Join 3,561 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Is there anything it can't do
February 23, 2005 8:10 PM   Subscribe

It seems that marijuana may have yet another medicinal purpose. A recent study has shown that cannabinoids may slow the development of Alzheimer's. With so many states voting in medicinal and/or decriminalization laws, can legalization be that far away?
posted by Mr_Zero (38 comments total)

 
Great post. I hope it gets legalized. It's about time.
posted by alteredcarbon at 8:12 PM on February 23, 2005


Crap, first post and I screwed up. The correct link is here.

If anyone can fix the link in the original post I would appreciate it.
posted by Mr_Zero at 8:17 PM on February 23, 2005


All the anecdotal proof I need: I stopped smoking pot two months ago after moving from Canada to Mexico and my memory and mental functioning has decreased dramatically.
posted by glider at 8:18 PM on February 23, 2005


It makes you high too.
posted by wfrgms at 8:24 PM on February 23, 2005


Legalization won't happen in the near future. At the federal level, it'll be around 2015, at the earliest. States like Alaska or Nevada are a different story. In the Presidential election last November, Alaskans rejected a proposal to treat marijuana like alcohol, 55.75 to 44.25%. As per age breakdown, voters aged 60+ were something like 70+% against. Not to be crude, but in some states, it's just a matter of time.
posted by Gyan at 8:26 PM on February 23, 2005


How are you so sure those younger people will not change their minds when they get older? People who were in college during the 60s and 70s are now some of those "older voters". People who are pro drugs may even be more likely to die young (drugs and other reckless behavior) pushing the older = more conservative theory even further.
posted by sophist at 8:49 PM on February 23, 2005


Here is a list of the states that currently allow marijuana for medical purposes. Unless they are wrong or out of date, Arizona, Maine, Washington, Oregon and Nevada all have laws on the books.

The problem here is that while state law may protect you, federal law does not. I remember a case from Southern California where a prominent grower with a medical card was prosecuted by the feds, and lost.
posted by sophist at 8:57 PM on February 23, 2005


Ye gods! As if we needed more evidence of the criminal stupidity of prohibition. Science has no place in politics, everyone knows that. Don't you filthy swine realize only fools and communists would dare disagree? What we need in fucking divine intervention. Only Jesus himself has the authority on this matter, and the stupid prick won't even return our calls. We're screwed.

(a poor imitation of the Good Doctor indeed, but I needed to fill the void)

Buy the ticket, take the ride. Mahalo.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 9:23 PM on February 23, 2005


Do you ever get the feeling that pot slows the development of most things?
posted by The Cardinal at 9:23 PM on February 23, 2005


Legalization of what? There is already a "medical marijuana" pill available in the United States: Marinol.
posted by crazy finger at 9:29 PM on February 23, 2005


Um, is it just me, or does anyone else have the munchies?
posted by berek at 9:59 PM on February 23, 2005


sophist: How are you so sure those younger people will not change their minds when they get older?

Some might, but we're talking on the scale of 5 years. Support among 18-29 voters was around 60% for legalization. So 5 years will mean new voters in that block which is predominantly pro, reduction in the block that is predominantly anti. Voters aged 30-45 are also more ambivalent than older voters. But all this obscures the real difference, which is, that with the advent of Internet and spread of a global awareness, opinions aren't as defined by govt. propaganda as earlier. For example, the 1971 Schaffer Commission appointed by Nixon, recommended decriminalization, the 1988 hearings by DEA judge Young recommended that marijuana be rescheduled, making it prescribable medically. But those recommendations weren't effected since they were formally non-binding and public opinion, which was a factor, was shaped by mainstream media. Dissemination of such information depended on the formal media. If you heard it there, you knew about it, else your opinions wouldn't be updated. In fact, in 2002, a Canadian Senate committee recommended that marijuana be legalized. But you will struggle to find many American media sources that covered that aspect of the committee report. Now, with the blogosphere and Internet firmly entrenched; with the adolescent demographic much more at home with online non official information outlets, it'll be easier to create and maintain a pro-cannabis sentiment. The 60s analogy does not strictly apply since marijuana was associated with a counterculture, which is not such a strong dependency today.

People who are pro drugs may even be more likely to die young (drugs and other reckless behavior) pushing the older = more conservative theory even further.

