Alternet: “Five Scientific Conclusions About Cannabis That The Mainstream Media Doesn’t Want You To Know”

Writing in the journal Science some four decades ago, New York State University sociologist Erich Goode documented the mainstream media’s complicity in maintaining cannabis prohibition.

He observed: “[T]ests and experiments purporting to demonstrate the ravages of marijuana consumption receive enormous attention from the media, and their findings become accepted as fact by the public. But when careful refutations of such research are published, or when later findings contradict the original pathological findings, they tend to be ignored or dismissed.”

A review of today’s mainstream media landscape indicates that little has changed. While studies touting the purported dangers of cannabis are frequently pushed by the federal government and, therefore, all but assured mainstream media coverage, scientific conclusions rebutting pot propaganda or demonstrating potential positive aspects of the herb often tend to go unreported.

Writing today on the website, I explore five recent scientific findings regarding cannabis that have gone all but unnoticed by the corporate media.

Click here for the full story.

27 thoughts

  1. Auditing the Federal Reserves would help understand how the federal government (directly and indirectly) has gotten control of the mainstream media.

  2. I’ve heard that as scientists in more open societies began to communicate and even publish on electronic bulletin boards, the rigid control on information in the Soviet Union put Soviet scientists at an ever increasing disadvantage. More recently we see the affect of technological advances such as social media and cell phone cameras on authoritarian countries such as Mubarak’s Egypt and now Syria when information can no longer be controlled by a ruling elite.

    I’ve often heard our own politicians proudly pointing to this phenomena, apparently blithely unaware that the free and open exchange of information is coming after information control in this country, too.

  3. Hi Paul,
    I read this article on Alternet, and left much the same comment there. I agree with much of what you write, and many of the pro-cannabis comments there, and I support the legalization of cannabis. I think pot has significant medicinal uses, and beneficial effects for many people. However, I really think that NORML and the pro-pot crowd in general, does itself a disservice by basically asserting that pot is some kind of panacea, and has no problems associated with it. Any medicine can be abused, and no medicine is right for every person in every circumstance. For example, regarding the first of the 5 points made in the article, refuting the idea of mental health issues with pot, I know a very creative, interesting young man, who has had a long history of mental health issues (including hospitalizations) and in every instance his episodes have coincided with him gettting into pot-smoking. He often ends up hospitalized, where he gets off the pot. Then he starts to get his life together until he starts feeling really good about himself, starts smoking pot again. thinking he can handle it, which leads quickly to delusional feelings of grandeur and enlightenment, and the delusions, and strange behaviour increases from there, and lands him back in the hospital. I know another woman who (normally quite intelligent and articulate) who had a severe psychotic episode connected with a pot smoking binge. Does this mean pot is intrinsically bad, or “causes” pychosis? No, and as I mentioned I still support legalization. But what it does mean, is that it is not right for everyone, and should be approached with caution. I also know of a number of individuals for whom pot smoking is clearly associated with amotivational feelings and depression. Does it do these things to everyone? No. For many people it is good medicine. But I think it is counterproductive to argue that there are no problems. To me, both sides of the argument offer dogmatic and inflexible viewpoints, but the reality is way more nuanced. Cannaibis is a powerful herb with the potential for good, and the potential for harm, and should be approached with the appropriate respect.

    [Editor’s note: 1) You need an editor as you’re arguing both sides of the discussion…pick one side, and stay with it…either Cannabis Prohibition is ‘good’ and should continue or it is ‘bad’ and should end ASAP. It can’t be both! 2) NORML has never argued that cannabis is a panacea, cure all, or a crop ‘that will save the world’.]

  4. It’s amazing, it’s a plant that hasn’t ever killed anyone and we’re BEGGING the goverment to regulate (ID, tax, QC) it! I mean seriously it’s not hard. The government has no right to tell free adults what they can/cannot put in their bodies, but they can regulate intestate commerce… So F’in tax and regulate!

  5. Yeah its not about right and wrong. It’s about the individual to decide for themselves me thinks. We think the FDA is the gold standard? I think God saying all green seed bearing plants are good is the only stamp of approval needed.

  6. Yeah its not about right and wrong. It’s about the individual to decide for themselves me thinks. We think the FDA is the gold standard? I think God saying all green seed bearing plants are good is the only stamp of approval needed.

