As the US moves to legalize Marijuana/Cannabis, taking the "view" that just too many people use the now illegal drug, and therefore it needs to be removed as a form of crime, the scientific world shares new information that there is good reason that this substance is, and has been for thousands of years, illegal. So instead of providing scientific information on the real dangers of this drug, the states and congress push to increase their voting popularity with the uninformed younger generation at not only the expense of these morons, but to the peril of organized and responsible society. Providing more evidence that democracy, or one man one vote, is the "road" to the destruction of personal Freedom. Rule by the masses will not work, and has never worked. Here are some recent ideas about cannabis from an article:
Cannabis and the risks: facts you need to know
Dr Mark Porter, The Sunday Times, February 14, 2009.
Cannabis damages the lungs: Most people consider cannabis to be much safer than tobacco but, drag for drag, it is actually more harmful. Cannabis smoke is far more acrid than tobacco and causes more damage to the lining of the airways. The British Lung Foundation estimates that smoking an admittedly hefty three to four joints a day causes the same level of damage as smoking 20 cigarettes a day. And, like tobacco, it is packed with carcinogens.
Chest physicians are reporting that a growing number of cannabis users appear to be developing the sort of lung damage normally seen only in middle-aged and elderly smokers - and up to 20 years earlier. And it doesn't seem to make much difference how you smoke it. Research into the relative “safety” of the various smoking devices - joints, bongs, vaporizers and water pipes - found no significant difference in the harmful chemicals inhaled. Because water pipes filter out some of the ingredient (THC) that makes users high, they tend to inhale more of the harmful components to get a decent hit.
Cannabis can cause irreversible changes in the brain: The most alarming discovery in recent years has been that cannabis can trigger serious mental illness such as schizophrenia. As a rough rule of thumb the average person's lifetime risk of developing schizophrenia is about one in 100. This risk increases to about one in 30 in occasional cannabis users and closer to one in 15 in regular users (at least once a day).
The brains of teenagers appear to be particularly susceptible to the drug. A recent study in New Zealand found that children who started to use cannabis before the age of 15 were nearly five times more likely to develop serious mental illness by their late twenties, compared with those who started at 18. Neuroscientists suspect that the greater susceptibility of young teenagers is because the brain continues to develop during the teen years. Drug use is thought to influence this final phase of brain formation, increasing the risk of the type of functional and chemical imbalances associated with conditions such as schizophrenia.
The problem is compounded because most of the cannabis sold in Britain today is much more potent than that of a decade ago. These stronger variants (skunk) contain far more of THC, the active ingredient, which is| thought to induce psychosis, and far less of another ingredient (cannabidiol) found in standard varieties, which is anti-psychotic and protects the brain. But neurochemcal changes don't alter behaviour alone. Tests on mice suggest that they can also permanently disrupt a developing brain's ability to remember things, even after the drug is withdrawn. It is difficult to draw comparisons with human development, but scientists in the field believe that exposure before the age of 15 could cause lasting memory deficit.
Cannabis can be addictive: Contrary to street lore that you cannot become addicted to cannabis, one user in ten develops some form of dependence, with abstinence leading to craving and withdrawal effects. Cannabis abuse now accounts for 10 per cent of attendances at UK drug treatment centers.
Is it a gateway to more dangerous drugs? This is a controversial area. There is little doubt that cannabis users are more likely to try harder drugs such as cocaine and heroin, but this gateway effect is much smaller than we used to think. While most hard drug users start off trying cannabis, most cannabis users don't end up on hard drugs. Only one cannabis user in 25 admits to having tried heroin. That said, the social factors of mixing with peers who are using drugs and having access to supply can only make progression more likely. Age is again a factor - younger cannabis smokers are more likely to move on to hard drugs.
Cannabis and your bones: Recent work indicates that cannabis may accelerate the thinning of the skeleton that occurs as we age. Bone is a living tissue that is constantly being remodeled; cells called osteoblasts lay down bone while osteoclasts dissolve it. Careful balancing of the activities of both groups of cells mean that overall bone mass remains steady - at least until the age of 40 - despite our entire skeleton being replaced every seven years.
Researchers from Aberdeen University have discovered that chemicals found in cannabis may upset this delicate balance in favor of the osteoclasts and bone resorption, leading to osteoporosis - a condition now thought to affect one woman in three, and one man in ten, over the age of 50.
Lord Howard Hurts