consequences of Prohibition
Drug War Issues
Politics & Advocacy

Smoking marijuana is less harmful than smoking cigarettes or drinking alcohol, said the British think-thank the Beckley Foundation in a report announced Thursday.

"Although cannabis can have a negative impact on health, including mental health, in terms of relative harms it is considerably less harmful than alcohol or tobacco," said the report. "Many of the harms associated with cannabis use are the result of prohibition itself, particularly the social harms arising from arrest and imprisonment," it said.

The report comes as the British government is moving to reschedule marijuana from a Class C drug to a more heavily-punished Class B drug. British officials have expressed great concern over the potency of marijuana, especially "skunk," which is apparently their generic name for any high-potency, home-grown weed, and its links to mental health problems in some users.

Rescheduling marijuana is the wrong way to go, said the foundation. "It is only through a regulated market that we can better protect young people from the ever more potent forms of dope," it said.

Now, we will see if the British government pays any attention. So far, it has resolutely ignored repeated reports finding that marijuana should be a Class C drug, or even legalized and regulated.

Permission to Reprint: This content is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license. Content of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.


Anonymous (not verified)

We've known about this for years. Still, it is rather refreshing to see a large institution come out and say it.

You're more likely to die from having an argument with stranger in a pub, or from drinking in a pub, than you EVER are from smoking a joint, period. The fact that, here in the US, marijuana is NOT being sold alongside bottles of liquor in ABC stores is an outright insult to everyone's intelligence nationwide.

And I'll clarify something, as a natural medicine practitioner: Marijuana is not harmful, it's actually helpful. The problem with the more potent forms of "skunk" (which is actually a misnomer, "Skunk" is a brand name for an herbal concoction that is NOT marijuana) is that they can cause a temporary overload of synaptic activity in the brain. This, however, is not harmful in and of itself, and, as of yet, there is no evidence corroborating any long-term damage. The end result of the younger generation smoking this and other more potent strains, is that they get "messed up". Psycho-actives of ANY sort can cause a great deal of discomfort in the user. Marijuana is far less harmful than some other psycho-active medications I could name off-hand (such as SSRI's, Tri-Cyclics, etc., etc.), and is far less likely to cause any long-term damage of any sort. I have people I know that have been using the drug recreationally for 30 years, and most of them are in better health than other people in the same age group that do not use the drug.

I personally find it insulting that the US government still chooses to create derision on this issue, and chooses to lie to the public, instead of doing ACTUAL research, and granting permits to people wishing to do the same.


Fri, 10/03/2008 - 3:29pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

England did the first study on hemp back in the 1800's in India for all the usual reasons (race, rebellion, rage and fear) and concluded there was nothing to fear regarding hemp. The largest temple group in India, the Shiva religious followers, was given a 400 kilo exemption for every Shiva temple in India under current drug laws. The India weed is weed, some of the worst weed in the world. That is why they make hash out of it. Lord Shiva became enlightened smoking pot in the Himalayas and contemplating the greater meaning of life while sitting along the Ganja River, the Holiest river in India named after God's Green Herb.
It's Biblical, and Hindu, too
Smoke God's Green Herb like those guys in the sky did who led 3 million wandering Jews around for 40 years - no, not at the Burning Man Festival but that other wild ass time in the desert, a few thousand years ago. Talk about a bunch of bumbling stoners; yikes, where is the next manna field, er, crop circle to set up the "linen (hemp) tent" for the Lord to spend the night in? As they said in the Bible, follow "the cloud" that surrounded the tent while the Lord was in residence and when the "cloud ascended" so did the Lord. That's why the Green Herb is magical for mind, body and spirit. Om, mani shankar! Bommb Shankar! Or something like that went the chant of Sadu's and European hippies hoisting the chillum chalice towards heaven in a cloud of smoke.
A relic of the ‘60’s

Fri, 10/03/2008 - 5:39pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

At least in the UK the experts tell the government the truth. Here in the US the FDA still doesn't even admit marijuana is medicine.

Sat, 10/04/2008 - 6:28pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

I have gone to a camp in Colorado for six months cause i got caught from my parents. They want to send me off again just cause i smoke. I dont get in trouble, get good grades, they think its the GATEWAY DRUG. Not true. I just wanna smoke weed

Tue, 03/10/2009 - 10:59pm Permalink

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