ABC News Is Addicted to Reefer Rhetoric

Many years ago the former head of the U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) Alan Leshner made this statement when forced to confront the fact that tens of thousands of patients were successfully using cannabis as a medicine:
“The plural of anecdote is not evidence.”
Someone ought to pass on Lesnher’s cop out to ABC News, whose recent feature, “Reefer Madness Redux: Is Pot Addictive?“, is little more than a series of anecdotes from folks claiming that it’s becoming harder and harder for some individuals to quit weed.
Here’s a typical example:

The biggest hurdle in treating these patients is that marijuana “still has a positive spin to it,” he said. “People don’t believe it’s a problem.”
“Plenty believe that they can’t get addicted or hold on to the idea that it’s only psychologically addictive and ‘I can think my way out of it,'”said Massella. “But once you develop a dependency, there is always a dependency.”

Naturally, John Massella, like many of the so-called experts quoted in the ABC story, has a financial incentive to promote the “marijuana is seriously addictive” claim. After all, he runs a drug rehabilitation center. Claiming that many of his clients are “pot addicts” is far more socially acceptable than admitting that most of his so-called ‘marijuana treatment admissions’ are really just young people who were busted for pot possession and ordered there by the court as a condition of probation.
But putting the anecdotes aside, what does the science actually say about pot and dependence?
Well, according to the nonpartisan National Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Medicine — which published a multiyear, million-dollar federal study assessing marijuana and health in 1999 — “millions of Americans have tried marijuana, but most are not regular users [and] few marijuana users become dependent on it.” The agency added, “[A]though [some] marijuana users develop dependence, they appear to be less likely to do so than users of other drugs (including alcohol and nicotine), and marijuana dependence appears to be less severe than dependence on other drugs.” (In fact, more recent research indicates that marijuana use may actually help some people kick their hard drug habits!)
Just how less likely? According to the IOM’s 267-page report, fewer than 10 percent of those who try cannabis ever meet the clinical criteria for a diagnosis of “drug dependence” (based on DSM-III-R criteria). By contrast, the IOM reported that 32 percent of tobacco users, 23 percent of heroin users, 17 percent of cocaine users and 15 percent of alcohol users meet the criteria for “drug dependence.” In short, it’s the legal drugs that have Americans hooked — not pot.
But what about the claims that ceasing marijuana smoking can trigger withdrawal symptoms? (According to ABC, these symptoms include “sleeplessness”, “anxiety,” and — shudder! — “dry mouth.”) Once again, it’s a matter of degree. According to the Institute of Medicine, pot’s withdrawal symptoms, when identified, are “mild and subtle” compared with the profound physical syndromes associated with ceasing chronic alcohol use — which can be fatal — or those abstinence symptoms associated with daily tobacco use, which are typically severe enough to persuade individuals to reinitiate their drug-taking behavior.
The IOM report further explained, “[U]nder normal cannabis use, the long half-life and slow elimination from the body of THC prevent[s] substantial abstinence symptoms” from occurring. As a result, cannabis’ withdrawal symptoms are typically limited to feelings of mild anxiety, irritability, agitation and insomnia.
Most importantly, unlike the withdrawal symptoms associated with the cessation of most other intoxicants, pot’s mild after-effects do not appear to be either severe or long-lasting enough to perpetuate marijuana use in individuals who have decided to quit. This is why most marijuana smokers report voluntarily ceasing their cannabis use by age 30 with little physical or psychological difficulty. By comparison, many cigarette smokers who pick up the habit early in life continue to smoke for the rest of their lives, despite making numerous efforts to quit.
So let’s review. Marijuana is widely accepted by the National Academy of Sciences, the Canadian Senate Special Committee on Illegal Drugs, the British Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs and others to lack the severe physical and psychological dependence liability associated with most other intoxicants, including alcohol and tobacco. Further, pot lacks the profound abstinence symptoms associated with most legal intoxicants, including caffeine.
That’s not to say that some cannabis smokers don’t find quitting difficult. Naturally, a handful of folks do. And it appears that ABC News has found them all.

0 thoughts

  1. There is a small percentage of the smoker population that get addicted to marijuana. There is even a smaller percentage that develop a dependence to it. So yes, people can become physically dependent on marijuana. The issue here is frequency and severity. Like I said, most don’t become dependent to begin with. Among the ones that suffer withdrawal, it’s extremely mild (unnoticeable at times) in the majority of cases.
    I believe a rope on a leash. There are people that react negatively to cannabis; people react differently to every drug. I have heard of cases where marijuana CAUSES nausea in some people. So yes, it’s entirely possible that cannabis is addictive to a small subset of the smoker population.
    The emphasis should be on how small this group is, however. It’s almost non-existent, but to say it doesn’t exist at all is untrue.
    Just remember that everyone’s biological make up is different, so there is a (sometimes wide) spectrum of reactions to ANY drug.
    [Editor’s note: “There is a small percentage of the smoker population that get addicted to marijuana. There is even a smaller percentage that develop a dependence to it.”
    “The emphasis should be on how small this group is, however. It’s almost non-existent, but to say it doesn’t exist at all is untrue.”
    These statements make no sense. Those who believe cannabis is physically addictive like alcohol, nicotine, heroin, meth, crack, etc…are invited to please forward the peer review scientific studies to support their supposition.]

  2. Matter of fact when I take my mind meds runnin out of herb aint that bad. I strongly suspect EVERY case of supposed ‘marijuana addiction’ has an underlying case of mental illness. Ive got friends that are bi-polar scitzo and a.d.d. and they all smoke a ton. All the healthy people i kno like my wife has nominal trouble bein outta weed.

  3. ABC…
    Advertising Based Company
    Authoring of Bleak Caliber
    Another Biased Company
    Another Bribed Company
    Another Boondoggle Coming
    Another Bedeviled Corporation
    Another Boring Creation
    Attempt to Bluff Citizens
    Assembling Bigger Crap
    Assorted Baloney Catapult
    Against Beneficial Cannabis
    Assaulting Beneficial Cannabis
    Does the troll really think he’s like Adam Dalgleish?

