Cannabis and Cannibalism: The Return Of Reefer Madness In The Media?

As I told staff this morning in an email, last night and this morning have been surreal being inundated with media requests for interviews on two totally disparate topics related to cannabis:

Chicago moving forward with cannabis decriminalization for possession

Media headlines (and some experts’ claims) that cannabis might have caused a guy to kill and chew his victim’s face off

Talk about one topic being ‘good’, the other one being ‘bad’ (if not totally bizarre)!

It is one thing for the media to report on the toxicological results from the autopsy of the guy who did this strange and gruesome maiming in Miami last month, but to read a professor of psychiatry at the University of Miami pop off to the Associated Press that maybe it was the strain of cannabis that might have caused this guy to become a cannibal strikes me that this professor is totally incorrect beyond belief and that her comments as an ‘expert’ are going to be repeated in any future news stories, radio and TV shows on the matter of cannabis’ safety.’s Maia Szalavitz has an excellent look at past media-hyped ‘drug scares’ here.

A NORML supporter contacted the organization this afternoon with his email to the U of Miami professor Patricia Junquera M.D. quoted in the AP piece, and my reply to both of them can be found below.

Hello Dr. Junquera and Mr. X,

Thanks for your email.

Self evidently cannabis does not cause people to become violent in general, and it specifically does not cause people to mutilate others.

Humans have been using cannabis en mass for at least 3,000 years. Federal data from the US indicate that 40 million consumers use cannabis annually; 7-8 million are regular consumers. Cannabis is consumed billions of times a day across the earth safely with little-to-no credible or verifiable ill effect on the individual, let alone to induce savage violence towards others.

To say such, or to insinuate in a media interview that a strain of whole-smoked cannabis (there are over 500 strains of cannabis commercially available in the US) could possibly cause violence in humans is not only unsupported in the medical, sociological and demographic literature, such ignorance surely smacks of a new and even more perverse version of ‘Reefer Madness’.

As DEA chief judge Francis Young ruled in NORML v DEA:

“In strict medical terms marijuana is far safer than many foods we commonly consume. For example, eating 10 raw potatoes can result in a toxic response. By comparison, it is physically impossible to eat enough marijuana to induce death. Marijuana in its natural form is one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man. By any measure of rational analysis marijuana can be safely used within the supervised routine of medical care.

Like most all drug compounds that are psychotropic, cannabis can be abused. But what cannabis has not shown historically throughout the entire scope of humanity is the capacity to encourage a human being violent towards anything more than a bag of Doritos or a container of ice cream that will not readily open.

Of all the hundreds of thousands of ‘drug’ compounds humans interface with annually—botanical and pharmaceutical—cannabis maybe one of the safest bar none.

Cannabem liberemus,

-Allen St. Pierre

Dear Dr. Junquera:

I think that the reason the scholarly world often gets criticized is because of the fantastic and unfortunate conclusions its members often draw.  There are a number of fields where no matter how well versed a person is that without practical, first hand knowledge it still only amounts to mere opinion.

I find it so hard to believe that as a representative of your profession that you would have the face to actually try to explain how marijuana may have affected Rudy Eugene in causing him to act so unbelievably violent.

I often try to stay away from making assumptions.  However, I can say, without any doubt whatsoever, that it is obvious that you have never used marijuana.  You have no idea how ignorant you sound to the rest of the world that have experienced the effects of sativa and indica.

You also have no idea what kind of impact your ignorant statements can make!  You are only adding fuel to the fire in a country where so many have already made up their minds that marijuana is dangerous.  This type of mentality is what continues to criminalize marijuana and perpetuates this comical idea of a lawless land if it were to become legal. Thousands are currently detained because they were apprehended using, buying, or selling marijuana and this is causing a terrible burden upon our penal system and economy.  A drug that is actually less dangerous than alcohol!  Yes, this is true, it is less dangerous than alcohol and if you ever tried marijuana you would realize this.

I cringed when I read this article (referenced below).  I know that so many people will take your assessment and conclude that marijuana can potentially turn you into a savage and even worse yet, maybe even a cannibal!

