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States Allowing Medical Marijuana Have Fewer Painkiller Deaths

Soulskill posted about 2 months ago | from the but-more-dorito-related-injuries dept.

Medicine 217

An anonymous reader writes: Narcotic painkillers aren't one of the biggest killers in the U.S., but overdoses do claim over 15,000 lives per year and send hundreds of thousands to the emergency room. Because of this, it's interesting that a new study (abstract) has found states that allow the use of medical marijuana have seen a dramatic reduction in opioid overdose fatalities. "Previous studies hint at why marijuana use might help reduce reliance on opioid painkillers. Many drugs with abuse potential such as nicotine and opiates, as well as marijuana, pump up the brain's dopamine levels, which can induce feelings of euphoria. The biological reasons that people might use marijuana instead of opioids aren't exactly clear, because marijuana doesn't replace the pain relief of opiates. However, it does seem to distract from the pain by making it less bothersome." This research comes at a time when the country is furiously debating the costs and benefits of marijuana use, and opponents of the idea are paying researchers to paint it in an unfavorable light.

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States practicing Sharia law... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47792269)

States practicing Sharia law have less faggots dying of aids and molesting children.

Re:States practicing Sharia law... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47792297)

You'd fit right in too sweetheart.

Re:States practicing Sharia law... (1, Troll)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 2 months ago | (#47792447)

AIDS is found in Islamic states, and just ask the 1400 girls radioed over 16 years in Rotherham, England by 8000 Pakistani and Kashmiri men how Sharia keeps children safe.

Congressional Pharmaceutical Complex (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47792273)

You mean the War on Drugs was a complete waste of time and money and ruined millions of peoples' lives for no reason, while funneling billions of dollars a year to ruthless criminal warlords in South America?

Re:Congressional Pharmaceutical Complex (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47792383)

I doubt the war on drugs was only targeted towards Marijuana.

Re:Congressional Pharmaceutical Complex (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47792437)

The War on Drugs was targeted towards societal changes as a way to cut them off by giving a legal means to attack their perceived underpinnings

Marijuana and hallucinogens were seen as being a part (if not the cause) of the societal changes in the 50's and 60's and the laws that set both of those classes of drugs as the most dangerous and addictive were based on the expectations of the conservative norms of the day.

Like so many things it takes decades to reverse the regressive mistakes of panic-driven politics

Re:Congressional Pharmaceutical Complex (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47792683)

Assuming the damage can ever be repaired. Good luck legalizing hallucinogens or getting the anti-terror genie back in the bottle, ever.

Re:Congressional Pharmaceutical Complex (4, Insightful)

flyingsquid (813711) | about 2 months ago | (#47792717)

The War on Drugs has been a failure- it's put millions of people in prison, cost our society billions of dollars, and fueled honest-to-God warfare in South America and Mexico- and Americans are slowly starting to realize this. That being said, I think we're running the risk of having things swing too far in the other direction. There seems to be this attitude out there that pot is harmless, and that's just not the case in my experience. In moderation, it's probably safe. But chronic use- long term use at high doses- seems to really fuck people up. I know people from high school who used to smoke once in a while, and they're fine- productive members of society, good spouses, good parents, etc. I also know people who went on to smoke weed daily for many years... and they're just not all there anymore. They're always in a pretty good mood, but it seems disconnected from what's going around. They're hard to connect to, they can't seem to empathize with other human beings, they seem scattered and their thought processes tend to run wild; there's a lot of creativity but they lack the focus to do anything with it. The PSAs were right: drugs DO fry your brain.

I think alcohol and Prohibition are a good parallel here. Prohibition was clearly a disaster, and when used in moderation, alcohol is harmless and probably even beneficial. But long-term, daily use of alcohol in high volumes can really screw you up. All things in moderation. Just because you can't OD on pot doesn't mean it's safe to take as much as you want as long as you want.

Re:Congressional Pharmaceutical Complex (0)

whoever57 (658626) | about 2 months ago | (#47792969)

The War on Drugs has been a failure

Not sure where you got that from

- it's put millions of people in prison, cost our society billions of dollars, and fueled honest-to-God warfare in South America and Mexico

Exactly -- it's working as planned.

Re:Congressional Pharmaceutical Complex (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47793041)

yes, thank you for demonstrating the step the prohibitionists are taking as a fall-back position to the whole 'that ain't the same pot you smoked back in the day', and 'pot causes mental illness' from their all-or nothing smoke pot and your a dangerous criminal stance

admittedly it is an improvement, but it is disingenuous in that it is just an attempt to maintain a source of cash flow through fear

while I agree that many of the rules regarding alcohol use should apply to marijuana (regulation, taxation, limits on use regarding vehicles), I do not agree that the effects of marijuana use are a dangerous as those of alcohol use

and the use of legal, regulated marijuana is certainly less dangerous that using 'illegal' marijuana in states where you will be subjected to a black market and arrest by law enforcement

it has been demonstrated in Australia (comparing between states where pot is illegal and legal) that the most dangerous and long term effects of marijuana use are in states where it is illegal and arrest leads to poor education and job outcomes

that is to say that the enforcement against the drug is more harmful than the drug

Re: Congressional Pharmaceutical Complex (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47793181)

Those people who smoked daily and "aren't there anymore" probably already had mental issues and would have been the same with or without pot.

  In a lot of those people and we all know or knew some you could tell from a young age they weren't as smart or quick as other people. The weed isn't the cause its just something those people gravitate to.

I call them slow adults. People who can function but have immature attitudes or like immature things. They seem more like kids than adults. Not all of them smoke weed either but a lot of them do.

