Saturday, March 24, 2007


In "Well, duh" news, yet another scientific study - this one with participation from and agreement from police, fyi "law and order" types - concludes what most intelligent people already know: alcohol and tobacco are more harmful than marijuana.

"The researchers asked two groups of experts — psychiatrists specializing in addiction and legal or police officials with scientific or medical expertise — to assign scores to 20 different drugs, including heroin, cocaine, ecstasy, amphetamines, and LSD.

Nutt and his colleagues then calculated the drugs' overall rankings. In the end, the experts agreed with each other, but not with the existing British classification of dangerous substances.

Heroin and cocaine were ranked most dangerous, followed by barbiturates and street methadone. Alcohol was the fifth-most harmful drug and tobacco the ninth most harmful. Cannabis came in 11th, and near the bottom of the list was ecstasy...

Tobacco causes 40 per cent of all hospital illnesses, while alcohol is blamed for more than half of all visits to hospital emergency rooms. The substances also harm society in other ways, damaging families and occupying police services...

While experts agreed that criminalizing alcohol and tobacco would be challenging, they said that governments should review the penalties imposed for drug abuse and try to make them more reflective of the actual risks and damages involved."

No one is going to argue that cannabis is good for you, but to say that it is so bad for you that it needs to be illegal, and that people who use it ought to go to jail and/or have criminal records, in the face of so much credible scientific evidence, is not only patently absurd, but utterly totalitarian in its implications.

It's a bit surprising that the study concludes LSD and ecstasy are less harmful than cannabis, but I could see why this would be the case - neither cause damage to the lungs the way cannabis can, and while the negative effects of, say, LSD (flashbacks, anyone?) can be worse, they occur far less often.

The complete list of drugs, and how harmful they are, can be found here, along with some invaluable commentary. And of course, I found the study here, along with this useful tidbit:

"The results seem pretty self evident to me. As someone who has done his fair share of drinking and smoking marijuana, I know which one had significant negative effects if I did too much of it. In short, smoking too much pot just made me sleepy. It never made me emotionally volatile, or had me doing things I regretted the next day. It never caused me to spend hours in the bathroom vomiting. It never left me incapacitated with a terrible hangover the next day. All of my worst party-related experiences in college were the result of too much booze, not too much pot.

As for gateway drugs, I did cocaine once in my life, over a decade after I smoked my first joint, and, interestingly enough, at the end of a night of heavy drinking. I never felt the urge to do stronger drugs after smoking marijuana."

When are people going to realize that marijuana is not the demon seed, and it's not any of the government's business whether or not informed adults use it?

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At 3/24/2007 2:10 p.m., Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry dude, but this is more of an argument for criminalizing Alcohol and Tobacco than legalizing marijuana and ecstasy.

At 3/24/2007 7:28 p.m., Blogger Clear Grit said...

Because criminalizing alcohol worked so well in the 20s...


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