You have a responsibility to choose your words wisely, especially when speaking to the media, because many may think that because of your various degrees and position that you actually know what you are talking about!

Statements, such as the ones you made, takes away from the little progress we have made pursuing the legalization of marijuana.

I hope next time you find yourself in this position that you will think twice before you make another irresponsible comment.

Thank you for your time.
Another Pot Advocate

I almost attended University of Miami several years ago but I decided to go elsewhere.  I now feel better about my decision.  Thanks.

“It could have been the strain of marijuana that increases the dopamine in the brain, such as sativa,” said Dr. Patricia Junquera, assistant professor at the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.
There are two strains of marijuana called sativa and indica. The sativa increases dopamine and gives you energy while decreasing pain threshold. Indica is a “sleepy high,” she explained.
“People don’t really know what the amount of either is in each little packet of marijuana,” she explained. “And we can’t differentiate between the two in the blood, much less in a dead person.”
She also suggested that if Eugene had a mental disorder, “the marijuana could have increased even further the dopamine levels and aggravated the situation. So that can’t be ruled out.”

95 thoughts

  1. Yeah, they said he took bath salts, which are not like marijuana and they produce a high as though the user took PCP and Meth. They also mention folks market this crap by saying it is “artifacial pot”, but it is poison!

  2. The toxicologists involved in this case said that bath salts (bath salts contain at least one cathinone, typically MDPV or methylenedioxypyrovalerone, methylone or mephedrone) currently cannot be detected by a drug test. In fact it is not known how the liver metabolizes the drug, so they can’t test for bath salts. There is no drug test for it. The only way to know is if the person tells you they took them. For them to rule out bath salts was not scientific.

    Second…it is very important to note something that most people know about Cannabis.

    Cannabis can remain in the body for weeks and weeks. We know that it is this reason that makes mandatory drug testing of particular drugs, A SHAM, because the person taking a cannabis drug test could have smoked/ingested it weeks before.

    To say that his dead body tested for cannabis does not mean he smoked the day he committed this unspeakable act of violence. He could have smoked weeks before.

    This guy had to be severely mentally ill and let’s just acknowledge now that the problem of mental illness in the US is largely ignored, and the stigmatization and label of seeking mental health treatment/care is avoided by many who are afraid to be labeled as such.

    He could have smoked cannabis weeks before the incident. Cannabis is just not that toxic; the body does not immediately recognize it as a toxin or poison like most other drugs and pharma. For example, alcohol is so toxic it is immediately metabolized by the liver for elimination by urine, feces, sweat, exhalation.

    On the other hand, cannabis stays around in the body, most likely because it is an analogue of anandamide and other natural endocannabinoids. Because of the endocannabinoid system in all mammals, THC, CBD, CBC, etc., seem to linger comfortably in the body as a non-threat and excreted slowly.

    Almost all other drugs are excreted ASAP, which is why meth/coke/heroin/etc users can pass drug tests after a day or two. Alcohol is so toxic and penetrates every cell of the body that it’s excretion can be smelled on the breath almost immediately while the liver struggles to break it down.

  3. That movie was the biggest waste of film ever or almost ever. That movie was first made to for churchs and then the goverment get it’s grubby little paws on it and doctored it up to the way it is know. I, had that sticking movie watch it 1 and give it away. Too bad the laws are as old as the movie.

  4. Jim, that kind of knowledge needs to be tuaght to people. It makes perfect sense, but uh, I have a question. Since DMT is inside our bodies, how come it isn’t tracable by drug testing or is it? Since it doesn’t show up does that mean it burned through our system, or is it something that binds with us so well that it’s undetectable? I mean don’t get me wrong I like it to be untracable. It would be cool if marijuana were like that too haha. It’s just hard to find this kind of information.

  5. PS
    I almost attended University of Miami several years ago but I decided to go elsewhere. I now feel better about my decision. Thanks.

    Love it!!!

