NewScientist is reporting on a new study by the Berkley Foundation for the UN, that asks how we can minimize the damage to the health and welfare of pot users and society from cannabis use?
While many studies seem to be totally biased to one side or the other of the pot argument, this one acknowledges both the harm of the drug's use and the harm to user and society caused by vigilant enforcement. Further, it notes the comparative harm caused by other illicit drugs and the ones we maintain as legal.
The study shows the that the gateway drug issue is a valid concern but admits that the link is a correlation not an absolute cause.
Do people move on to other drugs because they started using pot or do they move on because they have an addictive or experimenting type personality and would have tried them anyway if available?
The problem is most pronounced with youth (9-15) who by today's standards are not even allowed to use the drugs we accept as legal and reasonably safe. Kids who have the desire, means and freedom to start toking at 9 must largely be in a high risk situation anyway.
I could never understand how a non smoking parent could miss the smell of pot, tobacco or booze on their kids.
They also show that the heavy users do suffer health problems and psychosis but that his level of psychosis is greatly dependant on plant variety, strength and the growing regiment common in indoor hydroponic cannabis. THC psychosis is apparently countered by the compound cannabidiol which is missing from most of today's dominate hydroponic pot varieties and a that step back to normal varieties and growing conditions would greatly lower potency and psychosis rates. A manageable response no different than limiting the quantity of wormwood in absinthe. The admitted physical dangers of using pot were deemed less damaging than either booze or smokes.
Because only 9% of pot users will become dependant compared to the rates of 15% for alcohol, 32% for tobacco, and 23% for heroin the relative harm it causes should be taken into perspective. The level of dependancy is also rated as weaker than all the other drugs mentioned above.
Despite the admitted medical dangers of cannabis only 2 overdoses have ever been proven vs. 200,000 per year for other drugs and the millions of deaths attributed to alcohol and tobacco.
In conclusion the study believes legalization combined with age limits, rigid testing and control of potency would be the best way to limit harm to both users and society, including drying up illicit revenues to gangs, lowering psychosis rates, reducing incarceration rates and moving the supply of cannabis from the sellers of heavier drugs who will have a harder time "selling you up" to a different product.
Add to this the government savings on law enforcement and the earnings on sin tax and it looks like a damn good deal, that said expect it to go nowhere at the U.N
To wade through the complete study go to the Beckley Foundation . I especially found table 2.1, 2.2, and 2.3 interesting in that they show alcohol more socially dangerous, toxic, addictive and medically damaging than Cannabis.
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Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Posted by Kubera Jones, AKA several other guys. at 12:25 PM