Archive for the 'Marijuana' Category

One Drug Addict’s Story: Set Free!

Monday, January 16th, 2012

(public domain)

By Spencer D Gear

“When I used pot everyone was affected.” Colin [3] was adamant. School teachers said he was a pain in the butt. He couldn’t give a damn about his parents. Friends warned him about his changed personality.

His peers, in his language, were “hit men.” Success in rugby league was shattered. The boss sacked him because of his tardiness.

Portal icon  He warns: “As a young teenager, pot slowed my maturity. My memory was shot, and still is to some degree. I find it hard to use my mind at its full capacity. It is still difficult to relate to people.”  Increased marijuana use made him feel miserable. Crazy as it seems, the more he got into dope, the more marijuana he used to try to relieve his cannabis-induced misery.

What takes a normal kid in the suburbs in an average Aussie family to the depths of despair through drug addiction? He says that it started in year seven when he began “mixing with the wrong crowd” and a friend’s brother introduced him to the bong. “We would smoke in the school grounds at night and at weekends.”

It was an innocent first encounter, he asserted. Cigarettes, a cold beer and “a bit of marijuana.” By age 17, it was marijuana daily, with occasional use of speed and LSD. “It was a very expensive habit, but I always found the money to be stoned most of the day.”

His parents woke up six years later. Michael, his father, said that “it didn’t gel until he was 18.” How could parents miss the signs for so long?  Michael explained: “We grew up in a world without it. I was born in the country, worked long hours on the job. I went to boarding school. We knew right from wrong, so I didn’t go looking for this kind of stuff.”

Colin’s behaviour was uncontrollable but Michael read it as adolescent rebellion that he would grow out of.
Looking back, Michael says that he can now see the symptoms. Colin was sly and deceptive. Money and other goods disappeared from home. He’d leave for school with his clothes ragged — by choice. But Michael and his wife were not too worried. He was a teenager.

Colin grieves over the stress it caused Mum and Dad. The family was traumatised. He speaks about the “increasing careless attitudes towards anyone who got in my way. I was never home. I seldom made any family contribution. Everything was a hassle. Any inconvenience to me was absolutely intolerable. Getting high was first priority.” With regret, he admits, “I turned into a liar, deceiver and thief in my own family.”

His behaviour deteriorated. “My character changed. So did my outlook on life. Friends warned me about the changes in my personality. My values were turned around.”

Portal icon He “lost his memory often, but that was almost a good thing, I thought. That’s part of being stoned.” He described his thinking as “like a few cords in the head had been severed, wires burned out, and sparks jumping the lead.”

This is consistent with the research of Dr. Richard Schwartz at Georgetown University (USA). He found that “cannabis-dependent adolescents have selective short-term memory deficits that continue for at least 6 weeks after the last use of marijuana.”

Sister Yvonne at the drug education and prevention agency, PRYDE (Cronulla) [4], remembers Colin’s state: “He could hardly string a sensible sentence together. Four or five different ideas were in the one sentence, but not one of the ideas was related to any other.” This is what researchers into the effects of heavy cannabis use call “sequential dialogue” problems.

The local shopkeeper, newsagent, anybody — became the victim of Colin’s rage, offensive attitudes and filthy language. “I was not pleasant to be around.”  Being high was more important than friends. He lost contact with mates in the last two years of his use. “They were my best friends. Now I struggle to make up for lost time.”

In relationships with girls, pot had to be involved. One girl stood by him as his life was in tatters. When he started treating her as a non-person, she opted out of the relationship. He cared deeply for her but “cannabis blinded me to whether or not people loved me.”  Mates were treated as scum and throw-aways. He lost a small carpet-cleaning business. “I mixed with drug addicted criminals constantly. Soon I learned how to be one of them. I hated others with a passion. People were scared of me. But I thought I was in control.”

Eventually his mind “broke down” and he was admitted to a hospital psychiatric unit because of his drug-induced psychosis. “I was hearing voices in my head and having good conversations with radio and TV announcers. It was scary. There were times of reality. Then I’d slip back to my crazy self.”

During one of those schizophrenic-like episodes Colin walked back and forth beside the main highway. Semi-trailers screeched past and he “contemplated stepping in front of them.” Death looked like a safe place for this teenager. Suicide or jail!  He was prepared for either. Three times he contemplated suicide and says that he was “within inches of death.”

The connection between pot use and schizophrenia is well documented. Marijuana use was linked with schizophrenia as an independent risk factor in a major Swedish study. Dr. Sven Andreasson and colleagues at the Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, found a 600 per cent increase in the incidence of schizophrenia in those who used marijuana on more than 50 occasions in a lifetime.

How much longer could Colin maintain his destructive lifestyle? Once when he faced a local magistrate for drink driving, possession of cannabis, assault and verbal abuse, a parole officer suggested a way out.

He recommended that Colin consider a Christian-based drug rehabilitation agency.  Religion? Matt would have none of it. But he had come to the end of himself. He didn’t know where to turn. Voluntarily, he entered the Christian rehabilitation centre but within five weeks was dismissed for rude and rebellious behaviour. “I had been doing this kind of stuff for years,” he said. A month later he was back in the program. Within twelve months, Colin was free of drugs and has been clean for the last 12 years.

Courtesy Google

 

Former Christian counsellor at the rehabilitation centre, Alice, remembers how distrusting he was of people. He avoided closeness with anybody. She recalls how he “couldn’t stand any form of authority. He would smile and then ignore instructions. He was sneaky. A con!”

Alice says that when he returned to the Rehab Centre after his exclusion, she noticed new motivation. He wanted to change. He was committed to learning new principles in his life.

“But he did have a fiery temper that led to conflict with people. Through it all,” Alice recalls, “even though he was not always right, there was a child-like sincerity within him.”

Colin admits there have been temptations to re-use, but when that happens, “I stop, am still, renew my mind, and remember where I have come from.”  He says the change came when he committed his “life to Jesus Christ. I confessed my sin to him and now I am free.”  Why did he need a religious experience to get free of drugs? Others have not needed Christianity to leave illicit drugs behind. He is firm: “Jesus Christ offers hope that doesn’t fade. I needed lasting strength.”

Leading politicians in Australia advocate the decriminalisation of marijuana, similar to the legislation in South Australia and the A.C.T.  Colin objects: “If we let this drug loose in society, expect behaviour and character changes like what happened to me. The place would be a madhouse with thousands of Colins.  It will affect the milk bar person, the bread man, schools, social interaction, all of life around us. It’s a crazy idea.”

The change has been radical for Colin. Instead of ripping off society, this former drug addict is now giving back to the community. As a volunteer with the Drug-Arm street van, he raps with street kids on weekends. He speaks at schools and churches; works with the police in crime prevention strategies. This is the new Colin in action.

What a turn around! He entered a Bachelor of Theology degree programme at a theological college in Australia. The drug abuse still impacts on his memory. Learning Greek grammar is difficult. For many of us, English grammar is a challenge to master, even without drugs. He struggles with remembering the content of his speeches, based on brief notes.

He has returned to the Drug Rehab. as a temporary weekend supervisor. From drug addict to drug rehabilitation leader! Colin puts it down to “being set free.” [2]

Endnotes:

2.  This is a true story.  I have known this former addict for 19 years.

3.  Colin is not his real name.

4.  NSW, Australia (a southern suburb of Sydney).

 

Copyright © 2012 Spencer D. Gear. This document last updated at Date: 16 October 2015.

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Whytehouse Designs

Summary of the effects of marijuana use

Monday, January 16th, 2012

Marijuana (public domain)

By Spencer D Gear

1.    One cigarette (joint) impairs the short term memory for at least 6 weeks.  There are many studies demonstrating the deterioration of short term memory in marijuana users.  The definitive and best controlled of these was done in 1989 by Dr Richard Schwartz.  He demonstrated persisting impairment of short term memory six weeks after supervised abstention from the drug.  Just one joint is all that is needed.  (Dr’s Richard Schwartz, Gruenewald, M Klitzner et al “Memory Impairment In Cannabis Dependent Adolescents”, Am, J. Dis, Child, 143:1214-19, 1989 – Georgetown Medical School – Washington DC).  Take a read of this one from The New Scientist, “Natural high helps banish bad times.”

