Monday, March 31, 2014


Schedule I drugs, substances, or chemicals are defined as drugs with no currently accepted medical use. Schedule I drugs are the most dangerous drugs of all.[1]
Really, that bit about “no currently accepted medical use” is completely ridiculous. 

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (a division of the National Institutes of Health):

“The marijuana plant contains several chemicals that may prove useful for treating a range of illnesses or symptoms, leading many people to argue that it should be made legally available for medical purposes.  Medical marijuana is not recognized or approved as medicine by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). But scientific study of the active chemicals in marijuana, called cannabinoids, has led to the development of two FDA-approved medications already, and is leading to the development of new pharmaceuticals that harness the therapeutic benefits of cannabinoids while minimizing or eliminating the harmful side effects (including the “high”) produced by eating or smoking marijuana leaves.”[2]
Put simply, the feds would rather back a pill derived from cannabis than the plant itself—one which takes all the “fun” [3] out of it.

Contemporary medical research is focusing on two main cannabinoids, delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). 

According to NIDA:

“THC stimulates appetite and reduces nausea (and there are already approved THC-based medications for these purposes[4]) but it may also decrease pain, inflammation, and spasticity. CBD is a non-psychoactive [meaning: it doesn’t get you high] cannabinoid that may also be useful in reducing pain and inflammation, controlling epileptic seizures, and possibly even treating psychosis and addictions.

Research funded by the NIH is actively investigating the possible therapeutic uses of THC, CBD, and other cannabinoids to treat autoimmune diseases, cancer, inflammation, pain, seizures, substance use disorders, and other psychiatric disorders.”[5]

To paraphrase: While cannabinoids do seem to be totally awesome, we just need some more time (and money) to conduct some more research[6].


“The FDA requires carefully conducted studies in large numbers of patients (hundreds to thousands) to accurately assess the benefits and risks of a potential medication. Thus far, there have not been enough large-scale clinical trials showing that benefits of the marijuana plant (as opposed to specific cannabinoid constituents) outweigh its risks in patients with the symptoms it is meant to treat.”[7]

Nevertheless, several prominent physicians, Dr. Sanjay Gupta and Dr. Andrew Weil for instance, wholeheartedly support the use of marijuana as a medication.
And not just for cancer, multiple sclerosis, and AIDS patients.

Stress is a legitimate medical issue, isn’t it? Laughter is in itself a medicine, say most of us…

Any integrative medicine practitioner worth his salt is over the moon about the benefits of meditation.  Cannabis sativa has been used as a meditation aid in India for dozens of centuries.  Yoga, by the way, was invented in India, by the best of us.  Bhang heads.

Regarding that point.  

Is cannabis really one of the “most dangerous drugs of all”?  Does the DOJ actually believe joint smokers behave like heroin addicts?  Um, more like they’ve had a few beers, bud.

What are the specific risks of ingesting the marijuana plant (as opposed to its specific cannabinoid constituents)?

According to NIDA:

“The known safety concerns of marijuana include impairment of short-term memory; altered judgment and decisionmaking; and mood effects, including severe anxiety (paranoia) or even psychosis (loss of touch with reality), especially following high-dose exposures. Marijuana also significantly reduces motor coordination and slows reaction time, which makes it very dangerous to use before driving a car. Additionally, although we do not yet know whether marijuana smoking contributes to lung cancer risk, it can cause or worsen other respiratory problems such as bronchitis or chronic cough. 

Growing evidence is showing that marijuana may be particularly harmful for young people: It may cause long-term or even permanent impairment in cognitive ability and intelligence when used regularly during adolescence, when the brain is still developing.

      Another safety concern is that, contrary to common belief, marijuana can be addictive.”[8]

Let’s investigate each of these “known safety concerns” in turn. 

First off, they’re right, being high is like dreaming awake—although one makes brilliant connections and transcends the training of one’s superego (which enables one to critically examine one’s paradigms), pot sucks re: short-term memory.  That’s why it’s important for a stoner to always carry a notebook or a Dictaphone.  That’s why musicians can never exactly replicate a jam.  And an expressionist painter could never paint it exactly that way again.  Cannabis fosters inspiration, which is by nature ephemeral, and impossible to recall.

Next, pot does alter one’s judgment and decisionmaking—in a good way.  One sees the beauty in things instead of trudging through one’s mundane routines while high on THC (as opposed to CBD); one chooses to respectfully interact with one’s fellow man, instead of fight him.

Does weed make one paranoid?  Only where it’s illegal.  Does it cause loss of touch with reality?  Rather, the opposite.

Clearly, one should not drive (or operate heavy machinery) stoned—even if one’s natural inclination is to drive 20 miles an hour under the speed limit (as opposed to recklessly, like on alcohol, which makes one feel invincible [in addition to uninhibited and irresistible]—how’s that for loss of touch with reality?), but, as has been opined countless times by minds keener than mine, in this regard (indeed, in all ways) marijuana is no more harmful than alcohol is.  Yes, cannabis should be regulated—like liquor is.

It is illogical to prohibit marijuana smoking because it might contribute to lung cancer risk when tobacco use is allowed.  Similarly, although cannabis, like anything good, can be addictive, it is far less addictive than nicotine (or alcohol, or schedule II analgesics like Vicodin).

But the feds’ main concern, of course (and rightly so) is the kids.

According to NIDA:

“(Marijuana) use has been increasing among young people since 2007, corresponding to a diminishing perception of the drug’s risks that may be associated with increased public debate over the drug’s legal status. [9]

Sorry about that.

Given that many medical professionals seem to agree, I am willing to grant that “when [marijuana] is used heavily by young people, its effects on thinking and memory may last a long time or even be permanent.”[10] (my emphasis.)
Indeed, it is someone disconcerting to learn that “a large long-term study in New Zealand showed that people who began smoking marijuana heavily in their teens lost an average of 8 points in IQ between age 13 and age 38.”  However, it is imperative to note that, according to the same study: Those who started smoking marijuana in adulthood did not show significant IQ declines.”[11]
The Director of the NIDA recently issued the following statement:

“Some teens are no doubt hearing and being influenced by marijuana’s many outspoken advocates, who claim that the drug does not deserve continued Schedule I status and that decades of prevention messaging have overstated its dangers. The ongoing public conversation over medical marijuana may contribute to the impression that, since some people use marijuana therapeutically, it couldn’t be that harmful.

Given the increases we are seeing in marijuana use among this age group, it is more crucial than ever to challenge the impression many of them have that marijuana is a benign, unfairly demonized substance.”[12]
Basically:  Pot might make kids stupider, thus the Just Say No campaign must continue, so we must continue to keep it Schedule I listed.
Setting aside for a moment the undeniable evidence that is the long list of brilliant thinkers who are proud members of the Marijuana Majority[13] since the government's own scientists admit that smoking marijuana as an adult does not lead to cognitive regression, it is nevertheless appropriate to criticize any “preventive messaging” campaign that insists on continued Schedule 1 designation.  
That is, a mixed message would not be hypocritical.  Pot is for grownups, like lots of things are (like alcohol is).  Kids aren’t idiots, they get it.  But when you claim it’s psychoactive like peyote and LSD and addictive like heroin you completely lose your credibility.
Even more imperatively: keeping marijuana illegal encourages black markets, and black marketeers don’t give a shit to whom they sell – including kids.

It does not follow from NIDA's reasoning that adults should be prohibited from using cannabis.

[1] Source:
[3] The psychoactive chemicals of marijuana are precisely what engender creativity, mindfulness, interconnectivity, and dialogue, i.e., the “spiritual” uses of the plant.
[4] Dronabinol and Nabilone are used to treat nausea caused by chemotherapy and weight loss caused by AIDS
[6] One of the best threads woven into Initiative 502 (which legalized recreation cannabis in Washington state) was the dedication of a percentage of tax revenue to research.
[7] Id.
[8] Id.
[10] Id.
[11] Id.
[13] Carl Sagan, Steven Colbert, Bill Maher, etc. (

1 comment:

  1. Regarding the 8 point IQ drop study, it was effectively debunked by another study which showed that it didn't factor for socioeconomic variables like money, status, culture, school quality, etc.