  6. DMT is made in the body in low concentrations.

    Testing for voluntarily consumption of DMT or 5-MeO-DMT (is DMT with an extra arm on the molecule) would require inpatient care and measurement of blood serum concentrations over an extended period, just to determine if DMT concentration is greater than normal for a similar test and period of time. They would likely need to use mass spectrometry to measure such low concentrations and irregular fluctuation in concentration.

    This sort of test procedure doesn’t exist because of exorbitant cost and time–and because it’s pointless and not profitable for drug testers, as is easy for 5 drugs (basically the 5 most politically and criminally involved drugs, directly created by Nixon’s controlled substances act aka prohibition or drug war) one of which is a symbiont medicine to humans, in the form of dried flowers…the other four are eliminated into the toilet about a day after cessation.

    That horrible news story is a teaching moment to discuss the stupidity and pointlessness of mandatory drug testing which is a waste of money to people and employers and is inherently flawed as well as corrupt.

  7. cannabis is safer then alcohol…its the choice responsible people make to unwind at the end of a hard day at work or as recreational use when not at work…. huaa!! peace to you all…

  8. They said, “he used bath salts”. They didn’t mention marijuana in the news I saw, over and over again. They mentioned “artificial marijuana” and that people take this crap because of drug testing.

  9. Reefer madness is a product of decriminalization, however it is not a product of legalization.

    To illustrate, a person that is dying of thirst in the deserrt will lie, cheat, and steal for a puddle of water. Because it is scarce.

    And a person that lives in the city, will never need to steal lie or cheat for that same puddle of water because they have waterfountains. The water is abundant.

    How does this relate to decriminalization,legalization and reefermaddness?

    Now decriminilazation is like the dessert because the laws make marijuana a scarce commodity, in same way, the dessert makes water a scarce commodity.

    In a land that just decriminalizes small amounts or makes marijuana illegal, it is keeping/making that marijuana scarce.

    That scarcity causes people to lie, cheat, steal, and even resort to violence to protect that scarce marijuana, and their freedom.

    Just like in the dessert the scarcity of water is product of the environment. They will lie cheat and steal and even resort to violence for that scarce commodity water.

    All of this means that the more abundant and avalible something is the less people will lie cheat and steal for that same something. Whether its marijuana or water.

    Now when we make marijuana legal it will make that marijuana more abundant, which means it will cause much less reefer maddness; that violence caused by people protecting thier marijuana and their freedom.

    The marijuana will be abuntant because it will be as avalible as water in waterfountains, and

    Have you ever heard of people resorting violence over the water in a water fountain?
    I havent the water maddess is not existant.

    In place where the same commmodity is scarce, the dessert, can you think of the plausiblity of of someone resorting to violence over water?

    I can.

    Now legalization makes marijuana reprsent that water foutain in the city.

    Now decriminalation, represnts all the people in the dessert dying to protect that water in their canteen that holds small amounts of marijuana, whoops i mean water.

    Now the laws need to legalize it, to get rid of reefer maddness. The problem isn’t with the marijuana, its with that scarcity of marijuana.

    Lets solve this reefer madness by legalizing marijuana.

    Maybe you could forward this to your legislators, or revise it and send it to your legislators.

    It might make them think about how to stop the violence and save lives by legalizing marijuana. It’s not reefer maddness its scarce reefer maddness.

  10. I was at church this morning and I heard this quote, I don’t know if it really deals with this issue, but it’s great for a Sunday morning! I thought some of you would appreciate this.

    Catholic bible: Book of Wisdom, Chapter 1, verses 12 – 16

    “12 Court not death by your erring way of life, nor draw to yourselves destruction by the works of your hands. 13 Because God did not make death, nor does he rejoice in the destruction of the living. 14 For he fashioned all things that they might have being; and the creatures of the world are wholesome, And there is not a destructive drug among them nor any domain of the nether world on earth, 15 For justice is undying. 16 It was the wicked who with hands and words invited death, considered it a friend, and pined for it, and made a covenant with it, Because they deserve to be in its possession.”