2.    In a major study to investigate the effects of cannabis on motor skills, twenty four hours after one cigarette (joint), experienced pilots performed severely impaired simulator landings.  These pilots reported that they felt absolutely fine, with normal mood, alertness and performance and were completely unaware of their impairment.  Several major rail crashes in     the USA have been associated with the use of marijuana.  (Dr JA Yesavage, VO Leirer, DG Morrow, Stanford University – “Marijuana carry over effects on aircraft pilot performance” – Aviation, Space and Environmental Medicine, 62:221-27, 1991)  Marijuana use is a continuing concern to paediatricians.

What about road accidents?

Cannabis and driving: a new perspective” by Carl J O’Kane, Douglas C Tutt and Lyndon A Bauer, warns of the influence of marijuana use on one’s ability when driving a motor vehicle [Emergency Medicine, Volume 14 Issue 3 Page 296  – September 2002].  Whilst much research exists from overseas relating to increased risk of motor vehicle accidents due to marijuana use, the following Australian data are significant.

Dr Judith Perl, pharmacologist, of the Clinical Forensic Medicine Unit – NSW Police Service released information in 1991 of a study conducted over the period 1987-90.  The study involved taking blood and urine samples from accident victims in four Sydney hospitals at random.  The only qualifier was that those measuring .05 BAC [blood-alcohol concentration], or known to have consumed alcohol were not tested for other drug use.  The increase in positive testing for cannabis in the blood of these victims was staggering, increasing from 28% (87-88) to 68% (1990).  [See also Judith Perl,  “Drugs & traffic safety”, Australian Journal of Forensic Sciences 17:25]Mrs Kate Carnell stated in “Debates of the Legislative Assembly for the Australian Capital Territory” (Hansard, 9 September 1992, p. 2077) that:

“Cannabis is clearly a cause of driver impairment – a fact of which we are becoming incresasingly aware.  A study conducted by Dr. Judith Perl, of the forensic unit of the New South Wales Police, shows that cannabis is the single most important source of driver impairment discovered in blood and urine samples.  Cannabis constituted 68 per cent of all drug-positive urine and blood tests conducted in New South Wales during 1990.  Thus the threat that cannabis poses to driving safety is not idle and it must not be ignored.  We know that alcohol also affects driving ability, judgment and skill performance, but the residual effects of cannabis last much longer than those of alcohol.”

3.    A 15 year research project at the Karolinska Institute and Juddinge University Hospital, Sweden, revealed a 600% increase in the incidence of schizophrenia in conscripts who had used marijuana 50 times or more in their lifetime.  This study used a standardised method for the diagnosis of schizophrenia.  (Longitudinal study at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden – 15 year study using 45570 army conscripts – Dr Sven Andreasson,  P Allerbeck, A Engstrom et al., Cannabis and Schizophrenia: A Longitudinal Study of Swedish Conscripts.  The Lancet, 2:1483 -1485,1987).

4.    A parallel study showed a 500% increase in the overall incidence of other psychiatric disorders in conscripts who were users. (Andreasson, S; Allerbeck, P; Rydberg, U., “Schizophrenia in Users and Non Users of Cannabis”  Acta Psychiatr. Scan., 79:505-510, 1989)  The use of cannabis in adolescence and risk for adult psychosis was examined in a New Zealand: longitudinal prospective study.  It found that “early cannabis use (by age 15) confers greater risk for schizophrenia outcomes than later cannabis use (by age 18). The youngest cannabis users may be most at risk because their cannabis use becomes longstanding.” [BMJ BMJ. 2002 November 23; 325 (7374): 1212–1213] [2].  The New Scientist reports on another study confirming the “Cannabis link to mental illness strengthened“.

5.    The Swedish study scientifically linked marijuana to the dramatic increase in drug-induced schizophrenoform illness and the associated increase in teenage suicide rates and other violent death (as above )

6.    The so called “Amotivational syndrome” –
Portal icon  Apathy, poor judgement, lack of self care,
Portal icon  Decreased empathy (perception of others problems)
Portal icon  Impaired perception of past, present and future.
Portal icon  Difficulty with information processing.
Portal icon  Difficulty with sequential dialogue.
(Goodman & Gilman – “The Pharmacological Basis of Therapeutics” 8th Ed. 1991)  For the latest edition.

Dr Robert C Gilkeson, – a teacher, paediatrician, adolescent neuropsychiatrist and brain researcher, specialising in early childhood development and learning disabilities, moved in 1987 (after some years of paediatric practice and consultancy) to devote his time to research the effects of marijuana on brain function.  Up until his untimely death in 1993, he was the Director of the Center for Drug Education and Brain Research.  He summarised his general findings in a paper to the US Committees of Correspondence, Drug Watch division with this quote:

“My research studies of youngsters from kindergarten through high school show previously well adjusted and intellectually endowed children falling apart academically and emotionally in the teenage years with the only new factor being that of occasional marijuana use.  Marijuana use can lead to an inability to retain strong self image, and an inability to visualise and plan for the future.  Using marijuana makes ‘great’ people feel average, and ‘average’ people ‘dumb’.  Marijuana use is toxic to all cells, and most especially toxic to brain cells.

“In 1981, my eight year study of 90 adolescent marijuana smokers was completed.  Each youths brain wave tracings (EEG) showed dysfunction (decreased activity) similar to brain wave tracings of the learning disabled.  A decrease in brain cell energy causes a decline in the level and complexity of thought and behaviour.  ‘Burned out’ kids with impairment to both their frontal lobe and their short term memory due to chronic intoxification of marijuana were evident.

“These impairments are the cause of the increased violent and non violent juvenile crime, truancy and school drop out, teenage runaways and vagrancy, teenage prostitution and pregnancy, venereal disease, adolescent depression and suicide, polysubstance use and adolescent psychiatric referrals.  Most alarming of all is the fact that we have witnessed the appearance of a new chronic organic brain syndrome called ‘burnout’ caused by marijuana use.”

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Recent research in animals has also suggested that long-term use of marijuana (THC) produces changes in the limbic system that are similar to those that occur after long-term use of other major drugs of abuse such as cocaine, heroin, and alcohol. These changes are most evident during withdrawal from THC. During withdrawal, there are increases in both the levels of a brain chemical involved in stress and certain emotions and the activity of neurons in the amygdala. These same kinds of changes also occur during withdrawal from other drugs of abuse, suggesting that there may be a common factor in the development of drug dependence (Connecticut Clearinghouse, “Marijuana: The Brain’s Response to Drugs,” 1999).

In 1992, a study assessed the acute effects of cannabis on human cognition.  This study found that cannabis impaired all capabilities of learning including associated processes and psychomotor performance.  (Block RI, Farinpour R & Braverman K., “Acute effects of marijuana on cognition: relationship to chronic effects and smoking techniques. Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behaviour,” 1992, 43(3):907-917).  Here is a summary of that research.  Also take a look at: “Marijuana use during pregnancy damages kid’s learning” (The New Scientist).

“Much recent research is showing us exactly how marijuana impairs the brain. For instance, three days or more after smoking marijuana, PET scans of chronic marijuana users show decreased metabolic activity in the brain, especially in the cerebellum, a part of the brain involved with motor coordination, learning, and memory [Volkow ND et al., Psychiatric Research Neuroimaging 67:29-38, 1996]” (quoted from, “Prof. Miron Is Wrong About Marijuana,” Janet D. Lapey, M.D., The Massachusetts News Columnist, February 2000).  However, The New Scientist claims that “Controversy still rages over whether cannabis damages the brain.”