  7. @ John Sprague …
    First, thanks for having a clear opinion on the legalization of cannabis. Second, I am a little surprised that you are taking on the side effects of cannabis without making a conparison to the side effects of alcohol. We, as a legalization movement, have never said cannabis is harmless. What we constantly refer to is that cannabis is less harmful than either tobacco or alcohol and infinitly safer than any other form of recreational or manufactured drug on the planet. It has many more possible and documented benefits than MSM will ever give it credit for yet MSM embraces alcohol consumption like it is a nectur of the gods themselves.

    You suggest approching cannabis consumption with caution, yet every single person over the age of 21 can purchase and consume (in excess if desired) a substance that has more negative effects than almost anything else that mankind consumes. The most publicly documented advise about alcohol … dont drink and drive.

    I appreciate your opinion but worry that many folks truely dont understand that responsible and moderate cannabis consumption is possibly one of the safest recreational activities for adults. I know there may be some negative reactions to use but compared to most other activities and intoxicants in general, cannabis use is by far one of the safest.

    Might I go so far as to recommend a book… “Marijuana is Safer – So why are we driving people to drink” … After 30 years of … experience … I still learned a thing or two from this publication.

  8. I can’t help but often think “if we could simply expose the disinformation and corruption of the government to a sufficient degree, the prohibition can be soon ended” I wonder if mainstream society will soon enough be enlightened enough to say “Yeah, right, what a load of shit” to the governments lies about cannabis. Is this the main hope of many of us anti-prohibitionists? Or do we tend to be focused more directly on the government/law? Maybe I’m lacking for the right words here, I guess it’s “do we focus more on society, or the politicians?” or is it simply everything that works. I’m hoping that the (hopefully) growing enlightenment of the public, the exposure of untruths will be enough to bring about the change that we deserve. Maybe the internet is killing prohibition as we speak. Also isn’t the prohibition unconstitutional? “Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” That my right to swing my arms stops only when they hit someone else? Maybe I’m not saying anything new here, but we have to figure out how to change some things right?

  9. I’m really just trying to get my head around this. My intention is to be constructive. Thank’s!

  10. I have to agree with John here. Calling it “arguing both sides of the discussion” is just an excuse to simplify things rather than deal with the complexity of the real world. Pot should be legal, but not all of the consequences of that will neccessarily be good for every single person. This is why reasonable regulation is a good idea.

    The thing is, we shouldn’t have to argue that marijuana is completely harmless, or worse, argue that it’s the best thing since sliced bread, in order for it to be legalized. We should be able to say, “people have a right to smoke marijuana just as they have a right to smoke tobacco or drink alcohol”. We certainly have every right to say cannabis is much safer than alcohol (an obvious fact), but we shouldn’t have to prove it perfect in order to support legalization. I support the second amendment although guns are tools for killing and can be used in horrible ways – because guns are incredibly useful tools and have a meaningful place in the world. Certainly having more hunters would probably be a good thing in most of the US, since deer are overrunning many areas!

    I understand fully why NORML would prefer it’s own writers not to try to be complex and honest – it’s a sure way to lose a debate (as is obvious when prohibitionists try to argue without lies). But it is realistic to admit cannabis is not completely harmless. That said, the harms of cannabis use do not even begin to match the harms of prohibition. The facts are on our side, even without stretching into the realm of debating studies with other studies.

    I think the basic fact that you can’t overdose on cannabis, and the long term health outcomes are so minor as to not be obvious after decades of studies and generations of pot smokers, is a very strong argument. If it were half as bad as prohibitionists say it is, there would be a pile of dead bodies. There aren’t any.

    [Editor’s note: You’re in need of an editor too….you claim in the same post that cannabis is not completely harmless (NORML has never claimed cannabis is completely harmless…no drug is completely harmless) and then go on and wax about it’s long recognized safety and efficacy.

    Let’s let the former chief law judge for the Drug Enforcement Administration, Francis Young, have the last word regarding cannabis: “In strict medical terms marijuana is far safer than many foods we commonly consume…Marijuana in its natural form is one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man.”]

