'Reefer Mad' Mainstream Media Does It Again

UPDATE!!! In a 12/29 e-mail communication with the San Diego Union-Tribune‘s Newsroom Operations Manager (in reference to their coverage below), she pledges: “I will follow up with our online staff right now. We will get it corrected or taken down.” Yet, as of 11am pst today the story still appears online in its original form. Those who live in southern California may also wish to voice their opinion at: http://www.signonsandiego.com/contactus/.
For anyone who missed the worldwide corporate media’s hysterical anti-pot headlines last week, here’s a sampling:

Cannabis more damaging to adolescent brains than previously known
via Emax Health
“New research shows that teens who consume cannabis daily can suffer anxiety and depression. Smoking marijuana can have long-term irreversible effects on adolescent brains, and is more harmful to teens than previously known.”
Teen marijuana use affects brain permanently: study
via CBC News
“The findings suggest daily marijuana use by teens can cause depression and anxiety, and have an irreversible effect on the brain.”
Pot damage on teens worse than thought
via UPI wire services
“Daily consumption of marijuana in teens can cause depression and anxiety, and have irreversible long-term effect on the brain, Canadian researchers say.”
Cannabis brain damage worse in teens than thought: study
via The Canadian Press
“The effects of daily cannabis use on teenage brains is worse than originally thought, and the long-term effects appear to be irreversible, new research from McGill University suggests.”

Sounds scary, huh? It’s meant to. Only there’s three serious problems with the mainstream media’s alarmist coverage.
1) No adolescents — or for that matter, any human beings whatsoever — actually participated in the study.
2) No actual cannabis was consumed in the study.
3) No permanent brain damage was reported in the study.
Don’t believe me? Well then, check out the actual source of the headlines yourself.

Chronic exposure to cannabinoids during adolescence but not during adulthood impairs emotional behaviour and monoaminergic neurotransmission
via PubMed
“We tested this hypothesis by administering the CB(1) receptor agonist WIN55,212-2, once daily for 20 days to adolescent and adult rats. … Chronic adolescent exposure but not adult exposure to low (0.2 mg/kg) and high (1.0 mg/kg) doses led to depression-like behaviour in the forced swim and sucrose preference test, while the high dose also induced anxiety-like consequences in the novelty-suppressed feeding test. … These (findings) suggest that long-term exposure to cannabinoids during adolescence induces anxiety-like and depression-like behaviours in adulthood and that this may be instigated by serotonergic hypoactivity and noradrenergic hyperactivity.”

To summarize: Investigators administered daily doses of a highly potent synthetic cannabinoid receptor agonist WIN,55,212-2 to both adolescent rats and adult rats for 20 days. Days following their exposure, researchers documented altered serotonin production in younger rats. (Why investigators presumed that the change in serotonin production would be permanent I have no idea. After the initial 20-day waiting period, researchers do not appear to have tested the rats’ serotonin levels ever again.) Researchers also documented supposed depression-like and anxiety-like behavior in certain rats, based on various elaborate animal models and preference tests.
Yet somehow based on this speculative preclinical evidence, the mainstream media — in unison — proclaimed:

Reefer badness
via San Diego Tribune
“A study of Canadian teenagers … found that smoking the illicit drug is harder on young brains than originally thought. Writing in the journal Neurobiology of Disease, researchers at McGill University in Montreal said daily consumption of cannabis in teens can cause significant depression and anxiety and have an irreversible long-term effect on the brain.”

In truth, the purported ‘study’ never said anything of the sort!
So why the does the MSM consistently get the story wrong when it comes to pot? You can check out my previous thoughts on the issue here.

0 thoughts

  1. take one step foward and they push you two steps back. i can’t wait for the day that this struggle is over.


  3. So what is a parent to do?
    Your teenager probably already hates you. So a monthly drug test that eventually tests positive and then sent to rehab will improve their attitude and make them love you.
    And then what? Will you lock them in the basement and feed him/her through a hole in the door.
    Get real. Smoking weed is one of the least dangerous activities your son or daughter can indulge in.

