Alternet.org: The Feds Are Addicted to Pot — Even If You Aren’t

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director December 1, 2009

    Check out this latest request for applications from the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Institutes on Drug Abuse (NIDA):

    Cannabis-related disorders (CRDs), including cannabis abuse or dependence and cannabis induced disorders … are a major public health issue. … Nearly one million people are seeking treatment for marijuana dependence every year and sufficient research has been carried out to confirm that the use of cannabis can produce serious physical and psychological consequences.

    “Currently, there are no medications approved by the Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of CRDs. Given the extent of the use of cannabis in the general population, and the medical and psychological consequences of its use … there is a great public health need to develop safe and effective therapeutic interventions. The need to develop treatments targeting adolescents and young adults is particularly relevant in view of their disproportionate use patterns.”

    In other words, the federal government is spending millions upon millions of your dollars to solicit research to find a supposed ‘cure’ for alleged ‘marijuana addiction‘ — at the same time that it is spending virtually no money on clinical trials to assess the medical value of cannabis itself.

    I try my best to cut through the BS (“One million people are seeking treatment?!” Um, more like 287,933 — and six out of ten of them were referred by the criminal justice system following an arrest.) in my latest Alternet essay, “The Feds Are Addicted to Pot — Even If You Aren’t,” which you can read and comment on here.

    Here’s an excerpt:

    The Feds Are Addicted to Pot — Even If You Aren’t
    via Alternet

    Marijuana’s addiction potential may be no big deal, but it’s certainly big business.

    According to a widely publicized 1999 Institute of Medicine report, fewer than 10 percent of those who try cannabis ever meet the clinical criteria for a diagnosis of “drug dependence” (based on DSM-III-R criteria). By contrast, 32 percent of tobacco users and 15 percent of alcohol users meet the criteria for “drug dependence.”

    Nevertheless, it is pot — not booze or cigarettes — that has the federal government seeing red and clinical investigators seeing green.

    Read the entire article here.

    75 responses to “Alternet.org: The Feds Are Addicted to Pot — Even If You Aren’t”

    1. ray says:

      I did the math and the number quickly drops from 1 million to 115,173 when i took into account the government’s inflated number and people forced into treatment from an arrest. I would also like to know the actual amount of those 115,173 that are being treated for addictions to other drugs as well. I have a feeling that some of these people are in treatment for other dangerous drugs and marijuana gets thown into the mix further inflating the governments b.s. numbers. When are these government agencies going to held accountable for the flat out lies they have been feeding us? We all need to contact our representatives and let them know we don’t believe the feds lies anymore.

      [Paul Armentano responds: You are correct, the actual number of people who voluntarily report to drug treatment for a primary diagnosis of cannabis is actually around 40,000. See:

    2. Michael says:

      Well now…have you ever accidentally hit your funny bone? Of course you have! In 2006 I was involved in a serious vehicle accident which almost ended my life. I was not at fault. Next two years, I struggled through life one day at a time as I went through a long period of traditional medical treatment that included physical therapy and rehabilitation for my injuries, not to mention the pharmacy of Rx prescriptions I took daily to manage everything. The short of the story is that the prescription meds had several unwanted and undesirable side effects. In 2008 I began smoking Marijuana on a semi-regular basis and titrated off my prescription medication. Gradually I began to feel a whole lot better, but of course it took some time to transition from one therapy to another therapy.

      I have permanent Neuropathic pain in my left foot and leg, with a documented disability. After smoking Marijuana my pain diminishes very rapidly. That is, depending upon the strength of the Marijuana, which is always inconsistent here in Georgia, because we don’t have medical marijuana available in the South.

      I, like most “Pot Heads,” became familiar w/ Marijuana at a very early age…perhaps as young as 14. Reflecting back on that early period in my life…I recall being considerably more passive since I was a very Hyperactive risk-taking child. I’ve chilled out considerably since then. I consider Marijuana less harmful than Alcohol, but on the cognitive developing mind of a child…potentially inhibiting normal development.

      Nevertheless, I am older and much more mature now and can think through situations with much more clarity and understanding then I could possibly do in younger years.

