HTTP/1.0 200 OK Content-Type: text/html Chris Clay
Pubdate: 15 Mar 1997
Source: Chris Clay
Author: John P. Morgan, M.D.
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(Southwest Region)

B E T W E E N:





I, JOHN P. MORGAN, Professor of Pharmacology, of the State of New York, 

1. I am a Professor in the Pharmacology Department at CUNY Medical School 
in New York City. I have studied cannabis and its effects for over 25 
years. I regularly review medical literature regarding cannabis, toxicity, 
and the medicinal use of cannabis. I have written and published eight 
articles that focus on and/or relate to cannabis and its use.

2. Attached hereto as Exhibit "A" is a copy of my Curriculum Vitae which 
outlines my professional and academic qualifications including a list of my 
publications which focus upon the study of cannabis sativa.

3. In the course of my research I have discovered that marijuana has 
various therapeutic uses. For example, it is useful in the treatment of 
nausea and vomiting for patients who suffer from the side effects of 
chemotherapy and AJDS. Marijuana helps combat HIV-related wasting because 
it helps patients become hungrier and thus, makes them less susceptible to 
massive weight loss. Marijuana is also useful in that it helps to lower 
intra-ocular pressure in glaucoma patients. Additionally, marijuana has a 
beneficial effect on individuals with spinal cord injuries and victims of 
muscular sclerosis since it helps relax muscle tone and muscle spasm. These 
views are generally accepted in the scientific community by those 
individuals who have studied and performed experiments with respect to the 
effects of marijuana.

4. Although marijuana is not without its potential harmful effects, these 
effects have been grossly exaggerated in contemporary society. In my 
article (co-authored with Professor Lynn Zimmer) Exposing Marijuana Myths: 
A Review of the Scientific Evidence (The Lindesmith Centre, 1995), I have 
summarized some of the major myths regarding the effects of marijuana that 
exist today. Attached hereto as Exhibit "B" is a copy of the aforementioned 
article that deals with the myths surrounding marijuana use and its effects.

5. There are significant difficulties with the current state of scientific 
experimentation with marijuana and the results that have been obtained from 
such experimentation. First, there is an enormous difficulty in making 
definitive statements concerning the effect of marijuana on human subjects. 
Specifically, there is difficulty in accepting statements which comment on 
the effect of marijuana on a human's brain since, to the best of my 
knowledge, no one has ever done a focused autopsy on a human being who was 
an avid marijuana smoker. Secondly, there is little experimentation done, 
in general, concerning the effect of marijuana on human subjects. Most 
experimentation has been and continues to be done on lab animals and 
cellular cultures. In fact, even when individuals who are willing to 
perform marijuana experimentation on human beings, such as Doctor Donald 
Abrams in California who was willing to undertake experimentation with AIDS 
patients, the government is unwilling to provide standard marijuana. 
Finally, there are difficulties in accepting evidence of the harmful 
effects of marijuana on the human fetus during pregnancy since 
experimentation has primarily been conducted on lab animals not on human 
subjects, and there are problems in extrapolating the results from lab 
animals to human beings.

6. Although the majority of marijuana experiments have been done on lab 
animals and cell cultures, there have been a few studies done on human 
populations. Chronic marijuana smokers in Jamaica, Costa Rica and Greece 
have been the subject of scientific study, and all three experiments 
yielded similar results by comparing the health of frequent users of 
marijuana to non-users. Psychological testing and clinical testing was 
performed during the course of these experiments. The data collected in 
these experiments illustrated that marijuana use caused little or no 
physical or emotional harm to the group of frequent users. As well, in 
Ganja in Jamaica, a study done by Comitas and Rubin, the experiments 
revealed that marijuana use did not alter the frequent users' attitude with 
respect to work and work ethic.

7. With respect to assertions that marijuana is a far greater health risk 
than tobacco, it should be noted that marijuana and tobacco smoke have very 
similar chemical compositions except that one contains cannabinoids and the 
other has nicotine. Marijuana is smoked by using deep inhalations rather 
than shorter inhalations that are used when smoking a cigarette. Thus, the 
smoking of a single marijuana cigarette deposits more irritants into the 
human body than the smoking of a single cigarette. However, one must 
consider that a "heavy" marijuana smoker may smoke 5 marijuana "joints" per 
day (most smoke less) as compared to a heavy cigarette smoker who smokes 
about 40 cigarettes per day. Therefore, it is obvious that the heavy 
cigarette smoker deposits more irritants into the human body. There has 
been no documented evidence of cancer in those smoking only marijuana. 
Cigarette smoking has been proven to cause not only cancer, but chronic 
bronchitis and emphysema, neither of which are documented side effects of 
marijuana smoking.