  4. Reefer Madness is still alive and well but at least there are credible people like you (Paul Armentano) and groups like NORML to set the record straight. Sadly though, once the propaganda has been published it reaches it’s mark and keeps the anti-marijuana people convinced that it’s the devil’s weed.

  5. it is sad that, something like is allowed to be shown to people who have no idea of the value of cannabis/hemp yet, those same people are not allowed to hear the other side of the story. cause part of true responsibilty is, hearing and, knowing both sides of the story before you decide……..besides, i would say as responsible cannabis users that we are, would not want our children to use cannabis until they are adults. we dont want them to use anything (cigs-ever or alcohol ) they can decide that when they have lived awhile……

  6. Wow I cant believe they would make these claims from synthetic cannabonoids as natural non toxic cannabis.
    I mean the toxicology of most of these synthetic cannabonoids are for the most part unknown. JWH-018 has been around since the early 90’s and they barely know that there is no toxicology with doses up to 10mg which 4-6mg is plenty.The conabonoid they used is even less studied.
    well then again I guess I do believe it because I coulnt believe the headlines they had.

  7. Hey there, has anyone read the new long term study just released? It a good study, this study has been on going since 1900. The study showed that our Congress could not tell the truth even if their lives depended on it. It further showed that over a short period of time those in the Congress became hooked on greed and power, that their egos became over inflated , and they believe the world is here for them to correct. They can not help or stop themselves from stealing anything and everything not bolted to concert for the good of the people. They believe they hold keys to this nation sense of right and wrong, what should and should not be. The researchers found that these greedy congresses belief system and political norms stem from their abusive and unjust power over those they work for, US! These ill behaviors of government causes a malfunction in the brains of the government worker and researchers claim there is no hope for these employees of the people.
    The researchers noted that there are some major side effects to this maladaptive behavior of our government employees. They noted here just some of the side effects like; lack of honor in government, distrust of government by it’s people, gang violence from law enforcement, a decreased in education, a dysfunctional broken economy, broken infrastructures, broken families, and government murder.
    The researchers said there was some good news too, they said that history and their research found that revolution was the norm when government become wayward and endanger the society they had once swore to protect and serve.
    This can all be avoided if we just teach everyone in this Nation what Jury Nullification is and what it can do for the citizen who wishes to have their liberty returned. If we do not learn from the past then we will relive the past.

  8. ONCE AGAIN I get to spend my time adding my comments to counter the Misleading Media news stories, usually I just add a link back to stories such as this one by Paul.

  9. This type of Refer Madness is not going to stop the tsunami that is cannabis law reform. We are caregivers here in Bozeman, MT and have seen first hand the explosive nature of cannabis law reform!! The state went from less than 1000 patients and caregivers between 2004-2009 to well over 5000 by the end of 2009!!! That is what we call overgrowing the government!!! Check us out at http://greeneacrescaregiver.wordpress.com We help patients get their cards in their home state as well as MMJ card here in Montana!! We are the ONLY state that recognizes another states MMJ card and will issue you one here!!Or, E-mail use at jlacerenza@bresnan.net to set up an appointment.

  10. If it was legal teens wouldnt be alowed ? And they realy sould look a bit harder at the things that teens are alowed to buy like all the so called ( ENERGY )DRINKS out there loaded with things that need studys done on ?

  11. Yea I saw the crazy headlines over the holidays. Wow kids depressed.. I am sure that’s the pot…. ya right…

  12. Dear parents:
    Tell to your little rats holidaying at home to stop smoking marijuana because if they dont it will be just a matter of time till they will look like Orvilles. Yes pot do transform your neurons into pot corn…

  13. You can question yourself about the validity of many studies pertaining to marijuana toxicity but WHO in his right mind would question a study coming from the all too famous McGill University in Montreal and more over from its prestigious Research Institute, a world leader in psychiatry and made up of top notch scientists.Just look at the credentials of Dr.Gobbi.