Marijuana is not associated with increased mortality. More than half of all drug users use only marijuana. Use of drugs associated with overdose potential or acute toxicity like heroin, cocaine, meth..etc is about 1/10th or less relative to marijuana. I think you are sterotyping drug users. The primary thing common to illicit drugs is that a)they're illcit b)they alter your consciousness or mood in one way or another. But their specifics, like toxicity, addiction potential, chronic use dangers, are vastly different.

crazy finger: There is already a "medical marijuana" pill available in the United States: Marinol.

Marinol is oral THC. There is evidence that other cannabinoids modulate marijuana's effect. Dose is hard to titrate since onset takes much more time. Effects are different, as well. Cannabis plant extracts are preferred. Marinol costs more to procure, compared to pot.
posted by Gyan at 10:02 PM on February 23, 2005


What we need is the return of the Freak Power ticket. Divide the mainstream vote and bring the freaks and disenfranchised to power. The parties are too divided now to pool their resources like they did in the 1970 Aspen Sheriff election.

Perhaps if we had issues and candidates young people actually cared about, they might come out and vote.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 10:20 PM on February 23, 2005


"cannabinoids may slow the development of Alzheimer's."

It's probably too late in my case, but it might be worth a try.

And yes to what Gyan said. I think. Where am I again?

/cry for help
posted by davy at 10:32 PM on February 23, 2005


Do you ever get the feeling that pot slows the development of most things?
Who's doin' what now?
posted by hellbient at 10:44 PM on February 23, 2005


It won't become legal in the USA until long after it becomes legal in Canada. Same as with gay marriage. The USA is a follower in social justice, not a leader.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:56 PM on February 23, 2005


I never equated pot use with other drug use, and am fully aware of the differences between them. What I suggested was that breaking the law for recreational purposes would indicate less regard for other laws, such as speed limits. There is a possibilty this broad, unfounded assumption is incorrect, and I thank you for bringing it to my attention.

I think you are right about the effect the Internet has had in weaking the affect of gov't propaganda, and I sincerely hope we will see more states slowly allowing marijuana for medical purposes. Maybe someday this will lead to broader drug reform across the board. The last candidate that spoke of legalization was Nader though, and we all know how well that went.
posted by sophist at 11:11 PM on February 23, 2005


Thank you, who ever fixed the link.
posted by Mr_Zero at 11:11 PM on February 23, 2005


sophist

I second that. Speeding is a gateway crime. :-)
posted by Mr_Zero at 11:15 PM on February 23, 2005


Sophist, the former GOP governor of New Mexico was an advocate of complete legalization and regulation of drugs. This position is not necessarily the political anathema you take it for.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 11:30 PM on February 23, 2005


sophist: What I suggested was that breaking the law for recreational purposes would indicate less regard for other laws, such as speed limits.

Depends, as always. Someone may very well think that pot is not reckless behaviour, but speeding is. There'll be people who smoke weed but dare not touch even LSD. It's not a reckless disregard of the law, just a selective malalignment. For sure, smokers of illicit pot will have demonstrated that their behaviour isn't dictated by the law.

[fuck]: the former GOP governor of New Mexico was an advocate of complete legalization and regulation of drugs. This position is not necessarily the political anathema you take it for.

Actually, it is. The fact that you showcase it, indicates that it is an exception. There are 100 senators and 434 reps. Quote just 20 who advocate reform.
posted by Gyan at 11:40 PM on February 23, 2005


Gyan, what I meant is that someone can get elected holding these views. We just need more candidates from the established parties with integrity and conviction to run for office promising reform. Ok, so maybe that is like getting blood from a stone, but it doesn't damage my underlying point. It's not certainly political suicide.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 11:46 PM on February 23, 2005


[fuck]: what I meant is that someone can get elected holding these views.

Are you sure he opened his mouth before the election?
posted by Gyan at 11:54 PM on February 23, 2005


He did. Not before first being elected to public office, but before becoming govenor.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 12:01 AM on February 24, 2005


So, we can expect the Reagan family to come out for legalization now, right?
posted by Kirth Gerson at 4:41 AM on February 24, 2005


Does it really slow Alzheimer's or is just that it is hidden by the fact that everybody becomes "Dude"?
posted by srboisvert at 5:48 AM on February 24, 2005


Do you ever get the feeling that pot slows the development of most things?
Who's doin' what now?
posted by hellbient


Winner!

