Pubdate: Mon, 13 Jul 2015
Source: Washington Times (DC)
Copyright: 2015 The Washington Times, LLC.


The Pot Head's Argument for Health Benefits Goes Up in Smoke

Celebrating the medical benefits, if any, of marijuana has been an 
effective ruse to win social acceptance for getting high. This was 
thoroughly predictable, and now it's clear that the organized pot 
heads have been blowing smoke at us.

This is the preliminary conclusion of a new wideranging study of the 
effects of medical pot. The rush toward legalization, like most 
whoring after new things, is likely doing considerably more harm than 
miniscule good.

The Journal of the American Medical Association last month published 
a compilation of 79 studies of the experiences of 6,000 patients who 
used the weed as a medicinal palliative. Smoking pot was found to be 
of little use in relieving symptoms for many ailments, among them 
hepatitis C, Crohn's disease and Parkinson's disease. Researchers 
found that smoking pot did show some success in relieving nausea 
caused by chemotherapy, and "spasticity" for multiple sclerosis patients.

The authors of the study did not rule out other medical benefits, but 
found little evidence of any so far. "It's not a wonder drug but it 
certainly has some potential," says co-author Robert Wolff, with an 
abundance of understatement.

A separate analysis of edible marijuana found that many products 
laced with pot, such as drinks, baked goods and candy, misrepresent 
the potency of THC, the active ingredient on the labels. Only 13 of 
75 products tested were accurately labeled, making reads of their 
potency and its effects little more than a guessing game.

Medical marijuana does, however, effectively serve another purpose. 
It's the camel's nose of drug legitimacy under the tent of social 
tolerance. Pleas for exemptions from strict pot bans for the ill led 
Americans to soften their resistance to the weed in the name of 
compassion. On that foundation, weed lovers have made advances in 
acceptance of "recreational marijuana." Aided and abetted by 
President Obama's lax attitude toward the use of drugs and the 
failure of his Department of Justice to uphold federal prohibitions 
on possession and use of marijuana, four states have legalized 
recreational pot, and 23 others and the District of Columbia have 
some form of legalization on the law books.

Colorado and the state of Washington made toking for fun legal in 
2012. Alaska joined them in 2014, and Oregon did so on July 1. Once 
they gather momentum, social trends are hard to reverse.

The result is a rapid reversal of a long and difficult effort to warn 
Americans, particularly the young, away from the debilitating effects 
of the high-potency pot that is a mainstay of the modern drug market. 
John Walters and David W. Murray of the Office of National Drug 
Control Policy noted in these pages that the moral authority to "just 
say no" to illegal drugs is disintegrating.

In the year following legalization in Colorado, marijuana use by 
residents 12 and older jumped 22 percent, as measured by the National 
Survey on Drug Use and Health. The Colorado Department of Public 
Health and Environment reported last year that pot was used by 13.6 
percent of adults. Lighting up is not without legal risks. The 
Colorado Supreme Court ruled earlier this summer that even medical 
marijuana users can be fired from their jobs if they fail an 
employer-administered drug test.

Losing a livelihood in a struggling economy is definitely a downer, 
though that warning might go over the head of an addled heavy pot 
smoker who, on average, has shaved eight points off his IQ.

The day may come when marijuana demonstrates its effectiveness as 
medicine. But that day is not yet at hand.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom