About the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking of Drugs and the growing debate over the legalization of the most widely used illicit drug in the world, Granma spoke with the renowned professor Dr. Ricardo A. Gonzalez Menendez, consultant of the service for comprehensive care of addictions at the Havana Psychiatric Hospital and Chairman of the National Medical Ethics Committee.
Author: Lisandra Fariñas Acosta | firstname.lastname@example.org
June 25, 2015 23:06:32
A CubaNews translation.
Edited by Walter Lippmann.
For more than 6000 years, the world has known Cannabis sativa and the history of human consumption dates back some 5500 years. Of Asian origin, Cannabis Indicus –its common name- was used for centuries as a textile fiber and its seeds as bird feed. It is marijuana, whose effects were initially considered scarcely dangerous and therapeutically useful, which placed it in the frontline of medications thousands of years ago, but which today are recognized as catastrophic.
It seems paradoxical that in the 21st Century, “the debate over this plant and its effects resembles that of 2000 years ago, the date of Proverbs that clearly indicate divided opinions. For some, marijuana was a passport to paradise, while for others it was a plant that grew along the road to hell. It is extremely worrying that we are now at the same point, when marijuana is a hard drug which is included, along with alcohol and other substances, among the first psychoactive substances capable of significantly transforming human behavior.”
Marijuana is a hard drug which is included, together with alcohol and others, among the first psychoactive substances capable of significantly transforming human behavior.”
This reflection was given to Granma by Dr. Ricardo A. Gonzalez Menendez, consultant of the service for comprehensive care of addictions at Havana Psychiatric Hospital and Chair of the National Medical Ethics Committee when commenting on the current trend around “the ghost” of legalizing marijuana, the most widely-used illegal drug in the whole world.
With over 30 years experience in the treatment and detoxification of addicts, the professor said it was urgent to destroy myths with facts that are established science. There is enough up to date scientific information on the outbreak of schizophrenia, cognitive impairment, carcinogenicity and sudden violence caused by marijuana consumption.
“One argument that has contributed to the legalizing trend is the therapeutic properties attributed to the plant. The list of positive effects range from the attenuation of nausea and vomiting associated with cytostatic serums in cancer patients receiving chemotherapy, references to some decrease in seizure frequency and the intraocular pressure in glaucoma cases, up to analgesic effects and appetite control as well as tranquilizing action, despite being one of the drugs most associated with symptoms of acute anxiety or panic,” said the expert.
Although the macroeconomic and social impact of organized crime is indisputable, proponents of legalization, cannot, by their professional profile, assess the impact at home, work and community of the cerebral effects of this drug that blocks the rational brain and releases the more primitive structures and functions”
Precisely –he said– what happens is that for all these cases there are specific and more effective medications with the huge advantage of being much safer when applying the ethical principle of risk-benefit. “Marijuana, like tobacco, alcohol and all the hard drugs are not isolated and purified active principles, but mixtures of hundreds of chemicals with different effects, often opposite and usually harmful. From this, it follows that the use of the drug as medicine would require a pharmacological high-tech process to demonstrate, separate and produce adequate presentations for consumption, dosage and control of both positive and adverse effects. The final product would be tablets, vials or eye drops and not the absolutely anti-medical way that has been proposed for its use, which is the traditional form of illegal consumption simply growing and smoking marijuana either in the form of leaves, flowers and stems, as resin (hashish) or oil obtained through the same procedures as those used by narco producers and drug traffickers.”
The interviewee said that many honestly think that legalizing this drug is a solution –among them people with high human qualities, but with limited knowledge of the neuro-psycho-physical pathology and the personal, home and community impact of behavior modifying drugs, as well as the micro-paradigms of risk-benefit and accessibility–consumption implicit in such a measure. “They do not know the true face of drugs. Few have been able to interview a patient who feels enslaved wanting to stop using and being powerless, nor a desperate mother who has gone out with a gun to kill the seller who supplied his son, and who is a codependent, almost passive consumer hurt by the addict’s suffering.”