8. There is no convincing data to illustrate that marijuana impairs the 
functioning of the human immune system. In the early 1970's, a 
well-publicized study by Dr. Nahas indicated that there was some impaired 
immune responsiveness from the consumption of marijuana; however, Dr. Nahas 
has never been able to replicate the results of this study. Other 
scientists have attempted to replicate these findings to no avail. It has 
been demonstrated that animals exposed to extremely high dosages of THC did 
have a higher take-rate of certain viruses (e.g. herpes); however, no 
evidence of increased susceptibility to infection has been shown in human 

9. Thousands of studies have been done in an attempt to prove that 
marijuana harms sexual maturation and reproduction in humans, but there is 
no conclusive evidence to prove this contention. There may be, however, a 
brief decrease of sex hormone level acutely in the brain, but this level 
returns to normal soon after even without the cessation of marijuana smoking.

10. There is some literature that suggests that pregnant mothers who smoke 
marijuana during their pregnancy have babies who are small in terms of 
weight. However, one must take into account the fact that most of these 
women were poverty stricken and were heavily involved with alcohol, 
cigarettes and other drugs. There is no convincing evidence that reveals 
marijuana as the cause of birth defects to the fetus.

11. There is no conclusive proof that marijuana use causes brain damage in 
humans. In the early 1970's, Dr. Campbell conducted a study indicating some 
brain damage being caused from heavy marijuana exposure; however, hundreds 
of studies have been done in an attempt to replicate these results with no 
success. In the late 1980's the National Centre for Toxicology in Arkansas 
conducted an experiment in which monkeys were exposed to large dosages of 
marijuana for one year and no evidence was found of brain damage from this 

12. Marijuana is almost always used in an experimental fashion. Marijuana 
is primarily used for occasional recreation and the vast majority of 
consumers do not experience any type of dependency. In fact, there is 
little evidence that suggests human physical addiction caused by marijuana 
use. A study done by Billy Martin in the U.S. was conducted in a laboratory 
where animals were given a steady infusion of THC and then, after a period 
of time, a cannabinoid receptor blocking drug was given. The only side 
effect of the cessation was a brief withdrawal period, however, one must 
understand that the average human marijuana user does not consume a 
quantity of marijuana as large and as consistently as the animals in this 
experiment did.

13. There is no conclusive proof to the contention that marijuana produces 
an amotivational syndrome in human beings in which individuals, because of 
marijuana, withdraw from attempts to succeed in society. Many experiments 
have been done since 1971, and none have conclusively proved that marijuana 
caused an amotivational syndrome.

14. Marijuana consumption is not a major cause of highway accidents. Most 
of the drug-related highway accidents involved alcohol and not marijuana. A 
recent study by Dr. Robbe in the Netherlands revealed that marijuana use 
prior to driving was safer than the ingestion of antihistamines before 
driving. He concluded that the psychomotor effect of marijuana does not 
precipitate bad or overzealous driving.

15. There is no evidence that marijuana is a "gateway" to the use of other 
drugs. I believe that this "gateway" theory is an admission that marijuana 
on its own is not a harmful drug. A recent high school survey done in the 
U.S. revealed that of the 38% of graduates who tried marijuana, only 16% of 
them went on to try cocaine. Thus, for 84% of high school seniors, 
marijuana is a terminus, not a gateway, drug.

16. There is no proven criminogenic potential of cannabis. There has been 
no documented evidence that suggests that marijuana drives individuals to a 
life of crime or that individual commit crimes in order to satisfy' their 
need to consume cannabis.

17. Although cannabis is prohibited by the Narcotic Control Act in Canada, 
the term narcotic is not a scientific term. Narcotic refers to a drug that 
causes stupor or has the potential to put people to sleep. This term has 
been used by legislatures to describe all types of dangerous substances in 
the U.S., Canada, and Europe, whereas the term narcotic has been limited in 
the scientific realm to the derivatives of the opiate poppy. In my 
experience, I have never used the term "narcotic" to refer to anything 
other than morphine and related compounds.

18. The three categories of drugs in the Narcotic Control Act- opiates, 
coca, and cannabis - all come from plant substances. They are often used as 
recreational drugs, yet they have very dissimilar effects. For example, 
many people have died from overdoses of opiates. Conversely, no one has 
ever died from an overdose of cannabis. Opiates cause slowing of the heart 
rate, stupefaction and sleep. Coca causes increase of heart rate with 
stimulation. Cannabis causes increase of heart rate with a corresponding 
drowsiness but not stupefaction. In addition, coca regularly raises the 
blood pressure whereas cannabis and the opiates do not. In terms of 
addiction, it is clear that opiates and coca are more harmful than 
cannabis. Cannabis is less harmful because it produces little in the way of 
deleterious physical impact. In my experience, there does not exist a sound 
scientific basis for classifying these three substances under the generic 
heading of "narcotic".

19. The significant difference between opiates, coca and cannabis is 
underscored by the fact that most "lay" people and jurists divide the drugs 
into "hard" and "soft" categories. The term "hard drugs" refers to more 
dangerous drugs, such as cocaine and heroin, which have highly addictive 
capacities and lead to significant physiological damage. The term "soft 
drugs" refers to drugs like cannabis and hashish, which are less likely to 
produce addiction and physiological harm.

at the City of )
in the )
this day )
of March, 1997 )