  14. What ever happened to integrity? What ever happened to reporting the WHOLE story? Too many people still believe everything reported in main stream media. i remember an old saying, “believe none of what you read, and only half of what you see”. I have consumed cannabis for 41yrs, and never has it caused depression. It did however in the beginning cause some feelings of anxiety, and paranoia. Very quickly I realized that these particular feelings were of no great consequence, and easily dismissed. It’s no big deal, and the only people who think that it is have no real first hand experience with cannabis. The biggest lie told about Marijuana is that it has NO MEDICAL VALUE. I personaly have used cannabis oil to treat, and CURE skin cancer. The AMA now wants to do more research into its medical value, but the gov keeps shoving its head deeper, and deeper into its rectal orifice.

  15. I’m not going to advocate that minors use cannabis or any other drug because the brain is still growing until a person reaches adulthood.

  16. Here we go again…wish we could file suit on National News along with Fair & Balanced News from cable news, as they do not report the Fair & Balanced News regarding Alcohol & Tobacco. California is either gonna slip into Pacific or Burn Up….seems that educated folk would have some logic…Hemp or Cannabis either one could help with Fire & Mudslides as a Fire Break Crop and planted along those hillsides of that expensive land which may help prevent some mudsliding.
    When will we have the Freedom to Pursue Our Happiness?

  17. Paul,
    If the MSM had done just a little research on DR. Gobbi they would have seen the 2005 press release for a new drug that she discovered to replace cannabis for treatment of depression and pain. Here are some exerpts:
    Dec. 13, 2005
    “Researchers have discovered a new drug that raises the level of endocannabinoids — the “brain’s own cannabis” — providing antidepressant effects. The new research, published in this week’s Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), suggests the new drug, called URB597, could represent a safer alternative to cannabis for the treatment of pain and depression, and open the door to new and improved treatments for clinical depression, a condition that affects around 20% of Canadians.”
    “”The results were similar to the effect we might expect from the use of commonly prescribed antidepressants, which are effective on only around 30% of the population,” explains Dr. Gobbi. “Our discovery strengthens the case for URB597 as a safer, non-addictive, non-psychotropic alternative to cannabis for the treatment of pain and depression and provides hope for the development of an alternate line of antidepressants, with a wider range of effectiveness.”
    Cannabis has been known for its antidepressant and pain-relief effects for many years, but the addictive nature and general health concerns of cannabis use make this drug far from ideal as a medical treatment. The active ingredient in cannabis — THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) — stimulates cannabinoid receptors.”
    Here is the link to the news release:http://www.mcgill.ca/newsroom/news/item/?item_id=17777
    Dr. Gobbi obviously has a major conflict of interest when she criticizes cannabis use by anyone. She is working on developing pharmacouticals to replace cannabis for the treatment of depression at the same time she is promoting the theory that natural cannabis causes depression. You can’t have it both ways. Her own news release from 2005 clearly states that cannabis is an effective treatment for depression (which I know from experience to be true) but as her miracle “better than pot” pharmacoutical comes closer to the market she attacks natural cannabis. I would love to see an honest MSM report on the people who come out with this stream of questionable “research” that demonizes an effective un-pattendable herb.
    [Paul Armentano responds: Thanks for this additional info, which I initially read in your Huff Po post. Your thoughts re: Dr. Gobbi’s potential conflict of interest echo mine, and I will be sure to highlight these when/if I write on this topic again.]

  18. Collusion is when knowingly false statements enable injustices to persist to exist. This are more than lies – they are criminal acts done with intent.
    *passes it on*
    *See Facebook Contraband CONTENT=TRUTH*
    See also:
    Collusion is an agreement, usually secretive, which occurs between two or more persons to limit open competition by deceiving, misleading, or defrauding others of their legal rights, or to obtain an objective forbidden by law typically by defrauding or gaining an unfair advantage. It is an agreement among firms to divide the market, set prices, or limit production.
    It can involve “wage fixing, kickbacks, or misrepresenting the independence of the relationship between the colluding parties.”All acts affected by collusion are considered void.
    Does this sound familiar? Most OPP (“collusion-enforcement”)officers don’t know what collusion is–they think it’s an optional–or is it now mandatory–insurance sham. This is why nothing seemed to happen-until now.
    Now the public learns about collusion, and that this system is not right. “Considered void”. This is not the mind of a pot head, but the foundation upon which psychotic corporations have enslaved us with mind altering / addictive / deadly poisons.
    As we awaken and form social networks, it becomes clear that the jig is up. More Facebook users = Less FOXes in the hen house. CBC and state-controlled media whores are being chanted down.