There is enough up-to-date scientific information on the outbreak of schizophrenia, cognitive impairment, carcinogenicity and sudden violence caused by marijuana consumption.”
For Dr. González Menéndez, the contradiction between these two tendencies is not based on lack of human values or the dubious ethics of the proponents, but in lack of knowledge. “Although the macro-economic and social impact of organized crime is indisputable, proponents of legalization cannot by their professional profile, assess the impact at home, work and community of the cerebral effects of this drug, that blocks the rational brain and frees the most primitive structures and functions. It is also naive to expect a reduction of consumption by eliminating the ”attraction of the forbidden” he remarked.
“Consuming marijuana before age 18 reduces up to 10 IQ points, and that is irreversible”
If marijuana is an illegal drug (like many others) it is not by chance but because the extensive damage it causes has been established. “The myth that it is a soft drug without determinant effects of addiction and dependency must be destroyed. Far from it, the percentage of consumers who become addicted and dependent, the little time it takes for that slavery to settle in and the great risks to determine symptoms of irreversible intellectual impairment, treatment-resistant schizophrenia, cannibalistic behaviors and cancer manifestations make marijuana quite hard and destructive drug which can by no means be underestimated. It produces moderate dementia with memory and learning difficulties in adolescents, especially those who began to consume early,” he said.
Professor González Menéndez argues that in today’s science, it is irrefutable what happens in the brain of a human being under the influence of these drugs. “Drugs that modify behavior in a relevant way, that is, from alcohol on, have immediate effects. In mid- and long terms, when consumption is addictive and prolonged, they cause impulsive and irrational instinctive-affective behaviors that are exclusive to animals. This has very little to do with the humanism, ethics and spirituality that everyone expects. “
It is marijuana –even more than the non-social use of alcohol– the true prototype of the “Russian roulette” metaphor in which no one can know for sure when the bullet will fall into the chamber; and when that happens, the effects are usually fatal
“The misuse of these substances implies a profound moral degradation, with the potential to become chronic in the individual case, but it has a generalization potential that would turn it into a macro-social phenomenon of very high relevance, because, when sober, our behavior is cognitive, volitional, rational and controlled. This also brings down the belief that marijuana does not generate violence or criminality. “
The history of these 6000 years of living with marijuana has given exemplary lessons.
Clinical and research experience shows that the much-propagandized ‘consumer placidity’ often and unpredictably is transformed into extreme violence. Therefore, marijuana –even more than the non-social use of alcohol– is the true prototype of the “Russian roulette” metaphor: no one can know with certainty when the bullet falls into the chamber, and when this happens, the effects are usually fatal.
The history of these 6000 years of living with marijuana has given exemplary lessons. Our interviewee remembers that in the early eighteenth century there was an English doctor, O’Shaughnessy, who traveled to India and returned amazed at marijuana’s analgesic properties. He was so enthusiastic that with his influence he managed to get marijuana introduced in the pharmacopoeia of his country. This trend reached the United States. A decade later, England declared it was a mistake to have this substance (“a product with so many dangers”) in their list of medications. A few years later, the United States eliminated it and subsequently, India did the same.
Finally, since 1971, the use of cannabis was controlled through the “Illicit Drugs Act” which prohibited the medical use of both the weed and its active constituents. Its nefarious actions on the human body had eclipsed its possible medical uses. This criterion was emphatically endorsed by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 1997, recognizing that cannabis adversely affects mental health.
The legalization of marijuana is far from being an accurate blow to drug trafficking, and so, as organized crime, how long would it take to replace and compensate the product for other designer drugs?
Physician Jacques Moreau, quoted by Escohotado, had described in 1973 his experiences resulting from the self-administration of an infusion of Sativa Cannabis flowers. He described eight main symptoms observed under the influence of the substance: “Unexplained feelings of happiness, dissociation of ideas, errors in assessing time and space, exacerbation of hearing, fixed ideas, disturbance of emotions, irresistible impulses and delusions or hallucinations”. He suggested that, in some cases, the intoxication caused by this drug could be considered a pattern of psychiatric illness.
