Pot Is As Addictive as Heroin And Other Media Lies

A just-published literature review assessing the potential adverse effects associated with habitual marijuana smoking has the mainstream media in a reefer mad frenzy. Predictably, however, the paper’s conclusions are far less sensational than the media headlines.

The review, authored by Australian professor and longtime cannabis researcher Wayne Hall, evaluates potential adverse health outcomes associated with “daily cannabis smoking.” These potential risks include dependence, increased likelihood of having an auto accident, and exacerbated mental health effects, among other possible outcomes. Yet, none of these claims are novel; nor are they particularly alarmist — particularly when placed in proper context.

For example, in regard to cannabis’ dependence liabilit, the author acknowledges: “The lifetime risk of developing dependence among those who have ever used cannabis was estimated at 9 percent in the United States … [compared to] 32 percent for nicotine, 23 percent for heroin, 17 percent for cocaine, 15 percent for alcohol, and 11 percent for stimulants.” Hall adds, “The adverse health and social consequences of cannabis use reported by cannabis users who seek treatment for dependence appear to be less severe than those reported by alcohol.”

Nonetheless, the October 7 headline from brietbart.com blared, “Cannabis as addictive as heroin, new study finds.” The reality, of course, is that Hall’s paper said nothing of the sort.

But breitbart’s reporting is par for the course. According to the lede of the New York Daily News, “Smoking marijuana can lead to mental disorders, car crashes, unhealthy babies and more problems, according to a major 20-year study.” But there is no new ‘study.’ Hall’s work is simply a selective literature review of previously published data. Further, the Daily News hyperbolic opening deliberately distorts what Hall’s paper actually says.

For example, Hall acknowledges that studies assessing marijuana use and prenatal development suffer from “a number of limitations” and typically do not satisfactorily “adjust for effects of major cofounders such as cigarette smoking.” (As for the News claim that maternal cannabis use causes “unhealthy babies,” Hall more conservatively speculates that this behavior is likely, at worst, to be associated with a “modest” reduction in birth weight.)

Hall is similarly cautious in regard to the claim that cannabis use ‘can lead to mental disorders,’ writing instead that evidence purporting to show a causal link between heavy pot use and schizophrenia is “mixed” and that evidence supporting the notion of cannabis as a trigger for depression is weak. As for claims that pot use triggers psychosis, Hall writes: “It is difficult to decide whether cannabis use has had any effects on psychosis incidence, because even if the relationship were causal, cannabis use would produce a very modest increase in incidence. The detection of any such increases is complicated by changes in diagnostic criteria and psychiatric services for psychosis, the poor quality of administrative data on the treated cases of psychosis, and possibly by social improvements that may have reduced incidence of psychosis during the period in which cannabis use increased.”

As for the idea that those under the influence of cannabis possess an increased risk of traffic accident, Hall cites a 2012 review finding that drivers acutely impaired by pot have a two-fold higher risk of crash as compared to sober drivers. (Other meta-analyses have reported that this estimate may be an overestimate of actual risk.) Nevertheless, Hall acknowledges that even a two-fold risk is far less than the risk associated with alcohol, which may increase one’s likelihood of accident 15-fold at a comparable intoxicating dose.

“The perception that cannabis is a safe drug is a mistaken reaction,” Hall states — as if anyone ever suggested that the herb was innocuous.  By contrast, advocates for an end to cannabis’ criminal prohibition readily acknowledge that pot’s potential risks are not so significant to warrant the plant’s schedule I restrictive status under federal law — a federal classification that falsely presumes that marijuana’s potential harms are similar to those of heroin. And this fact remains unchanged. It makes no sense from a public health perspective, a fiscal perspective, or a moral perspective to perpetuate the prosecution and stigmatization of those adults who choose to responsibly consume a substance that is objectively safer than either alcohol or tobacco. To continue to criminalize the marijuana plant and to arrest and prosecute those adults who consume it responsibly is a disproportionate public policy response to what, at worst, is a public health concern, but not a criminal justice issue.

1 comment
  1. The following story is fun, silly and dumb because it’s semi-pseudo auto-biographic and because I wrote it whilst I was highly, exceptionally and unbelievably medicated.
    I tested out a new strain, then I wrote his.

    A bit about me, I am a survivor of a TBI (traumatic brain injury) and a medical marijuana patient.

    I used this miracle plant to break free from the three decades long death grip heroin, an other soul wasting drugs had upon my life.

    The story below is dedicated to my grandmother who passed in 2016.

    And Now Brought to you by a steady diet of FOX news other conservative talking heads, and those who know nothing about, but continually spew anti-cannabis/marijuana sentiments.

    After watching years of Fox News’ cannabis coverage, marathon sessions of the movie “Reefer Madness” months at a time an having discussions with people who spread barefaced lies, half truths an fear about marijuana an how the world is going to pot and the evils that will soon follow, I was inspired to write the following:

    I am an addict. I was born addicted to the world’s worst drug.

    The plant Commonly known as Marijuana, Cannabis, weed, the devil’s lettuce, Mota or the devil’s weed continually flows through my veins.