Re: Congressional Pharmaceutical Complex (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47793265)

I am very offended about what you said; I smoke at the moment for months (I do take breaks) on a daily basis, while I do admit my minds creativity runs while but I find it to be due to Boredom parts of the day. I function very well, I do better work/hobby thing's, heck, 15 minutes after a small smoke I ended up getting a female's number with confidence other than being shy, I know allot of people, smoke simi daily and daily, long term usage without breaks is not good (we call them toke breaks) is needed not because of this product (weed) is because everything needs balance in life, including the flavorful greenies -T/420

Re:Congressional Pharmaceutical Complex (5, Insightful)

LoRdTAW (99712) | about 2 months ago | (#47793723)

" There seems to be this attitude out there that pot is harmless, and that's just not the case in my experience. In moderation, it's probably safe. But chronic use- long term use at high doses- seems to really fuck people up."

Replace pot with Alcohol, cigarettes, HFC's, video games, etc. and its pretty much the same thing. How far can it swing in the other direction? You mentioned alcohol has bad long term effects. But despite this people still drink themselves to death, drive drunk and kill others or get killed, or become a raging ass holes causing mayhem. People still smoke cigarettes despite the exorbitant cost and adverse health effects including cancer. People still drink gallons of soda and sugar crap until their pancreas packs it in and shuts down. People play video games until they loose their jobs, wives, kids and home or in some cases, until they drop dead. There is nothing the government can do at that point other than prohibit it these things and we all know how that works out. It's either all with some restrictions (don't drive and you must be 18 years old).

The people have to be the ones to use judgement. If someone smokes so much weed and they fry their brains then that is their fault. Just like the old 65yo blue collar retiree who spends every night at the bar downing 6+ pints until his liver fails (know a guy who this just happened to. sad). People have to be educated and they have to be smart.

Oh and I can counter your burn out pot head story with an anecdote of my own: I have a friend who at one point worked two jobs and got a degree at the same time. I asked him how he did it his answer was "Copious amounts of marijuana bro." He smokes in the morning, on his way to work while at work and at home. He is very energetic, driven and lively. Quite the opposite of your theory. So it of course depends on the person.

I have also known people who smoked a lot and were fucked up because they were fucked up to begin with. You just always assumed they were messed up because of the pot but meanwhile you never really knew them well enough and they were messed up in the head to begin with. I worked with a kid who would go berserk is he didn't smoke and he smoked all the time. If he drank he was VIOLENT. A night out with him meant he was going to get into a fight and usually win because he was a hulk of a man. Turns out his father was exposed to chemical warfare agents while in nam and had a lot of mental issues including PTSD. His father ambushed him and his mother with a knife thinking they were Vietcong which promptly ended that marriage. He also had a very dysfunctional life and had a lot of really fucked up friends (I mean what friend tells you to fuck their own mother because she thinks your cute and lets you actually follow through? Yea, those were his friends. They gave me the heebie jeebies). The smoking was probably medicating him.

In the end legalizing it will create new problems but they will be far more petty than what we have today. We can rid ourselves of a large amount of violent crime, people in jail and money spent on ruining lives while fattening the wallets of war machine peddlers. I'd rather live in a world full of cheery burnouts than drug gangs chopping peoples heads off with box cutters and chain saws, prisons bursting at the seams with inmates who just become more angry and make plenty of angry new friends they can do business with once they get out and government paramilitary goons wielding surplus military hardware shooting first and asking questions later (oops! no drugs here. Sorry for shooting your dog and father, kids. Have a nice life!). Legalize it, please.

Re:Congressional Pharmaceutical Complex (3, Interesting)

TarPitt (217247) | about 2 months ago | (#47792789)

Like Prohibition - which was not so much anti-alcohol, as a white rural reaction against the growing dominance of urban areas and their populations of (beer drinking) immigrants. It was an early form of our culture wars, with the drugs acting as a proxy for reaction against deeper social changes.

Re:Congressional Pharmaceutical Complex (3, Informative)

mspohr (589790) | about 2 months ago | (#47793697)

The war on drugs is a war on black people. It's a convenient way to lock them up. White people use (abuse) drugs at a higher rate than black people but get busted at a much lower rate.

Re:Congressional Pharmaceutical Complex (2, Interesting)

dpilot (134227) | about 2 months ago | (#47792409)

We will not solve the problem with illegal immigration until we figure out how to do something sane instead of the War on Drugs. Right now the unintended consequence of the War on Drugs is that south of the border, drug lords are about as well (if not better?) funded as the governments, destroying the local economies. Some of the people seeking jobs in those economies end up coming to the US in search of work.

Re:Congressional Pharmaceutical Complex (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47792687)

We will not solve the problem with illegal immigration until we figure out how to do something sane instead of the War on Drugs.

Lol! Thanks, that made my day!

Re:Congressional Pharmaceutical Complex (1)

schlachter (862210) | about 2 months ago | (#47792481)

while funneling billions of dollars a year to ruthless criminal warlords in South America?

...and biotech firms

ruthless criminal (5, Informative)

whathappenedtomonday (581634) | about 2 months ago | (#47792535)

warlords in South America? Don't forget the pharmaceutical industry, and all those other industries that benefit from prohibiting a natural competitor [wikipedia.org] that needs little cultivation because it basically grows like ... well, weed.

Re:Congressional Pharmaceutical Complex (1)

s.petry (762400) | about 2 months ago | (#47792695)

I won't argue that the war on drugs is a huge failure, but that's a different argument in my opinion. The primary argument here is whether or not marijuana legalization has reduced deaths from prescriptions.

Given legalization is extremely new, the conclusion of the article and study is grossly premature. Making matters worse in my opinion, is that the study only looks at a single element of drugs, and not the complete impact.

As with my opening paragraph, I'm not pro drug war or anti marijuana. I simply think that these types of studies would be better to include other impacts, because in 3 years the stats may show something completely different. Studies should include things like crime reduction and savings to law enforcement due to crime reduction, local economy impact (Dorito sales!!), overall health of patients receiving and using medical marijuana, etc...

The war on drugs is a failure for many reasons, and single impact studies won't flesh all of those out.

Re:Congressional Pharmaceutical Complex (4, Informative)

The Good Reverend (84440) | about 2 months ago | (#47793251)

Given legalization is extremely new, the conclusion of the article and study is grossly premature. Making matters worse in my opinion, is that the study only looks at a single element of drugs, and not the complete impact.

