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Reuters Should Stop Printing Mindless Anti-Pot Propaganda

No one other than the Drug Czar publishes more misleading headlines about marijuana than Reuters news service. Heck, the Drug Czar even gets his blogging ideas from them.

Via NORML, just look at these two recent Reuters headlines regarding recent marijuana research:

Heavy marijuana use shrinks brain parts

Marijuana may up heart attack, stroke risk


All of this sounds very disturbing, of course, but as is always the case with scary marijuana headlines, there turns out to be far more to the story and far less for marijuana users to worry about. In this case, both studies relied on small samples of obscenely heavy marijuana users (up to 350 joints per week!).

Let me be the first to concede that if someone smokes marijuana all day every day, there is something wrong with them. They may be treating a medical and/or psychological condition and their use may even be understandable under some unusual circumstance. But these are not the people we should study if we want to know the effects of marijuana. The lessons we learn from observing them won't apply to anyone but them.

Beyond all of that, neither of these studies even shows what the headline said. They just didn't. Sarah Baldauf at U.S. News & World Report helpfully points out that the "shrinking brain" study researchers didn't know what size the participants' brains were before initiating marijuana use. It's possible that people with a smaller hippocampus and amygdala are more likely to become compulsive marijuana users, and that the drug doesn’t change brain size at all. Brain size is also a deeply flawed measure of intelligence anyway. In sum, the story isn't news, it's nonsense.

As for the marijuana-heart disease link, the study didn’t address whether the subjects actually had heart disease. Its conclusions were based on heightened levels of a protein that's associated with heart disease. It means nothing, even if you leave aside the fact that the subjects of the study smoked an unbelievable 78-350 joints per week.

In fairness to Reuters, both stories included a strong counterpoint from MPP's Bruce Mirkin, arguing that the absurdly high marijuana consumption of the study participants rendered any conclusions meaningless. Nonetheless, we should not be grateful simply because a reformer got a quote in a story that should never have been published.

We could go on all day about bad things that marijuana "might cause," "could lead to," or "may be associated with," but none of that means a thing unless it's actually true. What is true, and will always be true, is that the war on marijuana users harms far more people than marijuana ever could.
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A little research, M Meiner, Panama City, FL.

a little research shows that the NIDA casts a wide net due to all the taxpayers dollars they leach out of our wallets. The NIDA began working with Dr Murat Yucel on Sept. 23, 2003. He's the author of the latest hit piece about cannabis & brain shrinkage. The NIDA funds organizations like the NHMRC. This way they can say that foreign studies support the continued criminalization of cannabis. This is done to offset truly valuable research by other foreign researchers like Dr. Guzman of Spain. His research shows that THC can be injected into inoperable cancerous brain tumors (gliomas), and not damage the surrounding brain tissue. So much for cannabis damaging the brain. It galls me no end that I'm helping to fund the NIDA's lies with my hard earned tax dollars. What makes it all the worse is that the press runs this junk without allowing for dissenting comments. Thus, the uninformed masses are left to suck up this sewage as fact, and spread it around like it's true. The NIDA's highly biased, and very questionable research actually show how even heavy, long-term cannabis use is really very safe. Try using the equivalent amount of alcohol day after day. You'd be long dead from alcohol poisoning, liver damage, or cancer. All this propagand really proves is that the NIDA, DEA, ONDCP, and other minions are desperate to keep cannabis illegal. When anyone goes about conducting a flawed and failed war on cannabis decade after decade, and expects a different result, It is they who need treatment. Because, this type of behavior just proves that they are the ones with brain damage. Repeal cannabis prohibition now. We can't allow this nonsense to go on. The government has already broken the bank with this war on the citizenry. What are they trying to do? Destroy our country from within? They've just about done exactly that. I've contacted all my representatives and demanded an end to the "War on cannabis". Legalization equals true control. I hope that everyone else reading this comment will do the same. Maybe, then our politicians will understand that their jobs are at stake, if they don't accept the people's will on this matter.

How much?

How do you find anyone who has/does smoke this much pot? So prove it, they can't. I'd rather abuse my own brain, with anything, than be abused by prohibition. Policy desperation leads to strange conclusions.How small must someones brain be ,to belive this tripe?

Let the drug cartels control the alcohol industry too!

Turning control of the alcohol industry over to criminal cartels will certainly increase the public's health and safety. We also know they have the best interest of kids in mind and will reduce the availability of alcohol to them.

there was a story less than two months ago

that someone in india was manufacturing bad alcohol illegally and more than thirty people died before the authorities got to them. this was a 'quick mention' story i saw on bbc news. if alcohol was illegal people would be dying all over the place.

with as incredibly safe as marijuana is, if it was legal it would be even safer. in california medical marijuana providers actually publish on the label the percentage of thc and cbd in each different strain they sell. [in amsterdam this is impossible because growing large amounts of it to sell is illegal (but largely ignored)]. i've heard that the ratio of thc to cbd is a determining factor in the possibility of a certain strain causing paranoia. i don't know if that is true, but if it is, any smoker who finds himself prone to get paranoid would be greatly benefited from knowing the ratio in the buds he buys.
and in general, the more you know about what you're buying, the better you can keep yourself healthy.

Thats a lot of toking!

350 joints a week! Say we're even talking about little "pinners" here like .5 grams, which is really the smallest joint I could possibly ever conceive of rolling, thats still 175 grams a week or just over 6 ounces, that number seems so outrageous to me and I do happen to smoke everyday. However, I personally only burn through about 3 grams a week and at times this feels on the heavy side. I've been doing this basically everyday for the last two years and have still been able to maintain a great GPA while going to college and working, and I doubt I'm alone on this, in fact I bet I fall closer to the average daily user than most of the outliers presented in NIDA's research. It's absurd that while alcohol prohibition lasted just 13 years, cannabis has been criminalized for over 70 years and unfortunately it seems as if this will continue for at least a little while longer.

Word!

6 ounces a week is unbelievable.. I don't think I could possibly consume that much marijuana. I'm with you.. people like you and I make up the majority of marijuana users.. not the people depicted in government anti-pot propaganda.

It seems to me...

It seems to me that 350 joints per week broken down would come to...50 joints a day. (Considering a person would sleep 8 hours of each day, give or take), that would break down to...3 joints every hour for 16 hours straight without stopping, except that after 16 hours of smoking 3 joints per hour...you'd still be 2 joints shy of 50 joints per day. You'd need to smoke 4 joints during 2 of the hours of each 16 hour day! You would need to smoke 3 joints every hour that you're awake! Whoa...I thought I was a heavy-duty Pothead! I got nothin on them dudes!

If that was good Pot they were smoking, there is NO way they would be able to remain conscience after the 2nd or 3rd hour of each day...(without some form of artificial stimulation that is...).

Haha yeah.. maybe it was

Haha yeah.. maybe it was some east coast bullshit weed. No way was that any of my homegrown California buds! (Grown only for medicinal purposes, of course.)

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