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Cannabis Research: General

This section looks at the general scientific research into the use of cannabis that does not relate particularly to any one ailment.

Studies:

1) Marijuana Use and Mortality (1997)

This research was a huge study funded by the American National Institute in Drug Abuse. It was found that the use of cannabis caused no significant increase in the likelihood of mortality (death). It concluded that any risk of death that was associated with cannabis was caused by the tandem use of tobacco. Published in the American Journal of Public Health.

2) Does Marijuana Use Have Residual Adverse Effects on Self-Reported Health Measures, Socio-Demographics or Quality of Life? A Monozygotic Co-Twin Control Study in Men (1997)

This study set out assess how the long term and heavy use of cannabis effected young adults. By using identical twins, with one being a heavy user and one not, they found that the use of marijuana had not significant negative implications into mental or physical health, change in social-demographics or quality of life. Published in the journal Addiction.

3) Marijuana and Medicine: Assessing the Science Base (1999)

Research outlined how there was a large scientific base supporting the use of marijuana for medical purposes, and that there was little alternative treatment for those suffering from chronic conditions that could be as effective. The research was conducted by the Institute of Medicine at the behest of the White House. The government had hoped that the finding would be negative, and chose to completely ignore it when it did not arise in their favour. As a result, the co-author of the research, John A. Benson, went to the New York Times with the Research, stating how the government would rather the research had never had never had happened then admit marijuana could be a benefit to the people. Published by the National Academy Press.

4) Reassessing the Marijuana Gateway Effect (2002)

This research aimed to explore whether marijuana really is a gateway drug to harder substances. Pro-prohibition activists will describe how statistics indicate that those who use marijuana are more likely to go onto use harder drugs then those who have never used it before. It was found that it was more likely that there was an underlying desire to try drugs, with cannabis being the most readily available. Those who have this disposition are just as likely to go onto use harder drugs whether they have used cannabis before or not. Published in the journal Addiction.

5) Informing America’s Policy on Illegal Drugs: What We Don’t Know Keeps Hurting Us (2001)

This paper outlines how prohibition and the war on drugs does not stop drug use. Conducted by the National Research Council, under the guidance of the White House, federal drug use data was analysed. It was found that there was “little apparent relationship between severity of sanctions prescribed for drug use and prevalence or frequency of use”. This suggests that there is no proof that prohibition has worked. Published by the National Academy Press in America.

6) The Limited Relevance of Drug Policy: Cannabis in Amsterdam and San Francisco (2004)

This research was conducted as a joint venture by Dutch and American scientists, backed by the National Institute of Drug Abuse. It aimed to explore the differences between cannabis use in San Francisco, where recreational use is illegal, to Amsterdam, where recreational use is tolerated. It was found that there was no statistically significant difference between the two places, except one. That life time use of hard drugs in San Francisco was significantly higher than in Amsterdam where the use of marijuana is “legal”. What this suggests is that not only does prohibition not stop the use of marijuana, but it may also act as a gateway itself, causing higher rates of hard drug abuse. Published in the American Journal of Public Health.

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