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Feds Say You’re Addicted To Pot, But They’re Addicted To Cash

​Why does the U.S. federal government keep pushing outdated lies about marijuana’s health consequences and potential for addiction?

Because it’s a lucrative business, according to Paul Armentano of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML).

Armentano, deputy director of NORML, points out that the feds are wasting their time — and your money — researching what must be the Loch Ness Monster of the drug policy world (as in nobody can prove it exists), “marijuana addiction.”

Yes, you read that right. “Marijuana addiction.”

ReeferMadnessPosterAccording to the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH), “Cannabis related disorders (CRDs), including cannabis abuse or dependence and cannabis induced disorders (e.g., intoxication, delirium, psychotic disorder, and anxiety disorder) are a major public health issue.”

OK, first things first. You gotta love that these acronym-loving policy wonks have come up with an actual abbreviation for the bad things pot’s supposed to do to you. Just making something up because you wish it so is one thing, but give it a catchy acronym like CRDs and suddenly it’s real, right? Right?

And how, exactly, did those luminaries at NIH come to that remarkable conclusion?

Because, first of all, um, “Nearly one million people are seeking treatment for marijuana dependencies every year” and besides, “sufficient research has been carried out to confirm that the use of cannabis can produce serious physical and psychological consequences.”

Which brings us to…

The Great Marijuana Rehab Scam

NORML's Paul Armentano: Keeping government bureaucrats honest about pot

NORML’s Paul Armentano:
Keeping government bureaucrats honest about pot

​As Armentano points out, there aren’t “one million people seeking treatment for marijuana dependence”; it isn’t even close. The real number, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the actual number of persons seeking drug treatment for marijuana “as a primary substance for admission in 2007, was 287,933. That’s a lot less than “a million.”

But there’s more. If there really are 288,000 folks are year who need help quitting marijuana, then maybe there’s reason for concern, right? Wrong answer, Believer Of Bureaucrats. Almost all of these “people seeking treatment” are FORCED to do so by court orders, under threat of jail, after having been busted for possessing small amounts of pot.

Great use of public resources, eh? Just think about all those spaces in addiction recovery support groups that could have available for real addicts having problems with meth, crack, and heroin. Never mind those guys! We’ve got the potheads going to rehab!

According to the Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), more than a third of the 288,000 people entering “drug treatment for marijuana” hadn’t even smoked any pot in the 30 days prior to the admission. Doesn’t sound much like they were addicted, does it?

Another 16 percent admitted they’d only used marijuana three times or less in the month prior to their admission. That just doesn’t sound much like the sort of out-of-control behavior we associate with drug addicts. Do these people meet the clinical standard of being in “the state of being psychologically and physiologically dependent on a drug”? Of course not.

These people don’t belong in drug rehab with real addicts. The only reason they are there is that they were given the choice between pretending to be drug addicts and attending the meetings, or going to jail. That’s a no-brainer, right? Having been both places, I’d certainly rather spend a few evenings with recovering addicts (even if they sometimes tend to be a little whiney) than a few months with pissed-off inmates just looking for an excuse to “touch you up.”

A report published by SAMHSA indicates nearly six of 10 individuals “enrolled in drug treatment for marijuana” were forced there by the criminal justice system (I’d suspect the actual number is even higher).

The criminal justice system is the largest single source of referrals to the substance abuse treatment system, according to SAMHSA. The majority of these referrals come from parole and probation offices, i.e., parolees and probationers who fail urinalysis tests because they smoked a little weed.

The Myth of Marijuana’s “Serious Consequences”

When she tries to quit, she might not be quite as hungry or sleepy. It's just horrible. Quick, get that woman a transdermal THC patch! [Reefer Madness]

When she tries to quit, she might not be quite as hungry or sleepy. It’s just horrible. Quick, get that woman a transdermal THC patch!
[Reefer Madness]

Any serious and impartial study of the adverse effects of marijuana use almost immediately runs into one striking and unavoidable fact: It’s glaringly apparent that marijuana’s potential negative effects are minor when compared to those of legal drugs such as opiates (physically habit-forming and capable of causing overdose deaths), alcohol (same on both counts) and tobacco.

