Lifelong Study Of Cannabis Users Shows No Decline In Physical Or Mental Health
I couldn’t tell you the number of people I’ve met who shrink away from marijuana like it’s the Ebola Virus capable of raining down terrible calamity upon its users. Lung Cancer, impotency, infertility, lowered I.Q.; those who have serious qualms against the herb being legally administered in any mode are quick-to-the-hip when voicing the potential for harm presented to one’s body that is tandem with cannabis consumption.
Recent studies, however, are being added daily to bolster the arsenal of benefit provided by pot that negate urban legends spread by prohibition front-benchers like former U.S. president Ronald Regan who infamously cautioned the nation, “I now have absolute proof that smoking even one marijuana cigarette is equal in brain damage to being on Bikini Island during an H-bomb blast,” further inseminating the false notion of marijuana’s inherent risk and ingraining the unfounded claim as an absolute truth to unquestioning citizens worldwide. Despite such baseless claims, as the stranglehold on the restrictions of cannabis research loosens, people are beginning to ask questions and it’s the answers provided by research such as that conducted by Dr. Madeleine H. Meier and her team of medical professionals that are leaving those who sympathize with Regan’s stupendous allegation awkwardly toe-kicking the dirt.
The longitudinal study, which followed 1037 Dunedin, New Zealand residents, set out to examine the associations between cannabis use and the user’s overall well-being over a 20-year period of smoking; as well as testing for a variety of physical health indexes during early mid-life.
Participants of the study were followed between the ages of 18 and 38 with the objective of discovering whether regular cannabis use over the two decade period was associated with poor physical health at age 38- even after controlling for tobacco use, childhood health, and childhood socioeconomic status. Tests were also conducted to determine whether cannabis use from ages 26 to 38 years was associated with individual health decline using the same measures of health at both ages.
Obtaining laboratory measures of physical health (periodontal health, lung function, systemic inflammation, and metabolic health), as well as self-reported physical health at ages 26 and 38 years, the frequency of cannabis use and dependence was also assessed at the ages of 18, 21, 26, 32 and 38.
The results of the study found that, while 20 years of smoking doobs was indeed associated with poorer periodontal health, (gum health), at age 38 smoking weed was unrelated to other physical health problems and the subjects who smoked their whole life were no more unhealthy than those who did not smoke.
I wonder if Ronald Regan feels foolish now?
If so, the shame is well warranted. This study is neither baseless political tactic, nor is it one of a kind; it’s simply part of the kaleidoscope of potential presenting a fascinating scope that is bringing the black and white assertions of the reefer madness regime crumbling to the ground.
Another such study that is blasting away the pillars of this longstanding, politically propagated ignorance further exposes the familiar taste of foot-in-mouth that such vocal cannabis opponents must be currently feeling, by indicating that lifelong marijuana use does anything but cause brain damage.
The researchers of this particular study set out to examine a cohort of 5,115 multi-racial men and women aged between 18 to 30 years from March 25, 1985, to June 7, 1986; following up the subjects for over 25 years from June 7, 1986, to August 31, 2011 in an attempt to estimate the cumulative years of exposure and to assess associations with cognitive function at year 25. Three domains of cognitive function were gauged during the final year of the study- verbal memory, processing speed and executive function. In a similar fashion to the New Zealand study, independent variables such as demographic factors, cardiovascular risk factors, tobacco smoking, use of alcohol and illicit drugs, physical activity and depression were all used to acquire precise results.
At the end of the study it was observed that while long-term cannabis use did affect verbal memory, (no secret to seasoned stoners), it did not appear to affect other domains of cognitive function such as processing speed and executive function.
So, Ron, it appears that you were not only incorrect, but that you flat out lied. Not only is smoking pot far healthier than basking in the radiance of a thermonuclear blast, but lifelong tokers fare no worse than non-smokers when it comes to overall well-being.
In any regard, the irony of a tobacco- smoking President who is frequently seen in pictures with a distinguished pipe hanging from his mouth; who is best known for his connection to the tobacco industry after appearing in a series of magazine ads from the '50s that show him toking on a Chesterfield; cautioning to the world the mortal danger of marijuana is laughable at best.
It would have been more relevant for the former U.S. leader to compare tobacco use to thermonuclear radiation.
While it’s no secret at all that that tobacco is an extremely vile, addictive and lethal product, directly responsible for a worldwide tally of six million deaths per year and a who’s who list of smoking related illnesses to boot, a widely under-reported fact about tobacco is its propensity to cause a thinning of the brains cortex.
What exactly does that mean?
Well, being that the cortex is where important thought processes such as memory, language and perception occur, essentially it means that smoking tobacco leads to a decline in mental health.
Maybe old Reag’s was himself in a dilapidated mental state when he decided to throw his two-cents into the ring and weigh in on the war on drugs? Maybe he was paid off by Chesterfield to lobby against marijuana in an effort to somehow boost tobacco sales, or maybe the old fella just wanted to reinforce the “credibility” of his own “Just Say No” anti-drug campaign.
While all of that is, admittedly, unsubstantiated conjecture, (just like Reagans own claim), one thing is painfully obvious: those who link cannabis use to a decline in physical and mental health are ignoring scientific observation that states otherwise.
That being said, in an err against presidential caution, it’s about time for me to take a trip to Bikini Island. I’ve heard the views there are breathtaking…
Gotta run for now.
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