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Re: here's some NEW research

Posted by Perry on June 17, 2005 at 12:57:46

In Reply to: Re: here's some NEW research posted by Rocky on June 17, 2005 at 00:56:16:

You seem to think that I'm arguing in a vaccume, just making up things as I go along. The area I live in is identical to what you describe in your city so I wouldn't be surprised to discover that we live in the same area. And if not, hey, we could have a "pissing" contest to see whose city has the strongest pot.

You are also mischaracterizing my arguments. I never said that there isn't high potency pot on the market. The point I'm disputing with you is that current studies from Europe and the U.S. disprove the claim that all cannabis is at the upper range of potency and that all cannabis users consume only that high potency cannabis. The average potency in 2001, as found by U.S. authorities who are the staunchist of prohibitionists, was only %5. About a year ago the Americans tried to claim that the U.S. was being flooded by super strong cannabis from Canada. Their own studies found that that just wasn't true, and that the most potent cannabis was only a small percentage of the overall market.

Only that one study I referred to was from the 80s. The other studies referred to in the Ottawa newspaper article, those conducted in the European Union and the U.S., are only a couple years old.

And even if you're right that all cannbis is 6 to 8 times more potent than in previous decades, which the studies refute, that would be a good thing for medical users. That is what this particular discussion on cannabis started as after all. The stronger the cannabis, the less a user needs.

Since you claim that my "attempt at social science lacks a degree of objectivity" here's some facts for you:

"According to the federal Potency Monitoring Project, the average potency of marijuana has increased very little since the 1980s. The Project reports that in 1985, the average THC content of commercial-grade marijuana was 2.84%, and the average for high-grade sinsemilla in 1985 was 7.17%. In 1995, the potency of commercial-grade marijuana averaged 3.73%, while the potency of sinsemilla in 1995 averaged 7.51%. In 2001, commercial-grade marijuana averaged 4.72% THC, and the potency of sinsemilla in 2001 averaged 9.03%."

Source: Quarterly Report #76, Nov. 9, 2001-Feb. 8, 2002, Table 3, p. 8, University of Mississippi Potency Monitoring Project (Oxford, MS: National Center for the Development of Natural Products, Research Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences, 2002), Mahmoud A. ElSohly, PhD, Director, NIDA Marijuana Project (NIDA Contract #N01DA-0-7707).

"Although marijuana grown in the United States was once considered inferior because of a low concentration of THC, advancements in plant selection and cultivation have resulted in higher THC-containing domestic marijuana. In 1974, the average THC content of illicit marijuana was less than one percent. Today most commercial grade marijuana from Mexico/Columbia and domestic outdoor cultivated marijuana has an average THC content of about 4 to 6 percent. Between 1998 and 2002, NIDA-sponsored Marijuana Potency Monitoring System (MPMP) analyzed 4,603 domestic samples. Of those samples, 379 tested over 15 percent THC, 69 samples tested between 20 and 25 percent THC and four samples tested over 25 percent THC."

Source: US Drug Enforcement Administration, "Drugs of Abuse" (Washington, DC: US Dept. of Justice, 2005), from the web at last accessed Jan. 27, 2005.

"In conclusion, our meta-analysis of studies that have attempted to address the question of longer term neurocognitive disturbance in moderate and heavy cannabis users has failed to demonstrate a substantial, systematic, and detrimental effect of cannabis use on neuropsychological performance. It was surprising to find such few and small effects given that most of the potential biases inherent in our analyses actually increased the likelihood of finding a cannabis effect."

Source: Grant, Igor, et al., "Non-Acute (Residual) Neurocognitive Effects Of Cannabis Use: A Meta-Analytic Study," Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society (Cambridge University Press: July 2003), 9, p. 687.

