Cannabis Is A Safe Medicine
By Ian Williams Goddard
In reaction to medical cannabis access referendums on the ballots in Arizona and California, former presidents Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, and George Bush signed a letter stating that they ``categorically oppose'' access to cannabis for its many proven therapeutic uses such as the prevention of blindness and epileptic seizures . Their chief concern was that legal medical access would send the message that cannabis is safe. The presidents can, however, lay their safety concerns to rest because the scientific literature overwhelmingly confirms that cannabis is both an effective and safe medicine.
The Cannabis Safety Profile
The journal PHARMACOLOGICAL REVIEWS  reports that decades of research prove that, "Compared with legal drugs...marijuana does not pose greater risks." Yet based upon mortality statistics, we can safely conclude that cannabis is one of the safest medical drugs known, for, while prescription drugs, defined as safe by the FDA, kill up to 27,000 and aspirin up to 1,000 Americans per year, cannabis kills 0 per year .
When we know the facts we can understand why in 1988, after extensive review of the scientific literature, the DEA's own administrative judge Frances Young concluded that ``Marijuana is one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man.'' 
Opponents of legal cannabis access would have us believe that there is not enough research available to determine its safety. Nothing could be further from the truth. Cannabis is one of the most thoroughly researched drugs in history, and the evidence gathered over the centuries clearly proves that it is safe:
* The Indian Hemp Drugs Commission Report (1894): anexhaustive seven-volume, 3,281-page report that concludes: "Moderate [cannabis] use produces practically no ill effects." 
* The Panama Canal Military Study (1916-1929), amassing extensive data on the health impact of cannabis smoking upon American soldiers stationed in Panama recommended that "No steps be taken by the Canal Zone authorities to prevent the sale or use of Marihuana." The research also concluded that, "There is no evidence that Marihuana...is...'habit-forming.'" 
* The LaGuardia Report (1939-1944), commissioned by New York City Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia, which included evidence gathered over thousands of years, concluded that "Smoking marihuana does not lead to addiction... does not lead to morphine, heroin, or cocaine addiction" and that "the publicity concerning the catastrophic effects of marihuana smoking in New York City is unfounded." 
* The Baroness Wootton Report (1968), commissioned by the Advisory Committee on Drug Dependence of the United Kingdom Home Office, concluded, "There is no evidence that...serious physical dangers are directly associated with the smoking of cannabis." The report also noted that "Cannabis use does not lead to heroin addiction" and that "there is no evidence that [cannabis]...is producing in otherwise normal people conditions of dependence or psychosis, requiring medical treatment." 
The HARVARD MEDICAL SCHOOL MENTAL HEALTH LETTER 
reports the findings of other major cannabis studies:
In three major studies conducted in Jamaica, Costa Rica, and Greece, researchers have compared heavy long-term cannabis users with non-users and found no evidence of intellectual or neurological damage, no changes in personality, and no loss of the will to work or participate in society. The Jamaican study states that, even as cannabis use in Jamaica "is pervasive" and is used "in heavier quantities with greater THC potency than in the U.S.," its use is "without deleterious social or psychological consequences."  What's more, the three studies cited, the largest human cannabis studies to date, also revealed that heavy long term cannabis users scored slightly higher on IQ tests, had slightly lower rates of illness and cancer, and lived longer on average than non-users. Users also proved to be more relaxed and sociable than non-users [12 . The best evidence indicates, contrary to GovtMedia disinformation, that cannabis is safe and good for you.
In line with the findings of the Panama Canal study and the LaGuardia Report, current research confirms that the addictive potential of cannabis is very low. The journal TRENDS IN PHARMACOLOGICAL SCIENCES states that research shows cannabis has "limited potential for development of...psychological dependence due to the weak reinforcing properties of Delta-9-THC." 
