Pubdate: Tue, 24 Sep 2002
Source: Cambridge Reporter, The (CN ON)
Copyright: 2002 The Cambridge Reporter
Author: Richard Laflamme


In regards to the Sept. 17 letters Don't legalize marijuana by Nicholas 
Ermeta and Pot smokers become zombies by Erika Kubassek, these are the two 
worst, most uneducated articles I've read yet about the subject. Read up 
and study the topic before writing nonsense. Do you really believe that the 
general public will believe obviously uneducated ramblers over the hundreds 
of specialists and doctors who testified before the Senate committee on 
illegal drugs and the committee itself? No way!

False statements such as "Marijuana is a harmful substance," "It is more 
addictive than cigarettes and more hazardous to one's health," and "damages 
brain cells and makes users go psycho" have been clearly proven to be false 
by many medical journals. We hear every day in the news of people dying 
from drinking and driving, failed livers caused by drinking and lung cancer 
caused by cigarettes, but I dare you to find one death caused by smoking pot.

A statement suggesting that the THC in marijuana may promote a carcinogenic 
effect is completely absurd. What was found by Doctor Louis Harris in 
Analgesic and Anti-Tumor Potential of the Cannabinoids is that delta-8 THC, 
delta-9 THC and cannabinol are quite active as anti-cancer agents. At the 
time of Harris's research, no anti-cancer agent that was much more potent 
than delta-9 THC existed and no compounds differentiated between tumour and 
normal cells the way delta-9 THC does. Considering that delta-9 THC alone 
increased survival in cancerous rats by 36 per cent, it seems very unlikely 
that THC promotes carcinogenic effects. THC's known anti-carcinogenic 
properties are probably the reason the Center for Disease Control in 
Atlanta has never been able to trace any cancers to marijuana use. Let's 
face it, pot is not harmful as stated by Ermeta and in fact has been proven 
to reduce and even stop the spread of lung and many other types of cancer. 
Hence the term "medical marijuana."

I also believe that Ermeta has no clue as to what make a substance 
addictive. Any substance that raises our dopamine levels is considered an 
addictive substance - alcohol, nicotine, chocolate and coffee - but pot 
produces zero amounts of dopamine in the body.

There is no nicotine or any other form of dopamine-causing agents in pot; 
one can become dependent on pot just like most of us are dependent on meat, 
but that does not mean that meat is addictive.

THC occurs naturally in mammals. It is a fat-soluble molecule that attaches 
itself to receptors in the brain and is cleaned out by fat particles, which 
also occur naturally in our bodies. Marijuana's active ingredient, THC, 
does not kill brain cells like alcohol does. It attaches itself to 
receptors and then gets cleaned out at a rate of five per cent each hour.

Erika Kubassek wrote that driving or using machinery under the influence of 
marijuana can be a real hazard and that pot smokers become "out-of-control 
zombies. In regards to her first point she is right that there is a danger 
but pot smoking already falls under our impaired driving laws and the 
Senate committee has recommended that we toughen those laws regarding 
marijuana use while driving. These changes should be done immediately 
regardless if Canada legalizes pot as to ensure the safety of all 
Canadians. If Kubassek is correct about her second point then that would 
mean that close to 30 per cent of Canadians are of no benefit to our 
country, which is completely absurd. Marijuana smokers are doctors, 
lawyers, teachers etc. They are contributing members of our society and 
should not be looked at as criminals or useless zombies.

Richard Laflamme

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