October 15, 2003

Goin' to Pot

Posted by shonk at 02:39 AM in Ramblings | TrackBack

First off, some good news on the medical marijuana front. The Supreme Court declined to review a ruling that doctors can discuss medical marijuana with their patients. That doesn't mean the feds won't continue to go after growers and sellers, but doctors won't lose their licenses for discussing the possible benefits of marijuana with cancer patients.

From the article:

In their appeal, federal prosecutors argued that doctors who recommended marijuana were interfering with the drug war and circumventing the Government's judgment that the illegal drug had no medical benefit.

Which is, of course, correct. Just because the State says that a drug has "no medical benefit" does not mean the drug has no medical benefit, though I've long been of the opinion that the purported benefits of medical marijuana are vastly overblown by its supporters. I don't have any scientific data to support that opinion, but it seems to me unlikely that there aren't any other nausea inhibitors or pain-killers out there that could work. At the same time, I understand why supporters hype the medicinal aspects of marijuana, as medical-marijuana laws provide a foot in the door for the fight against the wholly irrational and indefensible Drug War.

Since I'm on the topic of pot, I figured I would point out a couple of the detrimental aspects of habitual pot use, since some people of my acquaintance seem convinced that marijuana is a consequence-free drug. First off, pot can render you infertile; it seems that, in addition to reducing seminal fluid volume and sperm count, marijuana makes sperm move "too fast, too soon" so that they run out of energy long before they can penetrate the ovum. This seems related to the fact that sperm apparently have cannibinoid receptors.

Also, and this might be more worrying to the adolescent males that seem to be the most committed pot-smokers, pot can make you grow breasts. This is probably a result of the fact that pot seems to reduce testosterone levels in males. As this relatively balanced site says:

In males, marijuana can decrease the testosterone level. Occasional cases of enlarged breasts in male marijuana users are triggered by the chemical impact on the hormone system.

The women will be disappointed to know that heavy pot use won't increase their cup size; in fact, as FADAA warns:

Marijuana use by females increases the amount of testosterone in the body, causing an increase in acne and such male characteristics as body and facial hair, and flattening of the breasts and buttocks.

Now, I don't like the ONDCP very much, but it seems like publicizing this stuff would scare teenagers much more than those hokey ads they currently use.

So there. How's that for redirecting the conversation?