THE NEGATIVE HEALTH EFFECTS OF MARIJUANA.

Kyle Grimshaw-Jones ND, RT www.conscioushealing.com.au

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MAY ALL BEINGS BE HAPPY! - KYLE GRIMSHAW-JONES.

(The quoted points from 1 to 11 are extracted from an article entitled Marijuana and the devastation of personality from Mirikai, pp. 42-43.)

1. In 1978, Dr. Marietta Issidorides of Athens, Greece, one of Europe's most respected biologists, conducted electron-microscope studies on the white blood cells of 40 long-term hashish smokers. €˜We learnt,' she reported, €˜that long-term use of cannabis (the plant from which marijuana and hashish come) deformed a significantly high proportion of the cells. Impaired white blood cells are unable to function properly and protect the individual from infections.'

2. In 1976, Dr. Akira Morishima of New York looked at the white blood cells of 25 apparenly healthy young males who had smoked marijuana at least twice a week for four years. He found at one-third of their cells contained only 5 to 30 of the normal human complement of 46 chromosomes. These are the particles in every cell's nucleus that pass on genetic instructions to the next generation. €˜In my twenty years of research on human cells,' said Morishima, €˜I have never found any other drug that came close to the chromosome damage done by marijuana.'

3. A survey completed earlier this year showed a relationship between marijuana use and cancer. Dr. Josel Szepsenwol of the department of biological sciences at Florida International University injected 216 mice with very small amounts of THC or cannabinol (2 of the 61 cannabinoids, chemicals found only in the cannibis plant) dissolved in sesame-seed oil, once a week. Over 50 per cent developed cancer. Only 4 per cent of the control mice (injected with oil only) developed cancer, a normal percentage for this strain of mice.

4. These research findings are just a few examples of marijuana damage to basic life processes. Since 1975, some 300 studies of cannabis's harmful effects on animal and human cells have appeared in scientific journals. These effects include: faulty division, slowed growth and abnormal-size nucliei in cells, disturbed production of protein, and also damage to sperm cells and ova, nerve and connective-tissue cells.

5. Pioneer marijuana researcher Dr. Gabriel Nahas sums up the central role of marijuana's effects on human cells: €˜The many findings of cell damage caused by cannabis explain all the other damaging effects of the drug - on the lungs, sex organs, brain, immune system. I call the cell damage done by regular pot smoking over the years a slow erosion of life.'

6. In Australia, the 1980 Royal Commission of Inquiry into Drugs found that marijuana use is widespread and increasing. Most Australian users are in the 18-24 age group, and come from all walks of life.

7. Psychological signs of pot impairment are often not slow to appear and, generally, the younger the user the more rapid the onset of damage.

8. Psychiatrist Dr. Harold Voth has studied the psychopathology of marijuana in depth for the past eight years. He defines the pot personality: €˜the most obvious impairments caused by chronic marijuana use are the area of Organic Brain Syndrome (OBS). These include impaired short-term memory, emotional flatness, and the amotivational - or dropout - syndrome. This can progress from dropping out of sports, to dropping out of school, to dropping out of the family.'

Denial. Voth lists other symptoms of pot induced OBS €˜diminished willpower, concentration, attention span, ability to deal with abstract or complex problems, and tolerance for frustration; increased confusion in thinking, impaired judgement, hostility towards authority.'

€˜Another pernicious symptom,' says Voth, €˜is the element of denial - refusal to believe the hard medical evidence that marijuana is physically and psychologically harmful.' He also points out that it takes years of heavy drinking to reach the same point of psychological weakening that marijuana can induce in a matter of months, particular in the case of the very young user.

Unlike the heavy drinker who generally €˜becomes himself again' when sober, the underlying personality structure of the chronic pot smoker seems to change. €˜If someone smokes twice a week or more, sobering up - in any total sense - never occurs,' says psychiatrist John Meeks. €˜Even when not €˜high' he or she remains in a state of subacute intoxication - in most cases, without even recognising this €˜holdover' effect.