    [Paul Armentano also responds: “But it is realistic to admit cannabis is not completely harmless.” Have you read my writings closely? I never said that cannabis is ‘harmless.’ In fact, I emphasize the point that cannabis can pose risks, which is in fact an argument for its legalization and regulation:,0,1355386.story

    “As for Sack’s initial question, “Is marijuana good medicine?,” like any medicine, the answer will depend on the patient and the circumstances. Cannabis is no doubt therapeutic for some but not necessarily appropriate for everyone. Can cannabis be abused? In some limited instances, yes. Nonetheless, the overwhelming majority of consumers use it responsibly and in moderation. Isn’t it about time our laws and public policies reflected this reality?”

    Read more:

    “This is not to say that marijuana is innocuous or without risk. It isn’t. But such concerns are hardly an argument in favor of the plant’s continued illegality. After all, there are numerous adverse health consequences associated with alcohol, tobacco and prescription pharmaceuticals — all of which are far more dangerous and costlier to society than cannabis — and it’s precisely because of these consequences that these products are legally regulated and their use is restricted to particular consumers and specific settings. A pragmatic regulatory framework that allows for the limited legal use of marijuana by adults would best reduce any risks associated with its use or abuse.”]

  11. Hi . Cannabis . I run Kansas P Decrim 2 _\|/_*
    which is the Kansas Decrim with psychology [P]
    letter referring in this case to not allowing:
    money to guardian copy of disability as the #$
    regard to say false or imposing guardian is uh
    not welcome to accept payment for disability $
    account with backpay for all payment to be thn
    reason of “paying bills” if Republic[en] paid$
    allotment by improper form of government money
    paid to individual lacking insurance for years
    with home or Tenant disorder of background net
    work bothering home life without insurance thn
    paid to see about money basis such as “Child’s
    Guarded Disability” of a competent adult given
    not any money access to SSI or SSDI account so
    the money will all go from undisclosed disable
    individual payment to imposed guardian funding
    with advent , free debit may be available when
    the 100 grams Decrim2 begins at Kansas State #
    home and tenant friendly eco quarter pound KS*
    dealing to begin much less expensive Tax Manna
    such as 1 dollar tax per 5 grams cannabis ~pot
    instead of the modern equivalent to MTSA 3.50$
    a gram any quality more thn 20% alloted taxes:
    given the basic , special and luxury bracket.,
    taxes in case the new cannabis laws at Midwest
    allow transition away from MedBud and newer #$
    lower cost for certified dealer pound and eco~
    quarter pound dealing with one hundred grams @
    available to certified dealers with a payment$
    100 dollars a year with: Green Smoke Tax Stamp
    Act .,. as I also run the Midwest TriCam Union
    Tea Party and Kingdom Promise accord with PWil
    Charter to begin Green Smoke (*) at Concedense
    value to begin newer Capital at MidwestUS_\|/_
    cannabis health policy accorded by B Obama US*
    with proper [aligned] avail n prevail to begin
    not primary case of psychology cannabis health
    accord with Western Accord.t Manna P Decrim 2.

    I used to smoke low quality pot known as manna
    product cannabae which is known as yell weed .

    It’s the swaggest pot I’ve tried . Because the
    misconduct of smoking more then 5 joints every
    2 hours and the low quality and hemp oil for a
    taste of cannabis at all . . I would get home~
    at sunrise and before then on a timer [[around
    5 am in the summer]] ., actually on a housing!
    timer! I would start going “mad” at 4:17am the
    same time each morning , plus one hour savings
    for 20 minutes , play a drum , and be fumed up
    and get to bed and wake up the next afternoon~
    and walk across my property and start smoking!
    2 ounces! a night Every Night . . with the uhm
    same effect at the same minute every morning!!
    for a number of years . It became loud , annoy
    ing to my neighbors , and quite smelly . _\|/_

    [[ Though why would a housing misconduct set a
    yelling and loud emitter to the same minute at
    4:17 AM and one hour each day on a timer . .]]

    I quit smoking yell weed after 7 years and the
    time I sobered up ., the better I act in ways,
    very low quality cannabis equivalent makes you
    as* most people with natural alchemic personal
    ~ity kind uh “loco” for the reason the addit~!
    ives! are bad [chemistry] elements and not the
    cannabis natural quality to begin psychology#$
    basis to offer the deal on Midwest health_\|/_
    with newer accord with the 15 newer [wanted] @
    NORML [2] symbol accord .,. such as Magic Bus.

    Magic Bus means a designated driver in a small
    multi passenger vehicle with different area so
    the driver may enjoy transit and the vehicle.s
    such as a mini-RV may enjoy legal*
    to newer legal places to smoke legal cannabis.

