Cannabis Facts – Cannabis is Dangerous & Causes Dependence?
Cannabis facts vary tremendously from the fiction we have been subjected to since prohibition. Cannabis is not physically addictive, however, indirectly the nervous system can begin to rely on cannabis to regulate various psychologically positive responses in chronic users (see FAQ’s).
It is possible that an individual can become psychologically addicted to anything, meaning that the body can respond after excessive use is ceased.
However, this psychological withdrawal in heavy cannabis users consists of restlessness, irritability and sleeplessness for a few days, unlike the debilitating withdrawals suffered by prescription drugs, alcohol and illicit hard drug dependant patients.
Researchers find that 42% of people surveyed in the U.S. have tried marijuana at least once. In contrast, only 20% of people surveyed in the Netherlands, where weed has been legal for 38 years, reported having tried pot; in Asian countries, such as Japan and China, marijuana use is virtually “non-existent,” the study finds
Cannabis Facts – Cannabis is not a ‘Gateway’ drug
The ‘Gateway’ argument is that cannabis use will progress to hard drug in addiction. A study in the Netherlands shows cannabis users start between the ages of 18 and 20, while cocaine use starts between 20 and 25. But it concludes that cannabis is not a stepping stone drug.
We have included a selection of PDF files for you to read and encourage you to research cannabis facts before embarking on any treatment program.
The PDF below is a striking example of misinformation, they claim that cannabis use is harmful causing everything from depression to car accidents.
An interesting point to note is that the British government commissioned a trial into driving impairment caused by cannabis use and found that the test drivers on simulators actually drove better following cannabis consumption, they were more cautious, alert and concentration was improved.
Produced by the Office Of National Drug Control Policy it gives an insight into how cannabis is viewed by organizations and Government funded agencies with a vested interest in keeping cannabis illegal, despite scientific evidence that cannabis is beneficial.
It is not the fact that there has never been a single death attributed to cannabis use ever, but that cannabis use as a medication can actually save lives.
Whilst we would never encourage anyone to drive whilst impaired this was an interesting experiment carried out by the U.K’s ‘Top Gear’ program shown by the BBC.
It repeats the British Governments own tests on cannabis impairment, however, instead of using a driving simulator they use real cars.
This clearly illustrates how much misinformation is repeated by those with a vested interest in keeping cannabis medicine illegal for spurious reasons and deny the cannabis facts.
Cannabis traces stay in the system for several weeks so it is logical that it will show up in car accident fatalities and is no indication the driver was impaired by marijuana use.
There are test now available to law enforcement officers that can determine when cannabis was last used.
The increased number of UK arrests is largely owing to the widespread use of so-called drugaliser devices which can detect drugs in a person’s system within as little as 8 minutes by analyzing saliva.
Previously, this preliminary indication was not available.
Under the old legislation, which is still in force today, a person would have to perform a series of impairment tests and would usually only be brought to the police station and face a blood test if they failed the impairment test .
The use of the drugaliser device is resulting in far more people being brought into custody following the identification of drugs in their system at the roadside.
Cannabis Facts – No link between cannabis and schizophrenia
Behavior suggestive of schizophrenia generally precedes the onset of cannabis use, according to survey data published in the current issue of the journal Psychiatry Research.
One-hundred and eighty-nine volunteers responded to an anonymous questionnaire inquiring about cannabis use and schizotypal traits (behavior suggestive of schizophrenia but not of sufficient severity to warrant a diagnosis of schizophrenia).
Among recent cannabis users, average age of schizotypal symptoms significantly preceded age of first use of cannabis.
When cases were analyzed individually, authors affirmed that the majority of respondents in the “Recently Used” group reported schizotypal personality disorder (SPD) symptoms prior to their initiation of cannabis use.
“Although researchers recognize an association between cannabis use and psychosis, whether or not cannabis contributes to the development of psychosis remains less clear. The current study suggests a temporal precedence of schizotypal traits before cannabis use in most cases. These findings do not support a causal link between cannabis use and schizotypal traits.”
Cannabis Facts – Cannabis not associated with cognitive deficits
Heavy, long-term use of cannabis appears to have a negligible impact on cognition and memory, according to clinical trial data published in the current issue of the American Journal of Addictions.
Researchers at Harvard Medical School performed magnetic resonance imaging on the brains of 22 long-term cannabis users (reporting a mean of 20,100 lifetime episodes of smoking) and 26 controls (subjects with no history of cannabis use).
Imaging displayed “no significant differences” between heavy cannabis smokers compared to controls. The authors concluded:
“These findings are consistent with recent literature suggesting that cannabis use is not associated with structural changes within the brain as a whole or the hippocampus in particular”
Full text of the study, “Lack of hippocampal volume change in long-term heavy cannabis users,” appears in the January-February issue of the American Journal of Addictions.
Researchers have been examining the marijuana-like substances that make up the brain’s cannabinoid systems. In animal experiments THC; marijuana’s main psychoactive component, has been shown to be effective in preserving brain functions.
A 2008 study demonstrated that a THC-like substance reduced brain inflammation and improved memory in older rats.
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.
Download this free PDF by clicking on the image. Report detailing the cognitive function of long term cannabis users; tests carried out to determine the possible long term effects of heavy cannabis use on memory.
Contrary to this study scientific evidence concludes that light and intermediate cannabis use (defined by use one to to six times weekly, respectively) were not associated with deficits.
Intermediate use was associated with superior performance in one Concept Formation test.