A clinical trial from the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence raises serious doubts about the physical and psychological consequences of quitting pot, as well, Armentano points out.

Researchers at four separate universities in Germany studied the self-reported “withdrawal symptoms” of 73 subjects judged to be “cannabis dependent”; all subjects resided in an inpatient facility. It was determined than less than half of the subjects reported any withdrawal symptoms of clinical significance. Remember, these are all people who’d been diagnosed as being “cannabis dependent” — whatever that’s supposed to mean.

Even among the minority who did report such symptoms, “The intensity of most self-reported symptoms peaked on day one and decreased subsequently.”

What were these scary-sounding symptoms of quitting pot, anyway?

Well, the most frequently mentioned physical symptoms on day one were sleeping problems (21 percent), sweating (28 percent), hot flashes (21 percent), and decreased appetite (15 percent). Psychological symptoms included restlessness (20 percent), nervousness (20 percent), and sadness (19 percent).

Now, I’m not trained in psychology (oh, wait! I am), but those symptoms sound pretty much like what I’d expect to feel if you locked me in a rehab facility (for pot!), tell me I’m not free to go, and that smoking weed is no longer cool. Restlessness? Damn right. Nervousness? Check; I get arrested if I leave. Sadness? Duh.

Bottom line, marijuana’s “withdrawal symptoms” are so mild and subtle as to be laughable compared to those associated with quitting alcohol or heroin addiction (which can be fatal) or quitting tobacco (which many addicts report is harder to kick than heroin).

Follow The Money

You see a bud, but the feds see a bundle. [Coaster 420]

You see a bud, but the feds see a bundle.
[Coaster420]

​So why does NIDA soberly claim that “therapeutic interventions” are necessary and important, “given the extent of use of cannabis in the general population”? (Adolescent pot use has actually been falling steadily since 1979.) Why is it so crucial to manufacture this bugaboo and to pretend it’s scary?

Well, there are currently no accepted medications to aid in “quitting marijuana,” and to help in combatting those fearsome CRDs (remember them?) And some companies (and, well, government officials) see a huge profit potential in fighting the marijuana monster.

In 2009, Kentucky-based pharmaceutical corporation All Tranz Inc. announced it was the proud recipient of a $4 million NIDA grant to promote a “transdermal tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) patch” for the supposed “treatment of marijuana dependence and withdrawal.”

Nora-Volkow

Dr. Nora Valkow of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) claims thousands of pot addicts are desperately seeking treatment
[The Clean Slate]

“NIDA is interested in exploring the role of transdermal THC delivery as an innovative way to treat marijuana withdrawal symptoms and dependence,” said the agency’s director, Nora Volkow.

And here’s where it gets exquisitely surreal.

“This is especially relevant to our efforts to fill a critical gap in available treatments for the many Americans struggling with marijuana-related disorders and their detrimental medical and social consequences,” Volkow helpfully tells us.

So, Nora. You’re telling us there’s a huge crowd of desperate marijuana addicts trying to kick the weed, who need these enormously expensive THC patches so that they can still feel hungry?

Wow, yeah, man. Sounds like an emergency, all right.

Never mind that the symptoms of “marijuana dependence and withdrawal” are rare, and mild even when they do occur. Never mind that THC permeates the skin, at best, slowly and inefficiently (because of its fat solubility).

Forget all that, because there’s a research center to staff, tax dollars to spend and Reefer Madness myths to keep alive. Facts be damned; there’s some money to be made here.

 

  • http://MSN.com Charles Queen

    Well they can try to lie all they want but everybody knows that the scientific evidence and medical proffesionals evidence and finding’s and study’s done here and all around the world prove that marijuana is totally harmless if used with a vaporizer and or in cooking/baking.The vaporizer takes the only one bad thing away whih would be the tars from smoking it with a joint or a bong so there’s nothing whatsoever left that can harm the body and mind whatsoever left.As for addiction marijuana is more mentally addictive than it is physically so and that’s also been well proven and documented time and time again.Many other country’s have legalized marijuana for both adult use and medicinal use and all of them have hd all the same positive results and not one single negative one.Now latin America as a whole is getting ready to legalise it too and it’s way past time for our country to do the same for adult use and medicinal use both.It is the most intelligent and logical thing to do

  • Ebo Tebo

    OH~MY~GAWD! Tell me this is an Onion article!! I’ve read of people being put on treatment, not that they wanted to, but that the legal (profits) system deemed it necessary that they waste their time and money because they were more stupid than the police/sheriff for an instant or more, and were popped for a fun ticket or two.
    My only problem with marijuana is since my last supply has dried up, I’m hesitant about going out to look for it. As far as my DT’s were concerned, there weren’t any! The way that I’ve always smoked, is a small pipe or a chillum, and with what I’ve had over the last two decades has been premium nugs, a couple, three or four pulls and I’m done. Pleasantly euphoric, no paranoia unless I’m around a bonehead who is in the chronicly stupid league, relax, listen to music, create a good conversation with whomever I’m with, it’s all good!
    Cheers!

  • http://www.facebook.com/cody.backhus Cody Backhus

    you know i cant stand someone spewing this bile especialy someone with so much power to do good like for instance for someone like me with aspergers and i would’nt be where i am today talking to people socializing things the docs said wasnt possible so w/o cannabis id be socialy retarted, so take that lady

  • Kristi Crouch

    You hit the nail directly on its head!!! Cuz get this, I didn’t get in trouble for having marijuana, I got in trouble for something completly irralavent to what they are enforcing me to do. I was completly honest with the probation officer & told her I won’t be able to pass a drug test. My numbers would be extremly high for marijuana & I would try to have them come down as much as I possibly could. But of course they didn’t give me probation, they(judge) insisted I enter a treatment program for my marijuana consumption. And of course, treatment centers are not cheap, and I got laughed at pretty much cuz I’m not addicted to any other heavy duty drugs!!! Well I have exactly have 30 days to decide if its treatment for me or 6 months in the county jail. Those were the only two options they gave me. Either way I’m going to be suffering without my pot. In jail or treatment. I just think its ALL BULLSHIT!!!!

    anything else but pot. Well I have only 30 days to figure out what action I plan on taking. Its either going to be trr

  • missourimom04

    Listen this stuff is medicine and how can a government keep it from those patients that get relief from it? That’s BARBARICK TO SAY THE LEAST!!! SHAME ON THEM!!! I THINK ITS FISCALLY ADVANTAGEOUS TO OUR GOVERNMENT TO STOP PAYING OUTRAGEOUS AMOUNTS OF TAX DOLLARS TO FIGHT CANNABIS USE!!! IT WOULD BE FAR MORE PROFITABLE TO TAX CANNABIS AS A CASH CROP!!! MEDICAL USE, ALTERNATIVE FUEL, CLOTHING, SEEDS HAVE NUTRITIONAL PROPERTIES……
    I AM A TAXPAYER AND I FOR ONE WOULD PREFER MY TAX DOLLARS TO GO TOWARDS NATIONAL SECURITY, EDUCATION, HEALTHCARE, OUR INFRASTRUCTURE…..

  • http://www.facebook.com/selina.spence Selina Spence

    I happen to agree that weed can be mentally addictive. My partner is one but aside from keeping us from paying bills because she spent the money on weed she doesn’t have any of the other “symptoms” listed. I think it should be legal too,

  • pharmadestroyer

    But let’s not have any state run detox facilities for Dr prescribed Norco meth tar crack benzos…. a thc patch or that because your injured you need physc meds nor do they check for drug interactions so as far as there concern for ANY OF US IS A FN JOKE

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