What everyone should know about marijuana.


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1 Q. What is Marijuana?

A. "Marijuana" refers to the dried leaves and flowers of the cannabis
plant [1], which contain the non-narcotic chemical THC at various
potencies. It is smoked or eaten to produce the feeling of being
"high." The different strains of this herb produce different sensual
effects, ranging from sedative to stimulant.

2 Q. Who Uses Marijuana?

A. There is no simple profile of a typical marijuana user. It has been
used for 1000s of years for medical, social, and religious reasons
and for relaxation [2]. Several of our Presidents [3] are believed
to have smoked it. One out of every five Americans say they have
tried it. And it is still popular among artists, writers, musicians,
activists, lawyers, inventors, working people, etc.

3 Q. How Long Have People Been Using Marijuana?

A. Marijuana has been used since ancient times [4]. While field hands
and working people have often smoked the raw plant, aristocrats
historically prefer hashish [5] made from the cured flowers of the
plant. It was not seen as a problem until a calculated disinformation
[sic] campaign was launched in the 1930s [6], and the first American
laws against using it were passed [7].

4 Q. Is Marijuana Addictive?

A. No, it is not [8]. Most users are moderate consumers who smoke it
socially to relax. We now know that 10% of our population have
"addictive personalities" and they are neither more nor less
likely to overindulge in cannabis than in anything else. On a
relative scale, marijuana is less habit forming than either sugar
or chocolate but more so than anchovies. Sociologists report a general
pattern of marijuana use that peaks in the early adult years, followed
by a period of levelling off and then a gradual reduction in use [9].

5 Q. Has Anyone Ever Died From Smoking Marijuana?

A. No; not one single case, not ever. THC is one of the few chemicals for
which there is no known toxic amount [10]. The federal agency NIDA says
that autopsies reveal that 75 people per year are high on marijuana
when they die: this does not mean that marijuana caused or was even a
factor in their deaths. The chart below compares the number of deaths
attributable to selected substances in a typical year:

Tobacco...............................340,000 - 395,000
Alcohol (excluding crime/accidents).............125,000+
Drug Overdose (prescription)............24,000 - 27,000
Drug Overdose (illegal)...................3,800 - 5,200

*Source: U.S. Government Bureau of Mortality Statistics, 1987

6 Q. Does Marijuana Lead to Crime and/or Hard Drugs?

A. No [11]. The only crime most marijuana users commit is that they use
marijuana. And, while many people who abuse dangerous drugs also smoke
marijuana, the old "stepping stone" theory is now discredited, since
virtually all of them started out "using" legal drugs like sugar,
coffee, cigarettes, alcohol, etc.

7 Q. Does Marijuana Make People Violent?

A. No. In fact, Federal Bureau of Narcotics director Harry Anslinger once
told Congress just the opposite - that it leads to non-violence and
pacifism [12]. If he was telling the truth (which he and key federal
agencies have not often done regarding marijuana), then re-legalizing
marijuana should be considered as one way to curb violence in our
cities. The simple fact is that marijuana does not change your basic
personality. The government says that over 20 million Americans still
smoke it, probably including some of the nicest people you know.

8 Q. How Does Marijuana Affect Your Health?

A. Smoking anything is not healthy, but marijuana is less dangerous than
tobacco and people smoke less of it at a time. This health risk can
be avoided by eating the plant instead of smoking it [13], or can be
reduced by smoking smaller amounts of stronger marijuana. There is
no proof that marijuana causes serious health or sexual problems [14]
but, like alcohol, its use by children or adolescents is discouraged.
Cannabis is a medicinal herb that has hundreds of proven, valuable
theraputic uses - from stress reduction to glaucoma to asthma to
cancer therapy, etc. [15].

9 Q. What About All Those Scary Statistics and Studies?

A. Most were prepared as scare tactics for the government by Dr. Gabriel
Nahas, and were so biased and unscientific that Nahas was fired by
the National Institute of Health [16] and finally renounced his own
studies as meaningless [17]. For one experiment, he suffocated monkeys
for five minutes at a time, using proportionately more smoke than the
average user inhales in an entire lifetime [18]. The other studies
that claim sensational health risks are also suspect, since they lack
controls and produce results which cannot be replicated or
independently verified [19].

10 Q. What Can I Do About Marijuana?

A. No independent government panel that has studied marijuana has ever
recommended jail for users [20]. Concerned persons should therefore
ask their legislators to re-legalize and tax this plant, subject to
age limits and regulations similar to those on alcohol and tobacco.

Family Council on Drug Awareness wrote this.An Anti - Drug organization to the core wrote this.
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