Marijuana can cause many harmful effects. There ha

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Marijuana can cause many harmful effects. There has never been a major test though. The ones they’ve used have shown very different things. I have been very surprised by what I have been reading. I cannot believe the difference in what different scientists think.

One says, "It's hard to know for sure whether regular marijuana use causes cancer. But it is known that marijuana contains some of the same and sometimes even more, of the cancer-causing chemicals found in tobacco smoke. Studies show that someone who smokes five joints per week may be taking in as many cancer-causing chemicals as someone who smokes a full pack of cigarettes every day." While in certain places it is legally perscribed to people with many different types of cancer.

The New scientist says, "A FRENCH government study has heaped fuel on the debate over the safety of cannabis by listing it as the least dangerous of all potentially addictive drugs. It also concludes that alcohol is among the most dangerous.

The study, commissioned by French health minister Bernard Kouchner, was carried out by a panel of 10 French and foreign scientists headed by Bernard-Pierre Roques of the René Descartes University of Paris. The panel searched the scientific literature for information about psychological and physical dependence, neural and general toxicity and social hazards such as aggressive behavior caused by various legal and illegal drugs. The team then grouped the substances into three categories of dangerousness. Cannabis was the only drug put in the least dangerous category. While cautioning that no drug they assessed was "completely free of danger", the researchers gave cannabis a rating of "weak" for social hazard and addictiveness, "very weak" for general toxicity and zero for neurotoxicity. In the most dangerous category, they included heroin and other opiates, and cocaine. Alcohol was also placed in this category because of its strong toxicity, its potential as a social hazard and its "very strong" addictiveness. In the middle category they placed stimulants such as amphetamines, hallucinogens and tobacco--largely because of its "very strong" addictiveness and toxicity. The authors point out that government’s base their decisions whether or not to prohibit a drug on its ability to induce dependence. They conclude that the official classification for some drugs is incorrect." These are two very different sides.

Yet another online site says, "Health officials in Geneva have suppressed the publication of a politically sensitive analysis that confirms what ageing hippies have known for decades: cannabis is safer than alcohol or tobacco.

According to a document leaked to New Scientist, the analysis concludes not only that the amount of dope smoked worldwide does less harm to public health than drink and cigarettes, but that the same is likely to hold true even if people consumed dope on the same scale as these legal substances.

The comparison was due to appear in a report on the harmful effects of cannabis published last December by the WHO. But it was ditched at the last minute following a long and intense dispute between WHO officials, the cannabis experts who drafted the report and a group of external advisers.

As the WHO's first report on cannabis for 15 years, the document had been eagerly awaited by doctors and specialists in drug abuse. The official explanation for excluding the comparison of dope with legal substances is that "the reliability and public health significance of such comparisons are doubtful". However, insiders say the comparison was scientifically sound and that the WHO caved in to political pressure. It is understood that advisers from the US National Institute on Drug Abuse and the UN International Drug Control Programme warned the WHO that it would play into the hands of groups campaigning to legalise marijuana.

One member of the expert panel which drafted the report, says: "In the eyes of some, any such comparison is tantamount to an argument for marijuana legalisation." Another member, Billy Martin of the Medical College of Virginia in Richmond, says that some WHO officials "went nuts" when they saw the draft report.

The leaked version of the excluded section states that the reason for making the comparisons was "not to promote one drug over another but rather to minimise the double standards that have operated in appraising the health effects

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