    Now The history of my deceased marijuana addicted mother is not germane to this story.

    And it’s equally unimportant to reveal the story of the depth and breadth of my seemingly inescapable addiction.

    Rather what’s important is the story about my breaking free from the sweetly, seductive grasp, the grip this noxious, putrid, fetid, satan’s placenta known as cannabis, had upon my life.

    After years of homelessness an all the usual things that result from using this death in the form of smoke, I decided to quit using the devil’s lettuce.

    I won’t bore you with the details an the numerous trials an tribulations, the evil, disgusting, immoral, an often illegal actions, I did simply to maintain my marijuana addiction.

    Instead, I shall open a fragmented window into my mind, so you may peer at the slow journey away from madness, towards sobriety and back to eventual sanity.

    Suffice it to say tens of thousands were left dead in my wake.

    Now the issue is not about the disgusting, horrible and evil things I did on my journey or the even worse things I did to chase that ultimate Mota high.

    Instead it’s about how I became clean an eventually left the devil’s lettuce far, far behind.

    Now the most important thing to note: After numerous failed stints in rehab, I finally buried the satanic sativa in the back pages of my history.

    The method used was simple, but it was not easy.

    After I had robbed the hundredth glaucoma, cancer, and AIDS patient, respectively of their medical marijuana, I made a life altering decision to quit using cannabis, but pot is impossible to stop using without expensive and daily medical intervention, because it’s the most addictive drug known to humanity.

    Because quitting weed cold turkey has killed many users, and those who survive are often left in a persistent vegetated state for the remainder of their pot headed pathetic lives. So I had to devise a plan.

    Notice I even tried CBD suppositories to try to quit, But that was in vain.

    After one week, I was back to whoring myself for weed, sucking for Sativa, gang banging for ganja, humping for hash, and incesting for indica, so I could simply have one. more. hit.

    Not a pretty picture, but an accurate one.

    Now everyone knows that Crack users stay away from pot because, crack and cocaine are much cheaper, much, much safer, non addictive and much easier to acquire than the soul sucking pot.

    Menace of marijuana means my morality murdered.
    (Remember red eyes simply mean you’re allowing your soul to fry in the all consuming fires of hell).

    Now As fate would have it I finally discovered a cure, a way to break the increasingly tight, liver destroying, death grip weed had on my life and soul.

    One day a wonderful friend introduced me to Heroin. Junk, dope, Black Tar, China White, H, the big H, the H-train to hell, Horse and Chiba.
    All are lovely different names for heroin, which was the spectacular angel in off white that I used to break free from the once unbreakable manacles in which weed had placed me.

    This eventually allowed me to escape the mental prison, built brick by brick because of my hellish cannabis addiction.

    Now I celebrate daily because I am free, I live in a house not a smelly, gloomy an torn refrigerator box.

    I am no longer addicted to the sneaky, soul stealing siren’s, seductively, sweet song.
    This satan called sativa and the demons of indica, no longer have my brain wrapped in it’s tersely, tightening, sultry an sexy tentacles.

    Now keep in mind this did not happen overnight, unlike the instantaneous horrible weed addiction, where simply One hit and you are hooked like a stinking, rotting halibut.

    In fact It took many years of constantly injecting the sweet savior of heroin into my jugular veins, betwixt my gangrenous, burnt and bloody toes and in my ocular sockets to break the death grip weed had on my life.

    Finally one day I awakened to discover I was free, because I was no longer a slave to indica, sativa or it’s sneaky bastard hybrid cousin.

    I lost the monkey for my back and I no longer use the filthy weed.

    But I still crave the mind and soul numbing, psychosis inducing, impotence causing, brain frying, thirteen demons an devil conjuring, violence causing, humanities death in a plant.

    I know I will probably die craving this deadly plant, but I can beat this addiction if I can simply shoot heroin into my jugular veins an eye sockets a minimum of 420 times daily.
    And I know I shall never again fall for the supposed innocence of marijuana. (Remember “Reefer Madness” was a true cautionary tale) So Tell your children.

    Now then With the goddesses help and my grimy, filthy, rusty, cracked and leaky hypodermic needle at my side, I can once again face life free and clean from the evils of weed.

    It’s my hope in writing this, that those caught in a canna-psychosis can quit. That those potted, weed heads in my situation can put the joint or the bong down, and even step away from those horrible dab rigs so they can live clear once again.

    Now because if simply one person stops using weed for one day then they can effectively slow down the daily cannabis curse, the smokey scourge, the weed powered locomotive sending all of humanity on an express trip to a hell of its own making.

    Now If we can stop this dank demon of detriment, this unstoppable evil of the twenty first century, this terror wrapped in innocence, then everything I went through, all the STDs , all the murders, all the horror, all the sleepless years, then everything I went through will not be in vain an some would say was indeed worthwhile.

    Written By
    Sibannac Yxes
    an edited by
    niarb Sib Anna-C. YM

    Excerpt from my untitled book of bizarre, scary and just simply dumb, short stories to be published sometime before the next century.

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