California legalized marijuana 18 years ago, in 1996. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C... [wikipedia.org]

Re:Congressional Pharmaceutical Complex (1)

s.petry (762400) | about 2 months ago | (#47793693)

Yeah, and the ATF and DEA were still raiding shops as recently as 2 years ago in spite of California's laws legalizing marijuana. Normalization is not recent.

Re:Congressional Pharmaceutical Complex (1)

rtb61 (674572) | about 2 months ago | (#47793333)

And for all those who die in the interim, 'MEH' something in the hundreds of thousands globally and the tens of millions who continue to suffer in pain but think about the pharmaceutical companies profits, the billions lost (or more accurately left in people's pockets rather than being extorted out to pay for patented pain relief), apparently your thought for them is, 'fuck you there is money to be made' at least three years worth and that's without the lobbyists and a religion based ban, 'WOOHOO" billions more profits.

Re:Congressional Pharmaceutical Complex (1)

s.petry (762400) | about 2 months ago | (#47793711)

I didn't say it was bad to have some statistics, I said it was bad to have this study focus on one statistic. You know as well as I do that if the numbers are off, people against legalization will jump all over the study just to wreak havoc on the legalization. Illegal marijuana was (and in many places still is) a huge revenue source for both the criminal side and the law enforcement side (and yes, we would probably agree that the line between those two elements is crossed very often).

Re:Congressional Pharmaceutical Complex (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47793129)

Unless the tradeoff is that they have more overdose deaths from marijuana...

Re:Congressional Pharmaceutical Complex (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47793257)

I don't believe anyone has overdosed on weed. Ever.

Maybe on Doritos afterward.

Re:Congressional Pharmaceutical Complex (2)

Yakasha (42321) | about 2 months ago | (#47793135)

You mean the War on Drugs was a complete waste of time and money and ruined millions of peoples' lives for no reason, while funneling billions of dollars a year to ruthless criminal warlords in Washington D.C.?

tiftfy.

Re:Congressional Pharmaceutical Complex (2)

penguinoid (724646) | about 2 months ago | (#47793173)

You mean the War on Drugs was a complete waste of time and money and ruined millions of peoples' lives for no reason, while funneling billions of dollars a year to ruthless criminal warlords in South America?

No, it was complete waste of time and money and ruined millions of peoples' lives for the purpose or reducing freedom and privacy, while funneling billions of dollars a year to black ops funding, police department funding, and ruthless criminals everywhere.

Re:Congressional Pharmaceutical Complex (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47793397)

while funneling billions of dollars a year to ruthless criminal warlords in South America?

Ahem! Corrections Corporation of America is headquartered in Nashville, TN.

Perhaps you meant "Southern American" though?

Up is down and hot is cold... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47792295)

At least that seems to be US drug policy
A common painkiller will kill you and a schedule 1 dangerous drug has medical benefits and cannot kill you regardless of dosage

As far as the legal painkiller goes, Acetaminophen can destroy your liver and most NSAIDs increase your risk of stroke

Opioids are the biggest culprit tho, what with their tendency to suppress breathing and cause death with relatively small doses. Add in the tendency to cause physical addiction and long term illegal use of stolen pharmaceuticals or heroin

Are we living in crazy town, or is the will of the people finally being heard?

Re:Up is down and hot is cold... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47792465)

.... most NSAIDs increase your risk of stroke

And kidney failure. And stomach bleeding. And wicked heartburn.

I was taking Aleve according to the directions - one tablet every 12 hours - for a couple of weeks because of a sports injury. My doc checked my kidney function to see if it were alright to continue for a another week. She's stessed not to take any over the counter pain relief for extened periods and if I'm hurting that long, get my ass in to see her.

Although, I think too many pot smokers read too much into the scant studies (non-RTC) about the effects of THC on tumor growth - it does NOT cure cancer or prevent tumors. There are quite a few things smoking (anything) does to one's cardio-vascular system. If pot becomes legal in all states, I hope there are warnings on the marijana cigarettes like there are on tobacco cigarettes.

Wouldn't edibles have the same effect (3, Insightful)

SuperKendall (25149) | about 2 months ago | (#47792597)

If pot becomes legal in all states, I hope there are warnings on the marijana cigarettes like there are on tobacco cigarettes.

Is that as likely to cause cancer? It does seem like smoking anything is a bad idea, but perhaps tobacco has something that makes it more likely to develop issues...

However there's also another way to get MJ into your system, edibles. If you were using it for medical purposes a medicinal brownie seems like a more appealing application than does smoking...

Re:Wouldn't edibles have the same effect (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47792767)

Marijana isn't able to burn as effective as tobacco. So, at least in the Netherlands, you roll a marijana together with tobacco into a cigarette.
tobacco is extra nasty and you could vaporise marijana, however marijana still include tar. Maybe you could scrape of the crystals and disolve it into a liquid and vaporise that.

Re:Wouldn't edibles have the same effect (4, Interesting)

sound+vision (884283) | about 2 months ago | (#47792951)

I'm in the US and have been a daily potsmoker for the last 8 years (barring a few months break). I have never seen tobacco mixed into a joint, not once... it seems to be a European thing. Now, there is the practice of using cigar wraps to roll a "blunt", and sometimes those cigar wraps are made from tobacco pulp, so that could be seen as mixing tobacco with marijuana. I prefer not to smoke blunts, either.

Scraping the crystals (technically trichromes) off cannabis is how hashish is made. Dissolving it into a solvent, then evaporating the solvent, gives liquid hash oil (also called honey oil, dabs, wax). Dabs are becoming more prevalent within the past few years as they are theoretically healthier, having a better ratio of plant material to THC. A recent issue of High Times featured a method of extracting hash oil using drinking-grade ethanol, instead of butane which was the formerly used process. Not only is it less likely to explode, it also placates people who are arbitrarily afraid of "chemicals", so I see dabs gaining massive popularity within the next few years.