The idea that ending the ban would end the lure of the forbidden, and reduce consumption, is absolutely anti-historic. The specialist says that it would be enough to remember London in 1751 when a phenomenon called the gin epidemic inspired Hogarth’s Gin Alley engraving. The work is expressive of the catastrophic effects derived from a certain overproduction of grains diverted to the production of the most genuine and legal drink of the time in that country. A 90% reduction of gin’s price created a flood of eager buyers who –as shown in the engraving– committed every imaginable crime. The consumption of this drink was multiplied by more than five and the tragedy transpired to this day.
Dr. González Menéndez says the legalization of marijuana is far from being a real blow to drug trafficking because organized crime would soon replace the product and compensate with other designer drugs. Can we ignore the consequent risk of a chain of effects that in the long run would make us face the dilemma of having to legalize all drugs, and the resulting immediate extinction of the human species?
The specialist says that the trend –defended by many on the grounds of the right of each person to choose how to live their lives– imposes a reflection: “Doesn’t that right end where the rights of others begin? And what about the cost to the family, and bystanders who die in traffic accidents due to marijuana or other drugs such as ecstasy? Isn’t legalization of marijuana a first step, by necessity consistent with the promotional efforts of health and healthy lifestyles, the promotion of moral values, of prevention of disease and crime, as well as the creation of a better world? Can we thus achieve cultures of higher spirituality, and dismissive of the consumption of substances that degrade our biological, psychological, social and cultural well-being? Can the problem of drug abuse be solved by legalizing consumption without creating truly effective multi-sector systems for the care and comprehensive solution of the multiple effects of drug abuse?”
We live in a world where young people tend to experiment. We fear legalization will determine most unfavorable results once the drug is free from family, school and community censure –together with the higher addictive nature of marijuana compared to alcohol.
Tobacco and alcohol should have taught us something. If with only two legal drugs in the world we lose more than nine million lives each year, do we need another legal drug? Drugs –that do not respect anything, not age or gender, or skin color or culture, ideology, sexual preference or philosophical position– open the doors to more drugs. The success of anti-drug programs depends on our awareness that these toxic substances are a system of substances that associate and reinforce their actions. This demands the indispensable confrontation with all its categories. We must remember the universal principle that the greater the access, the greater the consumption.
According to the World Drug Report 2014, the use of these substances continues to cause considerable damage, reflected in the loss of valuable lives and the productive years of many people.
Author: Lisandra Fariñas Acosta | email@example.com
June 26, 2015 00:06:46
This new International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking -–a day that humanity celebrates every June 26– is dedicated to development for our lives, our communities, and our identity in a world without drugs.
This date established by the United Nations General Assembly in 1987, serves to remind the target agreed by the Member States of the United Nations to create an international society where drugs are not misused. According to the World Drug Report 2014, the use of these substances continues to cause considerable damage, reflected in the loss of valuable lives and the productive years of many people.
“In 2012 an approximate total of 183 000 drug-related deaths were reported (variation margin 95 000-226 000). That figure corresponds to a mortality rate of 40,0 (variation margin: 20.8 to 49.3) deaths per million in the population between 15 and 64 years,” refers the document.
Although this calculation is less than 2011 figures; this reduction can be attributed to the lower number of deaths reported by some countries in Asia.
According to the statistics in this global report it is estimated that in 2012 between 162 and 324 million people, i.e. 3.5% to 7.0% of the population between 15 and 64 years, consumed illicit drugs – mainly cannabis group substances, opium derivatives, cocaine and amphetamine-type stimulants– at least once.
This Friday, June 26, the United Nations reminds everyone that we all have a role to play in protecting youth from dangerous substances.
VIENNA, 26 June (UN Information Service) – In September, leaders from around the world will meet at the United Nations to adopt an ambitious new sustainable development agenda to eradicate extreme poverty and provide a life of dignity for all. This ambition, while achievable, must address various obstacles, including the deadly harm to communities and individuals caused by drug trafficking and drug abuse.
