Written by Roger Morgan, Founder, Take Back America Campaign. firstname.lastname@example.org
Proponents of “medical marijuana”, boast it is a cure for everything from ADHD to cancer. That flies in the face of scientific evidence to the contrary. Research should continue on the extracts of cannabis that have shown therapeutic value, but the whole crude plant is rightly categorized as a Schedule I drug because it has no accepted medicinal value, and it has high potential for harm. The harms were well documented 40 and 50 years ago. The harms are worse today because the psychoactive content (i.e. THC) has soared to heights heretofore unknown.
In 1976, Dr. Akira Morishima,[i] renowned authority on cytogenetics, did a study of cells in healthy males who smoked from two joints a week to others who smoked one joint a day for over four years. While the normal human cell has 46 chromosomes, he discovered that weekend smokers had only 20 to 30 chromosomes, about the same as a frog. Daily smokers had as few as 5. Morishima stated, “…In my 20 years of research on human cells, I have never found any other drug, including heroin, which came close to the DNA damage caused by marijuana.” His studies were done in 1973, when the THC content was only ½%. Today in smoked form it can be as high as 37%. In wax form used for dabbing, close to 100%.
Over 300 follow on studies between 1975 and 1989 showed how cannabinoids affect the cells. The research revealed THC caused mutations to sperm;[ii] sexual dysfunction;[iii] still births or death just after birth of 44% vs 12% normal, and all studies showed that for babies that survived, THC produced premature, low-birth weight and smaller than normal offspring;[iv] 38.8% defective menstrual cycles in pot smokers compared to 12% normal;[v] decreased blood flow to the Placentia, which means decreased nutrition to the developing baby;[vi] 57% of pot smokers’ babies exhibited fetal feces and required oxygen resuscitation at birth vs 21% normal;[vii] pot smoking during pregnancy was as strongly or more strongly associated with adverse fetal effects than Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (i.e. small eye openings, broad low nasal bridge, low set ears, small head size and cardiac murmurs);[viii] and severe brain defects caused by abnormal sperm and chromosomes. Further, the cannabinoids transmitted abnormalities across generations. In one case a fetus had no skull, and the brain was just covered with skin and the only one exposed to THC was the grandfather, showing the fetal damage can stem from either parent.[ix] The THC content during this era ranged from ½ to 4% THC. Now fast forward.
In August 2012, Dr. Psychoyos at U of Texas San Antonio revealed that the THC analogues contained in today’s high potency pot (20%), and synthetic drugs like Spice, can harm embryonic development and destroy a fetus even two weeks after conception, before the mother even knows she is pregnant. Five years of research revealed “…..marijuana exposure during pregnancy has been associated with anencephaly, a non-sustaining life condition where a large part of the skull or brain is absent, neurobehavioral deficiencies, such as deficit hyperactivity disorder, learning disabilities and memory impairment in toddlers and 10 year olds, as well as neuropsychiatric conditions, including depression, aggression and anxiety in teens.”[x] There is dramatic need to enlighten young people of child bearing age about the harms of marijuana use during pregnancy by the mother, as well as the potential harms from sperm and chromosomal mutations in the male.
Dr. Bertha Madras, Professor of Psychobiology at Harvard Medical School, points out that marijuana damages connectivity in the hippocampus, the critical area of the brain for learning and memory. Further, she advises that the impacts on the offspring of marijuana using parents range from impaired mental development and verbal ability up to age 4, impaired sustained attention and increased impulsivity and hyperactivity, impaired executive function, visual problem solving and increased hyperactivity as a child moves into adolescence. These children are also more susceptible to become marijuana and drug users themselves, so the cycle continues.
The chief fatty organs of the body are the 3 lb brain (1/3rd fat) and the gonads (sexual organs). Because THC, a toxin, remains in the body so long, and accumulates with each additional joint, it is a major cause of testicular cancer in males 20-35 years old. As it collects in the brain, it adversely affects short term memory, cognition, productivity, ability to learn, and motivation. During adolescence particularly, when the brain is developing, marijuana reduces white matter and shrinks the hippocampus, as stated by Dr. Madras, the learning, memory and cognition center of the brain. It can cause irreversible brain damage and loss of IQ by as much as 8 points later in life.[xi] The brain isn’t fully developed until roughly age 25, and prior to that time it is more susceptible to harm. The younger one starts, the worse the damage.