9. While alcohol is water soluble and washes out of the body in a matter of hours, cannabinoids are fat soluble and accumulate in fatty sections of the cells and in fatty organs (the brain is one-third fat). Only very slowly do the cannabinoids seep back into the bloodstream so they can be metabolised and eliminated. Thus they act like time-release capsules, constantly emitting subtle intoxication.

10. Studies on Rhesus monkeys carried out by psychiatrist neurologist Robert Heath give further insights into cellular causes of psychological symptoms. The monkeys were exposed to the smoke of two to three €˜monkey-size' marijuana cigarettes (one-quarter the size of a human €˜joint') five days a week, for six months. In each monkey, several thousand brain cells from 42 different area of the brain were examined under the electron microscope. Though there were structural cell changes in all the brain sites, striking impairment was found in the sites specifically related to the typical pot symptoms of apathy and flatness. Dramatic cell impairment was found in the sites specifically related to the typical pot symptoms of apathy and flatness. Dramatic cell impairment was also found in sites correlated with irritability and fear - prominent symptoms of pot-induced paranoia.

€˜I don't know of any other drug, including alcohol,' says Heath, €˜that causes such a wide spectrum of brain changes as we saw in those cells. And today, tens of thousands of teenagers are inhaling proportionately far more pot smoke every day than we gave those monkeys.'

11. People who use cannabis also tend to be tobacco smokers. The tar content of cannabis smoke is at least as much as, and commonly more than, that of tobacco. Regular cannabis users, therefore, run the risk of lung cancer, chronic bronchitis and other respiratory diseases.

12. Adverse reactions to marijuana usage during pregnancy include preterm labour, growth retardation, nervous system abnormalities, embryotoxicity and fetal damage. Studies illustrating the damaging effects of cannabis in the growing human fetus were confirmed later by three independent groups of investigators: in 1986 by Elizabeth Hatch, from Yale University; in 1987 by Melanie Dreher, from the University of Miami; and in 1989 by Barry Zuckerman, from Boston University. In 1989, Zuckerman and colleagues published the definitive paper on the subject in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine. It is strongly recommeded to avoid it completely during pregnancy.

13. Marijuana decreases sperm number and movement, contributing to male infertility.

14. Marijuana acutely impairs the ability of the brain to interpret the outside world as it is, the ability of memory storage, and the ability to concentrate.

15. Marijuana distorts the perception of time and space and should not be used while driving or performing dangerous activities requiring fine motor skills.

(The quoted points 16-18 are extracted from The World & I, published by the Washington Times Corporation, 1990.)

16. In 1975 J. Griffith-Edwards, from Maudley Hospital in London, asked, Will cannabis, which can produce acute disabling mental disturbance, have any likelihood to produce long-term mental disorders, such as schizophrenia, especially if taken regularly in large amounts?

This question was positively answered in 1981 by professor of pediatrics Doris Milman, from Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn, and Jose Carranza, from the University of Texas, who reported observing that marijuana had precipitated acute psychotic states in some of their patients and prolonged psychotic states in others. However, the possibility still remained that the use of marijuana had merely triggered an underlying psychosis in predisposed patients. In 1989 Ulf Ryderg from Karolinska University in Stockholm reported the results of a 15-year follow-up study on Swedish conscripts. The relative risk for developing shizophrenia among high consumers of cannabis (use on more than 50 occasions) was six times greater than in nonusers...

Evidence supporting the view that cannabis can induce long-lasting mental disturbances has now accumulated to the point where it must be seriously considered.

17. ...marijuana products impaired the function of T cells sampled from street marijuana users, decreasing the cells' ability to divide when stimulated by substances foreign to the body...Other investigators reported that the ability of the B-lymphocytes to produce antibodies was impaired by marijuana, and so was the property of the macrophages to migrate to the site of an infection...

