Monday, September 19, 2005

It does what?

I love how they save the best for last. News | The return of reefer madness: "But that reasoning was called into question in late June, when Dr. Donald Tashkin of the UCLA School of Medicine presented a large, case-control study -- of the kind that have linked tobacco use with increases in lung cancer -- at an annual scientific meeting of the International Cannabinoid Research Society in Clearwater, Fla. Tashkin is no hippie-dippy marijuana advocate: His earlier work has been cited by the drug czar's office itself, because his research showed that marijuana can cause lung damage. The new study, however, found no connection between pot smoking -- even by heavy users -- and lung cancer. In fact, among the more than 1,200 people studied, those who had smoked marijuana, but not cigarettes, appeared to have a lower risk for lung cancer than even those who had smoked neither.

The new research has not yet been peer reviewed, but it appears congruent with earlier studies that found no link between marijuana and increased cancer risk. If the data holds up to further scrutiny and testing, one can only speculate what new ad campaign the drug czar's office might cook up. Marijuana may not make most people crazy, but this latest discovery could really drive the old drug warriors bonkers.

That's putting it mildly. Of course all they have to do is stifle the information, a tactic that has been used many times in the last five years. I didn't see this anywhere, not even on some of the subscription medical sites. Considering the prescription drugs that have been deemed safe and weren't, it might be a good idea to refocus the war on drugs. Such as making sure that people can afford the prescription their doctor gives them and the side effects aren't fatal.

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