Inhaled cannabis smoke has more harmful toxins than tobacco, scientists have discovered.Cigarettes were injected into the English world's bloodstream during the Crimean War, brought from the Near East by Ottoman soldiers who fought alongside British forces against Russia. Less than a decade-and-a-half later, before the American 'Civil War' had ended, cigarettes were being produced on this side of the Atlantic.
The Canadian government research found 20 times as much ammonia, a chemical linked to cancer, New Scientist said.
The Health Canada team also found five times as much hydrogen cyanide and nitrogen oxides, which are linked to heart and lung damage respectively.
Although a London physician named John Hill had discovered a link between tobacco use and cancer (of the nose) in 1761, the negative health effects of cigarette smoking did not became common knowledge until the latter half of the 20th Century. Those who assert that toking up is benign are akin to those who, from the 1850s to the 1950s, claimed that cigarettes were harmless.
Scientific knowledge accumulates a little faster today. Marijuana, as a ubiquitous cultural item, has been around for less than half a century. Over the last decade, a range of detrimental effects have been discovered: It increases the risk of suffering from Schizophrenia-like symptoms, increases the risk of actually suffering from Schizophrenia, high THC levels (which are on average around five times higher in today's marijuana than they were in the sixties, and some pot has THC levels that run as high as 30% compared to 2% that was the standard in the days of Woodstock) jumbles thought processes by disrupting the way nerves fire in the brain, and regular use has a depressive effect on IQ of about 4 points (although this disadvantage seems to disappear once drug use has stopped), in addition to likely increasing the risk of heart and lung damage. I suspect that more damaging consequences of marijuana use will be discovered in the future.
In addition to those health risks, marijuana use carries with it economic negatives. Money is spent to cultivate, distribute, and purchase it, instead of being used more productively. Users forget to fulfill obligations they've made, like showing up for work.
Municipalities across the US have begun instituting public smoking bans due to the damage lighting up causes. Well, this too should inform the debate on pot legalization:
Dr Richard Russell, a specialist at the Windsor Chest Clinic, said: "The health impact of cannabis is often over-looked amid the legal debate.If marijuana is potentially more dangerous than cigarettes are, it seems vertiginous to argue in favor of granting greater public access to pot smoking while simultatneously restricting public access to cigarette smoking.
"Evidence shows it is multiplied when it is cannabis compared to tobacco.
"Tobacco from manufacturers has been enhanced and cleaned whereas cannabis is relatively unprocessed and therefore is a much dirtier product.
"These findings do not surprise me. The toxins from cannabis smoke cause lung inflammation, lung damage and cancer."
Many libertarians will argue that even if cigarettes or alcohol were made illegal, their use would continue, just as people toke up in places where doing so is prohibited. But similar to the issue of illegal immigration, stricter enforcement and harsher punitions would reduce the number of people engaging in these activities.
Without getting too discursive, I'd like to see the enforcement approach modified. Instead of attempting to simultaneously punish both sellers and buyers, why not make the punishment for sellers extremely harsh while offering rewards (in addition to amnesty) for users who report sellers to authorities? Allow these buyers to do so in a way that keeps that protects their identity from being revealed to the public. Instead of encouraging the two sides to conspire, why not potentially turn everyone against the sellers?
Those in favor of legalization also argue that what a person does to himself is none of the government's business. But the ban on pot smoking is why it is so much less likely to be undertaken in public than cigarette smoking or alcohol consumption are. While banning pot doesn't stop people from smoking, it does make them less likely to do so where I will be exposed to it as I am out and about. And as the negatives associated with marijuana use pile up, that becomes increasingly important.
People engaging in alcohol consumption, cigarette smoking, and drug use present hazards to non-users in their vicinity. To protect those who choose not to self-immolate from those who do is the primary reason that I support public restriction of all of these activities.