Guy Cabral of the Medical College of Virginia/Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond reported that THC impairs the competence of macrophage cells to destroy virus-infected cells and tumor cells. These observations suggested that in patients with an immune system compromised by prolonged marijuana use, the macrophages, rather than destorying the virus as they usually do, may instead incorporate the virus and then carry it throughout the body.

18. A preliminary finding of a high correlation of childhood leukemia with marijuana use by the mother just before or during pregnancy was reported in a 1989 study published in Cancer, by Dr. Leslie Robison from the University of Minnesota Medical School and colleagues... intended to look at the possible effect of pesticides on fetal development leading to conditions for the onset of childhood leukemia, uncovered the correlation with marijuana unexpectedly. Robinson emphasizes that the study is preliminary and needs to be reproduced in other populations.

(The quoted points 19-23 and 25-29 are extracted from The Dope on Pot by Xandria K. Williams, from Australian Wellbeing, No.15, 1986.)

19. Delta-9-THC and the other compounds derived from cannabis ... build up in the fatty adipose tissue, the brain, liver, lungs and reproductive tissue ... This means that if marijuana is taken even as little as once every one or two weeks there is always some present in the body.

20. ...the body levels (of marijuana) tend to increase with each amount that is smoked or consumed. In other words its effect is cumulative and, in this, it is unlike any of the other recreational drugs. This tendency to accumulate in the brain is almost certainly one of the reasons it has such disastrous and long-term consequences on the brain and the psyche.

21. Experiments done on animals (monkeys) have shown that as little as 20 joints over a period of three months can produce changes in brain function that are serious and may be permanent (Heath, Testimony before the Senate Subcommittee on Internal Security. May. ref. 30. pp. 50-70, 1974)...

Using an electron microscope, Heath was able to show the following visible changes in the brain: (resulting from marijuana)

1. Increased width of the synaptic gap (the space between adjacent nerve cells).
2. Abnormal deposits of dense material in and near the synaptic gap.
3. Early signs of nerve cell degeneration (clumping of the synaptic vessels)
4. Disruption of the internal organelles within the nerve cells.
5. the formation of many inclusion bodies within the nuclei of many of the brain cells.

22. Work done on animals has shown that the use of marijuana results in smaller brains, smaller hearts and smaller overall body weight, compared to those of animals not given marijuana. Not only is the absolute size of the brain smaller, but it is also smaller in relation to the individual's total body weight (Fried, Short- and long-term effects of pre-natal cannabis inhalation upon rat offspring. Psychopharmacologia. 40(3): 285-291, 1976).

One of the causes of this is the fact that delta-9-THC inhibits the synthesis of protein and RNA in the brain, especially in the young and in suckling animals (McGeer and Jacubovic, Ultrastructural and biochemical changes in CNS induced by marijuna. ref. 99. pp. 519-530, 1979).

23. At the cellular level the damage done (to the lungs from smoking marijuana) is known as squamous cell metaplasia, a condition which is recognised as being likely to lead on to cancer of the lungs (Tennant et al., Medical manifestations associated with hashish. J. Amer. Med. Assoc., 216, 1965-69, 1971)... Many oter reserachers have found similar results including the breakdown of the air sacs in the lungs, inflammation of the lung tissue, altered cellular appearance and replication, altered DNA (which carries the genetic messages) and precancerous changes.

24. Marijuana increases the pulse and the blood pressure thus increasing the load on the heart (similar to the stress response). So it can be dangerous if used by anyone with high blood pressure, atherosclerosis or cerebral vascular disease (could lead to strokes), or a genetic predisposition to these problems.

25. The use of marijuana can lead to altered hormonal balance, specifically to a loss of up to 45 per cent of testosterone, the male hormone, delayed pubety, and the possibility of faults in the mechanism of normal sexual differentiation.

26. In work done on monkeys... marijuana... is associated with abnormal changes in several... hormones associated with the female reproductive system (Smith et al., Effect of delta-9-THC on female reproductive function, ref. 99. pp. 449-467, 1979)... The use of marijuana by women, at any stage of life leads to a wide variety of hormonal changes and a very real risk of infertility.

