Kids should not use tobacco, pot or alcohol!

December 22, 2005

Russell Barth (OpEd), Mountain News (Canada)

As a federal medical marijuana license holder, I resent the fact that the media continues the propaganda and misinformation about marijuana.

This will make things even more confusing for teens. Why can't anyone just tell the truth when it comes to pot?

Kids should not be using pot, alcohol, or tobacco - period! I think caffeine should be in there too. But misinforming them, as history has shown, will lead to more problems. If we lie to kids about pot, and they find out we have lied to them, they won't listen to a word adults say about meth, heroin, crack, safe-sex, or impaired driving. Once bitten, twice shy, as they say.

As a medical marijuana license holder and activist, my life depends on me keeping up to date on this medical and legal information. In an effort to clarify, but not criticize, I would like to offer some corrections.

"Its psychoactive ingredient, THC, has increased in potency boasting an average of 9.6 per cent compared to the 1970 levels of 2.0 per cent."

- The main reason pot is "more potent" by weight, is because growers are trimming out the leaves and twigs and seeds that were ubiquitous in the pot of the 1970s. It isn't magic, it is just botany. Furthermore, the more potent the marijuana, the less one needs to get the "desired effect" - whether that is a "buzz" or symptom relief. Strong pot is safer because it means less smoking. Hashish is better still, because most of the tar is absent.

"Tar content of marijuana is high. It is estimated that 3 to 4 joints a day causes the same damage as 20 or more tobacco cigarettes."

- This is an exaggeration at best. There simply has not been enough research to substantiate these claims. The fact of the matter is, in 5,000 years of recorded history, there has never been even one single case of lung or throat cancer diagnosed in a cannabis-only smoker. Recent science suggests that the active ingredients - called cannabinoids - may actually protect the body from the harmful effects of tar... and THC has shown to cause brain tissue growth and reduction in brain cancer in lab rats.

Furthermore, cannabis has no nicotine, which is not only a carcinogen itself, it is also a "facilitator" for the litany of other carcinogens in tobacco.

"Researchers are starting to find physical withdrawal symptoms in smokers who use the drug regularly."

- The physical withdrawal from cannabis is about one tenth as difficult as the withdrawal from caffeine.

A few days of rest and/or exercise, and a lot of water, and the symptoms pass. I have suffered the withdrawal of codeine, and I would take a lifetime of "pot withdrawal" over one hour of codeine withdrawal - any day!

"Marijuana is the number one drug for which youth seek addictions treatment."

- Actually, kids get caught using pot, and the judge offers them the choice of "jail" or "treatment". They obviously choose "treatment".

"Marijuana is currently being tested and has not yet been classified as a pharmaceutical drug in any country in the world."

- That is because Big Pharma has been lobbying government to prevent this for about 80 years. They know full well that legalized and tested marijuana might prove to be stiff economic competition.

There is actually a cannabis-based medication called Sativex, which is recognized, and used in Canada for MS.

"Although Health Canada runs a strict medicinal marijuana access program..."

- The program has been ruled "unconstitutional" by a few courts, and the pot they grew in Flin-Flon has been widely criticized as "garbage". The program is a fiasco. California has over 100,000 registered medical marijuana users, Canada has barely 1100.

"Currently, research has been launched to learn more about this drug and its medicinal qualities." Not enough research is being done, because the government and Big Pharma don't want anyone to know the benefits.

Every time the government or some Big Pharma company tries to find the "dangers" of cannabis, they inadvertently find new benefits. Imagine the drop in Big Pharma Profits if people started growing their own medicine for anxiety, pain, depression, nausea, appetite moderation, and hundreds of other aliments.

The losses worldwide could run into the trillions!

"Teach your children how to say no."

- How about "Teach your kids the truth - and hope they make sensible choices.

I recommend everyone check out the following websites to get the actual truth about marijuana, and how to teach kids.

Educators For Sensible Drug Policy

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