Thursday, July 20, 2006

Drug War v. Science

Who do you think the winner is?

The “gateway drug” hypothesis has taken another blow (ahem). A recent study finding that adolescent rats given THC were no more likely than a control group to become addicted to heroin. Although the THC group took stronger doses of heroin, based on this study there appears to be no physiological basis for a connection between marijuana use and later heroin. Of course, the biggest reason there might be a connection in real life (which is very small, even if there is one, with 97 million Americans having tried marijuana versus only 3 million having tried heroin) is that buying pot puts you in contact with the kind of people who sell heroin.

[Tangentially: the oft-debunked “gateway drug” thing is bogus for many more reasons, too. A link between trying pot and trying so-called harder drugs would be completely expected, since people who try pot are exactly the type of people who might be willing to try heroin (or whatever). To repeat an overused phrase, correlation does not imply causation. If you lack the rebelliousness to even smoke marijuana, it’s unlikely you’ll stick a needle in your arm for a hit of heroin.]

Plus, another study has found that no link between smoking pot and cancer, even among very heavy users. The likely reason: even smoking a pack of cigarettes a day leads to very small increases in cancer risk (which honestly surprised me, and sure puts the “smoking will kill you” theory in an uncomfortable place), as the big jump in cancer seems to kick in at around 2 packs a day. And to get as much cancer-causing chemicals as are found in two packs of cigarettes, you’d have to smoke more than 10 joints a day, a level beyond all but the most chronic users. Marijuana’s cancer-fighting agents no doubt also play a role.

Give up, Drug War. You’re losing, and you’re hurting millions of innocent people in the process.


At 7:52 AM, Blogger Alexis de Tokeville said...

There's not much one can say here, other than call Ms Hurd a fraud and a puppet.

In the report itself, page 7, after explanaing the details, we see:-
"The periodic exposure to low-dose THC during adolescence did not appear to predispose animals to an increased sensitivity to initiate heroin self-administration."

In other words there is NO difference in the addiction process of the two rat groups, and the ones exposed to THC got addicted in exactly the same way, nodiiference at all, certainly no "gateway drug" effect. From the above Ms. Hurd jumps to the following conclusion.

"In summary, the current findings provide direct evidence in support of the gateway hypothesis that adolescent cannabis exposure contributes to greater heroin intake in adulthood."

Huh? Have you really had scientific training, Ms Hurd? Where?
And just in case no-one noticed the "gateway hypothesis" implies that mj leads to cannabis, NOT that "adult heroin intake is greater", as ms. Hurd seems to think.

Shouldn't someone strip her of her doctorate?

At 1:04 AM, Blogger Scott McC said...

I'm with you. How do we start the process?

At 5:03 AM, Blogger Alexis de Tokeville said...

At the moment, I think the best we can do is to hold them up to the ridicule they so richly deserve.

Reports like Hurd's make this too easy, anyway.

In time I'd like to see a myth-busting website, where all these little cannaphobic efforts are logged, meticulously examined, and put up for everyone to see.

Kind of like a "Cannaphobe's-hoax" or "Reefer-madness reference". I'm working on it, but it's not a one-man job.

I've e-mailed you my details if you want to duscuss further. ;)

At 11:08 AM, Blogger Scott McC said...

Sounds like a great idea. I'll be in touch.


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