  4. It was God who created cannabis hemp and told mankind to use “every green herb” on Earth. The Bible speaks of mercy, healing and a persecution of God’s children. They persecute me wrongfully; help thou me. (Psalms 119:86) Prisons and drug wars do not save souls. The Lord… hath sent me to bind up the broken hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and the opening of the prison to them that are bound. (Isaiah 61:1)
    What should the ministry do?
    What does the Bible say about marijuana? The Bible says that God created hemp for people to use “as meat,” (ie, to consume), that its seed oil is to be used as an ointment, and that cannabis is “to be received with thanks-giving of them which believe and know the truth.” Paul also warned that some people would “speak lies in hypocrisy” and prohibit us from using it.
    It also says that we “shall not bear false witness” about people who use cannabis, nor judge them because that judgement is reserved to the Lord. The Lord hates those who speak lies and sow discord among brethern. For those people harrassed and imprisoned for using cannabis rightfuly, Jesus offers these words of comfort, “Blessed are those persecuted for righteousness’s sake: For theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.”
    God said, “Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed which is upon the face of all the earth.…To you it will be for meat.” The Bible predicts some herb’s prohibition. “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times, some shall … speak lies in hypocrisy … commanding to abstain from meats which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth. (Paul: 1 Timothy 4:1-3)

  5. If it were not for our oppressive government what a great country we could have.

  6. WARNING!!
    If you want a drug to fear pick any of the many foul chemicals pushed by the legal drug pushers, your doctor! Do not forget they are payed by the drug producer to push their product. Many of these drugs have long range adverse side affects. They have been know to cause suicide and killings. They also kill millions ever year and are still pushed and backed by our lawmakers. Don’t allow your doctor to prescribe any drug without you doing the research first, these drugs will kill you!!
    Cannabis kills no one but the only fear you have to
    deal with is our lawmakers. They accept millions to allow us to be slaves to corporate killers.

  7. – The main focus of the ABC article really appeared to be
    about “those ALREADY succeptable to addiction…”,
    (two problem-case individuals in a certain, specific 12-step program…
    for their self-professed, compulsive pot-usage…),
    along with the usual scare-pieces about “stronger”,
    “more-addictive” pot, “guilt-by association” and conflation with
    the deleterious-effects of alcohol, (and OTHER hard-drugs),
    anectdotal-evidence of “harms”, etc, etc.
    – If someone gets
    shamefully-sauced on bloody-marys,
    is the tomato-juice to blame???
    – I’d think so, using spurious-logic
    that was applied to those noted,
    who were dangerously-drunk,
    but also found to have detectable-levels of
    ye-olde, ancient, inactive, cannabinoid-metabolites
    in their system at the time.
    – Nothing is completely harmless is this world,
    and cannabis is the lesser of many “evils”, however,
    some pot-opponents tend to exaggerate the harmfulness, while
    some advocates tend to emphasize the relative harmlessnes…
    BOTH are in error!!!
    (this was one of the few, truthful-parts of the ABC News-article).
    – “Addictiveness” really lies within the individual,
    rather than any compulsive activity they’re doing,
    and / or compound(s) they’re ingesting.
    – One person can try / “sample” something reputedly “addictive” as cocaine or
    methedrine, (once or twice), and not bother with it a subsequent-time,
    while someone else, literally, can’t begin their day without nicotine or
    caffeine, (and shovelfuls of sugar…).
    – Gotta go now, the coffee’s ready… 🙂

  8. I’ve been using cannabis since September 2005 up until June 2009. During my cannabis adventure, I’d use it every day, every night, from the moment I wake up until I went to sleep. This went on for months on end. And I still went to all my classes/lectures/labs (college), did my homework/papers/essays/projects, and also worked for my campus newspaper. And I graduated with a B.S. degree in Biological Sciences. I would say I was fairly productive citizen compared to the average American.
    There were two extended periods I stopped cold, once for about 6 months, another time for 4 months. Each time I stopped, no withdrawals, no physical aches or tremors of any sort. The only that it did was make me more awake – meaning it’d take me longer to sleep b/c I had so much energy at the end of the night. I picked it up once again earlier this year but stopped for a month now – dead cold turkey – because I’m now in the Army Reserve. Because of our ridiculous prohibition laws, I decided to give it up again because I felt it wasn’t worth losing a career/job over it.
    Granted this is just one anecdote but I can tell you from my personal experience that cannabis is not ADDICTING – no physical withdrawals compared to long-term tobacco smoking and heavy alcoholism. It can be habit forming – but many things are habit forming: drinking coffee every single morning for work, having an energy drink during the day every day, eating fast food for breakfast, lunch and dinner, cracking your knuckles, masturbating, sex, playing multi-player online games such as Diablo II and World of Warcraft (yes people have starved themselves to death playing WoW)etc. If a person does this a on a routine basis for many years and suddenly stops – you bet you’ll notice the ‘strange’ difference.
    A lot of people who say ‘cannabis is addicting’, please look up and define the scientific meaning of addiction. There is a difference between psychological habituation (habits from the head) vs. physical withdrawal (as in your body is expecting the drug and with out it, your body physically harms itself).
    Like the author of this post clarified: Yes, there are those that have a dysfunctional relationship with cannabis – they over due it and abuse it – You can apply this to all the examples I stated above too. To say that ‘cannabis is addicting’ is to say one of two things: 1) They lack self-control and will power or 2) It’s just an excuse for their own failures and perceived weaknesses. It may sound harsh, but it’s true.
    I can name over ten very successful people who have used cannabis extensively – and they live rich full and happy lives.
    In general, most people who blame cannabis use on their own limitations or who claim it limited their potential – they either had no real work ethic or were lazy to begin with or did not know how to manage/prioritize their lives. A person who truly understands himself and his situation will rise up and make the changes that he sees fit in order to achieve his goals and succeed. People need to realize that they need not to sit on their ass, smoke their lives away for years and come back to blame their lack of success on cannabis. Those kind of people will blame not just cannabis, but video games, their friends, their parents, their kids, etc etc. Don’t be that person!
    I leave with a passage from a manifesto I came to read and love:
    “Contrary to what you may hear from the latest
    self-help book, true success does not come
    from passive visualization or wishful thinking.
    It takes action, planning, and sacrifice. Like
    surfer-turned-songwriter Jack Johnson says
    in one of his coolest songs, “Don’t let your
    dreams be dreams.” Make them real”. – Chris Guillebeau
    Everyone should apply this, for both their personal lives and the cannabis reform movement.