For a summary of information for teenagers see:  “Tips for Teens: The Truth About Marijuana.” 

7.    Four times the cancer causing potential of cigarettes.  Cancers of the mouth and jaw usually seen in men (over 60 ) who had been heavy smokers and drinkers for decades have been found in young users.  All had been daily marijuana users but had not smoked nicotine and only used a small amount of alcohol if any.  Study group was young men between 19-38 who had developed squamous cell cancers of the tongue or jaw with lymph node involvement. (PJ Donald – “Marijuana Smoking – Possible Causes of Head and Neck Carcinoma in Young Patients” Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery, 94:517-521, 1986 – University of California, and Hoffman, D.; Brunnermann, KD.; Gori, GB.; Wynder, EL., “On the Carcinogenicity of Marijuana Smoke”.  In: Runeckles, VC., ed. Recent Advances in Phytochemistry, New York: Plenium, 1975:63-81.) 

The New Scientist reports on “Cannabis smoking ‘more harmful’ than tobacco.”

“Marijuanasmoking is associated with a dose-dependent increased risk ofhead and neck cancer. . .  Marijuana is a riskfactor for human head and neck cancer ” (“Marijuana Use and Increased Risk Zuo-Feng Zhang, Hal Morgenstern, Margaret R. Spitz, Donald P. Tashkin, Guo-Pei Yu, James R. Marshall, T. C. Hsu and Stimson P. Schantz (Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers & Prevention Vol. 8, 1071-1078, December 1999)

Here’s a summary of risk factors for head and neck cancer, including the use of marijuana.

Although scientists have been convinced in the past that smoking causes lung cancer, the strong statistical associations did not provide absolute proof. This paper absolutely pinpoints that mutations in lung cancer cells are caused by benzopyrene. An average marijuana cigarette contains 30 nanograms of this carcinogen compared to 21 nanograms in an average tobacco cigarette (Marijuana and Health, National Academy of Sciences, Institute of Medicine report, 1982). This potent carcinogen suppresses a gene that controls growth of cells. When this gene is damaged the body becomes more susceptible to cancer. This gene, P53, is related to half of all human cancers and as many as 70% of lung cancers.

Commentary: Clearly marijuana smoke contains more of the potent carcinogen benzopyrene than tobacco smoke. Furthermore, the technique of smoking marijuana by inhaling deeply and holding the smoke within the lungs presents a chance of much greater exposure than a conventional tobacco cigarette. (Commentary provided by William M. Bennett M.D., Professor of Medicine, Division of Nephrology, Clinical Pharmacology and Hypertension at Oregon Health Sciences University, Portland, Oregon.  This information is from Drug Watch Oregon).

8.  Depression of the immune system at both humoural (body fluids) and cell immunity levels. In fact the immune system response is lowered by up to 40%.  Studies have shown for instance that young people who are users tend to be ill more frequently than non users.  Dr Akira Morishima has found that marijuana more than any other drug he had studied is closely     correlated with a high rate of chromosome damage or destruction particularly in relation to T- lymphocytes (white blood cells). [Friedman, H; Klein, TW; Newton, CA; Widen, R., “The Effects of Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol and 11-hydroxy-delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol on 7-lymphocyte and B-lymphocyte Mitogen Response”. J. Immunopharmacol., 7,451,1985 Florida University – 1985 &1994 Drugs of Abuse and the Immune System; 1st International Symposium Paris 1990  & A Morishima, GG Nahas & et al].

“There is good evidence that THC and other cannabinoids can impair both cell-mediated and humoral immune system functioning, leading to decreased resistance to infection by viruses and bacteria. However, the health relevance of these findings to human marijuana use remains uncertain. Conclusive evidence for increased malignancy, or enhanced acquisition of HIV, or the development of AIDS, has not been associated with marijuana use” (National Institutes of Health – Workshop on the Medical Utility of Marijuana, February 19-20, 1997)

For a contrary opinion, see “Marijuana and Immunity,” Leo E. Hollister M.D. (Journal of Psychoactive Drugs pp. 159-163 Vol. 24 Apr-Jun 1992).

Portal icon9.    Fertility and other sexual development problems in males and females.

Males: sperm production is reduced, sperm motility reduced, production of testosterone and other hormones are reduced or delayed, which inhibits normal sexual development in males.  Studies indicate that sometimes this sexual developmental delay leads to lack of interest in females and normal copulatory behaviour.  Another side effect is the chromosomal damage (up to three times the normal rate) giving rise to the inability to produce normal pregnancy.

Females:  marijuana can cause defective menstrual cycles, damage the ovum, cause production of high levels of testosterone, and significantly reduce levels of prolactin, which is required for milk production.  Additionally females who use during pregnancy or who have residual levels of THC still present in their bodies are shown to produce lower than normal birthweight babies and, especially males with a higher than normal mortality rate. (Dr Wylie Hambree et al Columbia University; Dr Susan Dalterio University of Texas; Mendelsen JH et al Journal of Pharmacology & Experimental Therapeutics, 1978, 207:611-617; Dr Ethel Sassanrath, University of California; Hingson et al ‘Paediatrics’, vol 70 Oct 92 – Marijuana Alert.  Hatch, E; Bracken, M., “Effect of Marijuana Use on Foetal Growth.”  Am. J. Epidemiol. 124, 986, 1986.  Fried, P; Watkinson, B; Willan, A., “Marijuana Use in Pregnancy and Decreased Length of Gestation.”   Am. J. Obstet. Gynecol., 105, 23, 1984)

A new study at the University of Buffalo, USA, has found: “Men who smoke marijuana frequently have significantly less seminal fluid, a lower total sperm count and their sperm behave abnormally, all of which may affect fertility adversely, a new study in reproductive physiology at the University of Buffalo has shown” (University of Buffalo Reporter, October 23, 2003).

Researcher Peter Fried, a psychologist at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada, “told New Scientist (25 March 2003) that as well as affecting memory and learning, exposure to marijuana during pregnancy has a strong effect on visual mapping and analysis in human children.”

10.    DNA metabolism is inhibited thus interfering with cell function and replication.  The blockage of this process results in slowing down the manufacture of DNA, RNA and proteins in the cell nucleus – a process essential for cell life.  (B. Desoize; G Nahas; C Latour; R Vistelle,  University of Champagne – Ardenne, “In Vivo Inhibition of Enterocyte Metabolism by Delta-9-THC” Pro. Soc. Exp. Biol. Med., 181, pp. 512-516, 1986)

11.    Associated with the above the THC enlarges the area between each cell, resulting in poor transmission of nerve impulses.  This can lead to impaired speech and comprehension of complex ideas, loss of memory, difficulty in concentrating, insomnia, lack of body coordination and loss of muscle strength, impaired vision and unexpected mood changes.  (RG Heath et al – “Chronic Marijuana Smoking  – its effect on the Function and Structure of the Primate Brain”.)
Again associated with the issue of DNA, RNA, cell function and replication is the issue of birth abnormalities being produced in the offspring of parents who have used or are still using marijuana.  These abnormalities closely resemble those of thalidomide babies although where thalidomide produced such abnormalities called phecomelia – in place of hands and feet, new borns had seal-like flippers.

Marijuana is responsible for defects such as non-existent limbs, phocomelia, syndactyly (fingers are fused together rendering them useless), missing hands and forearms, webbing of the hands, lack of nails, club feet and hydrocephalus (so called water on the brain).  Dr Virchel E Wood, Orthopedic Surgeon & Associate Professor of the School of Medicine – Dept of Orthopedic Surgery – Loma Linda University (USA) has indicated that abnormalities can occur in the young of one or both parents who have been shown to have used marijuana.  People who use marijuana and other drugs have 18 times more birth defects than non users.

n research reported in 2003, Drs Kenneth L. Audus, and Michael J. Soares of the Institute of Maternal-Fetal Biology concluded that “illicit drugs (e.g. cocaine, marijuana, etc) taken by the mother at virtually any time during gestation have the potential to adversely affect the outcome of pregnancy, resulting in severe complications for the mother, pre-term birth, abnormalities in fetal development and increased health risks as the newborn grows into adulthood” [” Dr. Audus is an internationally recognized expert on drug metabolism and drug transport by the placenta, while Dr. Soares’ expertise resides in understanding mechanisms controlling the growth and development of the placenta”] (News Release, September 1, 2003).

