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ETpro's avatar

Is recent research showing marijuana enhances brain function, delays dementia and cures cancers worth considering?

Asked by ETpro (34466points) June 30th, 2011

This video cites quite a number of studies suggesting that the laws against the use of marijuana may be ill considered at best and evil intentioned at worst. Indeed, as one doctor on the tape suggests, a search of the Pub Med database for “cannabinoids and cancer” shows 623 published papers in the database. There are 2,295 papers on medical marijuana. Of course, I haven’t read all of them to see which are pro and which con. What’s your take on the claims the video clip makes?

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51 Answers

Facade's avatar

I personally believe that marijuana has many benefits. A number of people, including myself, have experienced relief from their ailments by using marijuana, and it’s saddening to know that so many people are turned off to the marijuana plant.

SavoirFaire's avatar

If nothing else, it’s more evidence that marijuana should not be a Schedule I drug under the Controlled Substances Act. To be put under Schedule I, a drug is supposed to meet three criteria:

1. It must have a high potential for abuse.
2. It must have no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States.
3. It must be unsafe to use under medical supervision.

Note that “high potential for abuse” is treated as a relative term under the Controlled Substances Act. A small potential for abuse can be counted as “high” potential for abuse under the current rules—but only if the other two points are undisputed. Now, that’s a pretty high standard. It’s also worth noting that cocaine is a Schedule II drug because it can be used as a topical anesthetic (though it rarely is).

Given the fact that points 2 and 3 are highly disputed with regard to marijuana, and given the fact that marijuana would be used far more often for medical purposes than the Schedule II drug cocaine is at present, every study that shows potential medical uses of marijuana further erodes the case for its strict control.

Aster's avatar

I’d drink rat poison if it had That many benefits. Wow.

rOs's avatar

The Government blatantly lies to us about cannabis; not to mention the billions of dollars they spend trying to uphold their unnecessary laws. If we can’t smoke because of the (preventable) health risks, why can we drink?

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

Yes, absolutely.

CaptainHarley's avatar

I was so pleased to see Ron Paul endorse decriminalizing marijuana on the national level!

Photosopher's avatar

A natural plant is illegal, but GMO is very legal_and_ it is often hidden from us. The US Gov is a bunch of gangsters.

Legalize all drugs NOW! Everything! It will all work itself out in less than one generation. People should be able to chose their own path. Do it tonight and the war on drugs ends tomorrow morning.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@SavoirFaire:To be put under Schedule I, a drug is supposed to meet three criteria:
1. It must have a high potential for abuse.
2. It must have no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States.
3. It must be unsafe to use under medical supervision.

Cigarettes anyone?

Facade's avatar

@Photosopher @Dutchess_III The way the US labels things and acts as legal/illegal will always make me wonder what the hell is wrong with the folks in power…

Photosopher's avatar

Americans will not revolt to oust her leaders because of banking crisis. Not for over taxation. Not for debt ceilings and not for illegal immigration either.

But one day, mark my words, the citizens of this country will rise up like no revolution ever seen before. It will be as bloody as any and more. And the reason will come because we’ll finally get so disgusted with the lies they feed us every day. Our nation is starving. We are starving for truth.

Woe to those who underestimate the frenzy of a starving man.

Photosopher's avatar

@Facade “what the hell is wrong with the folks in power…”

Power.

woodcutter's avatar

Sure, it’s one more thing to consider when the time is politically favorable for change

Russell_D_SpacePoet's avatar

Of course it’s worth considering. The thing is big pharma has a problem with any substance they can’t patent. They also have many friends in the gov. that look out for big pharma interest.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@Dutchess_III Well, exactly. But I suppose that’s the benefit of having an organized industry on your side.

woodcutter's avatar

@Russell_D_SpacePoet Don’t forget about their buddies in the lumber and wood pulp industries which would have some heavy competition (decimation) from hemp related products.