  11. Pingback: Reefer Madness
  12. So long as inert metabolites of cannabis that remain for weeks in the user’s body fat are used to ascertain cannabis ‘intoxication’, the tyrannical police state can and will use such distortion reality fields to persecute whomever they choose. And I use the term ‘intoxicate’ very loosely, since the root of the word ‘toxic’ does not now or ever applied to cannabis.

    OTOH, ritual cannibalism has been used for nearly 2,000 years in Christianity. Eating your enemy’s heart prevailed in many ancient religious customs. Even the USA government espoused ritual cannibalism with their “Take a bite out of crime” propaganda campaign.

    For the USA government, and their captive crony media (eg. Operation Mockingbird, etcetera) to conflate cannabis use with cannibalism must be the recent apex of cynical disinformation. Such egregious lies further isolates this ruling monopolistic kleptocracy from We The People, most of whom know (or should know) better. The government went from telling some lies some times to telling the truth never. If the government told me that today would be a sunny day, I would make certain to bring my umbrella.

    Cannibalism as a case for ‘extreme munchies’? Hardly.

  13. If you want pot not to be in this cannibal conversation…. stop trying to defend spice. Spice & Bath salts are terrible. The only good thing about them is they show the need to legalize REAL cannabis

  14. The good Dr is a psychiatrist? Scarey…just a consideration Dr…the last 3 presidents of the United States all tried marijuana, and went on to govern this fine country.I dont know that Id want you at the helm, but youd be wise to give er a try,so that youd know what the hell you’re talking about!

  15. I hate how they are trying to misinform people. It gets under my skin when people have proof and evidence in there face about a topic and still will not accept it. Say it is a joke, a fake, not real accredited proof like from our government who lies to us on more than one subject or occasion. I just hate people being lied to.

  16. Public opinion is similar to those who favor marijuana legalization, also favor repealing the new health care thing. I just heard John Boehner say thats want the people want and he supports it, how come they don’t support what the people want when it comes to pot?

  17. Of course the part about the guy quite possibly having been mentally unstable (I’m sure to most of us here that’s clearly more than a possibility. No drug, *especially* not weed, makes anyone go crazy; they can perhaps bring out issues that were already there, but they don’t make a completely stable person suddenly lose their mind.) won’t get such a big mention when the story comes up on many news sites/shows. I’m sure there will be plenty of “AUTOPSY SHOWS MARIJUANA IN CANNIBAL’S BLOOD” headlines, because shit, look at all those exciting words!

    On the other hand lots of doctors or professors or w/e are pretty insane, speaking of insane people, and that’s relatively well known. With the growth of the internet, people are being exposed to lots of horror stories about self-professed professionals and realizing that simply having a certain title or job doesn’t necessarily mean anything. There are ‘professionals’ all over the place making crackpot statements about every news story, and I’m really hoping that people will simply view this guy as just another one of the same.

    Unfortunately statements like the kind this professor made have all the makings of a good long-standing drug myth. This is the sort of thing that, if it happened years ago, would quite possibly result in clueless people everywhere these days saying “Hey, did you know that certain types of marijuana can turn you into a cannibal?!”. I’m hoping that that’s less apt to happen with the sort of information available today, but then again there are still a fair number of people out there that will swear to you that this one time there was a guy who took acid and thought he was a glass of orange juice for the rest of his life, so clearly just having the information available isn’t enough sometimes…

  18. Just because this guy cannibalized someone, does not mean that marijuana had anything to do with it. He was obviously a mentally disturbed person. If he had had a couple of glasses of beer, and then ate that guy’s face, would they have then blamed the beer?

  19. Now you know about canna.bis . “Ma ri jua na”*
    is the former drug classification for dangered
    substance and the keyword of prohibition in th
    dollar setting of Republican prohibition of th
    cannabis plant . Cannabem nomiba and Canna.bis
    reviloem are similar to dream “nomible” drinks
    in the way ., dream beer and scotch known as a
    Slabinandigan or Slabinandima “moider dream” *
    nomible are known to be the false payment newr
    advent to dream drug beer and harder alcohol .

