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October 2005
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In your face, Karen Tandy

Via Cannabis News, Marijuana less cancerous than tobacco.
This United Press International article by Steve Mitchell, Senior Medical Correspondent, reports what we had a preview of before — that this whole business of prohibitionists touting that marijuana has higher numbers of carcinogens is irrelevant. The truth is that marijuana use does not increase your risk of cancer at all.
What made this article particularly interesting is that the UPI Senior Medical Correspondent, through a combination of analysis and reactions from others, called Karen Tandy what she is: a liar.

Karen Tandy, the DEA’s administrator, wrote in an article titled, “Marijuana: The Myths Are Killing Us,” which appeared in the March issue of Police Chief magazine, that the drug is hazardous to health and does not help patients. […]

Tandy did not claim marijuana caused cancer, but she implied it by saying, “marijuana smoke … contains 50 to 70 percent more carcinogenic hydrocarbons than tobacco smoke and produces high levels of an enzyme that converts certain hydrocarbons into malignant cells.”

She also said marijuana can cause anxiety and depression, particularly in teens. However, a study released last week from Canadian researchers found a synthesized version of a marijuana compound actually promotes development of new brain cells in rats, and this in turn was accompanied by a reduction in anxiety and depression.

Other risks of marijuana cited by Tandy included impaired cognitive function, such as short-term problems with perception and memory.

Allen St. Pierre, executive director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, told UPI that Tandy’s assertions “run up against the known science,” which indicate the toxicity of the drug is minimal. […]

He noted that Dr. Tod Mikuriya, a psychiatrist in El Cerrito, Calif., had conducted a study with medical-marijuana patients and did not find evidence they developed cognitive impairments, paranoia, anxiety or other mental problems after they began using the drug.

“The government has insisted there are no pros and there are only cons of marijuana, but this is totally lacking in science and totally lacking in any realistic credibility,” Melamede said.

He predicted medical marijuana ultimately will be permitted in the United States.

“It’s unavoidable that it will eventually triumph because it works,” he said. “The government is lying and it will eventually win out in the end. It’s just a matter of how many people have to suffer between now and then.”

Good reporting UPI.
Wait, did I just say “Good reporting UPI?” What’s happening?

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