      What I know about Marijuana from personal circumstance and experience is that it is very therapeutic. I do not smoke in public, nor around any children. I typically hang out w/ like-minded friends because smoking Marijuana for me tends to bring out more social interaction and harmony.

      I don’t want to go to Jail for smoking a flower that has medicinal benefits that helps me deal with my Neuropathic pain. By the way…I smoked a Joint before writing this comment.



    3. Anonymous says:

      “”the use of cannabis can produce serious physical and psychological consequences.””


    4. Vicky Gallas says:

      I am going to imagine that big pharma is currently developing “intervention” drugs, the federal government is working on a “cure” for marijuana users, and both will soon announce that marijuana users can now be “cured” with a combination of pharmacy drugs and psychological treatment and/or group support. How absurd!

      I give-up on this country. Even if marijuana received legal recognition for individual users it will never receive acceptance. They have too big of a business going between the criminal justice system and the medical field. I really give-up. Perhaps it is time to stop revealing that I’ve smoked for 34 years, on and off depending on other life issues, as all it does is give them ammunition, at least in their own warped minds.

    5. ChronJohn says:

      “sufficient research has been carried out to confirm that the use of cannabis can produce serious physical and psychological consequences”

      We’re still waiting for the results of said research. It will probably be buried or blown wildly out of proportion. It sickens me how much our government operates like a business, protecting its own interests and its own paycheck. I want a government that tells the truth whether it’s politically popular or not. Is that too much to ask? Apparently so.

      “CRDs…are a major public health issue.”

      So major it’s on the lips of every American, right? Hardly. That’s because they’re virtually non-existent. And any adverse affects cannabis MAY ACTUALLY HAVE are, indeed, ignored by most users (and society as a whole) either because they are not significant enough to garnish attention or because we don’t believe a fucking thing the government says about cannabis anyways! So government, TELL THE TRUTH, CONSISTENTLY, and maybe we’ll start believing you! If you really care about the American people, you won’t care about whether or not non-users believe your propaganda. It’s the users themselves whose trust you need. And you don’t have one ounce of our trust. Because you put out bullshit like this. How fucking stupid do they take us to be?

    6. claygooding says:

      Jeez,if a million people are “seeking” rehab,exactly how many are not? I know hundreds of people that smoke,and have never known any that sought rehab. I have only known a few that were required to seek rehab,from a judge or work related requirements.
      This is another of their “spin” moves,trying to throw dust in the air to block our movement,but it ain’t going to work,and since the NIH is under the ONDCP umbrella,it is just their way of fighting legalization,in any way necessary. Lies,false statistics and fke studies,these people will never give up 1/@ their budget without a fight.

      [Paul Armentano responds: “A million” people aren’t seeking rehab. Keep reading the post for the actual figure and explanation.]

    7. claygooding says:

      So pissed,can’t even type.
      “Lies,false statistics and fake studies,these people will never give up 1/2 their budget without a fight.”

    8. MatterofLiberty says:

      We should start asking all these Prohibitionists if they think that Alchohol & Tobacco should be reviewed by the FDA and scheduled according to their margins of safety. What would they say? If the goal of Government is to “protect” its citizens from the negative consequences of substances, then I want to hear their defense as to why they think that the current policy of taxing, regulating and educating the public of two drugs Alchohol & Tobacco, is superior to an “arrest and incarcerate policy” for users and sellers of these two definitively Toxic Drugs that have been proven to have high chance for abuse. Obviously an arrest and incarcerate policy should be superior since it has been SOO effective with the war on Cannabis RIGHT???

    9. Lea says:

      Unfortunately the roller coaster ride is increasingly difficult for me to handle. Those who come here know the truth and yet we’re bombarded by near constant lies from those supposedly in the know, the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Institutes on Drug Abuse (NIDA).
      Thanks for the article Mr. Armentano however I don’t see the light at the end of the tunnel anymore with getting cannabis re-legalized.

    10. merryk says:

      Doesn’t this “search for marijuana disorders” fly in the face of the AG’s directive not to prosecute legitimate medical users in the precious 14 states?

      What is the point of such a study when article after article has shown medical BENEFITS of the drug? What’s next? Aspirin?