  19. The study is just more junk science bought and paid for by prohibitionists. Two of the articles, EmaxHealth and UPI.com didn’t mention the study was done on rats at all, from what I can see, and the other linked articles had that information buried.
    Anti-cannabis forces use research and media organizations as organs of prohibitionist government along the lines of totalitarian governments such as former East Germany. Noam Chomsky wrote very well about how western democratic governments use their power to fund research via grants and non-governmental political groups, and how they use control of the airwaves, access to briefings, press releases, anti-trust legislation, public service announcement funding and the like to influence public opinion–truth be damned.
    Cannabis is on its way to becoming legal in the not-too-distant future. A lot of people are making a lot of money off of marijuana being illegal, and they need time to position themselves in order to keep filling their pockets once they can no longer cow the American people into keeping it illegal. It’s more than just corrupt cops and border officials.
    The target time for full legalization is being coordinated to coincide with the U.S. troop reductions out of Afghanistan, at which time the U.S. has to have in place the gestalt for the global trade of cannabis profits in dollars and control of both the cannabis market in Afghanistan and the oil markets in the Middle East. Afghani farmers will be well-paid for their cannabis products compared to now, and the risk to grow poppies too great, and thus the Taliban and al Quaida will not have as much support, nor the tribal warlords. The central governments, swayed by western democracies will have their way. This will pave the road to a more stable and modern democratic Middle East. Nation-building military and NGOs will still have to be there, but the revenue stream of the countries to pay for their own modernization will come above ground instead of out of the pockets of U.S. taxpayers without any kind of quid pro quo. At least then Americans and the rest of the world alike can appreciate some decent Afghan hash or other cannabis products, along with others from around the world.

  20. Thanks for bringing this to our attention Paul. I grew up in San Diego, have been gone for 17 years now, and the changes in the city leaders mindset over cannabis are nuts. You’d think they’d want to be the first city in California to legalize and support regulation because of the close proximity to Mexico.
    On CNN today, Kyra Phillips did a short story on a Drug Saint in Mexico called Malvede. (not sure of spelling). It’s supposed to be on Facebook. The prayer at the site goes something like: Please protect us Malvede from the Feds and don’t let us get busted with more than 5 grams of pot.
    I don’t do Facebook anymore so someone else will have to check it out.

  21. Ok. I get it. They dont actually measure the serotonin levels, they presume that’s what’s going on due to behavior. Not that that changes things either way but it clears things up for me a bit. I was always told brain chemicals couldn’t be directly measured. I guess I’m a little slow on the reading comprehension thing, huh?

  22. #68 said that the good Dr. is pushing a cannabis replacement drug and some one else said it was a synthetic cannabinoid used in the test….could it be the one she’s pushing that was used in the test?

  23. Easy target, pick on the pot. The children prescribed the pharma pills (the anti hyper and add kind) are in more danger ingesting that crap. hmmm, it is about the money. To think, the drug dealing doctors prescribing these meds and the insurance companies paying for these meds, then the kids selling these meds in school so their friends can catch ‘a very dangerous buzz’ My 17 year old told me this. It’s scary to think my kid is exposed to this threat. Listen to the children, I have read some comments of these kids that are forced these meds and they don’t like the way they feel on them. Evil parents to do that to your children – I say. I also heard that if your kid is on Ridilan you can collect social security benefits. Case worker at the welfare office told me that. Wow
    And the pain pill problem-could not believe it when I met some folks getting prescribed over 100 pills a month and then they sell them. Nice profit for them since their insurance paid for the pills.
    Marijuana addictive? nope, cigarettes, oh yeah and it sucks. I think booze is addictive too but I’m not of that mindset. Herbs are MY choice!