Lifetime cannabis users are likely to be single, well educated, and earning an above average salary, according to a recent survey of 13,900 Canadians conducted by Health Canada and the Canadian Executive Council on Addictions.
Approximately 45 percent of the Canadian population over age 15 reported having used cannabis during their lifetime – up from 23 percent in 1989, the survey reported.
Cannabis Facts – Lifetime cannabis users had increased incomes
Among those with some post-secondary education, 52 percent reported having used cannabis. By comparison, among those without a high school degree, only 35 percent reported having tried cannabis.
In addition, 55 percent of those respondents with a “high income adequacy” said they had used cannabis, as opposed to only 43 percent of those with a “low income adequacy.”
Among those who reported consuming cannabis, most said that they used it infrequently and did not “experience serious harm due to their cannabis use.”
Cannabis Facts – Cannabis does not raise lung cancer risk
People who smoke marijuana do not appear to be at increased risk for developing lung cancer, new research suggests.
While a clear increase in cancer risk was seen among cigarette smokers in the study, no such association was seen for regular cannabis users.
Even very heavy, long-term marijuana users who had smoked more than 22,000 joints over a lifetime seemed to have no greater risk than infrequent marijuana users or nonusers.
Researcher Donald Tashkin, MD, of UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine found substances that potentially cause cancer but his findings will surprise you. Tashkin presented the findings at The American Thoracic Societies 102nd International Conference, held in San Diego:
“We know that there are as many or more carcinogens and co-carcinogens in marijuana smoke as in cigarettes. But we did not find any evidence for an increase in cancer risk for even heavy marijuana smoking.”
The study population was limited to people who were younger than 60 because people older than that would probably not have used marijuana in their teens and early adult years.
“People who may have smoked marijuana in their youth are just now getting to the age when cancers are being seen,” Tashkin says.
A total of 611 lung cancer patients living in Los Angeles County, and 601 patients with other cancers of the head and neck were compared with 1,040 people without cancer matched for age, sex, and the neighborhood they lived in.
All the participants were asked about lifetime use of marijuana, tobacco, and alcohol, as well as other drugs, their diets, occupation, family history of lung cancer, and socioeconomic status.
The heaviest marijuana users in the study had smoked more than 22,000 joints, while moderately heavy smokers had smoked between 11,000 and 22,000 joints.
While two-pack-a-day or more cigarette smokers were found to have a 20-fold increase in lung cancer risk, no elevation in risk was seen for even the very heaviest marijuana smokers.
Studies suggest that marijuana smoke contains 50 percent higher concentrations of chemicals linked to lung cancer than cigarette smoke.
Marijuana smokers also tend to inhale deeper than cigarette smokers and hold the inhaled smoke in their lungs longer. So why isn’t smoking marijuana as dangerous as smoking cigarettes in terms of cancer risk?
The answer isn’t clear, but the experts say it might have something to do with tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, which is a chemical found in marijuana smoke.
Cellular studies and even some studies in animal models suggest that THC has anti-tumor properties, either by encouraging the death of genetically damaged cells that can become cancerous or by restricting the development of the blood supply that feeds tumors,
Tashkin tells WebMD. In a review of the research published last fall, University of Colorado molecular biologist Robert Melamede, PhD, conclude
d that the THC in cannabis seems to lessen the tumor-promoting properties of marijuana smoke.
The latest scientific findings conclude,“In some ways, marijuana smoking is really a lot like doing a pulmonary function test, the “practice” or “exercise” might expand lung capacity and account for the unusual results.
He cautions, however, that long term exposure to marijuana smoke at the most extreme doses probably does damage the lungs, although he concedes that the evidence from the study on this point is “weak.”
Download this free PDF by clicking on the image.
Produced by the British Lung Foundation it contradicts all of the latest scientific evidence and claims that smoking cannabis actually causes lung damage.
It is typical of the misinformation that is published about cannabis use.
According to the largest and longest study ever to consider the issue, which was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association – cannabis does not damage the lungs.
Long-term smoking of cannabis is associated with an elevated risk of respiratory complications, including an increase in cough, sputum production, and wheezing, but not a decline in pulmonary function.
Cannabis Facts – No decrease in pulmonary function
According to a review published in the February issue of the journal Archives of Internal Medicine. Investigators at the Yale University School of Medicine conducted a systematic review of studies published between 1966 and 2005 that assessed the effects of marijuana smoking on pulmonary function and respiratory complications.
The data failed to show an association between long-term marijuana smoking and airflow obstruction (emphysema), as measured by airway hyperreactivity, forced expiratory volume (FEV), and other measures, investigators reported.
Most of these complications persisted even after researchers adjusted for tobacco smoking.
Previous reviews of long-term cannabis smoking have noted similar respiratory complications, though an association between cannabis use and lung and/or upper aerodigestive tract (UAT) cancers has not been found.
Cannabis inhalation via specialized delivery systems such as vaporizers would likely yield different results.
Cannabis vaporization limits users’ intake of respiratory toxins by heating cannabis to a temperature where cannabinoid vapors form (typically around 180-190 degrees Celsius), but below the point of combustion where noxious smoke and associated toxins (e.g., carcinogenic hydrocarbons) are produced (near 230 degrees Celsius).
According to clinical trial data published last year in the Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences, vaporization is a “safe and effective” cannabinoid delivery system for individuals desiring the rapid onset associated with inhalation, but who wish to avoid the respiratory risks of smoking.
“The final pulmonal uptake of THC is comparable to the smoking of cannabis, while avoiding the respiratory disadvantages of smoking,” investigators in that study reported.
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