Dr Susan Dalterio of the University of Texas (San Antonio) has noted in extensive studies that genetic mutations have passed through to the second generation of offspring of marijuana users.

 

Such warnings [about marijuana use linked to psychoses] should not surprise the scientists who have for many years maintained that the THC contained in marijuana is dangerous. First, in the late 1960?s Dr. Robert Heath, then chairman of the Department of Psychiatry and Neurology at Tulane Medical School, found that marijuana affects brain waves and destroys brain cells. [3] Second, a study conducted by Dr. Ethel Sassenrath at the University of California at Davis between 1974 and 1978 found that THC increased the rate of fetal loss (in utero, fetal death) in monkeys by over 300%, while at the same time decreasing the birth weights in those babies born alive. [4] Third, a study by Dr. Susan Dalterio, at the University of Texas found that marijuana decreased testosterone and impaired sexual development in male mice. [5] Finally, a study by Dr. Albert Munson found that injections of THC suppressed the immune systems of mice and made them 96 times more susceptible to the herpes virus. [6] (Schaffer Library of Drug Policy)

12.    1100% increase in the incidence of acute non lymphoblastic leukaemia in the offspring of mothers who used while pregnant or just prior to conception.  The research also indicated that that these children developed the leukaemia earlier – 19 months instead of the usual 93 months.  (Professor Neglia et al Minnesota University – reported 1990 and Robson et al Children’s Cancer Study Group – reported in “Cancer” 63:1904-1910, 1989)

13.    Marijuana prevents liver enzyme CP450 from breaking down anti-depressant medication thus causing an accumulation of the anti-depressant in the body which can result in death (Dr John Anderson – Neuro Scientist, Consultant, Psychophysiologist – Neuroscience Psychological Services Centre,  Westmead,  Sydney NSW).  It is tragic for the scientific cause of the investigation of the impact of marijuana and anti-depressants that Dr. Anderson died in 2002.

  I would like to see in-depth research conducted to follow-up Dr. Anderson’s pioneering work.  Here is a summary of Dr. John Anderson’s preliminary research.  Further, Dr. Anderson contended:

Statistics suggest that 40% of ADHD children are predisposed to substance abuse during adolescence or adulthood. Of the ADHD population who are poly substance users, 67% smoke marijuana. Many behavioural changes are similar to those of ADHD: academic ability decreases; sniffles, colds, trivial illness, especially respiratory system; concentration levels decrease; depersonalisation; increased levels of anxiety; increased depression; reaction times slows; short-term memory difficulties; a lack of motivation or interest in things previously enjoyed; increased impulsivity; space and time distortion; may increase appetite.  (A summary of a talk presented by John Anderson to ADDult, NSW, Australia)


14.    Marijuana use and its link to other illicit drugs, is not genetic according to
Michael Lynskey, at Washington University School of Medicine in St Louis, Missouri, and his team [who] found that the early user [of marijuana] was two to five times more likely to go on to use harder drugs or become dependent on alcohol – regardless of whether they were an identical twin or not.

    The fact that identical twins, who share all their genes, did not differ from non-identical twins, who share half, suggests that the progression is not the product of genes. (The New Scientist, 21 January 2003, based on an article in the  Journal of the American Medical Association, vol 289, pp. 427, 482).

15.  Yet, there is a rising swell of support for marijuana use across Europe and Canada, according to The New Scientist

For further marijuana research summaries, see the Drug Watch Oregon website.  See “Marijuana: Facts for Teens.”
Here’s a short summary of the effects of marijuana (a summary of this article).

Recommendations

  • See the Washington State University article, “Marijuana Effects” that confirms the deleterious consequences of marijuana use.

Notes:

1.  Susan Dalterio is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Biology at the University of Texas at San Antonio.  Her email contact is:  sdalterio@utsa.edu

2.  Copyright © 2002, BMJ BMJ. 2002 November 23; 325 (7374): 1212–1213, “Cannabis use in adolescence and risk for adult psychosis: longitudinal prospective study, ” Louise Arseneault, lecturer, Mary Cannon, Wellcome Trust advanced fellow, Richie Poulton, director, Dunedin multidisciplinary health and development study, Robin Murray, professor, Avshalom Caspi, professor, Terrie E Moffitt, professor. 

SGDP Research Centre, King’s College, London SE5 8AF, Division of Psychological Medicine, King’s College, Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Research Unit, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand. Correspondence to: T E Moffitt t.moffitt@iop.kcl.ac.uk. 

3.  Robert G. Health, “Cannabis Sativa: Effects on Brain Function,” Biological Psychiatry, Vol. 15, No. 5, 1980.

4. Government’s Supplemental Sentencing Memorandum Re: Health Effects of Marijuana, U.S. v. Greyshock, United States District Court for the District of Hawaii, 1988.

5.  Ibid.

6.  Ibid.

 

Copyright © 2012Spencer D. Gear. This document last updated at Date: 16 October 2015.

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Is use of marijuana a sin for Christians

Monday, January 16th, 2012


Flowering Cannabis plant

By Spencer D GEar

Is it a sin to use illicit drugs such as marijuana? I would say, yes, for these reasons:

1. You say that “I don’t’ see God declaring it a sin, so I don’t believe it is a sin”. Just because God doesn’t mention taking illicit drugs such as marijuana, does not mean that He doesn’t give principles in the Bible that apply to illicit drugs. If I am to accept your line of reasoning, I would have to say that I will promote abortion because the word “abortion” does not appear in the Bible. Also, if I pursue your view, I would say that I do not accept the Trinity because the word, “Trinity”, does not appear in the Bible. There are obvious reasons to reject abortion because it is the killing of a human being – yes, a human being from conception. The doctrine of the Trinity, even though the word is not mentioned in the Bible, is taught in the Bible as three persons in one God. The idea that God does not declare the use of marijuana as sin, so it is OK to use marijuana for a Christian or anybody else, has BIG holes in it. These include:

2. You have quoted, “all things are lawful”, but you didn’t complete the verse. The whole verse states: “‘All things are lawful for me,’ but not all things are helpful. ‘All things are lawful for me,’ but I will not be enslaved by anything. ‘Food is meant for the stomach and the stomach for food’—and God will destroy both one and the other'” (1 Cor. 6:12-13a ESV)[1]. Here Paul gave the slogans of the Corinthians and then provided his responses:

Slogan: All things are lawful for me; Response: but not all things are helpful

Slogan: All things are lawful for me; Response: but I will not be enslaved by anything

Slogan: Food is meant for the stomach and the stomach for food; Response: and God will destroy both one and the other

You are practising the Corinthian kind of sloganeering when you only quote part of the verse – the slogan. Paul opposed the slogans and gave God’s responses. There are plenty of applications in this slogan-response sequence to apply to illicit drugs. In context, 1 Cor. 6 is referring to food and sexual immorality (especially). However, God’s response through Paul is, “not all things are helpful”, “I will not be enslaved by anything”, and “God will destroy both one and the other”.

We know that marijuana use is NOT helpful. I have already provided you with a list of very negative consequences of marijuana use, based on the research. Since marijuana is a drug of addiction, it fits right in with Paul’s response, “I will not be enslaved by anything”. If you are truly wanting to follow the Lord, you will not want to be enslaved by the THC in marijuana. Therefore, it is a sin to break God’s teaching on what is beneficial for your health.