BRAIN RESEARCH journal observes that "cannabinoid dependence and withdrawal phenomena are minimal."  Research proves that cannabis is nontoxic. For example, in the journal FUNDAMENTAL AND APPLIED TOXICOLOGY , Dr. William Slikker, director of the Neurotoxicology Division of the National Center for Toxicological Research (NCTR), described the health of monkeys exposed to very high levels of cannabis for an extended period:
The general health of the monkeys was not compromised by a year of marijuana exposure as indicated by weight gain, carboxyhemoglobin and clinical chemistry/hematology values. When THE ARKANSAS TIMES  asked Dr. Merle Paule of NCTR about evidence of cannabis toxicity and the health of the monkeys in the study, Dr. Paule said, "There's just nothing there. They were all fine."
The journal TOXICOLOGY LETTERS  published a study that found no link between cannabis smoking and lung cancer. The seven researchers in the study concluded:
It has been suggested that marijuana smoking is a proximal cause of respiratory cancer. However, these intimations have not been borne out by epidemiological investigation. Not only is the evidence linking cannabis smoking to cancer negative, but the largest human studies cited indicated that cannabis users had lower rates of cancer than nonusers. What's more, those who smoked both cannabis and tobacco had lower rates of lung cancer than those who smoked only tobacco -- a strong indication of chemo-prevention . Even more, in 1975 researchers at the Medical College of Virginia found that cannabis showed powerful antitumor activity against both benign and malignant tumors (the government then banned all future cannabis/cancer research) . Infact, the NEW ENGLISH DISPENSATORY of 1764 recommends boiled cannabis roots for the elimination of tumors . Powerful evidence that cannabis not only does not cause cancer, but that it may prevent and even cure cancer.
The few studies that the GovtMedia drums into the public mind over and over, which claim to show that cannabis is a harmful drug, are almost all the work of the government's top hired gun, Dr. Gabriel Nahas. The NEW ENGLAND JOURNAL OF MEDICINE described Nahas's work as "psychopharmacological McCarthyism that compels him to use half-truths, innuendo and unverified assertions." The JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION also condemned his work, stating, "Examples of biased selection and...omissions of facts abound in every chapter." 
Not only does the best scientific research overwhelmingly confirm that cannabis is both an effective medicine and a safe drug, but that it may both prevent and cure cancer and may be generally beneficial to health. What this shows us most clearly, in light of the consensus to the contrary, is the enormous power of a Big Lie.
With its vast resources, the "GovtMedia elite" are able to fabricate and fob off a pharmacological fraud against both cannabis and the public interest. Through sheer repetition and consistent suppression of contrary information, they are able to construct an edifice of public consensus which even the hardest scientific facts fail to topple. The truth is no stronger than the ability of true information to surpass the public distribution of false and misleading information. The GovtMedia has a greater ability to distribute a Big Lie than any other sector of society has to distribute the truth. However, this report right here contains copious quantities of carefully referenced scientific facts that consistently and conclusively confirm that cannabis is safe -- thereby exploding the GovtMedia's Big Lie.
As truth is only as powerful as it is known, do all that is in your power to make these powerful facts known, that we might put an end to the destructive and illogical prohibition of the proven safe and effective drug cannabis, for possession of which 10 million Americans have been arrested since 1965 .
 "Three Former U.S. Presidents Oppose Medical Marijuana Measures," Associated Press (10/30/96).
 PHARMACOLOGICAL REVIEWS: Health Aspects of Cannabis. 1986, 38:1, 1-20. pg. 17.
 Bureau of Mortality Statistics, 1988. U.S. Public Health Service statistics. National Institute of Drug Abuse statistics. U.S. Surgeon General's Report.
 The Emperor Wears No Cloths. Jack Herer, Queen of Clubs Pub, 1991. Recommended: 213-392-1806.
 INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF ADDICTIONS. Spring 1968, digest of 1894 Indian Hemp Drugs Commission Report.
 The Indian Hemp Drugs Commission Report of 1894. Jefferson Press, Silv.Spring, MD, 1969, John Kaplan.