Our shared response to this challenge is founded on the international drug control conventions. In full compliance with human rights standards and norms, the United Nations advocates a careful re-balancing of the international policy on controlled drugs. We must consider alternatives to the criminalization and incarceration of people who use drugs and focus criminal justice efforts on those involved in supply. We should increase the focus on public health, prevention, treatment and care, as well as on economic, social and cultural strategies.
We must address the nexus between illicit drugs and violence, corruption and terrorism. A balanced approach recognizes the close connections between those who traffic in drugs and criminal networks involved in firearms smuggling, kidnapping, human trafficking and other crimes. This work must also include redoubling efforts to prevent the supply of the precursor chemicals that are the foundation of so many illicit drugs.
Promoting international cooperation through the UN conventions on transnational organized crime and corruption is essential to addressing today’s security and development challenges. No criminal should escape justice. The balanced approach calls for unity of purpose within the international community, including the UN, civil society and, most importantly, the world’s nations. No country can work in isolation. Comprehensive and integrated efforts at the local, regional and global levels offer the best hope for dealing with the traffickers, while taking care to protect vulnerable groups and marginalized communities.
Efforts against illicit drugs must be connected to our work to promote opportunities through equitable and sustainable development. We must continually strive to make the weak and fragile stronger. The United Nations General Assembly special session on the world drug problem, to be held in April 2016, can advance this cause, with countries sharing knowledge and forging common solutions.
On the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, let us raise awareness about the value of applying a balanced approach to these problems based on an understanding that sustainable development can and must catalyze change across all these fronts.
Original print edition in PDF:
Author: Francisco Arias Fernández | firstname.lastname@example.org
June 19, 2018 21:06:33
A CubaNews translation.
Edited by Walter Lippmann.
A study by the Institute for High Security and Justice Studies and the French Observatory of Drugs and Drug Addiction (OFDT), which analyzed the impact of the legalization of marijuana in North American states, was published in October 2017. It indicated that, in the USA, this measure contributed to an increase in the consumption of this drug, especially among users over 25 years of age, and led to “a significant increase in hospitalization cases linked to alleged cannabis intoxications”.
The Miami Herald recently revealed that a year and a half after an amendment to the Florida constitution legalized so-called medical marijuana, “the industry is finally showing signs of prosperity. The newspaper reported that some 91,000 Floridians are buying 56 pounds of marijuana weekly with prescriptions from 1,400 licensed doctors.
According to the information, when the medical use of marijuana was legalized in that state in 2016, drug dealers predicted that half a million users would register quickly, and the facts are proving them right, as more and more clinics are opening and customers are arriving by the thousands. The specialized state department said that new users are registering at a rate of 5,400 per week and to “make the process viable” the time to complete the process has been reduced to two weeks.
In this regard, the UN International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) has warned that the increased availability of marijuana, coupled with policies and legislative initiatives to regulate the use of cannabis for medical purposes in some states and for non-medical purposes in others, “has reduced the perception of the risk associated with cannabis use”.
The INCB, the body responsible for ensuring compliance with the international drug treaties, has called for a halt to the advance of legal marijuana, and criticized governments that passed laws in this regard.
Since last year’s report, it warned of non-compliance with international covenants by states that allowed the legalization of marijuana use. “These laws are contrary to international treaties” (Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs of 1961 as amended by the 1972 Protocol), the agency said. It added that “rates of abuse [of drugs] may increase, especially among young people, because legalization measures may influence the way harm is perceived, in the sense that fewer people will consider cannabis to be harmful, highlighting the need for more effective prevention measures”.
Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator
THE WORST ADDICTION CRISIS IN HISTORY
The “medical marijuana” fever that has been legalized in 23 U.S. states (almost half the country) and the “prosperity” of that industry coincide with what a report by the Office of the Surgeon General of the Nation called a “crisis” of addictions in the United States at the end of 2016, characterized by a death from heroin overdose every 19 minutes, more than 27 million people addicted to illicit drugs and medicines, as well as 66 million alcoholics. According to available statistics, “more than half of all new illicit drug users started with marijuana.