Coloma's avatar

Well…everyone knows I enjoy my happy brownies from time to time.
I can’t claim I have medical issues that would qualify me to become a medical marijuana consumer, yet anyway, but…it does helps with muscle tension, creative drive, and I see nothing amiss with occasional use or for the medical benefits however they show up for an individual.

I’m glad to see it more readily available for those that find relief from their issues, but, I think chronic use in non-medical patients is less than ideal.

ETpro's avatar

@Facade Thanks. Sure seems so.

@SavoirFaire Thanks for posting the definitive list of what makes a drug Schedule I. And clearly, by their own definition, MJ doesn’t belong to that class of drug.

@Aster That’s about how I felt as I watched and checked to verify the claims. At 67, the protection from dementia alone would be enough benefit for me.

@rOs Sadly, that is all too often so.

@CaptainHarley Me too. Hell, I’d vote for him but he won’t be in the primaries by the time they get to Massachusetts. At least he said something we all know is true, and he said it on a national stage. The clock is ticking till we introduce saner drug laws. Want budget savings? There’s an area where we can cut spending and HELP people instead of hurting them.

@Photosopher That comparison points to what’s driving the Government position. Which one is good for the profits of the corporate donors who pay to get the circus into Washington town?

@Dutchess_III Yeah, tobacco is a Schedule I on all three counts, but the industry donates sooooo much money. Remember when current House Speaker John Boehner got caught handing out big tobacco checks to congress members even as they were voting on regulations to control tobacco use?

@Russell_D_SpacePoet Yes, it is sad. Medical research is probably one of those areas where government involvement in a NASA like search for cures would be great. Big pharma gave up on even looking for cures after the financial bust of defeating polio. You make profits from lifelong medication to “control” a disease, not from a few pills that cure it. I don’t blame the big pharma companies for that. If I were a CEO there, I would look at it the same way. We just need to realize that, and act to cover the public interest where it and pharma profits collide.

@woodcutter Actually, I think you can legally grow hemp as long as it has no THC in it.

@Coloma Understood. :-)

cockswain's avatar

Yes those things are worth considering. Also the fact that it makes one more skilled at snowboarding, ping pong, and video games.

ETpro's avatar

@cockswain Does it really?

cockswain's avatar

Absolutely.

Photosopher's avatar

I remember when I used to smoke a little. Back in the days of good ole’ pure Missouri Homegrown. Just kick back and marinate…

I stopped a long time ago when all the genetic modification and sprays and miracle grow became popular. That shit is practically a full blown hallucinogen to me. Can’t deal with it, can’t handle it, don’t like it, don’t trust it.

I also remember it making me think I was better at things… But when the buzz wore off, I found my super duper creative genius and new found mad skills to be utter crap.

I don’t like thinking of marijuana as a drug, as much as a sacred plant. And I don’t like the idea of anyone messing around with modifying a sacred plant. For me, these things are not for every day consumption. I’ve graduated from party mode, or the need to self medicate.

But whatever floats your boat… I say go for it and let us all know how it works out for you. Power to the people to live their own lives the way they want to.

Life = Play at your own risk!

ETpro's avatar

@Photosopher I’m interested in it medically if it truly fights cancer, increases production of brain cells, and delays or prevents dementia. Like you, I don’t want something heavily engineered. And I’d definitely not smoke it. I don’t like the idea of inhaling smoke of any sort deliberately. Anything beyond a nice incense burning in the room, or the smell of the few whisps of wood smoke that escape a well drafted fireplace, and it’s over my smoke tolerance setting.

CaptainHarley's avatar

I’ve tried pot exactly twice and was totally unaffected by it either time.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@Photosopher I wondered that myself. I was a child of the 70’s. I quit tokin’ after I got married and we decided to have kids, in the early 80’s. I’ve tried it twice since then, once in the 90’s and again in 2003 and…either I didn’t remember what it was like or it was vastly different than what it used to be like. I wondered if they soaked it in some other drug or chemical. Kind of scary.