    Thanks if you read this . Thanks Paul. Article
    looks good and mind your swearing . ., _\|/_ /

    Alot of Republic prohibit minions don’t like a
    successful man with good manna thoughts
    anyone to stop the prohibit dollar funding . .

    Thanks and Hooray to Legal Manna Pot . _\|/_ /

  12. Regardless of the pro’s and con’s point blank is does not kill people! If you are taking prescription pills which is proven to kill how can they possibly be legal? America needs to adopt Portugal laws! Stop babying everyone and let them choose what they want to do to there bodies!

  13. It is pretty simple actually. CBD is being bred out of all the strains in order to maximize THC content. Both cannabinoids are synthesized by the plant from the same compound (CBDA). In layman terms, more THC means less CBD and less CBD means more people come down with sickness. This is why it needs to be regulated not by the Government but by the people with dispensaries. The problem is ignorance. The doctor should not recommend high THC to people with existing certain types of psychosis or family history of such. These people need CBD cause it is an anti-psychotic. People who are mentally ill need CBD, it will fix them as long as they continue to take it in a pill form or whatever form. It is non-intoxicating and there no excuses why it should not be a free medicine to the poor and everyone else who wants to grow it. You will find the old weed was full of CBD and that is why the mortality rate went down in psychosis. You can easily grow low THC non psychoactive meds. God help us this world is so full of ignorance. It is obvious that CBD cures at least a couple big diseases( cancer, Alzheimer’s) and can treat most disease and give people their lives back. This is a non-phycho-active compound with little side effect. It kicks aspirin’s little butt, so next time you think pot is bad just think of that little aspirin being so much more dangerous than God’s plant or mother natures plant if you are atheist. A small percentage of the population will get sick with high THC meds. Less than aspirin but that does not diminish the problem. We do not want anyone getting sick that is why people need to be monitored by their doctor. And their doctor needs to be educated on cannabis until a better system is in place. We certainly do not think the government and big Pharma’s relationship should be tolerated by the people and we do not want big pharma making a bunch of synthetic CBD FDA approved derivatives that will have nasty side effects. God gave us CBD and it works, we do not have to bottle it and charge a thousand dollars a bottle so some greedy less human types can get filthy rich.

  14. Big Pharma knows In fact, most Pharamcy Rep’s. I know will use MJ over any of their Pharmacy medicine. Most say, “I wouldn’t take that Pharmacy poison that shit kills you.” MJ is much safer and fun to use.”

  15. Please have someone at NORML take a look at The Oregonian’s website to see their editor’s anti-pot position. It’s mighty strange to see that coming from our state’s #1 paper given the popularity of MJ over here.

    The lamestream media strikes again…LOL!

  16. Life isn’t perfect. We live in a negative environment with killings, starvation, unfairness, and general negativity all around. This tends to make good people depressed. Marijuana cures so many things but most importantly for me, it cures depression. And I know that’s important for other people, too. Why should we live an awful life just because some a-hole in arizona thinks pot should be illegal? God knows, these people will pay (get karma) but this isn’t enough. WE have got to win this war for every good reason there is. Keep on truckin’. 420 = 12×35

  17. If people let the GOVERNMENT decide which foods they eat and medications they take, their bodies will soon be in as sorry a state as are the souls of those who live under tyranny“. Thomas Jefferson

  18. ALmoderate,good point on responsible use where cannabis is concerned. i learned a long time ago (veteran of 30 yrs)that it only takes a little to get alot for me. the next guy or gal may use a little more to find their’ comfort spot’ and, some have no buisness using at all. its just a matter of good common sense. in the early days i puffed up for the party but, i found it to be much more of a benefit for me. i know when to consume and when not to. i am thankful for its value medicinally and have no need to abuse it. it has been a great benefit to stay clear from alcohol as i have come from a long line of drinkers. my liver is certainly thankful and, i am a healthy, happy guy who pays taxes, supports an awesome family and works for my money. i would much rather see our country smoke a little herb and work it all out then drink about the frustration then beat the hell out of someone for it. peace to you all!

  19. i have also found great benefit where a.d.d is concerned. what a great thing to have something to help you be just a little more comfortable in your own skin……without all the side effects…..