The phenomenon prompted President Donald Trump in October 2017 to declare a “public health emergency” in the country over the use of opiates, a substance whose use caused the death of 64,000 people in 2016 and is the worst drug use crisis in “human history”. Over the past six years, overdose deaths have become the most common cause of death from injuries in the United States, over and above traffic accidents or weapons.
If this situation was reached in the United States – among other causes – by a very liberal system of dispensing medical prescriptions for legal opiates to treat chronic pain, where can medical and recreational marijuana fever lead?
The Surgeon General’s Report on Alcohol, Drugs and Health warned that if current trends continue, one in seven Americans will face a problem with addiction in their lifetime, and estimated that the combined annual economic impact of alcohol abuse and illegal drug addiction is $442 billion (the cost of diabetes is about $240 billion).
To complicate matters, many addicts do not go to medical services or treatment because of fear, embarrassment, or discrimination, while another percentage say their level of alcohol or drug use is a problem that requires medical attention. Only 10% of people with addiction problems receive some form of treatment, as some of the health coverage plans do not fully cover doctor visits or medications associated with addiction health services.
It states that more than 40% of people with an addiction suffer from a mental disorder, yet less than half receive treatment for both the addiction and the underlying condition.
On the social impact of the crisis, the document stated that “neighborhoods and communities are suffering as a result of the criminality and violence associated with alcohol and drug use, abuse, child neglect, and the rising costs associated with substance abuse.
INDUSTRY AND BUSINESS FLOURISH
“As the number of people with enrollment cards increases, so does our business,” said the manager of one of the four Miami-Dade County stores, which serves between 100 and 115 customers daily.
The Miami Herald points out that an even more evident indication of the industry’s flourishing is that fairs have been held to offer at least 100 new jobs for dispensaries, they are trying to increase the number of doctors with the course required to authorize patients and the Grow Healthy medical marijuana company was bought by a major New York firm for $47.5 million.
While the conditions are created to continue receiving millions at the expense of these patients, employers are investing undetermined amounts to try to influence lawmakers to sweep away what they see as “a key obstacle,” as the constitutional amendment states that “the only” ways in which medical use of marijuana in Florida is permitted is “in oils, tinctures, sprays and groceries.
The magnates of this business want to expand the universe of consumers and argue that to expand the industry and its profits it is essential to break the ban on smoking marijuana. “It’s just a barrier, but it’s fundamental,” they say, and so they seek to influence public opinion with all kinds of sentimentality, based on the fact that for most people in the United States, smoking is the most familiar form and that medical use was supported by 70% of voters in Florida in 2016.
CANNABIS: MONEY AGAINST HEALTH
Since the late 1940s, the World Health Organization (WHO) concluded that the use of cannabis (marijuana, hashish and hashish oil) was dangerous from all points of view: physical, mental or social. More recently, they were joined by so-called synthetic cannabinoids (synthetic or laboratory marijuana, even more harmful).
It is striking that the media serving the great beneficiaries of business talk more about the supposed therapeutic virtues of these substances than the doctors, scientists and health institutions of the United States or other parts of the world themselves. The Miami Herald newspaper’s own information reported that the doctors were apathetic about using medical cannabis or taking the necessary steps to indicate its use.
For this reason, information on the subject is frequently magnified and distorted, and the Internet is invaded with messages in favor of marijuana, the most widely produced, commercialized and consumed drug in the world.
The merchants of this business do not care about the health or future of their customers, they are interested in money and the present. Annually, the profits of the drug industry, in general, exceed 600 billion dollars and marijuana is an important commodity, whether it is illegal, legal or “medicinal”.
LETTERS POSTED TO GRANMA WEBSITE, AS OF July 1, 2018.
June 20, 2018
Marijuana is fine but we in Cuba sell other drugs because it also gives us money. We know that alcohol is killing people and every day in Cuba is more stimulated to consume it because in all the cafes are sold more than 14 types of drinks and often no food and tobacco as much as you want.
