Substance Abuse Press Releases

Legalizing Cannabis Increases Black Market Sales (press release)

daggaRegardless of pro-pot activists’ claims in the USA that legalization of dagga (cannabis) will reduce the underground sale of the drug, it is actually increasing. In the state of Colorado, the black market cannabis, which many expected to disappear after the substance was legalized about a year ago, is now thriving.

According to the latest information from the U.S. Forest Service, cannabis is now grown on public land owned by the federal government in the state. Worse, it is controlled by Drug Trafficking Organizations (DTO’s). According to the latest information cannabis production is booming.

Mr. Tom Gorman who heads a multi-state task force called the Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area, said one of the arguments for legalizing cannabis in Colorado and Washington State was actually to reduce the black market. But the facts are alarming. By legalizing cannabis in Colorado, they have become the black market for about 40 other states that they can document. According to Mr Gorman instead of eliminating it, Colorado has now become it. They are also the black market for those people under twenty-one.

Yet, the “War on Drugs have failed” rhetoric echoes throughout the globe as celebrities and politicians jump on the band wagon. These activists, if you want to believe it, even claim legalization of drugs will actually reduce crime, drug deaths, the number of drug addicts and cut government costs, to name a few. Drug legalization/decriminalization is one of the ultimate goals of the controversial ‘harm reduction movement’, despite of its failures world wide.

In the 1970’s, the Netherlands allowed individuals to buy 5g of cannabis at a time. Cannabis use among 18 to 20 year olds consequently increased from 15% to 44%. In 2004 the Netherlands government therefore implemented an action plan to discourage cannabis use and in 2008 Amsterdam started to close 43 so-called ‘Coffee shops’.

According to a 2009 European Survey on Alcohol and Other Drugs (ESPAD), cannabis use among Dutch youth was more than double the European average. The proportion of school children that think regular cannabis usage involves big risks is the lowest in the Netherlands of all countries surveyed. The Netherlands thus moved to close ‘Coffee shops’ within a certain radius from schools and in May 2011 the Netherlands moved to fully ban all tourists from visiting “coffee shops” A Letter from Dutch Minister of Health and Justice stated: “This law will put an end to the nuisance of criminality associated with ‘Coffee shops’ and drug trafficking”

Back in the US the stats don’t look much different. A recent report showed that five months into legal pot sales in Colorado, crime went up in Denver. The total number of reported offenses had increased by more than 10 percent, from 17,450 in 2013 up to 19,234 in 2014. In Aurora, violent crime is up 10 percent so far this year after pot legalization, with sex assaults up 30 percent and aggravated assaults up 24 percent.  In Englewood, robberies have increased 11 percent since 2013, and burglaries are up more than 68 percent.

Another major impact that the legalization of cannabis had in Colorado was an increase in fatal motor vehicle accidents. In an August 2013 report, traffic fatalities in Colorado are shown to have decreased 16 percent, from 2006 to 2011, which is consistent with national trends.  But during the same six years in Colorado, traffic fatalities involving drivers testing positive for just cannabis increased 114 percent. In 2006, drivers testing positive for cannabis were involved in 28 percent of fatal vehicle crashes involving drugs.  By 2011 that number had increased to 56 percent.

Numerous other problems related to drug legalization are also sited by world renowned researchers. Whether Colorado’s legalization experiment will eventually somewhat decrease black market pot, remains to be seen. But studies indicate that, for example, while legalized gambling in the USA decreased illegal gambling – legalization increased the amount of gamblers.

Doctors For Life International finding it increasingly more difficult to see the ethical guidelines the SA government is following (press release)

Against the advice of numerous NGO’s and stakeholders, the SA cabinet recently approved the new controversial National Drug Master Plan (NDMP) that promotes the flawed philosophy of “harm reduction”. Various stakeholders sent numerous submissions that requested “harm reduction” to be removed from the new plan, all to no avail. Decisions like these serve to create the impression that the State is pushing the agenda of a small group of activists.