  9. yea, and i love how on the abc’s page theres a poll that right now has
    1485 – harmless recreational drug
    438 – gateway drug
    409 – addictive
    it obviously shows that most people know more then the lies and that its not an addictive gateway drug.

  10. #37 Randy702 Says:
    August 7th, 2009 at 3:15 am

    The sad story in the news today of the Iraq vet.
    accused of killing wife could’ve possibly been prevented.
    Delgado suffered from PTSD and tried to commit suicide.
    Dr. Melamede on Youtube explains how the active cannabinoids in cannabis help the user or patient forget unpleasant memories. This is actually a very important process which is normally controlled by the endocannabinoid system in the brain, which in PTSD, needs to be supplemented.
    Many have heard stories of PTSD patients succumbing to alcohol from their condition, and Delgado was in such a situation. Instead of the medical cannabis he should have been prescribed, Delgado was on benzos and self medicated with alcohol. Can’t we see the writing on the wall with this cannabis issue?
    RE: Randy,
    I see the writing…
    (in twenty-one-carbon nano-scale):
    – Since the active-cannabinoids in cannabis are INTEGRAL
    for proper-function of the body’s ENDOCANNABINOID-SYSTEM,
    ought then,
    shouldn’t cannabis rightly be considered a food-product
    and dietary-supplement?
    (rather than remaining wrongly-labeled as a “dangerous-drug” by
    misguided military thug-tzars with NO science-background…).

    Dr. Bob Melamede – YouTube
    Dr. Melanie Dreher – Youtube

  11. there is no way tobacco is more addictive than heroin!! come on norml (added by Mobile using Mippin)
    [Editor’s note: Arguably, maybe even persuasively, tobacco is more addictive than heroin. See NIDA chart published in NYT.]

  12. I smoked every day last summer (2008). Now, while this, admittedly, constitutes overuse and possibly even borderline abuse of the drug, I never felt ‘addicted’ to pot; I didn’t do it daily because I needed to “get my fix”– it was merely that it was the summer and I was enjoying myself. Once school started up (I’m a college student), I severely reduced my cannabis consumption with no difficulty whatsoever. Fastfoward to this summer. I am smoking, on average, once a week. Mind you, I take summer classes for credit (university level courses with one semester’s worth of material condensed into one month) and I do not find my pot smoking to be interfering at all. The rate at which I smoke is one that is tame enough to not constitute abuse. In short, I am able to enjoy myself with no consequences.
    It’s all about responsibility. And, of all psychoactive drugs, cannabis is the one that allows you to exercise the most of that.


  14. Weed really isn’t addictive, it just raises your quality of life so it is habit forming. Last month I was smoking 5 blunts a day and now I am unfortunately not smoking at all(for a couple reasons). Do I miss it? Sure, but it is no big deal deal. It’s just like when you stop eating your favorite food or stop playing your favorite sport. I don’t understand all the hate directed at weed. It’s a shame were always bombarded with so much propaganda.

  15. When I joined the military, I stopped smoking without any problems. I went 4 long years without taking one hit of marijuana although it was easily accessible. I didn’t need rehab, I didn’t need any medication, I simply stopped.
    Finally, there were no more drug tests to do as a college student, so I picked it back up; but once I got hired on to a big company, I quit, and haven’t smoked since.
    If marijuana is so addicting, why am I able to function so well? Why don’t I need rehab? Why am I not fiending for a hit of bud unlike alcohol and cigarette smokers?
    Because it’s all bullshit. I can pick it up and drop it anytime I want.

  16. Is it truly addictive or is it that good things are worth repeating? If I’m addicted after now almost 40 years of smoking pot so be it. Pot isn’t addiction in the same sense that heroine or alcohol is. I don’t miss important obligations because of it, I don’t “spend a great deal of time seeking using and recovering from the effcts,” and believe it or not I don’t experience withdrawal. I”ve been an almost daily smoker for decades now, and even just the other night, it was getting to bedtime and I suddenly realized I hadn’t smoked anything, had been too busy to think about it.
    but on the flip side, I got ahold of some good stuff last night, went skateboarding afterward, and the new trick I’ve been trying to learn, well, another component of it just “came” to me. I”m not quite there yet, but a bit closer. I don’t think I would have figured out what I did if I hadn’t been stoned.
    I quit last year for 8 months when my employer went to random drug testing but since that time I”ve saved up money and made other contingency plans so if my name comes up, so be it, but during that time, I threw my back out three times, taking a total of 6 sick days from work, had a rotating series of joint pains in wierd places, then just around the holidays, a friend came in from out of town, lit me up, and I decided to hell with it and started up again. since then I haven’t any of those sore joints flare up. Anecdotal as hell, but make of it what you will. All I know is it’s my body, I”m the one who has to live in it, and I have to do what I think is best for me.

  17. #3 Mike “Boycot ABC, It’s no longer a choice on my TV”
    I will boycot them to, lets show their advertisers not to waste their money buying ad time from ABC because nobody will be watching them anyway!!

  18. # 67 Pressurekook:
    While we are at it lets boycott washington. Dont know how we do that , but lets figure it out and do it.
    News Update!;
    News stations are reporting Billy Mayes died from COCAIN use. Too bad he wasnt smoking cannabis instead, he’d still be here.