The Christchurch Press reported on March 22, 2005, that "The lead researcher in the Christchurch study, Professor David Fergusson, said the role of cannabis in psychosis was not sufficient on its own to guide legislation. 'The result suggests heavy use can result in adverse side-effects,' he said. 'That can occur with ( heavy use of ) any substance. It can occur with milk.' Fergusson's research, released this month, concluded that heavy cannabis smokers were 1.5 times more likely to suffer symptoms of psychosis that non-users. The study was the latest in several reports based on a cohort of about 1000 people born in Christchurch over a four-month period in 1977. An effective way to deal with cannabis use would be to incrementally reduce penalties and carefully evaluate its impact, Fergusson said. 'Reduce the penalty, like a parking fine. You could then monitor ( the impact ) after five or six years. If it did not change, you might want to take another step.'

Source: Bleakley, Louise, "NZ Study Used in UK Drug Review," The Press (Christchurch, New Zealand: March 22, 2005), from the web at, last accessed March 28, 2005.

"The DEA's Administrative Law Judge, Francis Young concluded: "In strict medical terms marijuana is far safer than many foods we commonly consume. For example, eating 10 raw potatoes can result in a toxic response. By comparison, it is physically impossible to eat enough marijuana to induce death. Marijuana in its natural form is one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man. By any measure of rational analysis marijuana can be safely used within the supervised routine of medical care."

Source: US Department of Justice, Drug Enforcement Agency, "In the Matter of Marijuana Rescheduling Petition," [Docket #86-22], (September 6, 1988), p. 57.

"When examining the medical affects of marijuana use, the National Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse concluded, "A careful search of the literature and testimony of the nation's health officials has not revealed a single human fatality in the United States proven to have resulted solely from ingestion of marihuana. Experiments with the drug in monkeys demonstrated that the dose required for overdose death was enormous and for all practical purposes unachievable by humans smoking marihuana. This is in marked contrast to other substances in common use, most notably alcohol and barbiturate sleeping pills. The WHO reached the same conclusion in 1995."

Source: Shafer, Raymond P., et al, Marihuana: A Signal of Misunderstanding, Ch. III, (Washington DC: National Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse, 1972); Hall, W., Room, R. & Bondy, S., WHO Project on Health Implications of Cannabis Use: A Comparative Appraisal of the Health and Psychological Consequences of Alcohol, Cannabis, Nicotine and Opiate Use, August 28, 1995, (Geneva, Switzerland: World Health Organization, March 1998).

"The World Health Organization released a study in March 1998 that states: "there are good reasons for saying that [the risks from cannabis] would be unlikely to seriously [compare to] the public health risks of alcohol and tobacco even if as many people used cannabis as now drink alcohol or smoke tobacco."

Source: Hall, W., Room, R. & Bondy, S., WHO Project on Health Implications of Cannabis Use: A Comparative Appraisal of the Health and Psychological Consequences of Alcohol, Cannabis, Nicotine and Opiate Use, August 28, 1995, (contained in original version, but deleted from official version) (Geneva, Switzerland: World Health Organization, March 1998).

"Since 1969, government-appointed commissions in the United States, Canada, England, Australia, and the Netherlands concluded, after reviewing the scientific evidence, that marijuana's dangers had previously been greatly exaggerated, and urged lawmakers to drastically reduce or eliminate penalties for marijuana possession."

Source: Advisory Committee on Drug Dependence, Cannabis (London, England: Her Majesty's Stationery Office, 1969); Canadian Government Commission of Inquiry, The Non-Medical Use of Drugs (Ottawa, Canada: Information Canada, 1970); The National Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse, Marihuana: A Signal of Misunderstanding, (Nixon-Shafer Report) (Washington, DC: USGPO, 1972); Werkgroep Verdovende Middelen, Background and Risks of Drug Use (The Hague, The Netherlands: Staatsuigeverij, 1972); Senate Standing Committee on Social Welfare, Drug Problems in Australia-An Intoxicated Society (Canberra, Australia: Australian Government Publishing Service, 1977); Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, "The classification of cannabis under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971" (London, England, UK: Home Office, March 2002), available on the web from ; House of Commons Home Affairs Committee Third Report, "The Government's Drugs Policy: Is It Working?" (London, England, UK: Parliament, May 9, 2002), from the web at and "Cannabis: Our Position for a Canadian Public Policy," report of the Canadian Senate Special Committee on Illegal Drugs (Ottawa, Canada: Senate of Canada, September 2002).