Unlike alcohol, which has one chemical and is excreted from the body in hours, marijuana is a fat-soluble, fat loving toxin consisting of 61 cannabinoids and over 400 chemicals which turn into 2,000 chemicals when smoked. It takes 3 to 7 days for the body to rid itself of one half the THC, and roughly 30 days for the balance. “There is no other drug – legal or illegal – that stays in the body as long as cannabis does. And there is no other drug which effects every major organ of the body, every system of the body, and every cell in the body.” 
Marijuana has also been declared a causal factor in psychosis, including schizophrenia and paranoia. It causes depression, often leading to suicide. Cannabis induced psychosis were factors in numerous acts of violence, including the Tucson and Aurora shootings, the Pentagon shooting, the Boston Bombers and numerous others. Jails are clogged with people who are deemed mentally unfit to stand trial, and remain there for 2 to 3 months at tax payer expense owing to lack of beds in mental institutions. Due to the potency of today’s marijuana, there were 465,000 ER visits in 2012, second only to cocaine, and more people in rehab for marijuana than all other drugs combined.
Marijuana is a gateway drug. It doesn’t kill by overdose, but the vast majority of the 105 Americans who get high, and/or make money on those who wish to do so. Almost all of the 105 Americans who die every day of drug overdose started their drug journey with marijuana. 9% of adults and 17% of those under 18 years old who use marijuana will become addicted to it. The age groups with the greatest consumption are 18-25, followed by 12–17, both under the threshold of a mature brain when they are most vulnerable to the harms.
While cannabis extracts, like the cannabinoid CBD, have demonstrated very favorable outcomes in treating epileptic seizures, reducing spasms in MS victims and possibly even in retarding cancer cells, the entire plant has no place in modern medicine, particularly in smoked form. Those who fail to recognize the difference, including Dr. Sanjay Gupta and CNN, do mankind a tremendous disservice by misleading the public and encouraging more people to use the drug. The marijuana being fraudulently sold as medicine in the U.S. is largely bio-engineered to be high in THC content and very low in CBD, as the real intent is to get high, or make money on those who wish to do so.
Of all the scientific evidence of the harms of marijuana, cellular damage may portend the most onerous outcomes, for current users and future generations. “…..Marijuana, causes genetic damage ….. to the existing users and their unfortunate offspring …. and contributes dramatically to the degeneration of the human race.”[xii] The outcome of 18 to 19 million Americans who currently use marijuana has dire implications for the future of America.
Note: Many of the references cited below are available in a booklet published by Peggy Mann, now deceased, called MARIJUANA: The Myth of Harmlessness Goes Up In Smoke. The booklet is available on the Take Back America Campaign Website (www.tbac.us) under editorials.
[i] Dr. Akira Morishima, Columbia U College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York City
[ii] De. Marietta Issidores, one of Europe’s eminent cell biologists study in Greece.
[iii] Dr. Robert Kolodny, Reproductive Biology Research Foundation, St. Louis.
[iv] Dr. Ethel Sassenroth, UC Davis Primate Research Center, Davis Calif.
[v] Dr. Joan Bauman and Dr. Robert Kolodny
[vi] Dr. Paige Besch of Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas.
[vii] Dr. Klaus Staisch, Obstetrician at UCLA.
[viii] Boston City Hospital of 1,690 newborns
[ix] Dr. Susan Dalaterio, U of Texas San Antonio.
[x] Science Daily, Dr. Delphine Pschoyos (August 2012). High Potency & Synthetic Marijuana Pose Real Dangers
In first weeks of pregnancy.
[xi] Dr. Marc Seal, U of Melbourne. August 2012. APP article. Combined study with NIDA.