  19. When someone begins speaking of addiction to MJ I can try to understand. Let me think. You must have smoked it @ all times of the day, everyday, no matter how you were feeling. If you felt good, you’d consume. If you felt bad you’d consume. Anywhere in between, you’d smoke. No matter what you were doing, you were consuming. So when you decided to quit for awhile you found it difficult and felt as though you needed MJ to get straight? First thing is don’t do that. When you consume all the time your basically telling yourself that you can’t function without it. That can happen with anything. Take things in moderation. Maybe you just have an addictive personality and really has nothing to do with the MJ? Could this be? I use to; “Smoke all day, everyday, each way, right way, my way green hairy high. Been there done that. Big blunts, fat sacks. Hit it fast, make it last.” Sorry, Kotton Mouth Kings. Straight up quit cold turkey. Yeah, I might of felt like consuming but didn’t. Just occupied my time with other activities. As I sit hear and listen to my dad awake from his slumber rushing to the bathroom to choke up shit that’s in his lungs from tobacco I have to wonder. Would he be having bouts of “verdigo” if it wasn’t for fkn tobacco? Would he wake up feeling better about himself without having to go out and smoke a pack of cigs a day to silence the nicotine cravings? My dad has been smoking cigs since he was 19. He is 62 and he still smokes. He’s tried to quit many a time but can’t find what he needs to kick it. I pray that I won’t have to see him suffer later on in his life when his past tobacco usage starts to effect him after his immune system slowly degrades away. If MJ were legal could he possibly ween himself off of this fkn tobacco? If they say that MJ leads to other harmful substances then is it possible that you could retrace backwards and be able to stop using completely with the help of less harmful substances? Controlling the dosage and slowly but surely becoming free of chemical dependency. Addict? No. Skeletons in the attic? Possibly. You got brained.

    You can BOYCOTT WASHINGTON by abstention, That’s right! Those who advocatw prohobotion…just don’t vote for them. It’s just that simple. But, you’ve got to let them know that they could have had your vote, had they voted anti-prohibition. It emphasizes coulda. woulda, shoulda, and if only. Just write
    “unacceptable” over their name on the ballot, and vote for someone who is anti-prohibition.

  21. #68, I’m not an advocate of cocaine, but the news sensationalizing Billy Mays use of cocaine is to the same effect of the anti-marijuana stories. They are downplaying the cocktail of prescription drugs found in his system.
    “The toxicology tests also showed therapeutic amounts of painkillers hydrocodone, oxycodone and tramadol, as well as anti-anxiety drugs alprazolam and diazepam.”
    … but it was cocaine that killed him, right?

  22. #71 Mars Says:
    August 8th, 2009 at 8:49 am
    “The toxicology tests also showed therapeutic amounts of painkillers hydrocodone, oxycodone and tramadol, as well as anti-anxiety drugs alprazolam and diazepam.”
    … but it was cocaine that killed him, right?
    RE: Mars,
    It was a cardiac-problem,
    (which cocaine contributed to…),
    that killed him.
    – Basically,
    (Coke only helped him accomplish this
    sooner and faster…).

  23. # 71: Just like it was the pot that killed that woman drive and and her family in NY, but they say her stomach was full of booze, which may also be a conspiracy that involves the medical examoner.
    And BTW, thanks to those of you who viewed my video (#1) and commented on YouTube.

  24. From #30
    “You claim you used to be addicted to booze and crank…but you can’t stop using cannabis? That hardly rings true. Maybe you in fact need and are unknowingly self-titrating with cannabis to treat bi-polarity?”
    I know this is an old thread, but I’ve been away.
    O no, I CAN quit…I’ve quit many times…sound familiar?
    I used weed the whole time I was using booze and crank. When I sequestered myself to end my use of the hard stuff, I still continued the weed usage. It helps.
    Am I unknowingly self-medicating myself for mental problems? I’ve smoked weed since I was thirteen, almost every day, so how would I know it’s a mental problem or a weed problem? If a doctor diagnosed me with bi-polar, would he recommend weed? Do I smoke because I feel crazy? No. I smoke because I enjoy, and it makes my life pleasurable…at least compared to life without weed. Had I never smoked, would I even know the difference?
    Gee, who knows? The real point is nobody should be prosecuted for smoking pot. Not everyone who does any drug becomes addicted, or “dependent” on that drug, but a certain percentage probably will. Everybody knows this, and I think NORML accepts this when it comes to weed but is reluctant to speak of it. To me, admitting that pot can be habit-forming for some should not be a problem. Other drugs are the same, and some are legal, so it is a fairness issue, and a freedom issue, not an issue of which drug does more damage. All in all, the biggest harm pot has done to me is in the realm of my career and my criminal record. Earth knows I’d love to see the tobacco people incarcerated.
    …and speaking of such…and I say this out of a bit of chagrin over the editor’s insinuations that I might be mentally tainted or possibly a liar…tell me, O lords of the hemp world…will you someday stand before Congress like the tobacco executives did, and swear on your oath that you believe pot has no detrimental effects?
    Yes, pot is under attack by those industries that don’t want it on the legal market. Don’t make it easy for them to villify pot and NORML by making claims that are easily refuted, debunked, or disproven. It’s a propaganda war we could do without. Yes, weed is safer than most other recreational drugs…but is it totally non-habit forming? Well, I’ll tell you what, a nice big fattie of some good smouldering green or brown would sure be welcomed by me right now. If it wasn’t for the law, the price, the intrusive testing, ect…I’d be smoked up right now, along with millions of others. That it is not such a bad thing is what NORML should be arguing…not that the substance itself is completely innocent and that the people who are dependent on it are somehow mentally deficient.
    You dig?

  25. I understand the problems we have with this Drug!
    The reasons for keeping it illegal are just too important!Private prisons opening to house weed smokers!DEA and Local Task forces will loose their jobs.The USA just cant change its poster drug for pot heads! Maybe after the economy fails long enough It will be our only hope! Decriminalize for Cash!

  26. As a recovering Meth addict,(clean for 4yrs) I used marijuana as my method to get away from the shit. Working on the cigs though, their a real motherfucker to kick.
    Funny, I can go work on a disaster operation for weeks at a time, and yet not think to much or fiend for a toke, maybe if ole Brownie took a hit or two now and then possibly took the straw from Cokehead Bush and told him to toka bola instead… oh fuck it, toss all their lame asses in the river and elect those who actually represent what WE THE PEOPLE have decided. Where is the addiction?

