Despite new research in the form of a quite extensive study finding that marijuana smoking does not damage lungs in the same fashion that tobacco smoking does, the Los Angeles Times posits that the scientific facts of the matter are unlikely to change the minds of those who insist that marijuana use — even medical use which supplants more dangerous prescription drugs — must remain illegal under all circumstances.
The study showed that lung function declined with increased exposure to tobacco smoke. However, that same pattern was not seen with marijuana smoke. There was no evidence of lung function damage with seven joint years (or smoking one joint a day for seven years.) After 10 years, there was some decline in lung function as measured by the speed at which a person can blow out air.
Advocates of decriminalization were quick to point out that lung irritation can be mitigated by alternate forms of ingestion…
“To those familiar with the science of cannabis, JAMA’s [Journal of the American Medical Assn.’s] findings should come as no great surprise,” said Paul Armentano, deputy director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, in a blog post. He adds that marijuana can be used in ways that avoid most lung irritation.
“. . .ingestion of cannabis via alternative methods such as edibles, liquid tinctures, or via vaporization — a process whereby the plant’s cannabinoids are heated to the point of vaporization but below the point of combustion — virtually eliminates consumers’ exposure to such unwanted risk factors and has been determined to be a ‘safe and effective’ method of ingestion in clinical trial settings,” Armentano said.
While a number of states in the US have legalized the use of marijuana for medical purposes, and have greatly relaxed the criminal penalties for recreational use, the anti-drug establishment — with both overt and covert support from those who profit from keeping marijuana criminalized, from Big Pharm (the hugely profitable prescription drug industry) to the violent criminal cartels that would vanish without the harsh anti-drug laws that essentially keep them in business — has barely moved an inch in the last half-century, maintaining the same arguments many who are now senior citizens heard in ludicrous and wildly unrealistic anti-drug hysteria films — arguments largely unsupported by scientifically arrived at facts…
However, the National Institute on Drug Abuse maintains marijuana is dangerous on many other levels, such as by impairing driving […]
While it’s probably inarguable that it is possible to smoke so much marijuana that one’s driving is impaired — this writer can’t help but look at the big picture — states which have legalized medical marijuana (despite the US federal government’s insistence that it has sole jurisdiction over marijuana criminalization) report a 9% reduction in fatal traffic accidents.
Read more in Time Magazine: Why Medical Marijuana Laws Reduce Traffic Deaths
Read more in the Los Angeles Times: Marijuana lung findings unlikely to change minds