Even though the term “harm reduction” appears to be a vague, benign term, within the field of substance abuse and policies to combat it, it has a very specific meaning. “Harm reduction” promotes very specific, controversial ideas like needle/syringe exchange programs where the government provides clean needles and syringes to drug addicts, shooting galleries (safe injection sites) or drug substitution therapy like tax free funded drug hand outs, legalizing the use of dagga, and ultimately legalising all drugs of abuse. At the UNODC’s 52nd session of the Annual Commission on Narcotic Drugs (which still stands), major economies like Russia, the USA and China refused to sign the final resolution if the words “harm reduction” were not removed.

The new NDMP claims to promote a so-called “localized” or “South African version of harm reduction” (page 3 of the NDMP). The Plan boldly links two mutually exclusive strategies to fight substance abuse: “harm reduction” on the one hand and on the other hand, the more sensible way of Prevention, Awareness (Education), Supply reduction, Demand reduction and Rehabilitation (Diversion programs and Policing would fall under those mentioned). Although the new NDMP includes some of these strategies in combating substance abuse, its stubborn promotion of the controversial “harm reduction” principles is beyond logic. Whatever the version, the “harm reduction” philosophy remains the same in the NDMP as when used internationally.

In Sweden, harm reduction is still only practiced on an experimental level in about 3 out of approximately 3000 districts. Holland has been closing down their so called “coffee shops” where recreational dagga use was allowed because, as explained in a letter from the Dutch minister of Health and Justice: “..This law will put an end to the nuisance of criminality associated with ‘coffee shops’ and drugs trafficking”

In a recent report Scotland politicians reacted with fury after figures revealed the widespread use of the drug methadone on prescription in Scottish prisons. The methadone failure rate is 97% and now costs Scotland £30million a year. The number of addicts on Methadone increased 400% in a decade. More people are now dying from methadone than from heroin. Scottish Conservative Chief Whip John Lamont said: ”We have a major problem with methadone in Scotland and it needs to be addressed now. The SNP (Scottish National Party) has lazily parked people on the heroin substitute (methadone), giving them no hope of recovery, and now we are paying the price.” Labor justice spokesman Lewis Macdonald said: “With a large proportion of deaths involving methadone, it would appear that the approach being taken to treatment isn’t working properly and fails to prevent addicts combining drugs into lethal cocktails”.

Unless the approved NDMP drastically changed from the final draft, under chapter 4, page 68, the NDMP explicitly states that the South African community has not agreed upon what this so-called SA version of “harm reduction” is. “It is premature to make ‘harm reduction’ one of the pillars of the new Plan, while the NDMP goes on and openly admits that it is controversial and needs more discussion first” said Dr Albu van Eeden, CEO of DFL.

The SA government cannot even handle offering rehabilitation to the existing number of drug addicts, while the NGO sector carries the bulk of the burden. Yet the government has now approved a strategy that can in effect take tax payer money to hand out free highly addictive drugs like methadone, as well as clean needles and syringes to drug addicts. Safe injection sites were also being considered and will cost the country even more.

DFL is disappointed that the SA government has taken the plunge into adopting a weakened and watered down approach of tackling a very real drug problem that has exploded in SA over the past few years. On the other hand, one wonders whether the Cabinet was fully aware of the devastating consequences of the new NDMP when they decided to approve it.

This is clearly no time to allow drug addicts to continue in the misery of their addiction by implementing programs that condone drug use. DFL would therefore like to caution government and the public as the outcome of the current direction in which it has decided to try and curb substance abuse could unintentionally rather prove to be harm production.

DFL represents more than 1400 medical doctors and specialists, three-quarters of whom practice in South Africa. Since 1991 DFL has been actively promoting sound science in the medical profession and health care that is safe and efficient for all South Africans. DFL has played a leading role in combating substance abuse while chairing one of the 9 provincial substance abuse forums in SA for almost 6 years. For more information visit: http://www.doctorsforlife.co.za

Oregon children as young as 7 getting “medical dagga” cards (press release)

Doctors For Life International is appalled by the pseudo science that seemingly makes it possible for even children to use dagga for medical conditions. More than 50 children in the state of Oregon alone, are “medical dagga (marijuana)” cardholders, according to a recent report by ‘The Oregonian’s’, Noelle Crombie. Yet one of the most condemning facts regarding the legalization of dagga is the relationship between schizophrenia and dagga use, which has become dominant in medical literature over the past few years. A recent expert meta-analysis survey of the evidence published by different scientists in different countries state that research “has consistently found that cannabis use is associated with schizophrenia outcomes later in life” (1).