    1. Decide that’s that for tobacco. You have to mean it though. No bullshitting yourself. You have to be willing to accept pain.
    2. Go to the dentist and get your teeth cleaned,
    3. Scrub yourself with a good scented soap, keeping yourself smelling good, and bruch your teeth often.
    4. Do not smoke cigs, our be in a cig smoking environment from the time you get up until the time you go to bed.
    5. DON’T SMOKE ALL DAY. After dinner will be the hardest part of the day. That’s when you do a low grade THC joint. That’s right! Replace your after dinner cig with cannabis. It will satisfy all your cig cravings.
    6. Take your last smoked cig butt, and put it in a pill bottle. Carry it with you all the time. Every time you get a craving to smoke, pop the lid, stick your nose in the bottle, and take a big whiff. It will smell good at first, but after a while will make you want to vomit.
    7. You will eat a lot and gain weight, but it’s easier to lose weight than it is to quit smoking cigs.
    8. Keep doing this until you realize that you don’t need cigs anymore.
    Good luck,

  28. Dear NORML;
    I think you have to admit it… “A rope leash” has a point and has defended his argument quite well. I am referring of course to the back and forth between the editor of this site and said poster “A rope leash.”
    One thing I think we can ALL agree on is that even while “some”, and I am using quotation marks in order to stress the word, may experience an effect or effects from the cessation of marijuana consumption that these effects are altogether mild and do not truly hamper, in any way, your normal day to day life.
    Face it. We smoke pot because we like it. It makes our days go by a little easier, we maintain a better mood, hell I maintain a better work ethic. I get more done faster and am way less stressed than my co-workers. My boss likes my work and I’ve gotten two raises in the past 8 months.
    On the Flip side, however, is of course the inevitable times that pop up where I can’t get my bud. I’m tenser, a little more cranky, I smoke more cigarettes in a day, and I don’t sleep as well. (Sorry to hear about your other problem Rope, hope that gets easier for ya’ man.)
    If… IF… these are the sypmtoms of “Marijuana Withdrawl” then they are so mild as to not really even pop up on my health alarm radar. I get worse from not playing wow for a couple days. Yes, my name is Kevin and I am a World Of Warcraft-aholic. If I don’t get to play wow for a couple days (So many allies to gank, so little time) I can get downright irritable and nasty. I won’t sleep well. I’ll dream about the game, think about at work and get distracted, make mistakes…
    I don’t obsess about pot when I can’t get it nearly as much as I (or the many friends I have that play wow) obsess about our beloved game.
    So while I believe “A rope leash” has made his argument intelligently and passionately and that there is merit in what he is saying, I think that that he has to agree that the symptoms of which he spoke are so mild as to not really be a matter of concern.
    As for you, NORML Editor… a little more diplomacy please? people post on this site to express their feelings and beliefs. I felt, as the poster apparantly did, that you were attacking, biting back in order to quash ANY kind of refute of your argument. Not cool man. We get enough of that “out there”, don’t bring the harshness in here as well. Remember, we’re all friends here with like-minded goals and the man was simply trying to help.
    Just think of an earlier post and SMILE
    Science Medicine Information Logic Economics
    [Editor’s note: What’s the point here? Are you truly physically addicted to World of Warcraft in the same way that a heroin addict needs smack? An alcoholic without a drink? No, you’re not. If you miss WoW after not playing it for a few days, then you have mild psychological dependence, not a physical addiction. Same thing with cannabis.
    NORML has never claimed that cannabis is harmless and that users can abuse the drug. But, cannabis consumers attacking NORML for relating to them the verifiable, credible and up-to-date information about the comparative safety of cannabis as compared to other licit and illicit drugs makes little sense in the advance of reform.
    Whether or not cannabis causes ‘addiction’ has been studied hundreds of times since the 1970s–and largely regardless of individual experiences expressed on any one online forum–the consensus of scientists is that cannabis does not cause addiction and/or withdrawal in the same strong and observable way as alcohol, tobacco, opiates, cocaine and pharmaceuticals. If or when private or government-funded, peer review, sciencists publish reports or papers that NORML’s medical experts find credible that informs cannabis consumers about any new finding about cannabis’ potential to addict or cause withdrawal, cannabis consumers will hear about such studies via NORML because the organization is modeled after the Consumer’s Union, where consumers are empowered by knowing the good, bad and indifferent about products and services.
    Thankfully the ‘good’ here is that cannabis is not a drug that causes severe addiction, cravings and withdrawals; even those who abuse it are not compelled to rob, steal or murder to get the drug or money to purchase it.]

  29. If a cable station in most basic cable packages would loop the movie Reefer Madness on holiday weekends over and over again, that would make more of the public sick of your shit. Spike runs Bond marathons. PBS runs Lawrence Weld marathons. SyFy funs Twilight Zone marathons. Maybe college and university tv stations coudl loop Reefer Madness if mainstream cable, not to speak of pussy networks, are too chicken to do it. You get the message.

  30. Wow, are you really so threatened by ANY opinion other than your own that you must simply attack rather than consider and evaluate? Have you been taking leassons in debate from Bill O’Reilly? All I said was that IF marijuana has withdrawl symptoms that they are so mild as to not really matter at all. Thank you for reiterating my point. And as for world of warcraft, I used that to simply illustrate my point. It’s time for open and honest debate NORML Editor. I understand you want to see marijuana legalized, as do most of us that visit your site. But if you are going to be this rude to posters that are simply being honest well, then the hell with you and your site. I’ll take my donation money and move on. So stick THAT in your pipe and smoke it!
    [Editor’s note: Again, what is your belabored point here? If you want rude, find a mirror. Debate what? Whether or not you make sense, or that your individual experience is supposed to constitute a body of scientific or medical information?
    KH, there appears to be no donations in NORML’s dbase from you….so thanks for all the support you’re taking else where.]

  31. NORML,
    Regarding all of the threads by “A Rope Leash” the comment by “Ed” and the comment by “Kevin”, I believe there is a misunderstanding with the word “addiction”. I think “A Rope Leash” is using the word “addiction” in a much broader sense. What he probably means is “psychological dependence”. Overall, I agree with Norml. Like your article says, “According to the IOM’s 267-page report, fewer than 10 percent of those who try cannabis ever meet the clinical criteria for a diagnosis of “drug dependence” (based on DSM-III-R criteria). I think the issue is that “A Rope Leash”, “Ed” and/or “Kevin” fall into this psychologically dependent group and are hurt when you say Marijuana is not addictive. My guess is that they incorrectly believe that “addiction” and “psychological dependence” are synonymous. I would suggest they seek psychological counseling or a therapist, as I am. Granted, my therapist says that I am “addicted”, but I also have an addictive personality so maybe it gets a little hazy there. Maybe my therapist is using the word “addiction” incorrectly too and just means “psychologically dependent”.
    My point is that I don’t think “A Rope Leash”, “Ed”, or “Kevin” were attacking NORML, I think there was just a misunderstanding regarding the word “addiction” and that they really meant “psychological dependency”.
    [Editor’s note: Yep….”psychological dependency” was immediately brought up by NORML…and the three ‘addicted amigos’ continue to confuse the definition of addiction….Yep.]