Albert N Jones said:
June 20, 2018
Millions of people suffering from mental illness, addictions and post-traumatic injuries acquired in the wars of conquest in the United States, roam without medical assistance, and are victims of some 35 suicides a day in the country. Of these, hundreds of thousands are Latinos, who were taken to these wars because of the offer to legalize their stay in the country. Today, hundreds of thousands of these men and women roam without professional services in their language to care for their neurological disorders, while in Cuba there are thousands of mental health professionals, facilities and experiences, while thousands of professionals lack well-paid jobs and the country has deprived itself of this substantial economic income.
Jorge Luis said:
June 20, 2018
We all know that any legal or non-legal drug can be addictive and the reason for addiction lies in the physiology of the human body itself. And to avoid this terrible evil, we must educate society and create a socio-economic and educational system that protects citizens from drugs. Capitalism in its essence is a generator of lethal drugs and addictions. The opium war imposed on China is an example, when capitalism is not able to generate profits through honest and clean trade. Today the drug is the oil that is lubricating the machinery of the local economies of many cities and nations, and even many of the large banks have been linked to the laundering of drug money. Drugs are also a macabre and scary method of social control. Some of the black community leaders in the United States have publicly recognized how this evil has destroyed their neighborhoods and have demonstrated that they used to fight for civil and political rights and now fight among themselves for drugs. All this big business is in the hands of an elite or power groups and the proof is that to obtain a permit to grow marijuana you have to pay a six-digit fee so many farmers cannot participate in the lucrative business and this helps to maintain the price of the drug. It is good to remember that societies divided into classes and under strong psychological pressure due to poverty, unemployment and the struggle for survival create an enormous psychological tension in the citizen, so that once he or she uses drugs and this temporarily takes him or her away from the reality that he or she lives to the other fantastic and pleasant reality, it is difficult for him or her to stop being an addict with terrible consequences.
June 20, 2018
Excellent article. Thank you. Thank you. In the media, both hegemonic and “counter-hegemonic” do not say anything. Only apologia, extolling the supposed attributes of cannabis and not informing about its dangers to health. and also here the consumption of all types of drugs is growing, especially when there is a crisis is more and more seen
June 21, 2018
Great journalistic work. This is a clear manifestation of the upheavals suffered by American society, infested by the manipulation of values imposed by some political authorities and, above all, by the mercenaries of financial power, who profit and enrich themselves at the expense of the deception and disinformation of a large part of the population. Marijuana is not only a drug that is harmful to health, but also a hook, a gateway to other, stronger and more harmful drugs. It is here that the fight against global drug trafficking must begin, not by encouraging the sale of “medical marijuana”. It is a fallacy, an abject way of making large profits at the cost of human suffering. In some “cultured European countries”, which boast of being super democratic, marijuana is sold in restaurants and other public places, where it is allowed to be consumed as part of the package of ddhh that any person must have, which is a moral aberration, as occurs in dozens of American states. In Cuba, “zero tolerance” for any form of addiction is a duty of the Cuban State and of our society to protect our youth and the population in general against this perverse scourge…
IN PRINT EDITION:
Author: Francisco Arias Fernández
January 24, 2018 22:01:42
A CubaNews translation.
Edited by Walter Lippmann.
A young Canadian with untidy blond hair and faded blue eyes walks back and forth between both ends of a boulevard in downtown Ottawa, the capital of one of the world’s richest countries, begging for money to buy marijuana. In Montevideo, Uruguay, a crazy-looking young man of about 25 offers to work as a car parking attendant for a pittance, enough so he can buy a joint. In Central American capital cities, car drivers waiting for the traffic lights to change get besieged by children eight or nine years of age performing as fire-eaters or simply holding out their hands to beg for charity on behalf of their parents, who lie hidden nearby as they wait for the “prize” to buy drugs and food.
Back in December, Brasilia’s political center was all but occupied by security forces and foreign journalists, all waiting for the arrival of a new president who would take office the following day. A few meters from the Foreign Ministry, one of the venues of the inauguration, a taxi driver warned his passengers not to roll down the windows to take pictures because of the gangs of “dope-smoking” teenagers could appear out of the blue to mug tourists.