 MILITARY SURGEON. 1933, vol:73, pages 269-280.
 The La Guardia Report, reprinted in "The Marijuana Papers," Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1966.
 The Consumer's Union Report: Licit & Illicit Drugs. Mt. Vernon, New York, 1971.
 HARVARD MEDICAL SCHOOL MENTAL HEALTH LETTER: Marijuana. L. Grinspoon, vol. 4, no. 5. Nov, 1987.
 Ganja in Jamacia: A Medical Anthropological Study of Chronic Marijuana Use. 1975. Anchor Books, NY.
 Cannabis in Costa Rica: A Study of Chronic Marijuana Use, 1980-82, Institute for the Study of Human Issues, 3401 Science Center Philadelphia, PA.
 TRENDS IN PHARMACOLOGICAL SCIENCES: Neurobiology of Marijuana Abuse. 1992, 13:201-206. pg. 203.
 BRAIN RESEARCH: Chronic cannabinoid administration alters cannabinoid receptor binding in rat brain: a quantitative autoradiographic study. 1993, 616:293-302. pg. 300.
 FUNDAMENTAL AND APPLIED TOXICOLOGY: Chronic Marijuana Smoke Exposure in the Rhesus Monkey. 1991, Aug; 17, 321-34.
 THE ARKANSAS TIMES: Refer Madness. 9/16/93.
 TOXICOLOGY LETTERS, "No Increase in Carcinogen-DNA Adducts in the Lungs of Monkeys Exposed Chronically to Marijuana Smoke," 1992, Dec;63 (3): 321-32.
 Marijuana: The First 12,000 Years. Plenum Press, 1980.
 The Great Drug War, Macmillan Publishing, 1987.
 Marijuana Policy Project, 202-462-5747, P.O. Box 77492, Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C. 20013. http://www.mpp.org, MPP@MPP.ORG
General Medical Cannabis History
The first written record of cannabis use is made in the pharmacopoeia of Shen Nung, one of the fathers of Chinese medicine around about 2700 B.C.
550 B.C.: The Persian prophet Zoroaster writes the Zend-Avesta, a sacred text which lists more than 10,000 medicinal plants. Hemp is at the top of the list.
1430 - 1431: Saint Joan D'Arc is accused of using herbal "witch" drugs such as cannabis to hear voices.
1484: Pope Innocent VIII labels cannabis as an unholy sacrament of the Satanic mass and issues a papal ban on cannabis medicines.
1845: Dr. Jean-Jacques Moreau de Tours initiates the science of psycho-pharmacology in France, using cannabis to treat the insane and depressed.
From 1842 through to the1890s extremely strong cannabis, hashish extracts, tinctures and elixirs were routeinley used for a variety of illnesses.Back then they called it " cannabis extractums" and was regulary used by Queen Victoria for menstrual cramps after being prescribed by Sir John Reynolds, her personal physician. Sir John once wrote of cannabis extractums " when pure and administered carefully, it is one of the most valuable medicines we possess."
Conditions for which cannabis was prescribed in the late 19th century were many and varied, and included treatment of migraine and alleviation of withdrawal symptoms from opium, morphine and alcohol adiction.
With the introduction of the syringe in the late 1800s the therapeutic use of cannabis began to decline. Synthetic drugs became more popular even though more dangerous.
1895: The Indian Hemp Drug Commission concludes that cannabis has no addictive properties, some medical uses, and a number of positive emotional and social benefits
1925: Concerned by the high number of "goof butts" being smoked by off-duty servicemen in Panama, the U.S. government sponsors the "Panama Canal Zone Report." The report concludes that marijuana does not pose a problem, and recommends that no criminal penalties be applied to its use or sale.