  32. … I think there was just a misunderstanding …
    How does the bridge get built? The lawyers or the structural engineers or futuristic planners trying to think 10 years ahead?
    Legalize the stuff, regulate it intelligently, encourage self-reporting of use, log, do all of the aforementioned again and at the same time. 🙂
    Monitor trends.
    Build understanding.
    Over and out.

  33. Let’s have a little fun with my old Merriam-Webster thesaurus…page 11…
    ADDICT n a person who by habit or strong inclination indulges in something
    syn afficiando, buff, devotee, fan, habitue, hound, lover, votary.
    hmmm…nothing about physical withdrawal symptoms there…let’s see what onelook has to say…
    Ooops! There’s that word “dependency”! It means the same thing as addiction!
    NORML is making a semantic arguement and losing. Okay, the medical definition of “addiction” might be something quite different, but does the average person see it that way? Probably not.
    Well, I’m satisfied with my declarations. Now NORML is implying that if you don’t donate, you aren’t viable in the marijuana law reform movement. (#81)
    NORML has been around for years, and reefer law has changed somewhat, but how much of that is attributable to NORML I cannot say. All I know is that the insanity of our drug laws continues, and if it ever ended, NORML would be out of business and some folks would be out of a job.
    I really hate to hit below the belt, but frankly, you have asked for it. Marijauna will never be legal until the millions that smoke it get off their asses on onto the streets in a consistant fashion until such time as our elite government capitulates on the matter. NORML, are you planning these large protests and urging your contributors to participate? Hey, most smokers I know have never heard of you. What do you do, lobby Congresspersons? They haven’t represented the people since about 1909.
    Take it to the streets, NORML…big time…every day…it’s the only way you will ever get any attention, or have any major effect. The more smokers that see other smokers protesting, the larger the protests will be. It’s called civil disobedience, and some will suffer, but eventually the war will be won.
    I’m a pothead…let’s look that up…
    [Editor’s note: 13 states have decriminalized cannabis possession…13 states have medical cannabis laws, none possible without NORML. Tens of thousands of cannabis consumers a year are assisted by NORML in their moment of need for arrests, drug testing, child custody, forfeiture, etc…the webpage you’re replying on is the most popular cannabis-related webpage on the Internet. NORML’s podcast is one of the most popular on iTunes…
    NORML is getting the word out about reform!
    Tens of thousands of concerned citizens will attend NORML-sponsored public rallies (ie, Seattle Hempfest this weekend, Portland Hempstalk and Boston Freedom Rally in Boston this September, etc…)
    NORML’s 150 chapters in the US are ‘taking to the streets’.
    Are you?
    You can declare yourself victor in the debate with yourself on whether or not you’re ‘addicted’ and a ‘pothead’…NORML, the media, policymakers, medical researchers, will stick with medical definitions when describing medical conditions rather than literary definitions.]

  34. Who ever did the report for ABC made a few mistakes. In part they say that 9% of users become dependent, but then they say for daily users that number soars to 50%. That’s not really remarkable, because those 50% of daily users who become dependent still only fall into 9% of the total users. That person must not know how to use statistics. lol It was like they where trying to make the numbers larger to impress people or something. lol
    In another section the ABC report says that the 7% rise in THC has meant more visits to the emergency room because of accidents, but then uses a car accident involving alcohol as an example. That’s a horrible example if she meant to highlight that the marijuana itself caused the accident. lol
    She then says that THC is used orally to treat symptoms of aids and cancer. That reminded me of the story on the Drug Czar when he said that the FDA has yet to recognize smoked marijuana as having medicinal value. Are the effects different when THC is administered orally? Because it sounds like the reporter is saying that there is medicinal benefit when taken orally. I’m trying to figure out if marinol and that spray they came out with are federally legal to prescribe in the U.S. Does anyone know? If they are legal then the FDA needs to do something so that people stop getting arrested for having cannabis that is prescribed to them and so that the medical shops in California don’t get raided anymore. It seems like it’s taking forever on this issue.