I wish they’d legalize it for that reason. If it was regulated they’d keep it clean (I’d rather get something that the government watched over, for better or worse, than something that some shady, unknown, psychotic, crackhead had processed.) It would also empty out half the jail population.

Coloma's avatar

I live in an area that grows a lot of high quality, organic marijuana.

Can’t beat California for the vineyards and other ‘farm trails’.

My county is a premiere agricultural zone, 1000’s of acres of vineyards, the famous ” Apple Hill’ farms, and while I could ‘grow my own’ with the proper permit, I have 5 acres but, my ‘connection’ is my ‘gardener’. haha

He has a horticulture degree and has access to some very nice local ‘product.’

He cuts my grass and leaves a little of his own. lol

I wouldn’t mind having a plant or two, I happen to like the way theu look as well, in a purely aesthetic manner, but, why bother, when I have the worlds best gardener that brings the trifecta to my door, Friendship, gardening and handyman services, and a bit of exotic shrubbery for my enjoyment. ;-)

Dutchess_III's avatar

I really do hate you, you know @Coloma! I can’t wait to get there and throw beer cans all over your ranch!

OpryLeigh's avatar

Any research is worth considering. Anything that can be a benefit to our health should be further looked into.

Ron_C's avatar

No matter what evidence is presented, marijuana will remain an “illegal drug”. The whole war on drugs is a control issue and has nothing to do with rational thinking. Hell they could “prove” marijuana cures cancer and it would still remain illegal. This is a war run by control freaks and “the moral majority”. Reason and rationality are irrelevant.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@Ron_C While I do not doubt that no amount of evidence will convince some people, that does mean that those people will always be in charge. If marijuana were really proven to cure cancer, those who opposed reclassifying it would not be able to hold the line against the collective efforts of the doctors, family, and friends of former and current cancer patients.

Even without such dramatic results, we’ve already seen the public discourse on marijuana change and the opponents of decriminalization/legalization lose some of their clout. We’ve even got bipartisan bills being introduced in Congress to end the federal ban on marijuana. That seems like progress to me.

Coloma's avatar

Well, obviously hardcore abuse of any substance, even M&M’s is not healthy, but, if you ask me, alcohol, a drug which is completely legal, does far more harm than smoking a little pot and eating a bag of M&M’s. lol

I never advocated drug use/abuse with my daughter, who is now 23, and very rarely imbibes in either marijuana or alcohol, maybe 3–4 times a year, if that, but…I told her as a teen that I’d much prefer she she get a little high and eat a bag of cookies than get drunk and climb behind the wheel or on the back of a drunk guys Ninja bike.

There is nothing worse than an alcoholic IMO.

Ron_C's avatar

@SavoirFaire That is a very optimistic outlook. I wish I lived in your world. If marijuana is ever legal it will be because some big corporation has a collar on its production. I predict that there will never be a time when marijuana will be farmed as a crop, at least not in my or my children’s lifetime. There is too much money in control.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@Ron_C I’m not sure I see your point about the monetary aspect of this. If there’s money to be had and widespread public support, it would be even harder for those who have “moral” objections to legalizing marijuana to enforce their point of view. Moreover, marijuana is already farmed as a crop—albeit illegally—in many places. No doubt there would be corporations looking to corner the market, but it’s too widespread among private growers for them to eliminate every alternative source.

ETpro's avatar

@CaptainHarley I’m almost certain that you must have run into either some very bad pot. There are hemp plants genetically designed NOT to produce THC, the chief psychoactive in marijuana. There are also bags of harmless weed leave (where “weed” is not a euphemism for marijuana). They are the work of scammers. THC in sufficient quantity will make you feel something.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@ETpro I don’t know. I have a friend who has never been affected by marijuana, and she got it from a friend who is a grower/dealer that wanted to get her high. There are a lot of stories about people who cannot get high from marijuana, or who have to try it many times before it works for them. As a non-smoker, however, I only have anecdotal evidence to go on here.