    Cannabem reviloah and Cannabin nomibilah are a
    product used by groups who do not want th role
    uh Compassion to allow cannabis without newest
    embezzle of State funding known as Compassion2
    or worse program Compas2ion problem with older
    mention in CannaBible as “cannabis can be then
    a reason of blame for those dainting in thegin
    cannabilism known as false cannibal reason to#
    be accorded blaming cannibal tendency on manna
    known as the prohibition of Cannabis manna pot
    to begin newer prohibition for reason of sufer
    appendis cannibala seen as canna.bis blame N”.

    “Ma ri jua na” is the keyword of prohibition #
    as the reguard to pay Republic funding the old
    prohibition dollar will be seen as money for a
    load of the coffers to begin embezzle N Manna.

    Canna.bis is the crazy dream nomible cannab*l#
    product to show prohibition new acquit monies.

    Cannabis is a good product . Canna.bis after $
    “ma ri jua na” is a prohibit “nightmare” so th
    reason we may enjoy cannabis is we don’t thegn
    have to support the fascien reasoning to thegn
    continue prohibition . Thanks if you allow it.

    I also wonder why the intern at NORML took one
    hour to load this webpage and message . Owell.

    Please , Dir St. Pierre allow this as written.

    If you can’t allow it after the intern 5PM .,.
    I will try making this comment again tomorrow.

    Thanks .and Hooray . Peace and Manna . BryanEv

  20. Anyone who can help me raise money to fight a legal case against marijuana, my site above is set up for donations. If you know of any where I can look to get some help with funds please let me know! I’m a single mom, I’m a advocate for legalizing marijuana, I am NOT a dealer or even a user! I’m pretty certain these charges were based upon the local PD feeling heat because they PUSHED to get a warrant to search my home because they claimed my son was dealing weed, they came, searched and came up with NOTHING to support that claim! 4 months later, they file maintaining a dwelling charge on me!

  21. This is an isolated incident that is a distraction from the real gut wrenching happenings going on with the’ Fast And Furious” scandel.
    if you want to get into some real gory stuff,funding the Sinolean cartels.
    Now,thats a lot of torture and pain.

    If we had THC test 30 ,40,50 years ago im sure psychopaths like Charles Manson and Richard Ramariz would test positive.But then again people like John Lennon,Carl Sagan and Pablo Piccaso
    could test positive too,so, that’s neither here or there.

    Finaly, there is nothing wrong with the neurotransmiter “Dopamine”
    it is found in vegetables,proteins and is needed for proper functioning of the brain.It causes a feeling of well being and is also needed for motor activity and coordination of the body. People that have Parkinsons disease lack L -dopamine and take it as a supplement to help them with their tremors.

    Strangely anough, Tobacco creates high levels of dopamine in the body.people get addicted to that feeling of calm and well being that it induces.Now what if, we where to take every felon,murderer,rapist and schitzophrenic that smokes tobacco and randomly test them for nicotine found in cigarettes and came to some conclusion about their behavior patterns caused by the dopamine or lack of and dramatised it and blew it up in the media… wouldn’t be very nice would it?

    The differences between Cannabis Sativa and Indica are marginal and are mainly geographical in origin.Sativa strains from Mexico and Columbia have been the mainstay for American pot smokers during the 60s 70s and 80s before indoor Indica varities became dominant
    due to prohibition. So there has been plenty of time to document “face munchings” due to “sativa’ strains… LMAO

  22. I’ve read most the comments of comments in regards to this article, and there is some misleading info within these comments. First off, the man who committed this horrendous crime was NOT on any other substance BESIDES cannabis. It was the responding officers personal opinions based on. The suspects actions and behaviors, that they believed him to be under the influence of “bath salts” due to his unusual behavior. Secondly, the medical examiner who conducted the toxicology reports stated that the only drug in the suspects system was marijuana, and that would NOT induce a behavior or reaction, such as killing and chewing off someone’s face. These claims portrayed through the media are not only unsupported accusations with absolutely NO evidence to support their claims, but are completely assinine and ridiculous. Marijuana is as dangerous as a paadded room, and everybody, including the Fed Gov’t and the media know it but will not admit it. It’s a sad fact of life that us, the supporters of the legalization of marijuana have to face, and that needs to be one of our first priorities is to change these views of MJ being deceived by the media and gov’t, and let the citizens of these United States know what the truth REALLY is!!!