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3. However, you dare to ask, “Why are we making stupid laws?” Excessive alcohol drinking is harmful to one’s health. But 50 glasses of beer in a lifetime do not have the same risk as 50 joints of marijuana: There was a 600% increase in the incidence of schizophrenia in conscripts who had used 50 cannabis cigarettes or more in their lifetime. (Longitudinal Study at Karolinska Institute in Sweden – study over 15 years with approx 55000 conscripts -Andreasson, Allerbeck Engstrom et al -The Lancet – 1987). One joint of marijuana impairs short term memory for at least six weeks. (Dr’s. R. Schwartz, Gruenewald, M Klitzner et al “Memory Impairment in cannabis dependent Adolescents.” 1989 Georgetown University). Please understand that I am not advocating the use of tobacco or alcohol. I have not used either in all my life, but what I’m trying to point out is that moderate use of alcohol does not have the same impact on one’s brain as use of marijuana. Therefore, based on the scientific evidence, far from making stupid laws by making marijuana use illegal, governments are making very sensible laws in trying to prevent severe medical and mental damage to individuals. Your accusation of “stupid laws” in relation to marijuana use does not hold up under the weight of mental illness caused by marijuana use, based on the research. I KNOW the impact of marijuana from 34 years of counselling these people. Please don’t be so myopic as to write anti-marijuana legislation off as “stupid laws”.

4. There is one area in which I substantially agree with you. There are better places than jail for rehabilitating somebody with a drug and gambling problem. Jails seem to be too easy of a sentence for most criminal offences.

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5. You say, “But its not a sin for me to gamble”. I don’t know how old you are as a Christian. Have you been truly born again or are you a Christian in name only. It seems that you have an elementary understanding of Scripture. I live in a country, Australia, that has a love affair with gambling. Almost 21% percent of the world’s poker machines are in Australia.[2]

What is God’s view on gambling? Games of chance are not approved by God. Here are some biblical reasons:

I cannot locate a Scripture which states, “Thou shalt not gamble,” but the concepts of chance, luck and fortune should not be in a biblical world and life view. Support for gambling as we understand it today is foreign to the Scriptures for these reasons:

a. The Christian view of godliness

According to Matthew 6:33, believers are to “seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things [material things] will be added to you.” We are exhorted to pray, “Give us this day our daily bread” (Matt. 6:11). How is it possible to use gambling for help with daily necessities and still rely on God to supply our needs?

b. The Christian view of work

Ephesians 4:28 says: “Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need.” Could it be said that the modern concept of gambling, reaping many dollars for a small investment, is akin to stealing from others – legally? The Christian work ethic is one of labouring with one’s own hands or abilities to raise money or goods to maintain one’s individual life and family, and to share with those in need. Receiving $40 million as a gambling jackpot for spending only a few dollars sounds more like a “rip-off” of other people than an honest day’s work. But, of course, it is all done legally and governments receive their share of the “rip-off.”

c. The Christian view of stewardship

Hebrews 13:5 states that believers are to “keep your life free from love of money and be content with what you have, for he said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.'” This is in contrast to the ones seeking big bucks from all sorts of gambling, with the investment of an infinitesimal amount.

The gambler seems to be like the greedy person. What is the biblical view of greed? The greedy are “the unrighteous who will not inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Cor. 6:9). But there is good news for the greedy. They can be redeemed by being washed by the blood of Jesus, justified and sanctified. “Such were some of you,” said Paul of the greedy (I Cor. 6:11).

The common jargon these days is that gambling is supposed to be for fun – entertainment. Second Timothy 3:4-5 warns us that Christians are not to be “lovers of pleasure.” Instead they are to be “lovers of God.” Those who love pleasure are to be avoided (v. 5).

d. The Christian view of love for your neighbours and enemies

Jesus told us, “You shall love your neighbour as yourself” (Matt. 22:39). How can we as Christians truly love our enemies (Matt. 5:44) while we contribute to taking money away from them? Approximately half of the revenue at poker machine venues in Australia comes from problem gamblers according to the Productivity Commission Report in 1999. How can we justify gambling when it is causing devastation to the individual and 5-10 other people associated with the problem gambler?[3]

e. How the Christian views his/her influence on others

How can Christians be the “salt of the earth” and the “light of the world” (Matt. 5:13-14) while greedily wanting big bucks and ripping others off – legally, of course – through 21st century-style gambling? How can you “love your neighbour as yourself” (Matt. 22:39) while at the same time taking money from him/her through gambling?

Biblical Christianity promotes the view of Jesus, “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35), which is a life-style that, it seems to me, is impossible to reconcile with a 21st century approach to gambling that is promoted by governments.

f. Luck and fortune are not part of God’s kingdom

Isaiah 65:11-12 warns:

But you who forsake the Lord, who forget my holy mountain, who set a table for Fortune and fill cups of mixed wine for Destiny, I will destine you to the sword . . . You did what was evil in my eyes and chose what I did not delight in.

Luck, chance and fortune are not in God’s worldview. Neither should they be in ours. These are essential to the gambling kingdom! Christians should set a godly example and not participate in any games of chance.

Pastors and churches that approve of gambling should be called back to biblical Christianity.

6. Acts 5:29 states that “we must obey God rather than any human authority” (NLT). There are times when governments make unjust laws that conflict with God’s laws. At these times I must obey God rather than government. If I had been Corrie ten Boom in World War 2, I would have told lies like she did to prevent the slaughter of Jews and others in the Holocaust. But that is not what we are doing when we defy government laws against marijuana use, as the THC in marijuana is a very dangerous drug.

See:

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Notes:


[1] See also 1 Cor. 10:23 where Paul states, “‘All things are helpful, ‘ but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful, but not all things build up” (ESV).

[2] “Russell Crowe rallies against gambling,” China Daily, 2008-01-03, available from: http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/showbiz/2008-01/03/content_6368802.htm (Accessed 15 November 2008).

[3] Senator Jeannie Ferris 2000, 3rd National Gambling Conference, Rex Hotel, Sydney, 12 May, available from: http://www.aic.gov.au/conferences/gambling00/ferris.pdf (Accessed 15 November 2008).

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Copyright © 2012 Spencer D. Gear. This document last updated at Date: 16 October 2015.

Flower9Flower9Flower9Flower9Flower9Flower9Flower9

Whytehouse Designs

Marijuana is not a soft drug: Here’s the evidence!

Saturday, October 29th, 2011

 

Image result for marijuana bush public domain

(public domain)

By Spencer D Gear

 

Since 1965, over 12,500 scientific research papers on marijuana have been published.  These papers have been collated on a major data base by Dr Carlton Turner of the University of Mississippi – Research Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences.  The papers have been listed in a publication entitle, “An Annotated Bibliography of Marijuana,” Volumes 1 & 11 and supplements .  None of these papers gives marijuana a clean bill of health.

Yet some want to say that the “the benefits of smoking marijuana outweigh any potential harms” (Professor Miron), but this is refuted by top medical authorities. Dr. Susan Dalterio, a University of Texas (San Antonio) senior lecturer in the Department of Biology, told a drug conference: that she feels like screaming when she hears about the alleged medical benefits of marijuana. “This is just crazy, it’s totally nuts,” she told the audience.

Marijuana has some beneficial effects on pain, she admitted, but other drugs do a better job and their safety and consistency are assured by the federal government. A synthetic version of  marijuana is now available in pill form by prescription. It has been successful in treating nausea, pain and anorexia. People no longer have an excuse for smoking marijuana for medical reasons, she said (“Expert Urges Tough Fight Against Drugs,” James Hagengruber, Billings Gazette, Montana, 25 September 2003). [1]

The toxicity of a drug is not determined by debate or opinion.  It is determined by research.
“Marijuana is an addicting substance with a physiological withdrawal syndrome”  [Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Psychiatry, 4th edition (DSM-IV)]

Terminology

Portal icon marijuana:  (mexican) frequently referring to cannabis leaves or other crude plant material in many countries.
Portal iconsinsemilla: unpollinated female plants.
Portal iconhashish:  resin from the flowering tops of cannabis plants.