ETpro's avatar

@Dutchess_III I have read that these days dealers and growers do sometimes soak or spray on “alternative” booster drugs> It lets them demand a higher price. But there have laso been great strides in selective cross-breeding, and growers have discovered numerous tricks to force plants to grow a real mother load of resin in the buds. Such “killer weed” can be used in much smaller dosages than the ordinary stuff of the 70s when I too was imbibing.

@Colma a nice gardner? Gotta love a man with a green thumb.

@Leanne1986 I have a pretty high standard for reseaech on natural cures that haven’t been proven harmless. But if something has been tested and proven safe (and I’m talking about using alternatives to smoking it), why not give it a chance?

@Ron_C Quite true. And those control freaks, through unequal enforcement, use the War on Drugs as a new Jim Crow measure. They won’t give up their obsessive-compulsive disorder without a huge fight.

@SavoirFaire True. And that’s a very comforting thought.

@SavoirFaire Interesting. I wasn’t aware of that. Perhaps the receptors in their brains are slightly different design of the Cannabinoid Receptors in the central nervous system.

mattbrowne's avatar

Of course. Like research linking moderate alcohol consumption at an older age with a higher life expectancy. But we must still be aware of the potential for abuse. Psychoactive substances are not chewing gums.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@ETpro But since it’s illegal you don’t know what you’re getting. Natural more potent stuff, or stuff that’s been laced. It should be made legal.

El_Cadejo's avatar

@Dutchess_III the whole lacing thing is bullshit. Thats not how it works. No drug dealer will EVER sell you weed laced with something without telling you because they charge EXTRA for that stuff.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@uberbatman Depends what they’re lacing it with. If it’s something cheaper than marijuana, or they’re trying to cut it with something that looks like marijuana, I think they’d keep it to themselves.

El_Cadejo's avatar

@SavoirFaire cheaper weed sure, but thats not going to be bad except that you got ripped off. The only time I would agree with you is in replacin with other things, but that is such a rare rare occurring in of itself. Unless you buy your weed from random douche bags I cant really see something like that happening either. Marijuana is such an extremely cheap drug when it comes down to it that its usually not worth cutting, we’re not talking about cocaine here or anything.

I remember when I was in high school our DARE instructor tried to tell us some sob story about how her brother got addicted to drugs because someone laced his weed with LSD – _ -.

Coloma's avatar

@uberbatman

I agree, it’s a rarity, of course it COULD happen, but, not likely.
I know my growers and we’re talkin’ fresh air, mountain well water and California sunshine. The only thing happier are the California cows. lol

cockswain's avatar

@uberbatman I once read an Onion article about how smoking acid or crack is all the same as taking pot.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@SavoirFaire Sure, but sometimes “random douche bags” or other untrustworthy types are all that’s available. A friend of mine has spent five years searching for a legitimate dealer here with no luck. This despite the fact that we live in a college town and he is pretty savvy about these things.

ETpro's avatar

It’s decriminalized here. And it’s difficult to imagine a designer drug that would be cheaper than naturally grown marijuana. You stick a seed in some soil, water it, make sure it gets enough sun, and voila. Most of the enhancement today is in cross-breeding for THC onstnet and in tricks in growing.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@uberbatman My problem is I’ve never bought it in my life. Not even in the 70’s. It’s always been someone else’s so I have no idea what they may have paid for it or where they got it.

El_Cadejo's avatar

@Dutchess_III I suppose thats a fair point there but couldnt the same be said about any other substance such as alcohol. You could not know what they may have also put in there but that comes down to trusting the person you’re getting it from in the end imo.

ETpro's avatar

@Dutchess_III & @uberbatman If you really want to know what you;re getting, then the answer is get some seeds from some good stuff, and grow a small supply yourself. However, legally, that takes you into very dangerous waters—something that the COngress and various states should address but haven’t.

Response moderated (Writing Standards)
Response moderated (Writing Standards)
ETpro's avatar

Ha! Two responses moderated for writing standards. Somebody had been hitting the weed before replying. :-)

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