  35. As a former healthcare professional I can tell you how the pharmacuetical companies “wine & dine” doctors and their staffs. We had big catered lunches brought to our clinic several times a week by the various pharm. drug reps. Plus we were given tons of free goodies. I was part of this clinic for years. The pharmacuetical companies are most certainly “in bed” with AMA and FDA. And obviously for the most part they all believe they could stand to loose alot of revenue if MJ & or other drugs were legalized. And don’t kid yourself, they all have very strong and powerful lobbyist in Washington.
    Additionally, The stats on drug arrests & incarcerations in this country indicate that aprox. half are because of MJ. So that means the judicial system also stands to loose alot of revenue if MJ were legalized. LEAP (Law Enforcement Against Prohibition)will tell you that honestly. It’s outrageous to me that our country already incarcerates more of it’s citizens than any other country. It’s a money maker for Government from the Federal level (DEA) all the way down to every local police department. I think what people don’t understand is that it is our tax dollars that are funding the incarceration and prosecution of our own citizens because of drugs, and that money is going right back into the system. Money that would be better spent on the deficit or healthcare reform. Until thoes that are profiting off the prohibition of MJ see that they can profit more from the ending of prohibition it will continue to be illegal. Unfortunatly everything ALWAYS boils down to money. Thankfully & finally there is more and more information being released in the media about the fact that the war on drugs is loosing the battle. And the drug cartels are making more money off the prohibition of drugs than Govt. is. If the Govt. could reap these profits instead they would probably end prohibition immediately. Therefore but unfortunately we can probably only hope for the end of prohibition to be subject to some govt. regulations or atleast taxes. With the exception of our founding fathers, who’s agenda was all about liberty, freedom and the pursuit of happiness, the Govt. has since become a money hungry beast full of corruption & often without regard to it’s citizens civil liberties and constitutional rights. Actually, I personally believe anybody should be able to do whatever they want to themselves as long as they aren’t harming any body else or infringing on someone else’s rights. What are they going to make suicide illegal next? LOL. What isn’t funny is they have already caused atleast one suicide (Robin Posser)by denying her the one substance that helped her cope with her terrible illness. The whole argument of “is it addictive or not” is irrelavent. It is the citzens right to injest or smoke whatever they want to, even if it’s draino. Do we really need or want the Govt. holding our hands and telling us what we can have and what we can’t. They allow us to pierce and tatoo our bodies. To have abortions. All regulated by health agencies, as they should be, because they are not self administered. They trust citizens to behave responsibly with guns (again regulated for the most part) but not with MJ. Does this make sense? Of course not. But the NRA is also a powerful lobbyist in Washington. MJ is a weed or an herb. It grows wild on this planet. As do mushrooms, the coco plant, and poppies that contain opiates some of which really alter an individual’s perceptions and some of which the pharmacutical companies already use to make their pain killers. Many of which are highly addictive. All of these plants have been used by humans since the beginning of time for various reasons. As medicine, for pleasure, for spiritual enlightenment, etc…This country was founded on the principle of each individual’s freedom to worship however they wish, and our right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Sadly it’s the american people who have given our own rights away by electing officals who vote the way they do. Why? Because they believe the propoganda that is consistantly thrown at us through the media which is also controlled heavily by Govt. & special interest groups. They often use fear tatics to maintain their control on the public. MJ prohibition is only one symptom of a Govt. that has gone terribly wrong. Propoganda & Fear tactics are what Hitler used to rise to power and control Germany. Are the American people going to continue to believe the BS or stand up for their rights as Americans to enjoy freedom & liberty & justice. Perhaps if all the MJ advocacy groups were to join together and launch a huge media campain to educate people about the facts, we might stand a fighting chance. It’s going to take a very strong public outcry to make a change. Otherwise prohibition will remain the staus quo because sadly in this country now, the only thing that walks and talks is Money… My opinion & my right to freedom of speech guaranteed by the 1st amendment of the Constitution…Are they even still teaching it in our schools??? I have to wonder…

  36. It’s a money maker for Government from the Federal level (DEA) all the way down to every local police department.
    I understand many people say and think this, but I am not convinced.
    Certainly when the DEA grabs a whole bunch of money from others, it may seem they’ve “made money.” But really, like casinos, all that happened was the transfer of money.
    To me, the only way money is made is when something of value is created/assembled, something that wasn’t there before. I.e. growing a crop, taking a bunch of knowledge, having an idea, and educating others.
    The organizations pointed out above will realize they are not actually making money or wealth, but destroying it, as society sinks deeper and deeper in debt (no matter how much money shoots out of the printing presses), due to
    1) putting people in prison at enormous cost instead of leaving them alone or helping them be productive
    2) treating (at least) marijuana, mushrooms, peyote, etc… as a blight instead of the blessings they are
    3) DEA and cops are serious consumers of resources, not producers! No insults intended, but they do not create a thing.
    4) the costs to grow our own poppies, legitimize the cocoa growers, and treat addicts with compassion, is MINISCULE compared to the bank-busting costs of acting on the Devil’s wishes to murder and wipe out entire plant species.

  37. You have made some very points Drew. But taxpayers pay for these huge prison systems. and these young kids are thrown into “the system” for minor; possession, paraphenila, underage drinking, and it is very hard for them to crawl out once they’ve been “tagged”. It took my son delivering pizzas for 6 months to pay off a lawyer (800.00) for possession of less than 1/8 MJ because he already had a prayer for judgement for carrying a concealed weapon. Get this, he was pulled in the backseat of another person’s car and the officers asked if they had any weapons, my son said I only have this and pulled out a pocket knife. Granted a large one (but still a pocket knife) but he was charged with carrying a concealed weapon. He didn’t know it was illegal to have it in his pocket. The officer told him had it been on the seat he wouldn’t have been charged. My son was terrified that would come back up because of the prayer for judgement,so he hired a lawyer for the minor possession charge, who took total advantage of him, told him he would take care of it, that he didn’t even need to go to court. Then we recieve a letter saying he is contempt of court for failure to appear and there is a warrent for his arrest. He calls the lawyer who then tries to extract another 400.00 from him to “fix it”. He finally tells me and I call the lawyer and theaten to turn him over to bar assoc., he hung up on me. Then he called back and said he would handle it for no extra cost. Next thing my son is taking a walk on the sidewalk in our neighborhood one night because he couldn’t sleep and is stopped by a cop who runs him through the system and sees a warrant for his arrest. He spent almost two days in jail because we didn’t have the money to post bond. The lawyer did finally produce proof that he infact did have it dismissed prior to this. But somehow the warrant was never purged from their files and so it was inforced.The police dept. apologized for making a mistake, but the damage was done. He described his experience in jail to me and it was horrible.I am only telling you how innocently it can all start. The beginnings of a rap sheet. Add a couple of speeding tickets in there and maybe whatever it is that they trump up because perhaps the youth is alittle beligerent to the cop, it starts looking pretty bad for the kid. And he is spending all his money on court fees and fines and can’t get back on his feet. These incidents kept my son tied up for almost two years. Our jails & prisons are full of young kids(my son is now 20)because MJ is the “gateway drug” to jail better know as “the system” and if you don’t think they make money you’re kidding yourself. They get federal and state money from taxpayers plus the fines and fees and the lawyers all get money and the judicial system moves along profiting everybody they employ off these kids. And they are ruining their lives. Many go through this kind of thing with no parental support and end up on the streets, trying to claw their way out often by turning to crime and violence. The system becomes a revolving door. I am saying that drugs should be an issue for the health care community not the judicial system. They should be legal and if someone feels they are addicted they should be offered an opportunity to voluntarily enter rehab facilities. All thoes prison guards and lawyers can then become rehab counselors. And the tax money spent on housing these drug offenders can be spent on rehab facilities. This would create a redistribution of funds that would benefit our youth and society at large. As long as violence or other crimes are not involved, NO ONE should go to jail for drugs alone.Watch the documentaries on the prison systems and listen to the stories. It is so sad and such a burdon on society, how many lives are ruined this way. America must decide, do we want a society that is compassionate and helping it’s citizens to become productive members of society or do we want to continue our trend of jailing more people than every other country in the world.It’s only going to get worse too, as this country’s economy continue to decline.Health care reform should start by allowing MJ as an option to replace many pharmecuticals patients are forced to use ie, pain killers, anti-deppressants, anti-anxiety,etc..Establishing drug dependency issues between doctors and their patients and re-hab facilities, which should be voluntary, and mandated only when crimes or violence are involved.We have the pharmacuetical companies who don’t want this, we have the prison systems who don’t want this (have you any idea how many people it takes to run a prison) they don’t want to loose their jobs, neither do the DEA, FDA etc..The idea is to transition the money and jobs from the judicial sector to the medical sector when it comes to drugs.Drug use should be a matter of personal choice. My life, my right to injest or inhale anything I want to. Do you know these kids who can’t get or afford MJ often turn to glue and huffing paint, and God knows what else. Trying to self medicate or escape the reality that this country is going to hell in a handbasket. Somehow I believe the pharmecuetical companies are the ones who stand to loose the most and they need to get out of the Doctor’s pockets. They push thier drugs on my Doctor who then pushes them on me because he has no other choice. I am Bi-Polar and on a tremendous amount of drugs. MJ works better for me than any of thoes drugs that have terrible side effects, some of which are also addictive and are probably ruining my liver if not more. But MJ is illegal & expensive so I am forced to take these drugs to manage my condition. I need to move to Callie but can’t afford to. What is wrong with this picture??? Wake up America…this is where healthcare should begin.