One of the children with a “medical marijuana card” is Mykayla Comstock, a 7-year-old with leukaemia, whose mother and her boyfriend (both long time dagga smokers) feed Mykayla cannabis oil and food laced with dagga. Mykayla has consumed as much as 1.2 grams of cannabis oil in a day, the equivalent of smoking 10 joints. “She was stoned out of her mind,” said Mykayla’s biological father, Jesse Comstock, after visiting her in August. After noticing the strange behaviour in Mykayla, Comstock took her to get examined at a private lab where technicians detected THC levels as high as those of an adult daily user of cannabis. One wonders what her future will be like.

New Zealand study led by an international team found that those who started using cannabis before the age of 18 – during the development of their brains – suffered a significant drop in IQ. This effect could be irreversible and the more that people smoked, the greater the loss in IQ (2). In another study using Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), Australian scientists verified that persistent heavy marijuana use damages the brain’s memory and learning capacity. The earlier people abused cannabis, the greater the damage (3).

Apart from schizophrenia, the following other mental disorders are also known to be strongly associated with cannabis use in that use may cause the mental disorder, precipitate a latent mental illness, or severely exacerbate an existing illness/disorder: Delirium (acute confusional states), cannabis psychosis, other psychoses, anxiety disorders, depersonalization syndrome, depression, suicide and impulsive violent behavior.

It is therefore not surprising that the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP) said in June 2012, that it is concerned about the negative impact of marijuana being decriminalised in some states for so-called medical reasons, on the youth. “Adolescents are especially vulnerable to the many adverse developmental, cognitive, medical, psychiatric, and addictive effects of marijuana”, the statement said. “Of particular concern to our field, adolescent marijuana users are more likely than adult users to develop marijuana dependence, and their heavy use is associated with increased incidence and worsened course of psychotic, mood, and anxiety disorders. Furthermore, marijuana’s deleterious effects on cognition and brain development during adolescence may have lasting implications. The “medicalisation” of smoked marijuana has distorted the perception of the known risks and purported benefits of this drug. Since certain states began permitting the dispensing of medical marijuana, adolescents’ perceptions of the harmful effects of marijuana have decreased and marijuana use has increased significantly.“ (4)

It is important to understand that legislative actions giving access to marijuana, seriously jeopardize consumer protection. Generally, processes or policies for bringing medicines to the public have been established so that science, not emotion, prevails. Medicine needs to come through the medicine control boards of countries to assure safety and efficacy. More importantly, the recent legislative initiatives in some countries to legalize cannabis tend to create medicine by popular vote. Cannabis is not a safe drug and is far from having been demonstrated to be effective. There is no advantage, and indeed there is a disadvantage, to smoking marijuana rather than other available medications. Allowing such legislation to become law is riding a wave of emotion and mob psychology that has been carefully crafted, financed, and driven by the cannabis lobby. They have declared that the medical excuse of cannabis is the battlefield to gain the overall legalization of pot, as seen in Colorado and Washington State. The advocates’ strategy remains the same; play to emotion, overstate the benefits of marijuana, use the medical excuse to get the camel’s nose under the tent and then push for more legal access to pot.

Cannabis advocates allege benefits of marijuana use with little or no clear scientific basis. Neither cannabis nor pure THC has ever been compared to the new anti-nausea medications which are extremely effective. Cannabis can actually enhance pain because of a very narrow therapeutic window. The progression of glaucoma is not slowed, and ophthalmologists do not consider it a reasonable treatment. Cannabinoids may reduce muscle spasm, but they damage gait in Multiple Sclerosis patients. While cannabinoids stimulate appetite, they appear to increase body fat rather than lean body mass. No credible evidence exists that marijuana is beneficial for depression, drug abuse, headaches, or menstrual cramps. Time and again we find that most frequent medical excuse users are young people manipulating the system by complaining of pain syndromes that are usually seen in much older patients

Supporting medical excuse cannabis either reflects serious ignorance of the medical literature, or a malignant misrepresentation of it. Medicine and policy makers must stop this circus of medicine by popular vote which is dangerous, and which plays into the pot of the legalization lobby.