Portal iconhashish oil:   (cannabis oil) is a concentrate of cannabinoids obtained by solvent extraction of the crude plant material or of the resin.
Portal iconcannabis: a synonymous term with marijuana as it is derived from the plant Cannabis Sativa.

What is marijuana?

Marijuana is one derivative of the plant Cannabis Sativa.  Marijuana contains 426 bioactive (biologically active) molecules, increasing to over 2000 identifiable chemicals entering the bloodstream when it is smoked.  61 of the 426 bioactive molecules are called cannabinoids.

Portal iconOf these cannabinoids the most destructive is a toxin (poison) called ‘-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).  Marijuana  accumulates in fatty tissue and is still detectable 3 months after abstinence.  The THC acts like a time release capsule, constantly and steadily releasing into the blood stream, keeping the user in a state of mild yet continual sedation.

Cannabinoids are not water soluble.  They are lipophilic (fat soluble) and collect in the fatty tissue of cell walls.  They block the passage of nutrients into a cell and block waste products from exiting the cells.  Two major areas of collection are the brain (of which 33% is fat) and the sex organs.  Others are the adrenal glands, liver, kidneys and heart.
Note:  The body’s waste removal system is water based and therefore not well equipped to remove fat-soluble substances.

Physical symptoms of withdrawal are mild as the THC cannot be withdrawn from the body as rapidly as in alcohol or even heroin.  The body has a lingering store within the fatty tissue and saturated fat may not lose the cannabinoid for 9 months or more depending on the amount and duration of use.

Any attempt to summarise the health effects of cannabis, as with any psychoactive substance, runs the risk of over simplification.  The manner in which the drug affects a person is very much individualised based on the users own makeup, quality and quantity and type of drug, duration of use, method of administration, prior experience and tolerance level as well as environmental, biological and genetic factors.

With this in mind, the following data are provided as an indication of the effects, either individually or collectively, which the user will suffer with the use of cannabis.  Many of these effects however will not be seen or noticed until the damage is done.  The user may state that there is no effect.

 

Summary of the effects or results of marijuana use

Bong Wikipedia

1.    One cigarette (joint) impairs the short term memory for at least 6 weeks.  There are many studies demonstrating the deterioration of short term memory in marijuana users.  The definitive and best controlled of these was done in 1989 by Dr Richard Schwartz.  He demonstrated persisting impairment of short term memory six weeks after supervised abstention from the drug.  Just one joint is all that is needed.  (Dr’s Richard Schwartz, Gruenewald, M Klitzner et al “Memory Impairment In Cannabis Dependent Adolescents”, Am, J. Dis, Child, 143:1214-19, 1989 – Georgetown Medical School – Washington DC).  Take a read of this one from The New Scientist, “Natural high helps banish bad times.”

2.    In a major study to investigate the effects of cannabis on motor skills, twenty four hours after one cigarette (joint), experienced pilots performed severely impaired simulator landings.  These pilots reported that they felt absolutely fine, with normal mood, alertness and performance and were completely unaware of their impairment.  Several major rail crashes in     the USA have been associated with the use of marijuana.  (Dr JA Yesavage, VO Leirer, DG Morrow, Stanford University – “Marijuana carry over effects on aircraft pilot performance” – Aviation, Space and Environmental Medicine, 62:221-27, 1991)  Marijuana use is a continuing concern to paediatricians.

What about road accidents?

The front ends of two cars after colliding

Courtesy Wikipedia

Cannabis and driving: a new perspective” by Carl J O’Kane, Douglas C Tutt and Lyndon A Bauer, warns of the influence of marijuana use on one’s ability when driving a motor vehicle [Emergency Medicine, Volume 14 Issue 3 Page 296  – September 2002].  Whilst much research exists from overseas relating to increased risk of motor vehicle accidents due to marijuana use, the following Australian data are significant.

Dr Judith Perl, pharmacologist, of the Clinical Forensic Medicine Unit – NSW Police Service released information in 1991 of a study conducted over the period 1987-90.  The study involved taking blood and urine samples from accident victims in four Sydney hospitals at random.  The only qualifier was that those measuring .05 BAC [blood-alcohol concentration], or known to have consumed alcohol were not tested for other drug use.  The increase in positive testing for cannabis in the blood of these victims was staggering, increasing from 28% (87-88) to 68% (1990).  [See also Judith Perl,  “Drugs & traffic safety”, Australian Journal of Forensic Sciences 17:25]Mrs Kate Carnell stated in “Debates of the Legislative Assembly for the Australian Capital Territory” (Hansard, 9 September 1992, p. 2077) that:

“Cannabis is clearly a cause of driver impairment – a fact of which we are becoming incresasingly aware.  A study conducted by Dr. Judith Perl, of the forensic unit of the New South Wales Police, shows that cannabis is the single most important source of driver impairment discovered in blood and urine samples.  Cannabis constituted 68 per cent of all drug-positive urine and blood tests conducted in New South Wales during 1990.  Thus the threat that cannabis poses to driving safety is not idle and it must not be ignored.  We know that alcohol also affects driving ability, judgment and skill performance, but the residual effects of cannabis last much longer than those of alcohol.”

3.    A 15 year research project at the Karolinska Institute and Juddinge University Hospital, Sweden, revealed a 600% increase in the incidence of schizophrenia in conscripts who had used marijuana 50 times or more in their lifetime.  This study used a standardised method for the diagnosis of schizophrenia.  (Longitudinal study at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden – 15 year study using 45570 army conscripts – Dr Sven Andreasson,  P Allerbeck, A Engstrom et al., Cannabis and Schizophrenia: A Longitudinal Study of Swedish Conscripts.  The Lancet, 2:1483 -1485,1987).

4.    A parallel study showed a 500% increase in the overall incidence of other psychiatric disorders in conscripts who were users. (Andreasson, S; Allerbeck, P; Rydberg, U., “Schizophrenia in Users and Non Users of Cannabis”  Acta Psychiatr. Scan., 79:505-510, 1989)  The use of cannabis in adolescence and risk for adult psychosis was examined in a New Zealand: longitudinal prospective study.  It found that “early cannabis use (by age 15) confers greater risk for schizophrenia outcomes than later cannabis use (by age 18). The youngest cannabis users may be most at risk because their cannabis use becomes longstanding.” [BMJ BMJ. 2002 November 23; 325 (7374): 1212–1213] [2].  The New Scientist reports on another study confirming the “Cannabis link to mental illness strengthened“.

5.    The Swedish study scientifically linked marijuana to the dramatic increase in drug-induced schizophrenoform illness and the associated increase in teenage suicide rates and other violent death (as above )

6.    The so called “Amotivational syndrome” –
Portal icon  Apathy, poor judgement, lack of self care,
Portal icon  Decreased empathy (perception of others problems)
Portal icon  Impaired perception of past, present and future.
Portal icon  Difficulty with information processing.
Portal icon  Difficulty with sequential dialogue.
(Goodman & Gilman – “The Pharmacological Basis of Therapeutics” 8th Ed. 1991)  For the latest edition.

Dr Robert C Gilkeson, – a teacher, paediatrician, adolescent neuropsychiatrist and brain researcher, specialising in early childhood development and learning disabilities, moved in 1987 (after some years of paediatric practice and consultancy) to devote his time to research the effects of marijuana on brain function.  Up until his untimely death in 1993, he was the Director of the Center for Drug Education and Brain Research.  He summarised his general findings in a paper to the US Committees of Correspondence, Drug Watch division with this quote:

“My research studies of youngsters from kindergarten through high school show previously well adjusted and intellectually endowed children falling apart academically and emotionally in the teenage years with the only new factor being that of occasional marijuana use.  Marijuana use can lead to an inability to retain strong self image, and an inability to visualise and plan for the future.  Using marijuana makes ‘great’ people feel average, and ‘average’ people ‘dumb’.  Marijuana use is toxic to all cells, and most especially toxic to brain cells.

