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Top Anti-Drug Researcher Changes His Mind, Says Legalize Marijuana

For 30 years, Donald Tashkin has studied the effects of marijuana on lung function. His work has been funded by the vehemently anti-marijuana National Institute on Drug Abuse, which has long sought to demonstrate that marijuana causes lung cancer. After 3 decades of anti-drug research, here's what Tashkin has to say about marijuana laws:

"Early on, when our research appeared as if there would be a negative impact on lung health, I was opposed to legalization because I thought it would lead to increased use and that would lead to increased health effects," Tashkin says. "But at this point, I'd be in favor of legalization. I wouldn't encourage anybody to smoke any substances. But I don't think it should be stigmatized as an illegal substance. Tobacco smoking causes far more harm. And in terms of an intoxicant, alcohol causes far more harm." [McClatchy]

We've been told a thousand times that marijuana destroys your lungs, that it's 5 times worse than cigarettes, and on and on. Yet here is Donald Tashkin, literally the top expert in the world when it comes to marijuana and lung health, telling us it's time to legalize marijuana. His views are shaped not by ideology, but rather by the 30 years he spent studying the issue. He didn't expect the science to come out in favor of marijuana, but that's what happened and he's willing to admit it.

Here's the study that really turned things around:

UCLA's Tashkin studied heavy marijuana smokers to determine whether the use led to increased risk of lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD. He hypothesized that there would be a definitive link between cancer and marijuana smoking, but the results proved otherwise.

"What we found instead was no association and even a suggestion of some protective effect," says Tashkin, whose research was the largest case-control study ever conducted.

Prejudice against marijuana and smoking in general runs so deep for many people that it just seems inconceivable that marijuana could actually reduce the risk of lung cancer. But that's what the data shows and it not only demolishes a major tenet of popular anti-pot propaganda, but also points towards a potentially groundbreaking opportunity to develop cancer cures through marijuana research.

Over and over again, all the bad things we've been told about marijuana are revealed to be not only false, but often the precise opposite of the truth. So the next time someone tells you that marijuana is worse for your lungs than cigarettes, you might want to mention that the world's leading expert on that subject happens to be a supporter of legalization.
Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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The data does not lie.

Medical Marijuana does help patients, including MS. Watch the you tube video "seniors want their marijuana". Join us at People United for Medical Marijuana, donate,sign our petition for Florida voters, join us at twitter, facebook/myspace, forward our newsletter Compassion Chronicle to 100 friends.


I signed and mailed mine as

I signed and mailed mine as soon as I found out about PUFMM. Please do your part everyone!

As Richard P. Feynmann said...

If you don’t like the laws of physics, find yourself another universe.

Not even prohibs are immune to reproducible laboratory results, except maybe those still living the illusion of a drug free planet.

Fortunately, in the spirit of a true scientist, Dr. Donald Tashkin’s universe is real, and he defers to demonstrated scientific results even when the results appear to disturb him.

As Feynman said...

Sadly, our legal system is totally out-of-synch with science and reality.  Politics trumps science.   The Nazis had "science" that supported their "master race" dogma.  The NIDA similarly has "science" that shows all kinds of imagined ills attributed to cannabis, and are quite happy to fund "promising" research to that effect.  Dr Tashkin was well-funded, until his research backfired for them - I doubt they fund Dr Tashkin's research anymore; they not only don't fund ANY research that purports to study medicinal uses of cannabis, they actively work to suppress such research.   An attorney sifts through the "facts" of the case, and selectively ignores anything likely to hurt their case, while emphasizing anything that supports their case.  This is almost the opposite of science, where the anomalies that don't fit with a theory must take center stage.  That's how progress in science is made.  The politicizing of science interferes with this process.   The laws against cannabis have never been scientifically or medically justified in any way, from the days of Reefer Madness to the present.


someone finally decides to say that we should legalize pot!!


he's a smart man.

weed smoke has carcinogens

weed smoke has carcinogens that cause cancer just not nearly as many as cigarettes. it lowers the immune response and affects short term memory. still, it's better for you than cigarettes.

Then don't smoke it.

Then don't smoke it. Eat it, make it into oil and vaporize it which eliminates all carcinogen intake. There are many ways to consume plant materials, most of which do not have to take a toll on the lungs,

Yet another expert in the room...

"weed smoke has carcinogens that cause cancer just not nearly as many as cigarettes"

If you're going to post this drivel on the internet might I recommend not posting it on the page that just hosted an article from the world's leading researcher in the field categorically stating that marijuana in fact HAS no association with lung cancer and even possibly showed protective effects.

Some people never know when to keep their mouth shut...


Smoke has carcinogens, true.   However,  Dr. Tashkin has demonstrated clearly (and reproducibly) that smoking marijuana does not increase the risk of lung cancer, and in fact seems to have a protective effect.  Indeed, there is a growing body of research that shows cannabiniods kill cancer cells in more than one way, and this may well apply to all forms of cancer.   It may well turn out that cannabis is not only harmless, but cures cancer, slows the progression of Alzheimer's, protects the brain from damage by free-radicals,  etc.   I'm been studying this issue since the 60's, and the reproducible science is overwhelmingly coming to the conclusion that pot is not only harmless, it is a heath food!  Ponder this:  cannabis is completely non-toxic.   Suppose a small child encounters a marijuana plant and a tomato plant in their back yard...   which could pose a health risk to the child?   (Hint - not the marijuana!)    The leaves and roots of the tomato plant contain neurotoxins.    I know  of no over the counter medication that is as completely non-toxic as marijuana.   None whatsoever.

Impairment of the immune system does not happen

Impairment of the immune system does not happen. According to the FDA “… the decision to approve the use of Marinol (synthetic THC) for use in HIV-wasting syndrome relied upon the absence of any immunopathology due to THC. … Not a single case of marijuana-induced immune impairment response has ever been observed in humans.”

Doctor Anonymous,

Doctor Anonymous, Phd...(piled higher and deeper)

Share your wisdom with us, please.  Did you even read the science listed above?

More funding for education please

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