Doctors for Life International, represents more than 1400 medical doctors and specialists, three-quarters of whom practice in South Africa. Since 1991 DFL has been actively promoting sound science in the medical profession and health care that is safe and efficient for all South Africans. For more information visit: http://www.doctorsforlife.co.za

(1) “Cannabis use in young people: the risk for schizophrenia” Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 2011 Aug;35(8):1779-87. Epub 2011 Apr 16. Casadio P, Fernandes C, Murray RM, Di Forti M.
(2) Puplished in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-19372456
(3) MCRI, Melbourne University and Wollongong University. Lead researcher Dr. Marc Seal, from Melbourne’s Murdoch Children’s Research Institute. Published by Medicaldaily.com http://www.medicaldaily.com/articles/11417/20120809/marijuana-brain-damage-memory-learning-drug-habit-addiction.htm
(4) AACAP Medical Marijuana Policy Statement, June 11, 2012
http://www.aacap.org/cs/root/policy_statements/aacap_medical_marijuana_policy_statement

USA targets dagga dispensaries in major crackdown (press release)

Doctors For Life (DFL) has been warning for years that the decriminalisation of dagga, for whatever reason, will simply create a legal avenue for drug trafficking and organised crime. Ignoring such warnings have proved to be disastrous for countries like the USA.

In the eight states that passed “medical marijuana” laws in the USA since 2004, there was a higher prevalence of use and lower perceptions of risk compared to states that had not passed “medical marijuana” laws. A study in the September issue of the ‘Annals of Epidemiology’ found that among youths age 12 to 17, dagga usage rates were higher and perception of risks associated with smoking cannabis were lower in states that had decriminalised dagga (8.6%), compared with those without such laws (6.9%). A similar study of people age 18 and older published in the journal ‘Drug and Alcohol Dependence’, found that the odds of dagga abuse or dependence were almost twice as high in states with “medical marijuana” laws, compared to those without such laws.

It is therefore no surprise that California is finally acting upon what the shocking facts has been telling them. Los Angeles, where city officials have struggled to stop a blooming of dagga dispensaries, is one of their targets. “As today’s operations make clear, the sale and distribution of marijuana violates federal law, and we intend to enforce the law,” U.S. Attorney Andre Birotte Jr. said. California’s four U.S. attorneys pledged in October 2011 to curb pot collectives they said were running afoul of the law by raking in huge sums of money, as well as serving as fronts for drug traffickers.

Over the past several years USA authorities say, dagga growing has also been a factor in a number of home-invasion robberies. Stanislaus County District Attorney Birgit Fladager said, “Clearly, a lot of marijuana is being grown in the Central Valley … and it is destined for the mass market and nationwide distribution, not cancer patients.” If you need more evidence that growing marijuana is a criminal enterprise, look at what those arrested in connection with the plots are carrying; guns, knives and other weapons, and often other drugs. This isn’t what California voters had in mind when they approved the so-called Compassionate Use Act back in 1999.

Although cannabis (dagga) is illegal in the USA, California became the first state to decriminalize the use of dagga for so-called medical reasons back in 1996. But now about 175 California cities and 20 counties have already banned retail pot shops. In one of the most recent bans Los Angeles moved to close down about 900 dagga dispensaries, setting a major precedent. Many cities have struggled with medical marijuana ordinances but none has had a bigger problem than Los Angeles, where pot shops have proliferated.

California is not the only state that allows dagga as a medicine to have major problems. In Colorado a study by the University Of Colorado School Of Medicine, found that nearly three-quarters of teens in two metro-area substance abuse treatment programs, said they had used state approved “medical marijuana” bought at a dagga dispensary or grown for someone else. Only one of the 122 teens in the study who admitted to using dagga was an approved patient. Seventy-four percent of the teens said they had used other’s “medical marijuana”, with a median frequency of 50 times. The report was published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP).

Doctors For Life International would therefore like to urge the South African government to take the necessary measures to keep dagga illegal in South Africa, and not be swayed by individuals who abuse vocal platforms for their own selfish benefit.