“In 1981, my eight year study of 90 adolescent marijuana smokers was completed.  Each youths brain wave tracings (EEG) showed dysfunction (decreased activity) similar to brain wave tracings of the learning disabled.  A decrease in brain cell energy causes a decline in the level and complexity of thought and behaviour.  ‘Burned out’ kids with impairment to both their frontal lobe and their short term memory due to chronic intoxification of marijuana were evident.

“These impairments are the cause of the increased violent and non violent juvenile crime, truancy and school drop out, teenage runaways and vagrancy, teenage prostitution and pregnancy, venereal disease, adolescent depression and suicide, polysubstance use and adolescent psychiatric referrals.  Most alarming of all is the fact that we have witnessed the appearance of a new chronic organic brain syndrome called ‘burnout’ caused by marijuana use.”

 

Portal iconPortal icon Portal icon

Recent research in animals has also suggested that long-term use of marijuana (THC) produces changes in the limbic system that are similar to those that occur after long-term use of other major drugs of abuse such as cocaine, heroin, and alcohol. These changes are most evident during withdrawal from THC. During withdrawal, there are increases in both the levels of a brain chemical involved in stress and certain emotions and the activity of neurons in the amygdala. These same kinds of changes also occur during withdrawal from other drugs of abuse, suggesting that there may be a common factor in the development of drug dependence (Connecticut Clearinghouse, “Marijuana: The Brain’s Response to Drugs,” 1999).

In 1992, a study assessed the acute effects of cannabis on human cognition.  This study found that cannabis impaired all capabilities of learning including associated processes and psychomotor performance.  (Block RI, Farinpour R & Braverman K., “Acute effects of marijuana on cognition: relationship to chronic effects and smoking techniques. Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behaviour,” 1992, 43(3):907-917).  Here is a summary of that research.  Also take a look at: “Marijuana use during pregnancy damages kid’s learning” (The New Scientist).

“Much recent research is showing us exactly how marijuana impairs the brain. For instance, three days or more after smoking marijuana, PET scans of chronic marijuana users show decreased metabolic activity in the brain, especially in the cerebellum, a part of the brain involved with motor coordination, learning, and memory [Volkow ND et al., Psychiatric Research Neuroimaging 67:29-38, 1996]” (quoted from, “Prof. Miron Is Wrong About Marijuana,” Janet D. Lapey, M.D., The Massachusetts News Columnist, February 2000).  However, The New Scientist claims that “Controversy still rages over whether cannabis damages the brain.”

For a summary of information for teenagers see:  “Tips for Teens: The Truth About Marijuana.” 

7.    Four times the cancer causing potential of cigarettes.  Cancers of the mouth and jaw usually seen in men (over 60 ) who had been heavy smokers and drinkers for decades have been found in young users.  All had been daily marijuana users but had not smoked nicotine and only used a small amount of alcohol if any.  Study group was young men between 19-38 who had developed squamous cell cancers of the tongue or jaw with lymph node involvement. (PJ Donald – “Marijuana Smoking – Possible Causes of Head and Neck Carcinoma in Young Patients” Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery, 94:517-521, 1986 – University of California, and Hoffman, D.; Brunnermann, KD.; Gori, GB.; Wynder, EL., “On the Carcinogenicity of Marijuana Smoke”.  In: Runeckles, VC., ed. Recent Advances in Phytochemistry, New York: Plenium, 1975:63-81.) 

The New Scientist reports on “Cannabis smoking ‘more harmful’ than tobacco.”

“Marijuana smoking is associated with a dose-dependent increased risk of head and neck cancer. . .  Marijuana is a risk factor for human head and neck cancer ” (“Marijuana Use and Increased Risk Zuo-Feng Zhang, Hal Morgenstern, Margaret R. Spitz, Donald P. Tashkin, Guo-Pei Yu, James R. Marshall, T. C. Hsu and Stimson P. Schantz,  Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers & Prevention Vol. 8, 1071-1078, December 1999) 

Here’s a summary of risk factors for head and neck cancer, including the use of marijuana.

Although scientists have been convinced in the past that smoking causes lung cancer, the strong statistical associations did not provide absolute proof. This paper absolutely pinpoints that mutations in lung cancer cells are caused by benzopyrene. An average marijuana cigarette contains 30 nanograms of this carcinogen compared to 21 nanograms in an average tobacco cigarette (Marijuana and Health, National Academy of Sciences, Institute of Medicine report, 1982). This potent carcinogen suppresses a gene that controls growth of cells. When this gene is damaged the body becomes more susceptible to cancer. This gene, P53, is related to half of all human cancers and as many as 70% of lung cancers.

Commentary: Clearly marijuana smoke contains more of the potent carcinogen benzopyrene than tobacco smoke. Furthermore, the technique of smoking marijuana by inhaling deeply and holding the smoke within the lungs presents a chance of much greater exposure than a conventional tobacco cigarette. (Commentary provided by William M. Bennett M.D., Professor of Medicine, Division of Nephrology, Clinical Pharmacology and Hypertension at Oregon Health Sciences University, Portland, Oregon.  This information is from Drug Watch Oregon).

8.  Depression of the immune system at both humoural (body fluids) and cell immunity levels. In fact the immune system response is lowered by up to 40%.  Studies have shown for instance that young people who are users tend to be ill more frequently than non users.  Dr Akira Morishima has found that marijuana more than any other drug he had studied is closely     correlated with a high rate of chromosome damage or destruction particularly in relation to T- lymphocytes (white blood cells). [Friedman, H; Klein, TW; Newton, CA; Widen, R., “The Effects of Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol and 11-hydroxy-delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol on 7-lymphocyte and B-lymphocyte Mitogen Response”. J. Immunopharmacol., 7,451,1985 Florida University – 1985 &1994 Drugs of Abuse and the Immune System; 1st International Symposium Paris 1990  & A Morishima, GG Nahas & et al].

“There is good evidence that THC and other cannabinoids can impair both cell-mediated and humoral immune system functioning, leading to decreased resistance to infection by viruses and bacteria. However, the health relevance of these findings to human marijuana use remains uncertain. Conclusive evidence for increased malignancy, or enhanced acquisition of HIV, or the development of AIDS, has not been associated with marijuana use” (National Institutes of Health – Workshop on the Medical Utility of Marijuana, February 19-20, 1997)

For a contrary opinion, see “Marijuana and Immunity,” Leo E. Hollister M.D. (Journal of Psychoactive Drugs pp. 159-163 Vol. 24 Apr-Jun 1992).

Portal icon9.    Fertility and other sexual development problems in males and females.

Males: sperm production is reduced, sperm motility reduced, production of testosterone and other hormones are reduced or delayed, which inhibits normal sexual development in males.  Studies indicate that sometimes this sexual developmental delay leads to lack of interest in females and normal copulatory behaviour.  Another side effect is the chromosomal damage (up to three times the normal rate) giving rise to the inability to produce normal pregnancy.

Females:  marijuana can cause defective menstrual cycles, damage the ovum, cause production of high levels of testosterone, and significantly reduce levels of prolactin, which is required for milk production.  Additionally females who use during pregnancy or who have residual levels of THC still present in their bodies are shown to produce lower than normal birthweight babies and, especially males with a higher than normal mortality rate. (Dr Wylie Hambree et al Columbia University; Dr Susan Dalterio University of Texas; Mendelsen JH et al Journal of Pharmacology & Experimental Therapeutics, 1978, 207:611-617; Dr Ethel Sassanrath, University of California; Hingson et al ‘Paediatrics’, vol 70 Oct 92 – Marijuana Alert.  Hatch, E; Bracken, M., “Effect of Marijuana Use on Foetal Growth.”  Am. J. Epidemiol. 124, 986, 1986.  Fried, P; Watkinson, B; Willan, A., “Marijuana Use in Pregnancy and Decreased Length of Gestation.”   Am. J. Obstet. Gynecol., 105, 23, 1984)

A new study at the University of Buffalo, USA, has found: “Men who smoke marijuana frequently have significantly less seminal fluid, a lower total sperm count and their sperm behave abnormally, all of which may affect fertility adversely, a new study in reproductive physiology at the University of Buffalo has shown” (University of Buffalo Reporter, October 23, 2003).

