Saturday, November 8, 2008
Marijuana, cancer, prohibition, and you.
About one out of eight people in prison is there solely for Marijuana offenses, costing the government 9 billion dollars a year. However, marijuana is not addictive--unlike alcohol and cigarettes--is not a gateway drug, and seems to be bizarrely good for you.
What do I mean by that? Compounds in Marijuana protect against lung cancer, and block cancer growth in leukemia, lymphoma and cancers of the breast and skin. Why?
This study discovered that pot use "reduces the invasiveness of cancer cells." Here's a study, from Harvard, that finds that it "cuts lung cancer tumor growth in half and significantly reduces the ability of the cancer to spread." In fact, it seems to be the magic bullet that researchers have been looking for--it looks like it kills the malignant cells without harming healthy cells.
But, the US has not allowed any human trials of this most promising cancer drug, because the war on drugs has trumped the war on cancer. Go Drugs.
A main reason for marijuana prohibition is that it is said to be a gateway to harder drugs. The opposite seems to be the case. A recent comparison of drug use in Amsterdam where Marijuana is legal, and San Francisco, where it is not, showed very similar rates and patterns of marijuana use in both populations; however pot smokers had a much higher use of other, harder, drugs in San Francisco.
So, counterfactually, decrimilization of marijuana would appear to not change marijuana use, but would lead to lower rates of all-around drug use. Not only that, duh, people don't commit crimes, (other then the obvious one) when they smoke up. Perhaps we should pass out joints to violent offenders.
Anyway, the point of this post, which seems to have gotten away from me, is that there were 10 marijuana decriminalization initiatives in the US this election cycle, and 9 of them passed!
Maybe in another twenty years or so, we can start with the cancer cures.