Accuracy in Media

The latest evidence about the fraud known as “medical marijuana” comes from a study by a team headed by Dr. Sarah Nuttall at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, England. Epidemiological studies made during the past 30 years have found that marijuana causes lung damage and probably cancer. The new study took blood samples, measured lung function and tested non-smokers and smokers for antioxidant markers.

A Reuters news story quoted Dr. Nuttall as saying, “Smoking cannabis on a regular basis actually depletes your lung of protective antioxidant substances…and this may have chronic long-term implications for young individuals.” Those antioxidants protect cells against damage that can lead to cancer. The study found that marijuana users showed more signs of damage than those who smoked only cigarettes.

Ironically some of the same people who oppose tobacco smoking have been sympathetic to “medical marijuana.” For example, Michael Bloomberg, the Mayor of New York, has been featured in an advertising campaign promoting the legalization of marijuana. The ads carry a quote from Bloomberg, who, asked if he had ever smoked marijuana, said: “You bet I did. And I enjoyed it.” But as mayor he initiated a ban on tobacco-smoking in bars and restaurants because he says it is killing people.

Marijuana- and tobacco-smoking are damaging to the lungs, but marijuana smoke has 50 to 70 percent more known carcinogens than tobacco smoke. In 1999, Dr. Zuo-Fend Zhang of the Jonsson Cancer Center at the University of California Los Angeles linked marijuana-smoking with head and neck cancers. He said, “Many people may think marijuana is harmless, but it’s not. The carcinogens in marijuana are much stronger than those in tobacco.” A year before, Dr. Marinel Ammenheuser and her colleagues at the University of Texas Medical Branch found evidence that marijuana-smoking causes the same kind of damage to DNA as tobacco.

The “medical marijuana” movement came up with the idea that smoking marijuana was beneficial in the treatment of cancer because some marijuana smokers said it relieved the nausea caused by chemotherapy. In 1986, however, the Food and Drug Administration had approved a drug in pill form which contains THC, a component found in marijuana, for treatment of that nausea. The marijuana lobby wasn’t happy with that, or any other effective anti-nausea drugs. It became apparent that they liked marijuana for the high it gave them, not because of any perceived medical value.

We didn’t find any stories about the new findings in such influential papers as The New York Times and The Washington Post. The New York Post ran the small Reuters story about the Nuttall study at the bottom of page 11. It was posted on the MSNBC website and appeared in a health update section in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. We have seen this pattern of the media running sympathetic articles about “medical marijuana” and ignoring its dangers for many years. Many journalists smoke pot and are not reluctant to deceive their readers and viewers.

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