Spring 1937: Congress holds hearings on the Marijuana Tax Act. Dr. James Woodward, representing the American Medical Association, testifies that the law could deny the world a potential medicine. Cannabis was already prescribed for dozens of common ailments, and medical researchers were just beginning to explore the therapeutic benefits of the numerous active ingredients in marijuana. Woodward said that AMA doctors were wholly unaware that the "killer weed from Mexico" was actually cannabis. "We cannot understand yet, Mr. Chairman, why this bill should have been prepared in secret for two years without any intimation, even to the profession, that it was being prepared," Woodward testifies. FBN commissioner Harry Anslinger and the Ways and Means Committee quickly denounce Woodward and the AMA, which already had an adversarial relationship with the Roosevelt administration
December 1937: The Marijuana Tax Act is signed into law, initiating 60 years of cannabis prohibition and annihilating a multi-billion dollar industry. DuPont and other synthetic materials manufacturers reap vast profits by filling the void conveniently left by the criminalization of industrial hemp.
1937 - 1939: Under Harry Anslinger, the Federal Bureau of Narcotics prosecutes 3,000 doctors for "illegally" prescribing cannabis-derived medications. In 1939, the American Medical Association reached an agreement with Anslinger, and over the following decade, only three doctors are prosecuted.
A Brief History of Medical Cannabis
For thousands of years prior to its prohibition in the 20th century, cannabis was used as a medicine throughout the world . During the 19th century, sold by major drug companies such as Eli Lilly, Squibb, Parke-Davis, Smith Brothers, and Tildens, the potent extract of cannabis was one of the top three most prescribed medical agents in the United States  .
Until the 1937 Marijuana Tax Act, cannabis, being a powerful topical analgesic, muscle relaxant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-spasmodic agent, was found in virtually all fistulas, corn and mustard plasters, muscle ointments, and fibrosis poultices .
UNITED STATES PHARMACOPEIA listed cannabis until 1942 , after which it was removed under political pressure. The U.S. PHARMACOPEIA recommended cannabis for the treatment of over 100 illnesses, such as: fatigue, fits of coughing, rheumatism, asthma, delirium tremens, migraine headaches, and the cramps and depression associated with menstruation .
UNITED STATES DISPENSATORY  also listed cannabis as a useful medicine. The 1851 edition states: The complaints in which it [cannabis] has been specially recommended are neuralgia, gout, rheumatism, tetanus, hyrdophobia, epidemic cholera, convulsions, chorea, hysteria, mental depression, delirium tremens, insanity and uterine hemorrhage.
In 1890, Dr. J. Russell Reynolds, Fellow of the Royal Society and the Physician in Order to Her Majesty's Household, stated in the journal LANCET that cannabis is ``one of the most valuable medicines we possess .'' He prescribed cannabis to Queen Victoria for PMS .
In 1898 Sir William Osler, Professor of Medicine at the University of Oxford, stated that for migraine headaches, cannabis ``is probably the most satisfactory remedy .''
The 1931 medical text, A MODERN HERBAL , states: The principal use of Hemp in medicine is for easing pain and inducing sleep, and for soothing influences in nervous disorders. It is useful in neuralgia, gout, rheumatism, delirium tremens, insanity, infantile convulsions, insomnia, etc.
The tincture helps parturition, and is used in senile catarrh, gonorrhea, menorrhagia, chronic cystitis and painful urinary affections. An infusion of the seed is useful in after pains and prolapsus uteri. The resin may be combined with ointments [ to remedy ] inflammatory and neuralgic complaints.
The "no known medical value" claim looks like yet another govt Big Lie. However, as the text continues, we can see that cannabis does have an "evil" downside: It can produce an exhilarating intoxication.. hence its names ... 'increaser of pleasure,' 'cementer of friendship,' etc. [ god forbid ]
Medical Cannabis: the 20th Century
During the 20th century cannabis has been discovered to be an effective treatment for many more ailments. For example, based on major research, Dr. Van Sim concluded that ``marijuana ... is probably the most potent anti-epileptic known to medicine today .'' More powerful than standard anti-epileptic drugs, cannabis totally eliminated epileptic seizures in children not responding to legal drug therapies .
