Pot does not cause cancer
This is destined to be the hit of the week. Fred Gardner at Counterpunch posts this important article on the latest research from Donald Tashkin. The same scientist whose earlier preliminary research had suggested the opposite effect and has in fact been cited by John Walters in his ONDCP campaign against natural marijuana plants.
Gardner was troubled by some of the parameters of the early tests and decided to conduct a comprehensive study using a large pool of subjects and cross referencing copious amounts of data. The results unequivocally showed that even heavy cannabis smoking did not cause cancer and further suggested that it may have a protective effect.
Taskin says, "...I think that it would be difficult to extract from these data the conclusion that marijuana is protective against lung cancer. But that is not an unreasonable hypothesis."The paper was presented at this year's International Cannabinoid Research Society meeting where there much ado about Sativex and other research was also presented. San Francisco oncologist Donald Abrams, M.D., gets the quote of the week with this remark.
To a questioner who bemoaned the difficulty of "separating the high from the clinical benefits," Abrams replied: "I'm an oncologist as well as an AIDS doctor and I don't think that a drug that creates euphoria in patients with terminal diseases is having an adverse effect."Exactly right. What's wrong with a dying person feeling good? Isn't that what the pharmaceuticals are trying to do as well with their prescription drugs? It's an enormously useful herb that can be ingested in many ways. The only reason to vilify herbal marijuana is because it's too easy to grow. Unless they can convince you the natural plant is evil, they won't be able to sell you overpriced derivatives.
An interesting sidelight to this story ties into the first people busted in San Francisco after the Raich decision. The two doctors we blogged about, were on their way to this conference. Three cannabis clubs were also raided that day and 19 people arrested for allegedly supplying the black market as well as MMJ dispensaries. They were almost all Asians with a few Latinos thrown in for diversity I guess.
[Defense Attorney] Hallinan says that every cannabis dispensary has links to a network of growers, and that the decision to take down these three was an attempt to exploit anti-Asian sentiment. "They asked themselves, 'Who will we start with now that we've been given permission [by the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling in the Raich case]? Let's go after the Chinese!' San Francisco has more than a hundred-year history of anti-Chinese attitudes and policies."It's a subtle use of racism, with the feds trying to imply a link between MMJ and Asian and Latino "gangs." A meme too easily planted in white suburban minds that want to believe the war on some drugs can actually solve "crime."