Two peices from the reason blog below, the latest argument against marijuana is that its super-potent, well oops, looks like thats moot because the stronger the pot the less people smoke. Turns out the strong weed that happens to be described as cocaine-like is actually healthier because you consume less combustibles.
Heres the first peice
'This Is Pot 2.0'
Jacob Sullum | May 2, 2007, 1:49pm
Federal drug warriors are citing the latest numbers from the University of Mississippi's Marijuana Potency Project to bolster their argument that smoking pot is a far more serious matter today than it used to be. The numbers, based on analyses of seized cannabis, indicate that average THC potency increased from around 4 percent in 1983 to 8.5 percent in 2006. As The Drug War Chronicle'sScott Morgan notes, this increase is a far cry from drug czar John Walters' 2002 claim that "the potency of available marijuana has not merely 'doubled,' but increased as much as 30 times"—a ratio that could not possibly hold true unless you were comparing the most potent marijuana money can buy to nonpsychoactive ditchweed. But never mind. "Researchers and treatment experts have argued for some time that today's more powerful marijuana has more harmful effects on users," says Walters. "This report underscores that we are no longer talking about the drug of the 1960s and 1970s—this is Pot 2.0."
Norah Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, notes that the market is giving people what they want: "Like in the market you favor the best tomatoes. When people buy marijuana, they don't want a weak cigarette."
The argument that better pot is worse pot has never made much sense to me. There's essentially no risk of a toxic THC dose; the main health hazard from smoking pot comes from inhaling the combustion products. Smoking less of the good stuff (which is what people tend to do) is, if anything, less hazardous than smoking more of the weak stuff. These warnings have to be understood mainly as a rationalization for the hypocrisy of parents (and politicians) who smoked pot in their youth and thought it was no big deal then but feel a need to explain why it is a big deal now.
4/20 Message: Stop Smoking Pot!
Jacob Sullum | April 20, 2007, 1:00pm
A new study confirms that vaporization, which involves heating marijuana to release cannabinoids without burning it, "is a safe and effective mode of delivery of THC." California researchers randomly assigned 18 healthy subjects to inhale vapor from a xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx brand vaporizer loaded with marijuana of different potencies (1.7, 3.4, and 6.8 percent THC). As expected, the subjects inhaled less vapor from the stronger pot, more from the weaker pot, achieving similar THC blood levels regardless of the cannabis they received. NORML News reports that the subjects absorbed, on average, 54 percent of the released THC, compared to the 20 percent or so typical of smokers, while avoiding the toxins generated by combustion. Health and comfort considerations aside, this marijuana-conserving difference could easily justify the investment in a vaporizer for regular users. The Volcano retails for $540 or so, and there are cheaper competing products, although I don't think Consumer Reports has gotten around to rating them.
In short, vaporization is an appealing alternative for patients (or recreational users) who want the quick action and dose control of smoking without the smoke. Oddly, this option was overlooked in the 1999 National Academy of Sciences report on medical marijuana that called for the development of smoke-free cannabinoid delivery methods, although vaporizers were commercially available at the time. And no, I don't own any stock in Storz & Bickel, the Volcano's manufacturer, although I wish I did.
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