I wrote an article a while back highlighting and debunking much of the federal government’s hypocrisy in regards to marijuana. I found it extremely disturbing that the White House could publish what they call a “fact sheet” on marijuana legalization which chooses to ignore all facts in favor of fear and propaganda. So I debunked several of their points with actual scientific research, and I’d highly encourage checking it out and passing it around.
A lot of new research has come to light in the short time since I wrote that piece. A new study being published in the June edition of the Annals of the American Thoracic Society shows there’s absolutely no risk of the development of either lung or upper airway cancer from light to moderate smoking of marijuana. The study also found that heavy, long-term smoking of marijuana doesn’t show a firm carcinogenic risk, which is made more noteworthy when considering the proven long-term risks of even light tobacco use. The study is just the latest of several which have found no increased cancer risks from smoking marijuana.
In fact, other studies have recently found that unique chemical compounds in marijuana actually fight lung cancer, as well as several other types of aggressive cancers. More research has also found that these compounds fight brain aging, and may even help prevent diseases such as Alzheimer’s. As TIME.com explains:
The latest review, published in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B, suggests that activating the brain’s cannabinoid system may trigger a sort of anti-oxidant cleanse, removing damaged cells and improving the efficiency of the mitochrondria, the energy source that powers cells, ultimately leading to a more robustly functioning brain.
Previous studies have linked cannabinoids to increased amounts of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a substance that protects brain cells and promotes the growth of new ones. Since new cell growth slows or stops during aging, increasing BDNF could potentially slow the decline in cognitive functions.
Activation of cannabinoid receptors can also reduce brain inflammation in several different ways, which may in turn suppress some of the disease processes responsible for degenerative brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s.
This is in addition to other recent research which suggests regular marijuana users have “better blood sugar control” and reduced risk for type 2 diabetes. Not to mention the numerous other scientific studies which have come to light over the past several years showing marijuana’s efficacy in treating, and even preventing, many other conditions. So with the overwhelming evidence continuing to prove the government wrong on risk — while showing groundbreaking findings on health benefits — why has our federal government continued to betray us by demonizing this plant?
In a recent poll of 1,003 adults conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International, only 6% of those surveyed said that people found smoking or in possession of a small amount of marijuana should face jail time, while almost 90% preferred no punishment, paying a fine or attending counseling. A recent Pew Research Center poll also showed that a majority of Americans want marijuana legalized at the federal level. It’s clear that as more people are becoming aware of the scientific evidence showing marijuana’s usefulness, more and more people are rejecting the lies the government has fed us over the past several decades.
Yet we continue to have a war waged against states which have adopted medical marijuana laws, even after the administration made a promise to respect these states, as well as the growers and dispensaries operating in them. Just look at the disgusting betrayal of government trust that happened in Montana. As Eric Stern at Alternet reports:
When Cotter charged these citizens in 2011, he gave no credence to a very basic protest that they all made: they’d been assured in writing, by Eric Holder, the U.S. attorney general, that they could grow medical marijuana and the feds wouldn’t prosecute them.
The defendants pointed to dozens of statements made by Holder and even the president, and specifically the now-infamous Ogden Memo. This was a publicly released document in 2009 document, written by David Ogden, Eric Holder’s deputy, that instructed federal law enforcement officers nationwide to leave medical marijuana growers alone as long as they were abiding by state law. This memo was reported in the national press, and local papers too, as a virtual ceding of jurisdiction by the federal government. “U.S. Won’t Prosecute in States that Have Medical Marijuana,” heralded a New York Times headline.
Since then, the DEA has cracked down on and raided dispensaries in several other states — including multiple raids throughout California — blatantly disrespecting state law while touting that federal law is all that matters. It’s time for the madness to end. Marijuana users are normal people, many choosing to consume cannabis in the even more beneficial edible and smokeless forms as opposed to smoking it. They’re our bosses, our neighbors, our lawmakers and even Beverly Hills moms. Regardless of whether or not they’re consuming it for a particular medical need or just for their own personal benefit, our federal government needs to stop with the nonsense. They’ll never admit that they blatantly lied, but the least they can do is admit that they got it wrong — and follow through with getting it right going forward.
Be sure to check out his archives on Forward Progressives for more of his viewpoints.