Re:Wouldn't edibles have the same effect (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47793159)

I'm in the US and have been a daily potsmoker for the last 8 years (barring a few months break). I have never seen tobacco mixed into a joint, not once... it seems to be a European thing.

What part of the country do you live in? I live on the east coast and we often rolled with tobacco, especially if we were rolling five or ten joints for the night to pass around casually at a party. If the purpose was to get just a few people really, really high then we left it out. It was a social thing.

Re:Wouldn't edibles have the same effect (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47793203)

I'm in the US and have been a daily potsmoker for the last 8 years (barring a few months break). I have never seen tobacco mixed into a joint, not once...

You should get out of the house more then. :)

I do hear it is popular in Europe, but I can only share my personal experience, not speak for them. I got my first surprise with it when some friends of friends from Europe came visiting and passed around a "j". According to them, mixing is popular because the green that is most often available there is about as good as our ditch weed (dry & weak). Just a little tobacco makes it smoother on your throat, helps the J burn even & slow, and if you take a big drag you can enjoy a quick nicotine buzz.

Re:Wouldn't edibles have the same effect (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47793393)

In the 70's and 80's Europeans used tobacco to roll with hashish, which was much more widely available that bud

I met some Australians in the 80's who were stunned that all commercial pot in America was bud (they called it head) and that they were used to getting leaves and buds in the same bag

I have smoked in America (SW) for the past 40 years and have never added tobacco to pot in a joint. The recent trend to wrapping pot in a tobacco skin (often flavored) leaves me cold and I am much more interested in reduced-harm methods like water pipes or vaporizers

fyi, I work in high tech, am very effective and certainly not unusual, if you really knew who all smoked pot you would realize that a great percentage of our national production is enabled by them

Re:Wouldn't edibles have the same effect (1)

afxgrin (208686) | about 2 months ago | (#47793547)

Fuck man we've been dabbing now for a few years. I just toss that extract in my e-cig and vape everywhere and anywhere. Lol mixing pot with tobacco.

Preferential extraction of heavy metals (2)

apraetor (248989) | about 2 months ago | (#47792801)

Tobacco plants pull some very nasty minerals out of soil, such as Strontium-90 and Cadmium. There have been studies done to see whether that effect can be exploited as a means of remediation for contaminated soil. Regardless of those results, the plants themselves are high in heavy metals; the kind of stuff that is no good in your lungs.

Re:Wouldn't edibles have the same effect (3, Informative)

sumdumass (711423) | about 2 months ago | (#47792831)

Smoking pot destroys quite a bit of the supposed good stuff in it. Its really a poor delivery system outside of getting high.

As far as causing cancer, it is a surprisingly low number of smokers who get cancer from smoking. I know it is presented as if you even look at a cigarette, you will get cancer and die, but less than 10% of life long smokers will get cancer. But of people who have cancer, something like 87% of the lung cancer deaths are from smoking and about 30% of all cancer deaths are from smoking. Further, smoking increases your risks of cancer about 23 times that of non smokers so there is a strong tie in with cancer. This is how the tobacco companies were able to refute connections to smoking and cancer for so long and probably why they weren't just shut down completely after losing court battle after court battle.

Now when comparing smoking pot with tobacco, you have to understand that the combustion process changes a lot of the chemicals within the substances, creates new ones by reactions, and it is thought that these changes may modify your risks of cancers and other diseases. Similarly, fire fighters seem to have higher risks of cancers and it is thought because of exposure to smoke and supposedly safe chemicals for fire retardants when burned.

I just wouldn't trust anyone who says it is safe to smoke pot. Maybe it might be less dangerous, but that would mean it would still be dangerous.

Re:Wouldn't edibles have the same effect (2)

TubeSteak (669689) | about 2 months ago | (#47792999)

This is how the tobacco companies were able to refute connections to smoking and cancer for so long and probably why they weren't just shut down completely after losing court battle after court battle.

No. Just no.
The tobacco companies kept the law off them by running a FUD campaign of epic proportions.

They created and paid for think tanks to do research and write papers that refuted scientific fact.
They had an impressive lobbying organization that aggressively lobbied in Washington.
Books have been written about it based on everything that came out in court.

Once the Master Settlement Agreement was made, the tobacco lobbying and FUD money dried up.
The portions of the tobacco FUD machine that weren't dissolved, looked for other sources of income.
I'll leave it as an exercise for the reader to figure out who they're shilling for now.

Re:Wouldn't edibles have the same effect (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47793085)

additionally, almost all marijuana research funded by the US since the 70's (this has changed only recently) has been directed towards proving that it is dangerous

The summation of that research has failed to make a direct correlation of marijuana use and cancer

Re:Wouldn't edibles have the same effect (1)

Yakasha (42321) | about 2 months ago | (#47793225)

I'll leave it as an exercise for the reader to figure out who they're shilling for now.

Considering the revolving door in D.C. + marijuana STILL being schedule I... I'm going to guess... The Feds.

Am I right?

Re:Wouldn't edibles have the same effect (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47793123)

Yes, cannabis oil is very good. Marinol, for example, works wonders.

CBD in cannabis reduces the need for opiates... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47793151)

It's really simple...

Cannabis helps people who rely on opiates in several ways. The "euphoria" is really the least helpful of what cannabis can do for someone in pain.

Number one, the CBD in cannabis is a pain reliever... much more effective than the THC in it.
Two, CBD is also an anti-inflammatory agent which reduces pain for most causes of pain that requires opiates
Three, the CBD in cannabis is a mood regulator

Prohibition, on the other hand... has inadvertently caused the breeders of cannabis to breed the cbd OUT of cannabis. Nice, eh? All this "Save the Children" bullshit has ended up creating cannabis with almost no medicinal properties at all. Lovely.