But of course, as our benevolent Drug Czars remind us, healing the sick and aiding those who suffer could "send the wrong message to children." Let the children suffer and seizure in silence, just don't kill our prison proliferating pot prohibition pogrom.
Dr. Robert Hepler, neuro-opthalmologist with the Jules Stein Eye Institute at UCLA, published a major study in the JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION in 1971 demonstrating that cannabis lowers intraocular pressure in the eyes . Glaucoma, a leading cause of blindness, is a condition in which intraocular pressures build up causing optical damage. Cannabis has been proven to reduce these pressures far better than legal drugs, allowing glaucoma patients to keep their vision so long as they use cannabis regularly.
Several of the eight patients who legally receive cannabis from the govt under the compassionate IND program do so for the treatment of glaucoma. Yet, thanks to cannabis prohibition and the fact that no more patients will be allowed into the compassionate IND program, most glaucoma patients will be forced by law to slowly go blind, all in the name of keeping peaceful and productive people in prison.
Research at the Harvard Medical School published in the NEW ENGLAND JOURNAL OF MEDICINE  demonstrate conclusively that cannabis is the most effective anti- emetic, or anti-nausea, agent available. It has been used in this regard to eliminate the violent nausea and vomiting experienced by cancer patents undergoing chemotherapy. Cancer ward workers have been known to turn a blind-eye on cannabis smoking in the hospital. Based on extensive anecdotal evidence, cannabis, with its known appetite-stimulating effects -- described by users as "getting the munchies" -- is known to counter the "wasting syndrome" of full-blown AIDS. During this syndrome an AIDS patient, loosing all appetite, quickly loses weight in a free-fall to death. In case after case, AIDS patients have totally reversed their weight loss with the use of cannabis, snatching them from the quickly closing jaws of death, giving them a powerful fighting edge over this devastating disease.
Yet the Department of Health and Human Services, which oversees the compassionate IND program, chose to slam the door on hope by ending this program after receiving a flood of cannabis-access requests from AIDS patients.
The DEA and other agencies funded studies at the Medical College of Virginia looking for evidence that cannabis causes health problems. Instead of finding problems, the researchers made a breakthrough when they discovered in 1975 that cannabis showed powerful anti-tumor activity against both benign and malignant tumors. The DEA and NIH quickly defunded the studies and prohibited any future cannabis/tumor research .]
In 1988 the DEA's own conservative judge, Francis Young, after hearing medical testimony for 15 days and reviewing hundreds of DEA and NIDA documents that argued against medical cannabis, concluded that : ``Marijuana is one of the safest therapeutically active substances know to man.''
Nevertheless, even in light of the overwhelming body of evidence proving beyond doubt that cannabis is medically safe and effective, DEA Director John Lawn ignored Judge Young's advice and decreed that cannabis remain classified as a Schedule One drug -- extremely harmful and useless. This official classification is a pharmacological fraud fodded off by govt force. The medical wisdom of the ages and hope for the future crushed under the brute-force of tyrannical govt power. That is the face of tyranny. Let the sick and blind suffer and slowly die that the police state, its bloated bureaucrats and people-pulverizing prisons might prosper and proliferate like a plague. Such is the victory of evil over good.
 Marijuana: The First 12,000 Years, Plenum Press, 1980.
 Marijuana: Medical Papers, Medi-Comp Press, 1973.
 The Emperor Wears No Cloths, Queen of Clubs Pub, 1991.
 The Consumers Union Report: Licit & Illicit Drugs, p. 405. Consumers Union, Mt Vernon, New York, 1971.
 United States Depensitory. 9th ed., 1851, p. 310-311.
 Principles and Practice of Medicine, D. Appleton, 1916.
 A Modern Herbal, Dover Publications, 1931, reprinted 1971.