Researcher Peter Fried, a psychologist at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada, “told New Scientist (25 March 2003) that as well as affecting memory and learning, exposure to marijuana during pregnancy has a strong effect on visual mapping and analysis in human children.”

10.    DNA metabolism is inhibited thus interfering with cell function and replication.  The blockage of this process results in slowing down the manufacture of DNA, RNA and proteins in the cell nucleus – a process essential for cell life.  (B. Desoize; G Nahas; C Latour; R Vistelle,  University of Champagne – Ardenne, “In Vivo Inhibition of Enterocyte Metabolism by Delta-9-THC” Pro. Soc. Exp. Biol. Med., 181, pp. 512-516, 1986)

11.    Associated with the above the THC enlarges the area between each cell, resulting in poor transmission of nerve impulses.  This can lead to impaired speech and comprehension of complex ideas, loss of memory, difficulty in concentrating, insomnia, lack of body coordination and loss of muscle strength, impaired vision and unexpected mood changes.  (RG Heath et al – “Chronic Marijuana Smoking  – its effect on the Function and Structure of the Primate Brain”.)
Again associated with the issue of DNA, RNA, cell function and replication is the issue of birth abnormalities being produced in the offspring of parents who have used or are still using marijuana.  These abnormalities closely resemble those of thalidomide babies although where thalidomide produced such abnormalities called phecomelia – in place of hands and feet, new borns had seal-like flippers.

Marijuana is responsible for defects such as non-existent limbs, phocomelia, syndactyly (fingers are fused together rendering them useless), missing hands and forearms, webbing of the hands, lack of nails, club feet and hydrocephalus (so called water on the brain).  Dr Virchel E Wood, Orthopedic Surgeon & Associate Professor of the School of Medicine – Dept of Orthopedic Surgery – Loma Linda University (USA) has indicated that abnormalities can occur in the young of one or both parents who have been shown to have used marijuana.  People who use marijuana and other drugs have 18 times more birth defects than non users.

n research reported in 2003, Drs Kenneth L. Audus, and Michael J. Soares of the Institute of Maternal-Fetal Biology concluded that “illicit drugs (e.g. cocaine, marijuana, etc) taken by the mother at virtually any time during gestation have the potential to adversely affect the outcome of pregnancy, resulting in severe complications for the mother, pre-term birth, abnormalities in fetal development and increased health risks as the newborn grows into adulthood” [” Dr. Audus is an internationally recognized expert on drug metabolism and drug transport by the placenta, while Dr. Soares’ expertise resides in understanding mechanisms controlling the growth and development of the placenta”] (News Release, September 1, 2003).
Dr Susan Dalterio of the University of Texas (San Antonio) has noted in extensive studies that genetic mutations have passed through to the second generation of offspring of marijuana users.

Such warnings [about marijuana use linked to psychoses] should not surprise the scientists who have for many years maintained that the THC contained in marijuana is dangerous. First, in the late 1960’s Dr. Robert Heath, then chairman of the Department of Psychiatry and Neurology at Tulane Medical School, found that marijuana affects brain waves and destroys brain cells. [3] Second, a study conducted by Dr. Ethel Sassenrath at the University of California at Davis between 1974 and 1978 found that THC increased the rate of fetal loss (in utero, fetal death) in monkeys by over 300%, while at the same time decreasing the birth weights in those babies born alive. [4] Third, a study by Dr. Susan Dalterio, at the University of Texas found that marijuana decreased testosterone and impaired sexual development in male mice. [5] Finally, a study by Dr. Albert Munson found that injections of THC suppressed the immune systems of mice and made them 96 times more susceptible to the herpes virus. [6] (Schaffer Library of Drug Policy)

12.    1100% increase in the incidence of acute non lymphoblastic leukaemia in the offspring of mothers who used while pregnant or just prior to conception.  The research also indicated that that these children developed the leukaemia earlier – 19 months instead of the usual 93 months.  (Professor Neglia et al Minnesota University – reported 1990 and Robson et al Children’s Cancer Study Group – reported in “Cancer” 63:1904-1910, 1989)

13.    Marijuana prevents liver enzyme CP450 from breaking down anti-depressant medication thus causing an accumulation of the anti-depressant in the body which can result in death (Dr John Anderson – Neuro Scientist, Consultant, Psychophysiologist – Neuroscience Psychological Services Centre,  Westmead,  Sydney NSW).  It is tragic for the scientific cause of the investigation of the impact of marijuana and anti-depressants that Dr. Anderson died in 2002.

  I would like to see in-depth research conducted to follow-up Dr. Anderson’s pioneering work.  Here is a summary of Dr. John Anderson’s preliminary research.  Further, Dr. Anderson contended:

Statistics suggest that 40% of ADHD children are predisposed to substance abuse during adolescence or adulthood. Of the ADHD population who are poly substance users, 67% smoke marijuana. Many behavioural changes are similar to those of ADHD: academic ability decreases; sniffles, colds, trivial illness, especially respiratory system; concentration levels decrease; depersonalisation; increased levels of anxiety; increased depression; reaction times slows; short-term memory difficulties; a lack of motivation or interest in things previously enjoyed; increased impulsivity; space and time distortion; may increase appetite.  (A summary of a talk presented by John Anderson to ADDult, NSW, Australia)


14.    Marijuana use and its link to other illicit drugs, is not genetic according to
Michael Lynskey, at Washington University School of Medicine in St Louis, Missouri, and his team [who] found that the early user [of marijuana] was two to five times more likely to go on to use harder drugs or become dependent on alcohol – regardless of whether they were an identical twin or not.

    The fact that identical twins, who share all their genes, did not differ from non-identical twins, who share half, suggests that the progression is not the product of genes. (The New Scientist, 21 January 2003, based on an article in the  Journal of the American Medical Association, vol 289, pp. 427, 482).

15.  Yet, there is a rising swell of support for marijuana use across Europe and Canada, according to The New Scientist

For further marijuana research summaries, see the Drug Watch Oregon website.  See “Marijuana: Facts for Teens.”

Here’s another summary of the dangers of marijuana use.
Here’s a short summary of the effects of marijuana (a summary of this article).

Notes:

1.  Susan Dalterio is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Biology at the University of Texas at San Antonio.  Her email contact is:  sdalterio@utsa.edu

2.  Copyright © 2002, BMJ BMJ. 2002 November 23; 325 (7374): 1212–1213, “Cannabis use in adolescence and risk for adult psychosis: longitudinal prospective study, ” Louise Arseneault, lecturer, Mary Cannon, Wellcome Trust advanced fellow, Richie Poulton, director, Dunedin multidisciplinary health and development study, Robin Murray, professor, Avshalom Caspi, professor, Terrie E Moffitt, professor. 

SGDP Research Centre, King’s College, London SE5 8AF, Division of Psychological Medicine, King’s College, Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Research Unit, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand. Correspondence to: T E Moffitt t.moffitt@iop.kcl.ac.uk. 

3.  Robert G. Health, “Cannabis Sativa: Effects on Brain Function,” Biological Psychiatry, Vol. 15, No. 5, 1980.

4. Government’s Supplemental Sentencing Memorandum Re: Health Effects of Marijuana, U.S. v. Greyshock, United States District Court for the District of Hawaii, 1988.

5.  Ibid.

6.  Ibid.

 
Copyright © 2014 Spencer D. Gear. This document last updated at Date: 9 October 2015.

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