  23. I have been a pot smoker for over 40yrs and have seen thousands of people use marijuana and have never seen a reaction that was negitive in nature.People that smoke are the kind that invite you in and share,they are mellowfunloving good people.I have also been exposed to other drugs such as alcohol and its effects can be damaging and risky and DEADLY.Anybody that has been exposed knows that marijuana is not something we should be worried about.The truth is that marijuana usualy gives people a effect of happyiness and relaxization and most people become more cautious and friendly.


  25. I have smoked pot for over 40 years and have never been inclined to attack anyone.

    The worst experience I had with marijuana was spending 5 years in Federal Prison for a pot offense.

    While there, I watched armed bank robbers come and go in as little as 20 months.

    When I went to the parole board after more than 3 years ‘behind the wall,’ I pointed this out to the panel members. Their response: “You must understand that yours was a very serious offense.”

    I laughed about that for another 2 years (as I still sat in prison)…then wrote my book:
    Shoulda Robbed a Bank.

    I hope you check it out.

  26. The news reports say that the guy had nothing but thc in his system but do they acually have a way to test for these bath salts? regardless if he did or didn’t marijuana is not the type of substance to make somebody get the muchies that bad lol….media should be used to inform of the benefits of marijuana and not push the agenda of those opposed to it.

  27. I would like to volunteer myself as a test subject. This face eating sativa claim is testable, and I would like to shoot it down. Run tests on me please, so I can easily show how uninformed this woman is. Stupid people are stupid, just like crazy people are crazy.

  28. The only time I ever, EVER, get upset is when someone takes my chips away. Never once have I been provoked to cause any harm because I lost my cheetos. I hate when people have their head so far up their ass that they are used to the smell of bullshit. I don’t have my head up my ass, so I am not used to the smell of someone farting in the wind, unlike this ignorant lady.

  29. hello i am a mod at the medical marijuana forum

    in 3000 years there has been no violence linked to any marijuana strain nor has there been a death from personal experience i have a friend that was a hot head i mean he aboused and beat up people everytime someone said something to piss him off well he finally started smoking marijuana this was 10 years ago and to this day he is calm cool and collected he is not a hothead anymore it has tamed his violent behavior

  30. Has anyone ever stopped at airport security due to carrying five bottles of Yak pills(cannibis)

  31. In the original report, they said they found 2 “unidentified” pills in that guys stomach…yet they still haven’t said anything about those. Scripts are most likely whats causing this shit.

  32. I have recently read a few scolarly articals that can be found by searching “Marijuana and Dopamine” on google. The articles state that “pure” Delta 9 THC does increase dopamine release in the brain of rats.

    The question I want to ask the scientists who administered the THC shots intra vienusly to the rats is…Since THC is insoluable in water was Ethyl Alcohol used as a solvent?

    The reason I want to ask this question here is that Alcohol does increase dopamine in the brain and this could skew the results of the experiment and rather the results would be an analysis of the combined effects of Marijuana and Alcohol.

    Another thing I would like to point out is that companies on the otherside of the world continue to produce new unresearched drugs to go around prohibition laws in the USA and many of these new drugs are not really detectable by ordinary tox screnes done on people, the new drugs simply are not in the system’s database. To back this up, about 10 years ago I was experimenting with DXM before it hit the media as a legal “LSD”, I was on probation and did not consume cannabis, I was ordered to a blood test due to being found intoxicated and the results came back negative for everything except an unknown substance labeled with random numbers and letters, I just played ignorant the whole time and claimed to have takin too much sleep aid medication.

    Just my 2 cents. Peace.

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