5 Things the Corporate Media Don't Want You to Know About Cannabis
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They concluded, "Cannabis appears to have different effects on lung function to those of tobacco."
Predictably, the scientists' "inconvenient truth" was not reported in a single media outlet.
3. Cannabis Use Potentially Protects, Rather Than Harms, the Brain
Does smoking pot kill brain cells? Drinking alcohol most certainly does, and many opponents of marijuana-law reform claim that marijuana's adverse effects on the brain are even worse. Are they correct?
Not according to recent findings published this summer in the journal Neurotoxicology and Teratology.
Investigators at the University of California at San Diego examined white matter integrity in adolescents with histories of binge drinking and marijuana use. They reported that binge drinkers (defined as boys who consumed five or more drinks in one sitting, or girls who consumed four or more drinks at one time) showed signs of white matter damage in eight regions of the brain.
By contrast, the binge drinkers who also used marijuana experienced less damage in 7 out of the 8 brain regions.
"Binge drinkers who also use marijuana did not show as consistent a divergence from non-users as did the binge drink-only group," authors concluded. "[It is] possible that marijuana may have some neuroprotective properties in mitigating alcohol-related oxidative stress or excitotoxic cell death."
To date, only a handful of U.S. media outlets -- almost exclusively college newspapers -- have reported the story.
4. Marijuana Is a Terminus, Not a 'Gateway,' to Hard Drug Use
Alarmist claims that experimenting with cannabis will inevitably lead to the use of other illicit drugs persist in the media despite statistical data indicating that the overwhelming majority of those who try pot never go on to use cocaine or heroin.
Moreover, recent research is emerging that indicates that pot may also suppress one's desire to use so-called hard drugs.
In June, Paris researchers writing in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology concluded that the administration of oral THC in animals suppressed sensitivity to opiate dependence.
Also this summer, investigators at the New York State Psychiatric Institute reportedin the American Journal on Addictions that drug-treatment subjects who use cannabis intermittently were more likely to adhere to treatment for opioid dependence.
Although a press release for the former study appeared on the Web site physorg.com on July 7, neither study ever gained any traction in the mainstream media.
5. Government's Anti-Pot Ads Encourage, Rather Than Discourage, Marijuana Use
According to a new study posted online in the journal Health Communication, survey data published by investigators at the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania found that many of the government's public-service announcements actually encouraged pot use.
Researchers assessed the attitudes of over 600 adolescents, age 12 to 18, after viewing 60 government-funded anti-marijuana television spots.
Specifically, researchers evaluated whether the presence of marijuana-related imagery in the ads (e.g., the handling of marijuana cigarettes or the depiction of marijuana-smoking behavior) were more likely or less likely to discourage viewers' use of cannabis.
Messages that depict teens associating with cannabis are "significantly less effective than others," the researchers found.
"This negative impact of marijuana scenes is not reversed in the presence of strong anti-marijuana arguments in the ads and is mainly present for the group of adolescents who are often targets of such anti-marijuana ads (i.e., high-risk adolescents)," the authors determined. "For this segment of adolescents, including marijuana scenes in anti-marijuana (public-service announcements) may not be a good strategy."