Get the lead out people and realize your prohibition education on cannabis is wrong... completely wrong. Check out http://thecleangame.net/harlequin for an example of cannabis that does the following:

Increases memory
Erases nightmares from ptsd
Erases social anxiety from ptsd
Increases focus
Increases mood control
Reduces inflammation
Reduces pain
Reduces blood sugar levels
Increases Appetite control

What? That doesn't sound like the weed/pot/marijuana your parents/teachers/friends warned you about? Yeah, 'cause it's not. It's REAL cannabis, not this prohibition junk that's gotten worse and worse for decades. Thanks to all those people who ignorantly believed "Save the Children" campaigns run by people woh knew nothing about the subject at hand. Cute eh? What year is this again??

Wake up folks... there's a brand new world around the corner!

Re:Up is down and hot is cold... (1)

fermion (181285) | about 2 months ago | (#47792579)

Prescription drugs are killing people and have been the gateway drug ever since I can remember. The overuse of perscription drugs lull people into a belief they never have to feel anything, and when they cannot afford the commercial stuff, they get stuff on the street. Common sense laws that could control the way that prescriptions drugs lead to drug abuse have been fought tooth and nail by the the Pharmcos. In places like Vermont, where easy access to drug and guns intersect, the prescription drug abuse problem has skyrocketed.

One big problem we have is of perception. When it became known Rush Limbaugh was a drug addict, because he abused prescription drugs it was like he was a victim, different from those urban people who abused street drugs. it was the same thing, and now we have all these people who think they are not drug addicts because they abuse prescriptions drugs, and then feel like victims of the insurance companies when they have to move to street drugs. We even have people smuggling drugs, like he smuggled Viagra from the Dominican Republic, and become they are prescription drugs they think they are different from those that smuggle cocaine.

Making plants illegal is just silly. Heavily regulating the refining of those plants into drugs makes sense. Tracking prescriptions so we identify those doctors and pharmacies that are providing drugs that are likely to be abused makes sense. But instead we gun people down on the streets, break into peoples home, just because they have ingested a chemical.

Re:Up is down and hot is cold... (1)

budgenator (254554) | about 2 months ago | (#47792795)

Making plants illegal is just silly.

About a silly as a public Elementary School in a declared "Drug Free Zone" growing Poppies in their landscape.

"Drug Free Zone" (1)

jopsen (885607) | about 2 months ago | (#47792897)

...public Elementary School in a declared "Drug Free Zone"...

Of-topic, I've never understood that declaration... it seems to imply that drugs are allowed everywhere else. Which by my understanding isn't the case.
Oh, well... Americans :)

Re:"Drug Free Zone" (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47793199)

There are laws that increase the penalty if they are within a certain distance of a school, hence the designation 'drug free zone', because we are willing to punish people in a more extreme manner if is is 'for the children'

One study that I read demonstrated that most of new york city was in a 'drug free zone' because of the density of construction, resulting in all offenders getting increased sentences

Re:Up is down and hot is cold... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47792741)

Drugged up is drugged up.

LONG-term effects of marijuana

        Reduced resistance to common illnesses (colds, bronchitis, etc.)
        Suppression of the immune system
        Growth disorders
        Increase of abnormally structured cells in the body
        Reduction of male sex hormones
        Rapid destruction of lung fibers and lesions (injuries) to the brain could be permanent
        Reduced sexual capacity
        Study difficulties: reduced ability to learn and retain information
        Apathy, drowsiness, lack of motivation
        Personality and mood changes
        Inability to understand things clearly

Re:Up is down and hot is cold... (2)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 2 months ago | (#47793097)

Drugged up is drugged up.

LONG-term effects of marijuana

        Reduced resistance to common illnesses (colds, bronchitis, etc.)

        Suppression of the immune system

        Growth disorders

        Increase of abnormally structured cells in the body

        Reduction of male sex hormones

        Rapid destruction of lung fibers and lesions (injuries) to the brain could be permanent

        Reduced sexual capacity

        Study difficulties: reduced ability to learn and retain information

        Apathy, drowsiness, lack of motivation

        Personality and mood changes

        Inability to understand things clearly

I thought these were all side effects from reading Slashdot.

Re:Up is down and hot is cold... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47793319)

Started looking into your list, got to the first two items (they seem be be the same one), and found this:
http://www.webmd.com/lupus/news/20030415/cannabis-may-suppress-immune-system

The article goes on to identify what marijuana suppresses is the 'inflammation response', which for the most part is a good thing

probably not going to bother with the rest because they are likely just as full of bull

Re:Up is down and hot is cold... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47793555)

> Reduced sexual capacity

lol now I know this is full of shit. I've had some crazy fun sex stoned.

Re:Up is down and hot is cold... (3, Insightful)

Skynyrd (25155) | about 2 months ago | (#47792757)

Are we living in crazy town, or is the will of the people finally being heard?

We are living in crazy town.
Our representatives don't represent us any more; they obey the special interest dollar.

I don't see a positive future for the US. Either the middle class will continue to get fucked until everybody is at the poverty level (except the uber-wealthy) or there will be a civil war. Neither one will end well. We will continue to be distracted with issues like gay marriage, legal weed, NASCAR and celebrity dating (even though two of those actually matter) until one or the other happens. I am glad I have about 40 years of life left, and didn't bring kids into the world.

How do they sleep at night? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47792321)

In a highly secured luxury residence I guess.

Great - but how many choking deaths? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47792333)

How many choking deaths from people getting the munchies?

Re:Great - but how many choking deaths? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47792933)

Probably less than the number of choking deaths from people puking in their sleep after they take pills with booze.

Re:Great - but how many choking deaths? (1)

PPH (736903) | about 2 months ago | (#47793463)

You can't really dust for vomit.

Neuropathic pain (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47792365)

There is enough research (and I've seen this on myself, when I had trigeminal neuralgia) that marjuana relieves neuropathic pain, on par with opiates (my own comparison is with tramadol). So for a lot of cases it can actually replace opiates, and smoking is a faster way for it to get into your bloodstream than everything except IV injections.

