Up to 1937 when it was outlawed, Cannabis was used in most commercial painkillers in the United States.
In 1899 aspirin was introduced, and took over the painkiller market when Cannabis was outlawed. However aspirin and other NSAIDS are not as safe as Cannabis causing all kinds of horrible side effects. NSAIDs kill 7600 people per year in the US.
Lets do a quick comparison:
- Used for 110 years
- Kills approximately 500 people every year in the US
- Purchased by children at any drug store or grocers
- Gastrointestinal bleeding
- Peptic ulcers
- Reyes Syndrome in under 19's when treating fever
- Irreversible liver damage
- Nausea and vomiting
- Abdominal pain
- Used for approximately 6000 years
- Has never killed anyone in the history of mankind
- Is a Schedule 1 drug in the US and remains illegal in many countries
- Approximately four hours of reduced cognitive ability and short term memory loss
- Paranoia in some first time users ("freaking out")
- Dry mouth
- Bloodshot eyes
- Creative impulse
Cannabis causes no known damage to the human body unlike legal medications
Contrary to some popular belief, legalizing Cannabis would be detrimental on a drug dealers pocket. Drug dealers rely on there being a black market to get a good price for their product. If made legal, the price of cannabis would go down, because there would be less or no risk of getting caught with it and - if the government sold and regulated it - competition.
However, the drug prohibition in most countries can give it the gateway effect. The black market created by the prohibition forces hard drig dealers to sell soft drugs, hence prohibition is the gateway, not cannabis itself.
Statistically for 104 Americans that have tried cannabis only 1 is a regular cocaine user and less that 1 is a heroin user. Surely that does not constitute cannabis as a gateway drug.
Here are the problems that may arise when cannabis is illegal:
- People who use cannabis regardless of the prohibition can come in contact with other illegal hard drugs and substances that are actually harmful to the human body (i.e. through drug dealers).
- And because cannabis is a soft drug, people who use it and see that it is not as damaging as the government says, may think that other drugs are as soft. Especially in the United States where cannabis is a schedule 1 drug along with Cocaine and Heroin, the two most damaging illegal drugs known to man.
A real world example of this is the drug policy in the Netherlands. Since choosing to tolerate the use of cannabis, Holland has lower drug use figures than the United States, which has a very strong handed and oppressive approach to drug policy.
This has happened for two reasons:
- Cannabis is freely available to the people in coffee shops where there are no hard drugs available
- The government separates cannabis into a soft category acknowledging the low risk it poses. Other drugs are put into a hard category because of the high risk they pose.
Even then, hard drug use is treated as a public health problem and not a criminal one, addicts are given clean needles to stop the spread of HIV, AIDS and Hepatitis and offered treatment. This has led to fewer deaths, fewer addicts and more demand for treatment.
Another theory for the gateway effect is as a persons tolerance for marijuana grows, the drug will begin to have less of an effect, causing them to want to try something harder. However, as any decent cannabis user knows, if one starts using a different strain of cannabis, the effects will be similar to the first time the user tried it. The tolerance only builds up per strain.
Want proof that cannabis is not a gateway drug just because many heroin and cocaine users have also used cannabis? How bout we make breast milk and infant milk formula illegal because approximately 100% of cocaine and heroin users were bottle or breast fed and is obviously a gateway to harder drugs. (/sarcasm)
Cannabis criminalization leads to the problem of a GATEWAY LAW rather than a GATEWAY DRUG
THC has been found to reduce the growth of common lung cancer tumors by 50 percent and significantly reduces the cancers ability to spread.
Scientists have estimated a few ways to die from an overdose:
- Smoke a third of ones body weight
- Consume 1500 pounds of cannabis in 15 minutes
In either of these cases the user would fall asleep, or become incapacitated from the affects of the drug. This indicates that the safety ratio is at least 1000:1 and as high as 40,000:1. In comparison, the safety ratio for alcohol is 10:1, cocaine 15:1 and heroin 6:1
(A safety ration is the amount needed for a psychoactive to the amount needed for a fatal overdose)
Opponents to cannabis usually disingenuously compare the best of todays samples with the worst of yesterdays samples rather than comparing the averages, and you can find contradicting numbers between the opponents.
"[pot is] 10 to 20 times stronger"
"In 1974, the average THC content of marijuana was less than 1 percent. But by 1999, potency averaged 7 percent."
"today's sinsemilla … averages 14 percent and ranges as high as 30 percent."
"The point is that the potency of available marijuana has not merely 'doubled,' but increased as much as 30 times."
- John P. Walters, White House Drug Czar
Some opponents will claim that THC content from samples in 1974 were 1% and todays potency is 30%. However cannabis with THC levels less than 1% is refered to as hemp or ditchweed, and is almost impossible to get high from.
The best strains could be up to 30% THC content mark but are extremely expensive and could have been around in the 1970's, it is just that the government never got its hands on any. Sinsemilla, cultivated cannabis where the female plants have not been pollinated, has had an average potency of 10% in the last decade, peaking in 1999 at 13%.
Plus higher potency cannabis is actually better for the users because less of it is needed to get the desired effect. If the method of consumption is smoking this means less smoke going into the lungs.
Investigators at Columbia University published clinical trial data in 2007 which showed that AIDS/HIV sufferers who smoked 4 times a day had substantial food intake increases without cognitive impairment. Their conclusion was that smoked cannabis was a clear medical benefit to AIDS/HIV sufferers
A study by Complutense University of Madrid in 2009 has found that THC effectively helps brain cancer cells eat themselves, causing the tumor to shrink. This process is known as autophagy.
A 2007 study by scientists at the California Pacific Medical Center Research Institute, have found that the cannabinoid cannabidiol (CBD) stop breast cancer spreading. The scientists believe it may allow a non-toxic alternative to chemotherapy with the same results but minus the unpleasant side effects.
An extensive scientific study in 2006 reported no significant link between smoking cannabis and lung cancer.
Whats more, THC has been found to reduce the growth of common lung cancer tumors by 50 percent and significantly reduces the cancers ability to spread.
Scientists believe that the cannabinoid THC may encourage programmed cell death or aptosis, to kill aging cells before they turn cancerous.