These are personal stories, not hearsay or exaggerations. Besides, they are not isolated cases in today’s world or in the countries where I witnessed them.
Felipe met his Spanish wife through a friend who rents out his apartment in Havana. He moved to Barcelona, leaving behind his eight-year-old daughter and his parents. In his new country, he started to consume and smoke synthetic marijuana or whatever he could get his hands on. After some time, while on a visit to Cuba and a week before his return trip, he was caught in possession of small amounts of the narcotic that he had got from a dealer. He ended up in prison, which also brought a lot of suffering and trauma to his child and loved ones.
Cuban internationalist doctors cry as they share stories of children in Paraguay, Brazil, Bolivia or other South American nations who show symptoms of marijuana consumption from an early age, and others who died in their arms because they could not get any marijuana and decided to sniff paint thinners, gasoline or strychnine.
A Uruguayan psychologist, who provides therapeutic services to slum areas in Tijuana, on the U.S. border, described in his doctoral thesis, which he defended at the University of Havana, how his patients take advantage of the legalization of marijuana in southwestern U.S. states to cross the border and get a marijuana prescription for stress treatment, a sure way to maintain their addiction as they get gradually worse, both physically and mentally.
Far from tackling your ailments or bringing you benefits, he remarked, making that drug legal has boosted its use and multiplied health problems in those regions.
Similar findings were disclosed last October in a study by the French National Institute for Advanced Studies in Security and Justice (INHESJ) and the French Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Addiction (OFGT) about the impact of cannabis regulation on U.S. states and in Uruguay.
According to the study, “the regulated sale of marijuana in special pharmacies has led to a nationwide rising trend in all indicators for use in Uruguay and has had no significant effects on the black market”. Legalization in the U.S. has brought forth a noticeable rise in consumption, particularly among occasional and regular users aged 25 or over.
Also underlined in the study is “a major rise in hospital admissions related to presumed cannabis intoxication in two North American States” (Colorado and Washington State).
The World Health Organization (WHO) came to the conclusion in 1948 that the consumption of cannabis (marijuana, hashish and hashish oil) was dangerous from every point of view, be it physical, mental or social. More recently added to the list are the so-called synthetic cannabinoids (synthetic or laboratory marijuana), even more harmful.
Experts remark that the symptoms of marijuana intoxication appear more slowly and take longer to go away. Not only that, but that it can trigger very serious mental disorders. Its most common and socially detrimental effect is the so-called affective or amotivational syndrome, characterized by severe detachment from reality, not unlike the kind related to serious forms of schizophrenia.[Marijuana use] impairs our thoughts, causes memory and concentration problems and tampers with learning. It also delays reaction time with visual and auditory stimuli, disrupts time perception and hinders coordination. It also causes bronchitis and lung cancer in a much larger proportion than smoking. Moreover, it is known to affect our sex life and reproductive capacity, not only because of the resulting dissociation but also the reduction of our hormonal level and sperm motility that it brings with it. Marijuana consumption also has catastrophic consequences on addicted mothers, such as congenital deformities and premature births.
Furthermore, it paves the way for lack of coordination and balance, tachycardia, conjunctival injection (bloodshot eyes), dry mouth and throat syndrome, and drowsiness, as well as death by heart arrhythmia.
Marijuana is young people’s gateway drug and a springboard to the abyss of other even more dangerous substances.
In Europe there has been evidence since the 1970s of a consumption cycle that starts with marijuana and then leads to other more harmful substances like LSD, heroin or morphine. None of them bring a happy end, for they either blow you out or kill you.
FIVE FACTS ABOUT MARIJUANA:
Source: Interview granted to journalist Lisandra Fariñas xcby Dr. Ricardo A. González Menéndez, a consultant with the Integrated Addiction Treatment Service of Havana’s Psychiatric Hospital and chairman of the National Medical Ethics Commission.