  24. As I have said all this year, JURY NULLIFICATION! It is the key to getting our liberty back. It is this act that the citizens can use to rule over or overrule their wayward government agents/employees. We/employers must teach this important American concept to every American, young and old alike, if we wish to free those held unujustly by our wayward government.
    We as a society or sub-society must force this wayward government to chance to the will of the people. we can do this peacefully by taking our seeds that we throw in the trash and plant them in the face of this wayward government. By passively and peacefully planting your hemp seed in the face of the unjust will help bring this issue to a head. Media will not be able to ignor the tens of thousands of plants popping up on main street, court house lawns, and other government held property sitting in plain view.
    After this issue is pushed into the main media focus by the two acts listed above we as a sub-culture in this society file a Class Action Writ and a Class Action Title 42 1983-1986 in every Federal Judicial District in the United States. It will not matter if we win these cases or not, we will load down the Court System forcing them into open debate and Jury held cases over this Constructive Fraud placed on the people when our Congress unlawfully abrogated our liberty and misunderstood our Constitution.
    2010 should be the year we set the goal of freeing our brothers and sisters from these unjust acts of government. 2010 should be the year we set to push harder and faster upon the branches of government to correct this injustice.
    2010 is the Year of Jury Nullification on Cannabis. This should be the year we free ourselves from the tyrants who act so unjust and lie about the facts.
    Please send the word out this New Years, let the Americans know that the change is now, this coming year, no more tomarrows, it is today. Lets make the New Years resolution to be not for ourselves but for those unjustly held in our prison system. This year we as a sub-culture of American Society will make space in our overcrowded prison systems by freeing all those unjustly held for their part in the unlawful Cannabis laws.
    Lets make some noise, lets charge down the tracks with the truth in one hand and our Constitution in the other.
    Just think about what I have said here, we can bring this issue to a much needed close and we can and will have our liberty as we define it not how the wayward government defines it. Are you out there? Do you hear this cry for change? Then let US act as one voice and change this situation once and for ALL of US.
    Stomped On My Rights is a Son of Liberty and will settle for nothing less.
    The time is TODAY!

  25. i was smokin herb when i was fifteen an, yea, i had a little depression…….but, i had a bunch more depression before i ever used it! yea, i helped fer sure….it was a hard time in my early life. they can never tell me any different….

  26. iam a peace time veteran and i smoke all the time.im lucky that no war brokeout when i was playing army.i was in the army reserse

  27. All I know is the media is infamous for making things sound better or worse than they really are and for anybody to take everything they say literally is not thinking critically. I did a psychological research study my senior year of college that examined the motives behind marijuana use in a clinical and college sample. I found that 77% of the clinical adults and 69% of the college adults said they used marijuana to relax and decrease anxious feelings. These results were outstanding to me, especially being I did this study in ND where smoking marijuana is a big deal, and will get the book thrown at you for any amount.

  28. i suffered from anxiety and deprssion at 1 point in my earlier life…once i quit smoking cigarettes and drinking so much alcohol, and just strictly stuck to smoking pot…i have become much more relaxed in my skin…thats my expierence. Maybe you can post that in the medical journals.

  29. Don’t legalize it! After all, we don’t want a bunch of depressed rats running around do we? Think of the cost of sending all those rats to counseling.

  30. I have pet rats and I have always read on breeding web pages that pot it harmful to rodents. I think they went into this study knowing this. And if so, then they harmed animals that did not need to be used for this study. They should have chosen an animal that is closely related to humans on an evolutionary scale.

  31. I have a friend who has crones disease (bowel obstruction that caused toxic death of a family member). Marijuana helped her tremendously with her appetite and ability to hold food down. When her local PD found a roach in her car she was arrested. She’s out now, in a court ordered drug treatment and at a dangerously low weight; yet unable to get back to her regular healthy weight. In California u can go to certain stores and buy it for personal consumption.Let’s help support the legalization of marijuana.

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