  38. I will just let lil wayne tell it…as said in his song dont get it on his album the carter 3
    I was watching t.v. the other day right
    Got this white guy up there talking about black guys
    Talking about how young black guys are targeted
    Targeted by who? america
    You see one in every 100 americans are locked up
    One in every 9 black americans are locked up
    And see what the white guy was trying to stress was that
    The money we spend on sending a mothaf**ka to jail
    A young mothaf**ka to jail
    Would be less to send his or her young ass to college
    See, and another thing the white guy was stressing was that
    Our jails are populated with drug dealers, you know crack/cocaine stuff like that
    Meaning due to the laws we have on crack/cocaine and regular cocaine
    Police are only, I don’t want to say only right, but shit
    Only logic by riding around in the hood all day
    And not in the suburbs
    Because crack cocaine is mostly found in the hood
    And you know the other thing is mostly found in you know where I’m going
    But why bring a mothaf**ka to jail if it’s not gon stand up in court
    Cause this drug ain’t that drug, you know level 3, level 4 drug, shit like that
    I guess it’s all a misunderstanding
    I sit back and think, you know us young mothaf**kas you know that 1 in 9
    We probably only selling the crack cocaine because we in the hood
    And it’s not like in the suburbs, we don’t have what you have
    Why? I really don’t wanna know the answer
    I guess we just misunderstood hunh
    You know we don’t have room in the jail now for the real mothaf**kas, the real criminals
    Sex offenders, rapists serial killers
    Don’t get scared, don’t get scared
    no one knows better than this guy

  39. Hi Candace, I am sorry to hear about your and your son’s problems. I agree they view their money and power grabs as making money, even “earning” it, when clearly that’s not an accurate portrayal. Does one “earn” money at gun-point? I certainly wouldn’t call trying to con a kid out of $400 “earning” it, sounds shameful, and you called him it.
    Anyway, I don’t wish to cause animosity with you over nuances of definitions.
    I like your suggestion of how we can re-aim various human resources as we end prohibition.
    I was thinking about this myself. My first brainstorm was that people who became cops due to the expectations of excitement, could go in to EMT work. Lots of life and death situations to jolt their systems with adrenaline there.

  40. Check out US Government Patent # 6630507 taken out on the Cannabis PLANT for Medical Purposes in 2003. Does anybody need any more evidence than this that there are serious problems in the way Government is handling this whole issue?

  41. The US Federal Government patented cannabinoids as antioxidants and neuroprotectants in US Patent #6630507; it mentions Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, stroke, neurological trauma, HIV dementia, and autoimmune disorders as conditions for which cannabinoids may be indicated, and though more research is needed to determine the proper doses, routes of administration, and profiles of active compounds (e.g. terpenes [like pinene, limonene, and myrcene], flavonoids [like apigenin], and cannabinoids [like CBD, THCV, CBN, and THC]), Cannabis may be indicated as a way to treat, prevent, and/or cure numerous other conditions, including cancers, organ damage and nausea induced by chemotherapy and radiation, chemotherapy resistance, diabetes and its complications, osteoporosis, exostosis, atherosclerosis, sepsis, reperfusion injury, obesity, microbial infections (including MRSA, brain-eating amoebae, and herpes), anxiety disorders (e.g. GAD, PTSD, and OCD), stroke damage, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, Tourette’s syndrome, epilepsy, autism, depression, insomnia, spasticity, dystonia, dyskinesia, acne, psoriasis, allergic contact dermatitis, pruritis, asthma, fibromyalgia, lupus, migraine, vascular dementia, chronic kidney disease, liver diseases, chronic pancreatitis, Crohn’s disease, colitis, IBS, Huntington’s disease, prion diseases, arthritis, MS, ALS, pain, GVHD, organ transplant rejection, sleep apnea, incontinence, and metabolic syndrome. Smoking Cannabis was found by UCLA researchers to not be linked with either lung cancer or COPD, but bronchitis was mentioned; if Cannabis were re-legalized, non-smoking methods for using it could be promoted (e.g. vapor and oral). Strains of Cannabis with low (or no) psych activity exist (e.g. CBD-rich) but Drug Prohibition hinders access to them. Cannabis has astounding medical potential beyond its psych activity. Even the worst effects of Cannabis are not as dangerous as the laws that ban it.
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