Seriously, legalize it. I get a lot more calm and understanding when high, and I don't endanger anyone's life.
posted by tr33hggr at 6:26 AM on February 24, 2005


I'm taking a course in Information Sciences, and last week we had a guest lecturer from the faculty in this department who specializes in health information. One of the things she was speaking about was how librarians and information specialists promote the dissemination of information, and she gave as an example the medical literature that indicates that the utility of cannabinoids in various treatments.

It was interesting to see an academic promoting the use of cannabis, in contrast to the usual stoners who sit around and whine about the Man demonizing the sweet leaf.
posted by bryce at 7:02 AM on February 24, 2005


Nah. They'll let pharma synthesize whatever bits work, then sell it to you at outrageous prices. Then the argument will change from 'gateway drug' to 'putting drug companies out of business and thousands losing their jobs'. Some day, somewhere (probably on your couch,) you will be transformed from an amotivational drag on society into an economic terrorist while fast-forwarding through the ads on your old tape of Simpsons reruns.
posted by trondant at 7:22 AM on February 24, 2005


Bryce: I suspect a lot of information professionals know the power of the weed, seeing as how they are dependent on actual *information*, as opposed to simple religious argument or otherwise handed-down dogma such as "drugs are bad". You might be surprised.

I figure that eventually enough people who smoked pot in the 60s or 70s will be in enough physical pain simply from aging that sufficient pressure will be exerted to force legalisation. That's my fervent hope anyways.
posted by stinkycheese at 8:45 AM on February 24, 2005


can legalization be that far away?
Yes, yes it can. Just take a look at the ratio of red states to blue states for an idea of how much change needs to take place before legalization happens. And keep in mind that there are a lot of people in both kinds of states that are opposed.
posted by scottj at 9:57 AM on February 24, 2005


I used to believe the "it's only a matter of time" idea. I now realize that almost everybody since the 60s has smoked pot at some point in their lives, the people in power now have all smoked it, and yet mysteriously there's no interest in legalization...why not? Even if you have smoked it at one time in your life, eventually you start believing the drug war fear mongering again, or you otherwise craft some worldview that supports the status quo. Just like other ways people become more conservative as they get older. Pot reminds you of the crazy days when you were angry and poor and lived in a van. And your friends who still smoke pot are all lefties who live in small houses, drive crappy cars and go to peace rallies with all those other "freaks". There must be something wrong with smoking pot...
posted by jimmy76 at 10:38 AM on February 24, 2005


jimmy76: I now realize that almost everybody since the 60s has smoked pot at some point in their lives.

Except that they haven't. Estimates of total number of Americans, above age 12, who have tried pot range from 70 million to 100 million. The best case puts it at 40% having tried it, the worst case at <30%.
posted by Gyan at 11:29 AM on February 24, 2005


what I meant is that someone can get elected holding these views...It's not certainly political suicide.
How do we know? What politician has dared test this?
posted by hellbient at 12:36 PM on February 24, 2005


Gyan: Except that they haven't. Estimates of total number of Americans, above age 12, who have tried pot range from 70 million to 100 million. The best case puts it at 40% having tried it, the worst case at 3 0%.

I've seen numbers higher than that, at least in Canada, anyway. My point is that trying it doesn't at all guarantee that you support it's legalization, much less push for it politically. And in the States, while people say that the drug war is a failure, it probably succeeds in keeping it out of the hands of average adults, who don't want to hang out on street corners trying to score. As for kids, the drug war is a miserable failure.
posted by jimmy76 at 2:26 PM on February 24, 2005


There are published results (sorry don't have the link nearby) demonstrating THC and derivatives have beneficial effects in models for Huntington's disease as well.
posted by batou_ at 10:50 AM on February 25, 2005


I remember reading that the majority of AARP oldsters were in favor of medical marijuana, but that would make sense, since they probably would be the ones that need it.

Those who bring up Marinol as an alternative should also mention the $15,000 a year cost that comes with it.

When trying to understand the continued War On (Some) Drugs when it is such an obvious failure, the only thing that makes sense to me is that too many people are too dependent on the money involved to want things to change. I wonder how many politicians are bankrolled for their re-elections by drug profits from people who want to maintain the status quo... and their profit margin?
posted by Enron Hubbard at 3:00 PM on February 25, 2005


Bankrolled?

By the DEA. By the cops and townships that use seizure laws as income. By distributors and dealers. By cartels. By pharmaceutical companies. By forestry companies. By the cotton industry. All these groups would be harmed by legalization.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:14 PM on February 25, 2005


« Older Typographica presents...  |  Pam Bricker Passes -... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments