Monday, April 02, 2007

Keep cannabis illegal 2

Why? Because of what I said earlier and because it causes lung cancer.

On the cancer issue:

Cannabis increases the risk of lung cancer and may cause 5% of cases of the disease in people aged 55 and under, according to a new study being published later this year.

Researchers have found a 5-fold increased risk of lung cancer in heavy users of cannabis. They calculate that the risk of developing lung cancer increased by 8% a year for people whose cumulative exposure equated to smoking one joint a day.

"Long-term cannabis use increases the risk of lung cancer in young adults, particularly in those who start smoking cannabis at a young age," according to researchers from the Medical Research Institute of New Zealand.

The increased risk is blamed on the tendency of cannabis smokers to inhale deeper and longer than with an ordinary cigarette.

The World Health Organisation in 1997 concluded that cannabis when smoked is twice as carcinogenic than tobacco. Some doctors claim it causes cancers of the lungs, larynx, mouth and oesophagus as well as other chronic lung diseases. Those smoking on a regular basis are thought to be most at risk.

The research adds to the existing evidence that cannabis use can increase the risk of emphysema, chronic bronchitis and lung cancer.


Anonymous said...

Whilst you still have not convinced me of the case for keeping marijuana illegal, I think this is where the (ill) health campagin should be targeted (I'm sure I'm reptitive about that).

Other effects which don't seem to get the mention they should are of course heart disease and emphasyema (and therefore other associated chronic diseases). Its funny that people are scared of having a psychotic episode but don't worry about having a stroke -- I know which one I'd prefer. Its a good example of people being worried about the less probable event.

Shawn said...

From your "what i said earlier" link:

"The presumption is that individuals are generally the best judges of their own welfares."

Isn't that exactly the opposite of what prohibition assumes? Did you link the wrong blog post? I admit I didn't read the whole thing once it seemed pretty clear it was suggesting the opposite of prohibition. Is there something specific in the paper that says cannabis should be illegal? I don't get it...

As far as the cancer issue goes, it seems the jury is still out. Some studies say yes, some say no. For instance,

But come on, Harry, you can't honestly believe some risk to the user is enough to outlaw it completely. You can consume enough alcohol in one evening to KILL you but yer not going to say alcohol should be prohibited just because of that. Plus, if cancer really is the tipping point for you then you should be for the prohibition of smokable pot, only. Eating it is fine. Do you believe we should keep edible forms of cannabis illegal?

Anonymous said...

I can only find news reports of the study. Naturally the prefered forum for pre publication these days.

I'm curious as to who the subjects were and especially if they were smoking cannabis mixed with tobacco, and control groups etc.

I'm a bit confused on your heading harry. Keep it illegal. there's illegal and illegal.

It's illegal to water my garden most days, its illegal to park in a disabled spot without a sticker, its illegal not to send your kid to school, its illegal to travel on a tram up Collins street from Swanston to Spring St without a ticket, its also illegal to murder someone.

I think the debate is "what kind of illegal" should it be

Anonymous said...

Mmmm, Harry has a point. I prefer a nice cup of tea or maybe a nice brownie myself ....

hc said...

Shawn, I think it is the way cannabis smokers act to keep the stuff in their lungs that conveys the risk. It is hardsly surprising that carcinogens are dispersed in this way. There may be a debbatye but I would not bet on it.

If you must take cannabis I assume eating it is better than smoking it.

fxh, I mean don't withdraw the legal sanctions against use.

Anonymous said...


I find it hard to imagine that different ways of inhaling smoke really makes much difference -- it would be nice to have evidence here. It would also be nice to know whether smokers that somehow have a different method of inhaling than others that is more effective simply smoke less.

Shawn: The reason that there is not huge amounts of evidence for carcinogenic effects of marijuana is that it is illegal in most places (like most other drugs -- like, what is the effect of e.g., ecstasy?). Alternatively, i its hard to imagine what type of smoke you could inhale constantly that would not have health effects.

Actually I think that it is an argument for legalization -- people could get much cleaner forms of THC to smoke (i.e., vaporization), or people could sell cakes which don't contain all the carcinogens from smoke. Also, The link you point to doesn't work, but if it is the link to the studies feeding mice THC then I might point out that (1) mice are comparitively indestructible; (2) mice are not humans; and (3) the study was done with pure THC.

Shawn said...


So? edible cannabis? legalize or what? :)


try this link. It's the one that was done in california last year where they interviewed 1600 people. no vivisections :).

I think it's pretty clear inhaling smoke regularily is going to cause some sort of respiratory problems. But the question is what are those problems? Cancer may or may not be one of them.

But I agree it's tough to study something that's illegal. Especially when institutions like the DEA and friends refuse to fund studies that don't fit their prohibitionist agenda. But it's important to remember despite pot being illegal there are millions of users.

Shawn said...


yes, that's a good point. what kind of illegal? In another post Harry suggested "modest penalties." Would that be a monetary penalty? like a parking ticket? Like cars, would there be places you could uh "park"? What about the penalty for growing or selling cannabis?

Anonymous said...

Come on, Harry. Cigs cause lung cnacer and they are hardly illegal.

Drinking ruins the liver and it seems to like the red stuff, by the way you sounded in an earlier piece on the stuff.

harry, dope's fine. It's tragis it is illegal.

Anonymous said...

Once again this "analysis" completely and utterly ignores the costs of prohibition.

You aren't even trying to be rational on this issue.

Anonymous said...

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Anonymous said...

Just to let you guys know, if your thinking that consuming cannabis as a healthy alternative you might want to think differntly.
the process of creating canna-butter, which is the ingredient added to spike brownie/cake mixes, has an incredible amount of fat. the fat is what makes users high once consuming the butter. therefore, consuming cannabis is not exactly the best choice for your cardiocascular system (heart). more so than an average cupcake

Anonymous said...

this is some great information about the damages of mj on your lungs when smoked. But if the damaging effects is all you have for a thesis on keeping marijuana illegal, i believe it is a bit weak, sir. have you heard of the new great technology called a vaporizer? I think you should look into it. Also, look into highway drunk driving deaths in an area that has made weed legal, before it was legal and after. The numbers actually decrease. It's a proven fact that alcohol has killed more people than marijuana has and ever will for that matter. And i'm tired of hearing every politicians say that it makes people stupid or produces psychiatric problems. First off, it's a drug, and just like any other drug, it will effect everyone differently. And maybe the reason people have developed psych. problems is because they are paranoid about getting caught by a cop. Now if it was legal, there would be no reason to be paranoid. Legalize it, the government can make their money and get our country out of debt. We're making too big of a deal out of this.

Anonymous said...

i have a question how iz ciggerettes are considered a durg yet so many ppl have died from it and from marijuana there hasnt been one death because of the cause of marijuana. i know ppl who have been smokin for many many years. They jsut ahve wut ney other smoker has. And another i wanna clear up. ITZ NOT ADDICTIVE!
just cuz u smoke it everyday and want it. doesnt mean u are addicttied. They just want it cuz tehy know they can get it. Eveyrthin iz like that u have enough fo sumthin ur gonna want it and u know u can get it. It prolly one of teh safest drugs out there. U cant overdose on it at all. all u do iz pass out and wake up a couple hours later. O it makes u dumb blah blah. yea goo ahed believe that. ur stupid cuz u choose to be. People who dont smoke marijuana u dont need to worry bout it. It isnt your desicion. You have nothing to do with it. If neythin Ciggerettes should be illegal.

Well actually put it this way. If marijuana waz legal this contry will be out of debut. It will open more job oppurtunites to people. It mey jsut lower teh poverty rate. Itz an inexpensive way tog et money. The governement can tax it. Setup shops on corners in cities do u know how much money the government can make. Oh it needs to provide a medical effect. Ciggerettes dont do neythin.they kill you. everytime u smoke a pack of ciggerettes thats a year off ur life. my dad also works for teh Food and Drug administrative researchin marijuana use. its a pain reliever basically ney kind of medicine has side effects. The onyl reason y nothing iz bein done iz cuz teh government iz scared. They dont knwo what will happen. They cant control it. Yea shut up. Who cares its not gonna make teh world go crazy.

all i say iz just legalize it adn half teh problems will dissppear country will be out of debt poverty rate will go down. For People Who dont smoke shut up. u dont knwo anythin till u try it and experience. You all go by wut u hear. Just shut up legalize it. Its a win - win situation if u dont like it then u can move out the f**kin country.

Anonymous said...

^I agree with you marijuana should be legal. Not smoke up in your car legal or give your kid a special brownie legal but if I want to toke in my house then who the hell are you to tell me what to do. Marijuana legalization could do alot of good. Decriminalization is not enough it just makes the black market grow. I like my dealer but I'd rather my money help my country not my dude.
All you stoners out there saying fuck you or typing like an idiot does not help prove our point. We need aruge logically and keep up the peaceful protest so grow it, smoke it, and screw visine.

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Anonymous said...

Legalize marijuana stop putting 980,000 people away in jail a year for marijuana(in the United States). 8/9 of them being for poss. Most of them the future of America , our children. For a drug that cannot kill you due to its toxicology which is 10,000 less than that of alcohols. Also not to mention Cannabidol's cancer fighting , asthma curing , diabieties preventing and many other disease's its helped to prevent and cure(over 50) and tetrahydrocannabinol which has helped fighting brain tumors and many other illnesses. Also the scientific research given states that they have never found a single person to have obtained lung cancer solely from marijuana smoke due to Tetrahydrocannabiol and Cannabidol's cancer fighting properties. I am requesting that this website do a blog on this topic because a lot of good hard-working Americans' lives are being ruined by the Federal Justice System because they're practicing Freedom of choice something which we at once believed to fight beside for in this country. So legalize , tax , repair lives and educate! Dont imprison which creates , 1 extreme disprespect of law enforcement and government , 2 gives money to gang's and potentially organized crime generally more often than regular people due to illegality , 3 the money you could make off of this drug and medicine is alot better than the hundreds of billions were losing annualy to keep it illegal , 4 to help reduce prison population , 5 to help repair the economy by putting normally otherwise law abiding American's into prison who could be getting their education or working (also keep in mind there is no JOB or EDUCATION if youve been arrested in some states for trafficking) and theres many more reasons to legalize this for the most part harmless even healthy drug. Marijuana prohibition started from racism and greed and followed by the lobbyist's of the alcohol , tobacco , paper , pharmacuitical and even our police (police overworked = overpaid) industries and agencies. Why are we going to keep incarcerating our children , parents , teachers , police , congressmen and everyone in our society for somthing 10,000 less harmful than the drug currently legal! And for what? Money that our already overly rich pharmaceatical industry has (a pill for everything today , pills that mind you are much more dangerous than marijuana that we entrust to our children). So stop talking you ignorant people who dont know the entire story. Or if your a lobbyist here who has lobbied against it knowingly I must tell you to go to hell because of you ive been arrested for providing medicine to cancer patients in my area. God bless America land of the free, Legalize marijuana! Visit or to make a donation or to find more about this topic.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Clarke's assertion that cannabis smoking is linked to lung cancer and other pulminory diseases is the worst kind of fear-mongering claptrap. In point of fact, a 2007-09 Harvard University study found cannabis may actually help reduce the size of lung tumors caused by tobacco smoke. We Yanks spent 20 years of having such "propoganda" smoke blown up our collective arses, starting with the Ronald Reagan Administration's War on Drugs (at the same time the CIA was supporting the Contras through cocaine trafficing) and the Partnership for a Drug Free America (funded in large part by the alcohol and tobacco industries). No "drug" is safe but some are definitely "safer" than others. As an economist, balance the cost of arresting, trying and incarcerating cannabis users v. the actual medical and societal harm cannabis users pose to Australia, U.S. and every other country around the world. Prohibition has not, will not and cannot work. It serves only to fund organised crime, illegal secret service operations, and prop up brutal juntas in countries like Afghanistan, Columbia, Mexico, and Myanmar.

Anonymous said...

MY body my choice. No dead babies die in the process.