Doctors for Life International, represents more than 1400 medical doctors and specialists, three-quarters of whom practice in South Africa. Since 1991 DFL has been actively promoting sound science in the medical profession and health care that is safe and efficient for all South Africans. For more information visit: http://www.doctorsforlife.co.za

Dagga: Forget the Buzz it’s the facts that count! (press release)

News 24 recently featured an article on the decriminalization of dagga (cannabis) by an activist who goes by the name of Buzz. Doctors for Life International is intrigued by the position taken this activist as the whole article seems to be based more on Buzz’ impressions than real facts.

Buzz claims that decriminalizing dagga will:

not lead to a rise in it’s use
will make it possible to control it’s sales
make it less attractive
take it out of the hands of organized crime
To justify his argument he quotes the Dutch government’s liberal policies of quite some time ago on Cannabis and its use.

The opinion negates numerous studies amongst which is the massive, “General Lifestyle Survey of the Office of National Statistics of the British Government 2009”. This study demonstrated for the umpteenth time, a much higher use of legal drugs compared to that of illicit drugs.

The Dutch government started changing their liberal policy on dagga in 2010 by closing down coffee shops (about 43 in Amsterdam alone), forbidding foreigners to go to coffee shops, closing down coffee shops a certain distance from schools etc. The Dutch minister of Health and Justice justified the new trend when he admitted that they had been unable to root out the criminal element in the dagga trade when he stated: “…This law will put an end to the nuisance of criminality associated with “coffee shops” and “drugs trafficking”.

The argument that legalizing dagga will lead to a glut of people growing it for profit, which Buzz rejects, is exactly one of the reasons why the city of Los Angeles in California decided earlier this year to close down all (approximately 900 of them) pharmacies that sold dagga.

The whole idea that we should legalize harmful social practices that we have failed to get rid of while illegal is absurd, to say the least. Throughout the ages virtually no human vices have been completely prevented by making them illegal. But that does not mean we are considering legalizing theft or fraud, or the abuse of women, or even murder for that matter.

One of the most condemning facts against the legalization of dagga is the relationship between schizophrenia and dagga use, which has become dominant in medical literature over the past few years. There is no such association with tobacco smoke and psychosis associated with alcohol abuse only develops after long periods of alcohol addiction.

Dope smokers have been found to inhale deeper than cigarette smokers and hold smoke in the lungs for longer before they exhale. Ammonia levels were 20 times higher in marijuana smoke than in tobacco smoke. Hydrogen cyanide, nitric oxide and certain aromatic amines occurred at levels 3-5 times higher in marijuana smoke. Cannabis smoke contains seven times more tar and carbon monoxide than cigarette smoke.

One is forced to conclude that Buzz’ view represents one of those extreme views that is not based on scientific data, but is rather one of the view points of a small subgroup of society using thumb sucked statistics that suit them.

Doctors for Life International, represents more than 1400 medical doctors and specialists, three-quarters of whom practice in South Africa. Since 1991 DFL has been actively promoting sound science in the medical profession and health care that is safe and efficient for all South Africans. For more information visit: http://www.doctorsforlife.co.za

Letter to the Editor of the Natal Witness on the Legalisation of Cannabis (press release)

The Editor,

It is with interest that Doctors for Life noticed your article on the legalization on cannabis (dagga). It would appear that this article quotes a web post by Dale T. McKinley. Even though I respect Mr McKinley for plucking up the courage to wade into this very controversial issue, I would like to caution him against using medical arguments. If he wants to use emotional arguments and blend them with being politically correct, that’s fine. Also, quoting one doctor does not make your premise medically sound. After all, one will actually be able to even get some doctors who smoke cannabis/dagga themselves, who will try and argue in favor of the so-called “health benefits” of dagga/cannabis. Making use of the odd multiple sclerosis (ms) patient smoking dope to make him/her feel better about their MS also does not ratify it scientifically either. I don’t know whether Mr. Mckinley realizes the implications of the legislation he is arguing for. Would he really want a team of doctors and anesthetists to perform open heart surgery or brain surgery on him while they are high on dope?

I am taking the liberty of commenting on the article as a medical professional, with the hope that my letter will receive the appropriate exposure in order to encourage an open debate on the matter.