Re:Neuropathic pain (1)

dcollins117 (1267462) | about 2 months ago | (#47793563)

So for a lot of cases it can actually replace opiates, and smoking is a faster way for it to get into your bloodstream than everything except IV injections.

Clearly we need to fast-track the development of IV marijuana. I'll volunteer for any clinical trials.

On a more serious note, I was treated for a while by a rheumatologist that had done a lot of research on pain-killers derived from marijuana. To my knowledge, there aren't any on the market currently, but the research is being done. Finally.

Painkillers, HA! (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47792367)

First mistake, opoids are not painkillers, they're brain killers. They do not affect the pain, they merely mess you up so bad you no longer care if anything hurts.
I'm in constant pain, 24/7, and tried the opoid "painkillers". They also killed my life, I was so brain dead I could accomplish only the bare minimum hygienic tasks.
I got off the opoids (a significant achievement) and started smoking pot to deal with the pain. Sure, it hurts more now, but the pot allows me to deal with it.

And since I live in a State that has not even legalized medical pot due to all the damn liars about the so called "dangers" I'm an Anonymous Coward.
 

Re:Painkillers, HA! (4, Informative)

apraetor (248989) | about 2 months ago | (#47792833)

Opiates and opioids work on several subtypes of opioid receptors, which are present in locations besides the brain. The mu-opioid receptions in the brain are responsible for the sense of euphoria the drugs produce, but those receptors, along with kappa- and delta- variants, modulate nociception (pain sense). If opioids didn't actually work directly on pain then intrathecal morphine wouldn't work as well as it does.

Re:Painkillers, HA! (2)

Rinikusu (28164) | about 2 months ago | (#47793137)

Anecdotally, when I was on Morphine, the pain was still there. It was buried in my brain, but if I looked for it, I found it. Morphine merely allowed me to shunt it off somewhere else. Same with whatever pain meds they gave me post-surgery. I didn't even know I was on pain meds until they started to wear off (about every 12 hours, on the dot). I knew I still had pain deep down, but I just didn't care about it. However, after about 12 hours, I couldnt' ignore it and had to retake.

Now, I'm in constant pain (seriously, dont' ever get run over by a car on a bicycle, it will fuck you up). I've managed to deal with it, medication-free for the past 7-8 years, but occasionally I do eat an edible (once a month or so) when it's just been a physically stressful day and I need something to let me put it out of mind and relax. Cannabis does the trick good enough with no worries of addiction (which runs in my family pretty hardcore).

Re:Painkillers, HA! (1)

SternisheFan (2529412) | about 2 months ago | (#47793345)

Keep on doing what you need to do, Rinikusu. The brain does tend to 'max out' on THC, studies show. Over months of use, the brain will only allow itself to get 'so high', and no more. A person needs to stop using to allow the brain to return close to 'normal. Elsewise, it will max out on a person's ability to fully feel it's effects. Like any drug, it has it's limits.

Re:Painkillers, HA! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47793505)

Another substance, mitragyna speciosa, the kratom tree, has recently come into the FDA's and DEA's sights as being likewise as "deadly" as cannabis and it has, as of now, only come under a US importation ban. It is a Mu and Delta opioid agonist that has been used for centuries by native peoples in SE Asia and Papua New Guinea and has recently shown to be very useful as a safer alternative to opioids as well as lessening anxiety disorders that would otherwise fall under the management of benzodiazepines. It's becoming more and more obvious (to normal people) that our byzantine federal drug system is becoming more a protection racket for the pharmaceutical companies.

Re:Painkillers, HA! (3, Interesting)

SternisheFan (2529412) | about 2 months ago | (#47792943)

Heroin is what all opiate based pain medication is based on. It's all opiates, whether it's a $10 bag of heroin bought on the street, melted on a spoon and transferred to a needle to be injected directly into one's bloodstream, or the painkiller your doctor prescribed. It all has the same effect on the brain. If you are taking a pain killer, you basically are a heroin user. It's all opiates.

20+ years ago, a friend of mine was dieing from stomach cancer. Hospice, home to die. Doctor's gave him 2 months to live, he lasted seven. He had an I.V. drip hooked up to him in his bedroom, a metering device programmed by the R.N. to administer regulated doses of morphine, with a large red button that we could press to give him an extra dose of morphine. The man had bedsores that were excruciating for him to deal with, on top of the stomach cancer pain.

This was in 1992. There was no such thing then as medical marijuana. Whenever that man wanted to smoke pot, we made sure it was there for him, and yes, it eased his pain. There was never a need for discussion of whether it was legal. He needed it, he got it. And pot wasn't as powerful then as todays strains are.

To deny anyone in legitimate legal pain from having access to medical marijuana is a crime against humanity. No politician should have the right to 'decree' that people in pain should be denied easement of their pain, in my opinion.

Legalization of marijuana comes with many caveats. I do not want my bus/cab/train/plane drivers/pilots using marijuana, the THC content of todays marijuana are much stronger than they were back in the 1960's. Someone ingesting THC can 'fade out' while driving, or else we will see more of these type of videos....

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/new... [dailymail.co.uk]

To be made broadly legal will involve a learning curve of laws that will need to be enacted. If your job involves transporting people, pot (like alcohol), needs to be used responsibly, and never 'on the job', especially since today's pot potency is much higher than what it was from days past.

Re:Painkillers, HA! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47793573)

>synthetic cannabis

that's a whole other can of worms son

Re:Painkillers, HA! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47793673)

There are much better medicines for nerve pains than the typical description opioid derivatives. Ask your doctor if you have the money or have an insurance.

From sunny SoCal (2)

fightermagethief (3645291) | about 2 months ago | (#47792375)

Yes, yes it is.
What was the question?

Re:From sunny SoCal (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47792439)

Modding you up as you're the only comment - so far - that's not anonymous!

Who makes these "discoveries" ? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47792411)

And states allowing prostitution have fewer unhappy marriages...

Seriously, who thinks of these shitty conclusions? They can be manipulated in any way..