  20. OK, this may be Pandora’s Box all over again, but seriously folks, what constitutes use vs. abuse? I’ve seen the way some people use it differently than others, some seem to be going for a “lower” type of pleasure, I get that. But even in that case is it not better that they seek pleasure from cannabis than from alcohol? I just humor them, ignore them and go about my business as usual. I think it’s more important to focus on the safety of cannabis, and that they have no business keeping it illegal, rather than being too critical about how some others use it.

  21. I’ll tell you one good/bad thing about marijuana: It opens up your mind. We live in a negative environment and that cause bad thoughts to come in but it also allows good to come in that wouldn’t have normally entered. It’s called feeling high. Also, pot can make you lazy and hungry. You’ll have too much weight like myself. If we told the politicians these bad effects maybe they would consider legalizing pot. Pot: Can make bad ideas seem good if you don’t have self control.

  22. Thanks Paul/NORML, I read the article and although I occasionally see an article in mainstream media debunking myths and propaganda about cannabis, more often than not, that’s not the case, so I am glad you brought this to our attention.

    The question I have is do conspiracies exist in our society? But of course, not! The federal gov’t is on the up and up, and President Obama promised that “science would decide his policies.” Of course they have and that’s why the DOJ is pushing to close down all the states with medical marijuana laws in place. Science, not.

    The truth – conspiracies exist. Back-room politics exist. Corporations buy off politicians who make or maintain our laws.

    What I don’t understand, unless it truly is about money, is why our corporate media buys into this crap? Historically, the media never fell into bed with politicians… but maybe that’s all changed. Apparently it has. But it wasn’t always that way.

    Drug scheduling, as established by President “Tricky Dick” Nixon was all about cannabis prohibition, equating it to heroin, and over the federal government’s “dead body” that won’t change.

    What also won’t change, is a Roseanne Barr told president Obama recently, he won’t get that joint from her until she’s stone-cold dead. Which hopefully won’t be anytime soon.

    Fact of the matter is this – there is a conspiracy to maintain cannabis as a Schedule One drug (that despite the fact it’s a natural plant, and not subject to restrictions per God’s law and other laws)and by perpetuating the prohibition, arrests and incarcerations of millions of Americans, we are in fact in a Civil war in this country, where 99.9% of the victims (criminals) are otherwise law-abiding citizens.

    It’s very sad that the hurt goes on… that science does not get considered, and President’s other than Jimmy Carter go on lying to support the lie, that in turn creates the psychosis that infects many law-makers, and solves nothing.

    Cannabis prohibition never had any other validation other than to serve as a means of trying to control illegal immigrants from Mexico… and Blacks having relationships with White women.

    Sucks that I live in a “free country” at WAR with cannabis users. But I do. And I will have lived my life and died before the conspiracy is ever dissolved and undone. So much for the US Constitution, and so much for laws that protect the public… with this kind of science empowering Washington, it’s no wonder we have mass murders and little regards to human rights.

    There needs to be a new addition to federal law that includes a Schedule Six… wherein plants like cannabis and coca are included, along with alcohol and tobacco. S6 – recreational/herbals which need to be taxed, regulated (fairly) and restricted by age as science deems necessary.

    Until such time, it is without a doubt a lie that cannabis is included in Schedule One, and otherwise law-abiding citizen’s lives are either ruined or repressed.

  23. I’m beginning to wonder if the continued prohibition of cannabis is only to keep our banking system solvent. Bank America and others have been convicted of taking billions in drug money around 2007 (Miami) and probably would have failed without this income. Perhaps the powers that be realize that the solvency of our major banks is question without the continued drug money income…

  24. All we have to do is form a large enough group and we can take over. We’ll need to arm ourselves. A million man march, maybe. It says in our constitution that any law found unjust can be corrected/changed/abolished by the citizens, that means us. You know if 22 million people showed up in Washington DC in support of cannabis legalization that would be something and might work.

    [Editor’s note: An armed march? Um….no. Never an armed march when seeking peace and justice…most notably for legalizing an herb. Marchers should be armed with information and enthusiasm, not fire power (except for lighters/matches to light protest joints).]

  25. I believe very strongly that if someone developed a test that indicated whether or not someone was intoxicated at that moment, at the time the test was taken, and to what degree, that would go along way towards the legalization of marijuana. I don’t want my doctor, my airline pilot, etc to be stoned while working, but if they smoked a joint a week ago who cares. I know there is someone out there smart enough to do that, and they would make a bunch of money.

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