In recent years, considerable progress has been made, including the discovery of specific cannabis receptors in the brain. Researchers have also identified THC-like substances produced by the body itself (endocannabinoids) which bind to these receptors. These findings tie in with certain of the effects and side-effects produced by cannabis, above all its effects on psychomotor and cognitive functions and its mood altering capabilities.

When cannabis is smoked, the THC level in the blood rises quickly, reaching its maximum within a few minutes. If the drug is taken by mouth and stomach (e.g. by eating cookies or chocolate containing cannabis), the maximum THC level is achieved after 30 to 60 minutes (depending on whether the taker is fasting or not). The maximum subjective effect more or less coincides with the blood level. The duration of intoxication is directly dependent on the size of the dose.

Cannabis contains more than 400 substances, the best known being the psychoactive tetrahedronannabinols (THC). With a slight generalization, cannabis can be said to produce two kinds of intoxicating effect. On the one hand, there are euphoric and calming effects (similar to those of other drugs with a sedative effect, such as alcohol and benzodiazepines) – the taker experiences calm, relaxation, a feeling of happiness and of distance from everyday life. On the other hand, there are more dramatic impacts on the taker’s emotions and cognitive functions – e.g. fragmentation of thought processes, major disruption of temporal perception, distortion of sensory impressions (sound, touch, light, etc.), reduced ability to maintain attention, considerable deterioration of short-term memory/imprinting ability and, in certain cases, a noticeable introversion and dissociation of the taker from other people. At high doses, there appear – in some people, perhaps not in all – hallucinations and delusions, during which the taker does not, however, lose contact with reality. The THC levels differ in different plants, the different areas the plants may come from and even the different places on one plant where the leaves may be harvested from

CANNABIS IS ADDICTIVE: Cannabis abuse can evolve into cannabis dependence, which is characterized by a compulsive need for the drug, daily or almost daily consumption and difficulties in stopping. The dependence is not only psychological but also physical; the latter aspect is manifested during detoxification as withdrawal symptoms such as moderate anxiety, irritability and sleeplessness. The proportion of cannabis abusers who become dependent has been found to vary considerably in different studies; on average, it is surprisingly high. Of those who smoke cannabis at least once, 10 per cent will develop dependence at some point in their lives. This is one of the reasons why, after the legal status of marijuana was downgraded in Britain in 2005 to a less dangerous Class C drug, in 2008 the legal status of marijuana was re-upgraded again to a more dangerous Class B drug. Cannabis-dependent people are more at risk of being affected by the harmful effects of cannabis smoking, and they are also more likely to move on to other illegal drugs.

CANNABIS AND MENTAL DISORDERS: (This has received an explosion of research across the world over the past 4 years). The following mental disorders are known or strongly associated with cannabis abuse in that the abuse may cause the mental disorder, precipitate a latent mental illness or severely exacerbate an existing illness/disorder: Delirium (acute confusional states), cannabis psychosis, other psychoses, schizophrenia, anxiety disorders, depersonalization syndrome, depression, suicide and impulsively violent behavior.

OTHER EFFECTS OF CANNABIS INCLUDE: suppression of the immune system which in HIV patients can lead to Kaposi Sarcoma, birth defects of babies born to mothers who smoke cannabis, emphysema, bullae of the lungs, tumors of the head and neck, heart disease, testicular cancer, bladder cancer and so on.

THE DANGERS TO NON-USERS: Cannabis use is strongly associated with juvenile crime. Cannabis plays a role in traffic accidents. Some of the most consistently identified problems with marijuana use are the effect on memory, concentration, coordination and reaction time. The effects on driving skills and coordination are extremely serious, and marijuana is regularly implicated in trauma. Since allowing cannabis dispensaries, California has experienced significant increases in cannabis-related trauma, and cannabis addiction cases far greater than the national average. In the USA in 2009, data from the the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration of the USA, showed that marijuana was the most prevalent drug found in drivers involved in fatal vehicle accidents – approximately 28 percent of fatally injured drivers tested positive for marijuana. Cannabis is actually taking over from alcohol as the most common drug involved in motor vehicle accidents in parts of the USA. The implications for accidents in the work place are obvious.