 The Great Drug War, Macmillan Publishing, 1987.
 FEDERATION PROCEEDINGS, "Antiepileptic Action of Marijuana-Active Substances," 1949, 8: 284-5.
 JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION, "Marijuana Smoking and Intraocular Pressure," 1971 Sep 6;217(10):1392.
 NEW ENGLAND JOURNAL OF MEDICINE, "Antiemetic Effects of Delta-9-Tetrohydrocannabinol in Patients Receiving Cancer Chemotherapy," 1975, 293:795-7.
(c) 1996 Ian Williams Goddard - (*) free to copy nonprofit w/ attribute.
CIVIL RIGHTS GUIDE - YOU AND THE LAW
Demand to be treated with respect, but show some respect in return. Be clever, not smart.
If you are suspected of committing a crime, you must tell the police your name, address, date of birth and occupation. If you are not under arrest you are then free to leave. You have the right to be free of arbitrary arrest or detainment, and to be secure against any unreasonable search or seizure of yourself, your property, or your correspondence. You have the right to remain silent, and this includes written statements. Write down everything that happens. Record anything to help you identify them later if needed; badge number, name, car rego, rank, police station, etc. They must let you know their name & number if they arrest you. Ask to see their ID badge.It's a good idea to carry a pen around with you.
If the police want to search you, say 'NO, I DO NOT CONSENT TO A SEARCH. WHAT IS YOUR LAWFUL AUTHORITY?' They must have your consent or a valid search warrant, or invoke an emergency power to search such as that under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1975 (MDA), section 18, subsection ii (for a person) or iii (for property). Unless arrested, you do not have to go anywhere with the police, not even a 'just come over here so I can talk to you.' Stay with your friends and be each other's witnesses.
Driving In Your Car
If you're driving you must stop and give your name, address and the registered owner of the car. Get out of the car, and lock the doors behind you. They need proper authority to search the vehicle; don't let them do it unless they have a warrant or invoke the MDA section 18 subsection iii. The Transport Act only allows them to check safety features such as breaks and steering; they cannot use it to search for drugs, and if they find any you may get off.
Home Sweet Home
The police can search you or your property if you agree; they have no general right of search or entry on private property. They will usually arrive with a warrant. If it is unsigned or has a different address, it is not valid; you have the right to check the warrant before letting them in. You have the right to watch what they are doing as long as you don't interfere.
At The Station
If you are arrested, you must go with them. Ask for a lawyer, don't agree to be videoed, don't make deals, don't nark; they may be lying and still do you too. You may be searched, fingerprinted, and photographed. You must give your name, address, date and place of birth, and occupation - nothing else. You have the right to not make a statement, and the police must inform you of this. You have the right to know the nature and cause of the charge, at the time of arrest. You have the right to consult a lawyer. They have the right to search you and any bag you may have been carrying. If you are in any form of custody, you have the right to be treated with humanity and with respect for your inherent dignity.
Discuss your complaint with the senior officer at the station, make a formal complaint to the police, make a formal complaint to the Police Complaints Authority, PO Box 5025 Wellington, Freephone 0800 503 728.
BUSTED? FOR HELP OR MORE INFORMATION CALL THE NORML BUSTLINE (09) 302-5255
No one has ever died of a marijuana overdose
This is true. It was put in to see if you are paying attention. Animal tests have revealed that extremely high doses of cannabinoids are needed to have lethal effect. This has led scientists to conclude that the ratio of the amount of cannabinoids necessary to get a person intoxicated (i.e., stoned) relative to the amount necessary to kill them is 1 to 40,000. In other words, to overdose, you would have to consume 40,000 times as much marijuana as you needed to get stoned. In contrast, the ratio for alcohol varies between 1 to 4 and 1 to 10. It is easy to see how upwards of 5000 people die from alcohol overdoses every year and no one EVER dies of marijuana overdoses.
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