Exposing ‘Potent Pot’ Myths (Part 3)
UPDATE!!! UPDATE!!! (AGAIN)
I’ll be appearing live this afternoon on the Dr. Drew (Pinsky) Live nationally syndicated radio show to discuss this issue further. I will be appearing at 12:35pm pst (3:35pm est), just minutes after Drug Czar John Walters, who no doubt will claim that supposedly ‘potent pot’ supposedly causes brain damage, depression, addiction and every other malady known to man.
Several media outlets, including the influential Huffington Post, have run with my rebuttal to last week’s Associated Press story regarding the federal government’s specious claims of ridiculously potent pot.
My personal favorite: Today’s op/ed in The Daily Mississippian, which is the daily newspaper for the University of Mississippi. For those who don’t know, the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy is home to NIDA’s Potency Monitoring Project, the very group responsible for this questionable ‘study.’
Let’s hope that Dr. ElSohly and all of his PMP colleagues read the morning paper!
It’s just come to my attention that the following essay is making waves at the Office of National Drug Control Policy, where the Drug Czar’s minions have actually taken the time to respond to it. Now, I know that nobody actually reads the Drug Czar’s blog on their own, so here’s the link. (You can also read Russ Belville’s excellent deconstruction of the Czar’s reply here.)
As Gandhi once said, “First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win.” Well, I guess it’s safe to say we’re at the stage where they finally fight! You know what comes next.
‘Potency pot’ is all hype
via The Daily Mississippian
by Paul Armentano
Government claims of highly potent pot must be taken with a grain of salt (“Marijuana THC potency levels highest in 30 years,” June 16, 2008). As is the case with any black market commodity, definitive facts are difficult if not impossible to come by.
That said, even by the University of Mississippi’s own admission, the average THC in domestically grown marijuana — which comprises the bulk of the US market — is less than five percent, a figure that’s remained unchanged for nearly a decade.
By contrast, the average strength of imported cannabis has grown in recent years. Nevertheless, non-domestic marijuana comprises only a small fraction of the domestic market. To imply that this rare, unusually potent cannabis is reflective of what is typically available on the US market is highly (and purposely) misleading.
Furthermore, it must be noted that THC — regardless of potency — is non-toxic and incapable of causing a fatal overdose. Currently, doctors may legally prescribe a FDA-approved pill that contains 100 percent THC, and curiously, nobody at the University of Mississippi or at the Drug Czar’s office seems particularly concerned about it.
It should also be noted that most cannabis consumers actually prefer less potent pot, just as the majority of those who drink alcohol prefer beer or wine over hard liquor. If and when consumers encounter unusually strong varieties of marijuana, they adjust their use accordingly and smoke less.
Of course, if lawmakers and government researchers were really concerneda bout potential risks posed by potent marijuana, they would support regulating the drug, so that its potency would be known to the consumer.
So if today’s pot is essentially the same plant it’s always been with any marginal increase in potency akin to the difference between a cup of tea and an espresso why is the government claiming otherwise? Mainly to scare parents, particularly those millions of parents who may have, without incident, experimented with marijuana in the 1970s, when they were about the same age as their children are today. Fortunately for them, while the feds’ latest “reefer rhetoric” may sound alarming, there’s little substance behind the hype. June 17, 2008