MEDICAL MARIJUANA OR CANNABIS AS MEDICINE: It is most important to understand that legislative actions giving access to marijuana seriously jeopardize consumer protection. Generally, processes for bringing medicine to the public have been established so that science, not emotion, prevails. Medicine needs to come through the medicine control boards of countries to assure safety and efficacy. More importantly, the recent legislative initiatives in some countries to legalize cannabis tend to create medicine by popular vote. Cannabis is not a safe drug, and is far from clearly effective. There is no advantage, and indeed there is a disadvantage, to smoking marijuana over available medications. Allowing such legislation to become law is riding a wave of emotion and mob psychology that has been carefully crafted, financed, and driven by the cannabis lobby. They have declared that the medical excuse of cannabis is the battlefield to gain the overall legalization of pot. The advocates’ strategy remains the same; play to emotion, overstate the benefits of marijuana, use the medical excuse to get the camel’s nose under the tent and then push for more legal access to pot.

Cannabis advocates allege benefits of marijuana use with little or no clear scientific basis. Neither cannabis nor pure THC has ever been compared to new anti-nausea medications which are extremely effective. Cannabis can actually enhance pain because of a very narrow therapeutic window. The progression of glaucoma is not slowed, and ophthalmologists do not consider it a reasonable treatment. Cannabinoids may reduce muscle spasm, but they damage gait in Multiple Sclerosis patients. While cannabinoids stimulate appetite, they appear to increase body fat rather than lean body mass. No credible evidence exists that marijuana is beneficial for depression, drug abuse, headaches, or menstrual cramps. Time and again we find that most frequent medical excuse users are young people manipulating the system by complaining of pain syndromes that are usually seen in much older patients

Supporting medical excuse cannabis either reflects serious ignorance of the medical literature, or a malignant misrepresentation of it. Medicine and policy makers must stop this circus of medicine by popular vote which is dangerous, and which plays into the pot of the legalization lobby.

Smoking any substance causes the smoker to inhale cancer causing substances. It is for that reason that no medicine is administered by smoking it. Dope smokers have been found to inhale deeper than cigarette smokers and to keep the smoke in the lungs longer before exhaling (ammonia levels were 20 times higher in the marijuana smoke than in the tobacco smoke, while hydrogen cyanide, nitric oxide and certain aromatic amines occurred at levels 3-5 times higher in marijuana smoke). Cannabis smoke contains seven times more tar and carbon monoxide than cigarette smoke. According to researchers from the French National Consumers’ Institute, smoking three cannabis joints will cause you to inhale the same amount of toxic chemicals as a whole pack of cigarettes.

SOME ENDORSEMENTS:

Antonio Maria Costa, Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, noted already in March 2007 “The debate over the drug is no longer about liberty; it’s about health.” He continued, “Evidence of the damage to mental health caused by cannabis use–from loss of concentration to paranoia, aggressiveness and outright psychosis–is mounting and cannot be ignored. Emergency-room admissions involving cannabis is rising, as is demand for rehabilitation treatment. …It is time to explode the myth of cannabis as a ‘soft’ drug.”

The American Glaucoma Society (AGS) has stated that “although marijuana can lower the intraocular pressure, the side effects and short duration of action, coupled with the lack of evidence that its use alters the course of glaucoma, preclude recommending this drug in any form for the treatment of glaucoma at the present time.”

Scientists at Sweden’s Karolinska Institute, a medical university, have advanced their understanding of how smoking marijuana during pregnancy may damage the fetal brain. Findings from their study, released in May 2007, explain how endogenous cannabinoids exert adverse effects on nerve cells, potentially imposing life-long cognitive and motor deficits in afflicted new born babies

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) believes that “[a]ny change in the legal status of marijuana, even if limited to adults, could affect the prevalence of use among adolescents.” While it supports scientific research on the possible medical use of cannabinoids as opposed to smoked marijuana, it opposes the legalization of marijuana.9

Researchers from the University of Oulu in Finland interviewed over 6,000 youth ages 15 and 16 and found that “teenage cannabis users are more likely to suffer psychotic symptoms and have a greater risk of developing schizophrenia in later life.”

Robin Murray, a professor of psychiatry at London’s Institute of Psychiatry and consultant at the Maudsley Hospital in London, stated that the British Government’s “mistake was rather to give the impression that cannabis was harmless and that there was no link to psychosis.”