Re:Who makes these "discoveries" ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47792517)

Thank you for your 'classic FUD', i.e. relating changes in drug policy to fears over societal changes that are unrelated

Here are some other classics you can add, "Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together... mass hysteria! "

The pain is still there. (1)

nospam007 (722110) | about 2 months ago | (#47792419)

We just don't give a shit.

Re:The pain is still there. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47792533)

Marijuana suppresses psychological pain as well. May bite into anti-depressant sales. No way pharmacoms are going to let this happen easily.

But lower pharma profits... (2)

bazmail (764941) | about 2 months ago | (#47792505)

Its business and lobbying. As soon as the meidical marijuana industry puts money into lobbying things will get a lot better for patients.

On the other hand... (1)

thebeastofbaystreet (3805781) | about 2 months ago | (#47792513)

...deaths from pizza overdose are through the roof. Back on the positive side though, delivery companies are doing a roaring trade and pretty much single-handedly saving the economy.

NOT NEWS FOR NERDS (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47792559)

This has nothing to do with Slashdot, other than pushing Soulskill's pro-drug agenda.

EDITORS, DO YOUR FUCKING JOB.

Re:NOT NEWS FOR NERDS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47792631)

In response to America's current drug policies, reality has a pro-drug agenda

'nerds' tend to appreciate analytical process applied to just about anything. Using something like statistical analysis to investigate the outcomes of changes to drug policy on the society that we live in would seem to fall under the 'stuff that matters' tag

I do not see how using editors to blacklist discussions and prevent the transfer of information fits the needs of nerds at all

Re:NOT NEWS FOR NERDS (1)

ganjadude (952775) | about 2 months ago | (#47792917)

A large portion of the tech community smokes pot, something like this belongs here, not every little story on pot but a story this big for sure

Re:NOT NEWS FOR NERDS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47793113)

Fuck off. Pro-drug is a good thing you piece of shit. The war on drugs is an utter failure.

This is Stuff that Matters

Re:NOT NEWS FOR NERDS (1)

SternisheFan (2529412) | about 2 months ago | (#47793303)

Submissions get voted on, it has nothing to do with Slashdot's editors. Their job is to post submissions while editing them so that any mistakes in the submission are corrected. That is why online/print newspapers have editors.

I disagree (5, Insightful)

msobkow (48369) | about 2 months ago | (#47792625)

...marijuana doesn't replace the pain relief of opiates.

No, for many people it's more effective than opiates. I know literally dozens of medical cannabis users who have given up opiate pain killers completely and replaced them with medical cannabis. But it's important to experiment with different strains and find what works for you; all cannabis is not created equal.

Personally, I use Kush and Afghanistan strains and crosses for migraines. Over the years I've tried literally hundreds of strains, and looked into their breeding history, and came to the conclusion that it was Kush and Afghanistan strains that are the most effective for my migraines.

Where an opiate pain killer will dull the pain of a migraine, the proper strain will completely eliminate all migraine symptoms for me within 5-10 minutes of consuming a half gram dose. Triptans, on the other hand, only work half the time and take half an hour to have any effect, if any. Opiates only dull pain and actually make the nausea of a migraine worse because they upset my stomach. Add in the addictive nature of opiates, and I think you can understand why I'd much rather use medical cannabis than prescription opiates for what ails me.

Re:I disagree (1)

budgenator (254554) | about 2 months ago | (#47792755)

I was a burn patient and was prescribed enough morphine to depress my breathing, but that didn't touch my headache. The Nurses looked at me like I was crazy when I asked for tylenol for my headache, but it clobbered the headache.

Re:I disagree (2)

apraetor (248989) | about 2 months ago | (#47792851)

I didn't have extensive burns, just the back of my left hand and wrist, from boiling oil, but I noticed the same thing. Oxycodone (the Percocet variety) did a great job of letting me ignore my hand -- when it wasn't itching like crazy -- but it didn't work for my headaches either. Marijuana definitely worked for both, although I think the effect is something to do with dissociation, at least for me. Instead of the pain being an all-consuming sensation it becomes.. well I'm not sure of the words. After marijuana I can put the pain aside; it's still there, but I become able to ignore it by making an effort.

Re:I disagree (1)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about 2 months ago | (#47793247)

I literally read your anicdotal comments literally once, and must say I literally agree with your experiences. Literally.

Incorrect headline, summary (4, Informative)

wmansir (566746) | about 2 months ago | (#47792697)

This study has been misreported nearly everywhere. The study didn't find states with legalized medical marijuana had fewer deaths than non-legal states. Legalized states continually had more deaths per capita, and both groups had dramatic increased in opiate OD deaths over the period covered by the study. The researchers found OD death rates in legalized states increased ~25% less than expected.

I don't have access to the full study, but this chart included in this Washington Post article [washingtonpost.com] shows both groups OD death rate increase dramatically over time. It's interesting to note the change from 2009-2010, which significantly narrowed the gap between the groups. Prior to that year both groups seemed to be on similar trend lines. That said, groups moved from the illegal to legalized group over the course of the study and I'm not sure if or how the chart was adjusted for those changes.

Re:Incorrect headline, summary (1)

wmansir (566746) | about 2 months ago | (#47792703)

I meant to say states moved from the illegal to legalized group.

No (4, Informative)

kipling (24579) | about 2 months ago | (#47792861)

I don't think so. The JAMA article http://archinte.jamanetwork.co... [jamanetwork.com] does look at longitudinal effects but the 25% figure comes from comparing states with and without. From the abstract:
States with medical cannabis laws had a 24.8% lower mean annual opioid overdose mortality rate (95% CI, 37.5% to 9.5%; P=.003) compared with states without medical cannabis laws.
The common way to statistically analyse the effect of one variable is to model as many variables as the data allows and run a regression to isolate the effect of the target variable.
It may be that there are other problems with the study (e.g. correlations between the variables assumed to be independent) but this isn't one of them.