27. Studies on monkeys, over several generations have shown that marijuana usage, at a level equivalent to one or two cigarettes a day in humans, led to forty-four per cent spontaneous abortion, foetal death, stillbirth or early infant death, compared to an eight percent death rate in the controls, due largely to pulmonary problems (Chapman et al., Social Behaviour of rhesus monkeys chronically exposed to moderate amounts o delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, ref. 99. pp.693-712, 1979).

This means that the use of marijuana is likely to have serious consequences for future generations, even if the offspring themselves never smoke the stuff.

28. Lymphocytes, the white blood cells that are able to divide and multiply rapidly whenever there is an infection to be fought, do so at only 60 per cent of their normal efficiency in people who have smoked marijuana 4 times a week for one year (Nahas et al., Inhibition of cell-mediated immunity in marijuana smokers. Science 183, 419-420, 1974). This is similar to the effect produced by the immunosuppressive drugs used after organ transplants, or to that seen in patients with cancer.

Other researchers have shown that marijuana seriously alters the activity of the genetic materials, DNA and RNA, and that this in turn adversely affects the ability of the cells to reproduce and to do so correctly...

29. Marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug in the state (of NSW). Of secondary school children, 12 per cent of those in Year 10 use it at least once a week (Homel et al., Survey of drug use by school students in New South Wales. N.S.W. Drug and Alcohol Authority Report A84/5. Sydney, 1984).

30. In my opinion, the best way to resolve the issue of whether legalising marijuana use will lead to an increased incidence and amount of use in the general population in question and what effect this would have, is to observe the historical incidents of the same, or similar events. Without any exception that I have been able to find, the consequences have been a high incidence of individual and social damage. For extensive information on these carefully documented historical incidents please refer to The Decline of Drugged Nations by Gabriel G. Nahas (Canberra Times, 13/10/1988).

Active community participation is a social responsibility which derives from loving all the beings around you. As physical age increases gradiently, the realisation of one's social responsibility of mature guardianship to the next generation does also. To withhold this is to withhold one type of love.

The past lack of this mature guardianship for the current mature generation has unfortunately failed to teach it that role by example. Thus it must be consciously valued, sought out, and created, if the younger generations are to receive this benefit.

One way to repay the precious debt to parents for having received this physical body is to maintain, and teach others to maintain an optimal genetic inheritance for the next generation. MARIJUANA CAUSES GENETIC DAMAGE, AND CONTRIBUTES DRAMATICALLY TO THE DEGENERATION OF THE HUMAN RACE. To allow this degeneration to continue without active participation to oppose it, constitutes a sin of omission of activity.

Unfortunately, the psychological fragmentation, regressive immaturity, apathy, lack of motivation, self-absorption, and compulsive desire for instant gratification which marijuana has been shown to produce in the people who use it, make it more unlikely that they will ever take responsibility for robbing future generations of their birthright - a healthy, and as-near-to-perfect-as-possible set of genes.

If the current trends do not change, then one aspect of the future vision I see is a brain-dead, psychologically fragmented, doped out generation of school leavers emerging with damaged reproductive potential (genetic damage), and poor memories. These people would not be able to reproduce healthy offspring for the next generation of humanity, and would be psychologically ill-equipped for any role of responsible guardianship. The increase in overall human suffering that would result is overwhelming.

I beg you, fellow Australians, World Sovereign Citizens, members of the human race, future parents, to do all in your power to change this future vision, and the trends that would otherwise create it. See instead an emerging generation of dynamic altruistic human beings, capable of mature guardianship, genetic improvement, responsibility to and empathy for the future generations, and responsible custodianship of our precious planetary ecology. See a generation which truly puts love into action, and raises children with a healthy, and as-near-to-perfect-as-possible genetic inheritance.

MAY ALL BEINGS BE HAPPY!