The National Multiple Sclerosis Society (NMSS) has stated that it could not recommend medical marijuana be made widely available for people with multiple sclerosis for symptom management, explaining: “This decision was not only based on existing legal barriers to its use but, even more importantly, because studies to date do not demonstrate a clear benefit compared to existing symptomatic therapies and because side effects, systemic effects, and long-term effects are not yet clear.”

The British Medical Association (BMA) voiced extreme concern that downgrading the criminal status of marijuana would “mislead” the public into believing that the drug is safe. The BMA maintains that marijuana “has been linked to greater risk of heart disease, lung cancer, bronchitis and emphysema.”11 The 2004 Deputy Chairman of the BMA’s Board of Science said that “[t]he public must be made aware of the harmful effects we know result from smoking this drug.”

The American Cancer Society (ACS) “does not advocate inhaling smoke, nor the legalization of marijuana,” although the organization does support carefully controlled clinical studies for alternative delivery methods, specifically a tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) skin patch.

And so the list goes on and on and on.

Even Holland appears to have now started the long road back after having legalized cannabis for some years. In the 1970’s individuals were allowed to buy 5g of marijuana at a time. Marijuana use among 18 to 20 year olds consequently increased from 15% to 44%. In 2004 Netherlands government implemented an action plan to discourage marijuana use. In 2008 Amsterdam started closing 43 coffee shops. Next, coffeeshops within a certain radius from schools were closed in December 2009. In Nov 2010 coffeeshops a certain distance from borders were closed to foreigners. In May 2011 Holland fully banned all tourists from visiting coffeeshops, the reason? Once legalized, the government was unable to separate the criminal element in the trade of cannabis from the legal trade. The coffeeshops had become a legal avenue for some drug syndicates to sell their goods. A letter from the Dutch Minister of Health at the time stated that “…This law will put an end to the nuisance of criminality associated with the coffeeshops and drugs trafficking.”

As mentioned in the beginning of the letter, most if not all of the statements made can be supported by multiple studies, by respected institutions, often representing the official stances of the national bodies of countries.

Dr A van Eeden
(Chief Executive Officer)

Harm Reduction: More than just side effects! (press release)

The recent stance from the managing editor of the South African Medical Journal in favor of the extremely controversial practice of decriminalizing drugs of abuse (Harm Reduction) is both surprising and disconcerting. It shows a mixture of “arm chair medicine”,

News

old

LIFEalerts 25 February 2015

Abortion
No news today

Alternative Medicine
No news today

Euthanasia
France – Parliament begins debate on euthanasia
UK – Lloyd-Webber: I wanted to join Dignitas and die
Canada – Assisted-suicide ban lifted in Canada
South Africa – 1 in 5


dagga

Cannabis: Colorado state releases report

“The committee’s work represents one of the first and most comprehensive reviews to assess the strength of credible scientific literature available today regarding marijuana use,” said Dr. Larry Wolk, the executive director and chief medical officer at the Colorado Department of


Teddy+bear+child+abuse+paedophile

LIFE alerts 20 January 2015

Abortion
USA – Learn the side effects, negative consequences of abortion

Alternative Medicine
No news today

Euthanasia
USA – “Final Exit” leader stripped of medical license

Scotland – Top pathologist against plans to legalise assisted deaths

Belgium – Euthanasia of


porna_2

Pornography, The Battle for your soul – movie trailer


05

Doctors For Life Newsletter, Issue 8 – Dec. 2014

It is with gratitude towards our heavenly Father that I approach the end of 2014. Much has happened during the past year and we thank the Lord for His faithfulness. Again I want to thank all our sponsors, members and


no_porn

Another Victory for DFL as Judge Denies Leave to Appeal in Porn Case

Judge Bozalek yesterday refused Online Digital Media permission to appeal his judgment handed down in the Western Cape High Court on 3 November 2014, in which he ruled that the license issued to ODM (the company which owns StarSat TV


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LIFEalerts 03 December 2014

Abortion

USA – Former abortionist appeals for support for traumatized workersChile – Restrictive abortion laws do not kill women

Alternative Medicine

No news today

Euthanasia

USA – Brittany Maynard dies in Oregon after assisted suicideGermany – German Parliament opposes assisted


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