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report "A Smoking Gun" published today (11-11-02)
by the British Lung Foundation, has been widely-reported
in the media as showing cannabis to be many times more
damaging to the lungs than tobacco cigarettes.
report claims that cannabis smoked today is much more
potent than in the 1960s, and that reefers today contain
150mg THC, whereas in the 1960s they might contain 1%
authors appear to rely on American studies where smoking
patterns are very different from in Europe.
warnings of potential dangers refer to theoretical studies,
or individual case histories, with no epidemiological
evidence which might provide reliable statistical evidence
of any risk.
contains no new research, and represents a selective
interpretation of the scientific literature, with the
most negative possible "spin" put on research
findings of others.
authors of the report are not disclosed, neither is
the source of funding for the report, leaving open the
question of whether any conflicts of interest were involved.
Atha, director of the Independent Drug Monitoring Unit
the average cannabis cigarette smoked in the UK contains
200mg of cannabis, the suggestion that an average reefer
contains 150mg THC i.e. the cannabis is 75% pure - is
clear nonsense, and betrays the authors lack of understanding
of how cannabis is used in the UK. Furthermore, most
of the cannabis consumed in the UK is cannabis resin,
not herbal cannabis as used in the USA"
recognises that smoking any substance carries risks
of cardiovascular or lung diseases. However, such alarmist
health claims serve only to reinforce the impression
amongst young people that warnings over the dangers
of cannabis are exaggerated and lack credibility. This
report is no different to many others released over
the past century which have been found, on close examination,
to be dangerously flawed"
11th November 2002