Re:No (1)

wmansir (566746) | about 2 months ago | (#47793039)

When looking for the WaPo article I linked to I noticed they had added a correction since I first read it:

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story mischaracterized the prescription drug overdose death rates. In aggregate, states with medical marijuana laws had higher death rates than those without, though the authors’ statistical analysis did find that the laws were in fact associated with overall decreases in overdose deaths.

Which means that the idea that legalized states had lower death rates is not true.

Also, the author of the study wrote a piece for the NY Times [nytimes.com] in which he said:

Using death certificates compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, we found that the rate of prescription painkiller overdose deaths increased in all states from 1999 to 2010. But we also found that implementation of a medical marijuana law was associated with a 25 percent lower yearly rate of opioid painkiller overdose deaths, on average. In absolute terms, we estimated that states with a medical marijuana law had a total of about 1,700 fewer opioid painkiller overdose deaths in 2010 than would be expected based on trends before the laws were passed.

Since the author states that all states had increases in OD death rates, the summary's claim that legalization led to "a dramatic reduction in overdose fatalities" is also not true. The "reduction" in OD deaths was due to the difference between the statistically expected death rate in legalized states using the non-legalized state death rate trends compared to the observed death rate. In other words, and being very rough with the math, the non-legalized states had their OD death rates increase 4x, but the legalized states only had a 3x increase, therefore the legalized group had 25% fewer deaths than would be expected if they were following the non-legalized trend.

Reason for replacing opiates - functionality (1)

reve_etrange (2377702) | about 2 months ago | (#47792773)

I think a lot of people replace opiates with marijuana despite inferior pain relief because it's a helluva lot easier to function in a more-or-less normal way on pot than, say, percocet or whatever.

Re:Reason for replacing opiates - functionality (1)

PPH (736903) | about 2 months ago | (#47793429)

function in a more-or-less normal way

Maybe, maybe not. But it is accepted that opiates are more lethal than marijuana. And if some peopleare satisfied with the replacement, that's a step in the right direction from the point of view of death rates.

It appears that the biggest anti-marijuana movement is made up of the drug companies that stand to loose opiate sales to m.j.

Wow! That's a huge breakthrough! (-1, Flamebait)

quietwalker (969769) | about 2 months ago | (#47792945)

You mean people who will even risk death in pursuit of a high will turn towards something that's more easily available, and as a consequence of it's lower lethality, the number of overdoses goes down?

That. is. so. insightful.

As a more serious aside, it's somewhat disingenuous how the topic tries to conflate marijuana use with medical pain relief. Of the listed overdoses, how many of them were legally proscribed, for an actual ailment, and following the prescription instructions properly? How many of them were just people trying to get high.

Listen, we all know what the pro-pot movement is about. It's not medical. Medical usage is being used like a crowbar to pry open the gate on the path to legalization, but we all know the real reason people are behind it. People get medical marijuana prescriptions because they suffer from "not being high all the time," not because of glacuoma or because they want to replace the cotton industry with drug-free hemp.

Right now, the biggest motivator I have for legalizing pot is that I won't have to listen to the liars spouting their hypocrisy any more.

Re: Wow! That's a huge breakthrough! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47793079)

Unfortunately, there aren't any natural cures for being an insufferable asshole.

Re:Wow! That's a huge breakthrough! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47793269)

Wow, talk about speaking truth to power. They are starting to be more honest nowadays, that they really just want the right to get high.
You know, a title like this one would usually get a lot of "correlation is not causation" comments.

Re:Wow! That's a huge breakthrough! (1)

dcollins117 (1267462) | about 2 months ago | (#47793663)

Listen, we all know what the pro-pot movement is about. It's not medical. Medical usage is being used like a crowbar to pry open the gate on the path to legalization, but we all know the real reason people are behind it.

Yes, we all know what's going on. "Medical usage is being used like a crowbar" because that's the only thing that has worked so far. It also has the added benefit of being a factual and legitimate use that people can understand. No one who has experienced pain (everyone has at some point) will question why someone else does not want to be in pain.

I don't happen to have a problem with being a bit disingenuous if that's what it takes. I personally want to see recreational marijuana use legalized in every state.

Re:Wow! That's a huge breakthrough! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47793683)

You're a serious douchebag. There are many people who've never used cannabis in their life until some medical condition arises who are benefiting from it. There is no hypocrisy. Sure, there are recreational users like myself, and I'll never try to convince my doctor to prescribe it to me because I have no medical need for it. But I'll absolutely stand in support of the people who do have a medical use for it. Keeping cannabis as a schedule 1 narcotic is absolutely ridiculous considering alcohol and tobacco are available with minimal restrictions everywhere.

For those that don't smoke... (2)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 2 months ago | (#47793021)

For those that don't smoke...

It relieves pain not because it reduces the pain... but because it allows you to more easily focus on something else. If you're watching a movie for example, it's very easy to get lost in the movie and forget entirely about your bad back, or whatever. It's been used in mediation and religious ceremonies for thousands of years for that very reason.

Along those same lines, if you were abusing Oxy, it would likely help you forget you lost your buzz and make it less likely you'd go for your next hit. I'm not sure on that though, I don't do real drugs.

Anti-opiate forces actually "pro pain"? (3, Insightful)

swb (14022) | about 2 months ago | (#47793063)

There's times I think that the "anti opiate" forces would be against anything that made pain sufferers feel better. It's like there's some kind of morality subtext that's really "pro pain" and opposed to feeling better (unless of course it was due to praying to Jesus).

Re:Anti-opiate forces actually "pro pain"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47793161)

Really? That's easier to believe than what they actually say?
They're against addiction, and they're against recreational drug use. Agree or disagree, why not take them at their word?

Re:Anti-opiate forces actually "pro pain"? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47793313)

Because he's barely scraped the surface of these freaks. Have another bullet point: They're the ones who expect you to die slowly and painfully at the end of your life (God forbid you skip out on it. God forbid you ask them to help pay for all the tubes and shit.) Your pain brings them closer to their god.

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