The principles that rule this blog

Principles that will govern my thoughts as I express them here (from my opening statement):

  • Freedom of the individual should be as total as possible, limited only by the fact that nobody should be free to cause physical injury to another, or to deprive another person of his freedoms.
  • Government is necessary primarily to provide those services that private enterprise won't, or won't at a price that people can afford.
  • No person has a right to have his own beliefs on religious, moral, political, or other controversial issues imposed on others who do not share those beliefs.

I believe that Abraham Lincoln expressed it very well:

“The legitimate object of government is to do for a community of people whatever they need to have done, but cannot do, at all, or cannot
so well do, for themselves — in their separate, individual capacities.”

Comments will be invited, and I will attempt to reply to any comments that are offered in a serious and non-abusive manner. However, I will not tolerate abusive or profane language (my reasoning is that this is my blog, and so I can control it; I wouldn't interfere with your using such language on your own!)

If anyone finds an opinion that I express to be contrary to my principles, they are welcome to point this out. I hope that I can make a rational case for my comments. Because, in fact, one label I'll happily accept is rationalist.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The myth of “medical marijuana”

I should note that this post was inspired by reading a column by Joseph Summerill in yesterday's Washington Examiner, but it is not simply a repost of his column, because I have been thinking along similar lines for a long time. Some of the facts, however, are taken directly from the column, since I do not want to have to spend the effort digging up the primary sources.

Marijuana is a dangerous drug. It has been classified as a Schedule I drug inder the Controlled Substances Act, a classification which applies to substances that “exhibit a high potential for abuse or dependency, have no accepted medical value, and are unsafe to use, even under medical supervision.” Note the last two of these. They imply that there is really no such thing as “medical marijuana,” despite the propaganda by drugheads who have succeeded in getting sixteen states and the District of Columbia to pass laws purporting to legalize marijuana for medical purposes. It might additionally be noted that the Food and Drug Administration has definitively stated that there has not been a single scientifically valid study that has supported the medicinal value of marijuana, and FDA's statement confirms the ridiculousness of the term “medical marijuana.”

Some people point to the fact that the FDA has approved a drug called dronabinol (sold under the proprietary name Marinol), which contains synthetic tetrahydrocannabinol, the main psychoactive substance found in the cannabis plant. Dronabinol is prescribed for the relief of the adverse side effects of chemotherapy and as an appetite stimulant for AIDS sufferers. It is available legally in pill form, and accepted by the medical community. But marijuana, as smoked, contains more than four hundred chemicals, including some of the same carcinogens found in tobacco smoke. It is not a pure substance, and the National Institute on Drug Abuse (a unit of the National Institutes of Health) has stated that marijuana in smoked or vaporized form is unlikely to be used as a medicine because of its lack of purity and often unpredictable side effects, pointing out that it may cause cognitive defects that reduce its usefulness.

Years ago, people used to point out that marijuana is a “gateway drug,” opening the way to more dangerous drugs. A lot of pro-marijuana people have propagandized extensively to the point that you do not hear this much now. And yet, scientific studies show this to be true. The Harm Reduction Journal has published a study of 3000 “medical marijuana” users and found that, of the Caucasian subjects in the study, nearly 75% have used cocaine and over 50% have used methamphetamine. Another study, of teenagers who smoke marijuana, done at Columbia University, found that teen-age marijuana smokers are 85 times as likely to use cocaine than non-marijuana smokers.

And the psychoactive properties of marijuana are known. Washington state has legalized “medical marijuana,” and a study in that state showed that about one in every eight fatally injured drivers tested positive for marijuana. There is more evidence, but this is the most prominent study.

So, clearly, “medical marijuana” is a myth.

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