Alarming cannabis claim from US Attorney General

One would hope that the US Attorney general was well informed, but apparently he is not.

At a Heritage Foundation event celebrating Ronald Reagan’s birthday this week, Jeff Sessions made a familiar argument: Easy access to marijuana is helping fuel the opioid epidemic. The Drug Enforcement Agency says that the vast majority of heroin addiction starts with prescription painkillers, he acknowledged, but “We think a lot of this is starting with marijuana and other drugs, too.”

Accordingly, last month, Sessions rescinded the Obama-era guidance to deprioritize prosecuting dispensaries in states that had legalized marijuana.

But a growing body of evidence suggests that legal access to medicamarijuana could in fact help reduce overdose deaths. The latest study, published by the RAND Corporation this week, found that states that allowed liberal access to marijuana through legally protected dispensaries saw reduced deaths from opioid overdoses. States that legalized the drug but didn’t allow dispensaries didn’t see the same pattern.

The most comprehensive review on the medical effects of marijuana to date, published last year by National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, examined more than 10,000 studies on marijuana and found evidence that marijuana and its synthetic cousins, cannabinoids, reduce chronic pain, as well as muscle spasms from multiple sclerosis and nausea from chemotherapy. The study also found evidence of downsides, like increasing the risk of bronchitis, schizophrenia, and anxiety.

A 2016 Journal of Pain study found that marijuana use was associated with a 64 percent reduction in opioid use among patients with chronic pain.

Vox: Jeff Sessions: marijuana helped cause the opioid epidemic. The research: no.

Speaking at the Heritage Foundation to the Reagan Alumni Association this week, Sessions argued that cutting prescriptions for opioid painkillers is crucial to combating the crisis — since some people started on painkillers before moving on to illicit opioids like heroin and fentanyl. But then he expanded his argument to include cannabis.

“The DEA said that a huge percentage of the heroin addiction starts with prescriptions. That may be an exaggerated number; they had it as high as 80 percent,” Sessions said. “We think a lot of this is starting with marijuana and other drugs too.”

17 Comments

  1. Pickled Possum

     /  February 11, 2018

    He said “We think” clearly the guy is there endorse the ‘The Gore Files’. Total ignorance of the daily deaths in usa on opioids … some who may have never inhaled cannabis.
    Sadly enuff many people will be like ‘sheeps to the slaughter’ because they have been programmed to receive.😨

  2. David

     /  February 11, 2018

    Its very tenacious to link a controlled scientific study on pain management with how people use these drugs recreationally. That study does not disprove what Sessions has said.

  3. PartisanZ

     /  February 11, 2018

    “At a Heritage Foundation event celebrating Ronald Reagan’s birthday this week …”

    In the words of the great Monty Python … SAY … NO … MORE …

    The book I’m reading at the moment describes Reagan as “a simulated President”.

    I firmly maintain that much of our so-called ‘recreational’ use of cannabis qualifies as relief from pain, be it emotional, spiritual, psychological, ‘mental’ or existential …

    The Secular-Christian Conservative Right are VERY AFRAID of legalizing so-called ‘recreational’ use of cannabis ………… Why?

    Such ‘freedom’ must be very threatening indeed to their ideological paradigm?

    That, in case anyone’s forgotten, is the ideological paradigm of the absolute primacy of individual personal freedom inveigled into society by Reagan, Thatcher and Douglas et al … after the military dictatorship experiment of Pinochet …

    Let’s have the freedom, shall we …?

    • David

       /  February 11, 2018

      ” after the military dictatorship experiment of Pinochet …”

      How about we compare this with the results of the military dictatorship experiment of Castro? Which country came out freer and wealthier, Cuba or Chile?

    • Kitty Catkin

       /  February 11, 2018

      ‘Nudge, nudge, wink, wink, know what I mean, SAY NO MORE !’

      • Kitty Catkin

         /  February 11, 2018

        Parti-at a seminar, Professor A……. asked us what we knew about John Stuart Mill, and there was a collective mind blank. Silence while we all tried to remember.Then

        KC ‘John Stuart Mill/Of his own free will/On half a pint of shandy/Was Particularly ill.’

        PA (drily) ‘And serve him jolly well right.’

  4. Kevin

     /  February 11, 2018

    Prohibitionists always lie. What caused the opioid epidemic was Purdue Pharma who pushed the opioid oxycontin onto the American public.

  5. Zedd

     /  February 11, 2018

    Harry Anslinger (USA 1st Drug Tsar) reportedly said:

    1) ‘Marihuana’ is a ‘stepping stone’ (gateway) to Hard Drugs (still widely quoted) BUT not actually proved. Just because some ‘pot-smokers’ do go on to Heroin etc. is not conclusive evidence that ALL of us will do so.. as he alleged

    2) ‘Marihuana smoking’/use is perpetrated by ‘Negroes, Mexicans & Entertainers’ & yet it seems that just as many ‘white folks’ also use the drug

    3) ‘Marihuana’ is the most ‘violence causing’ drug known to mankind.. he said that ‘Frankenstein’s monster would die of fright if he met it, face to face !’ He also stated it caused ‘Mass Insanity’ & even ‘BLOODLUST’

    4) He later changed it to ‘It turns users into lazy, no-good pacifist’ (Hippies) 180 deg. turn.. sounds like something Mr English recently said about young kiwis (unemployed)

    The Prohibitionists are still pushing similar nonsense.. to bolster their ‘Status Quo’ point of view.. they say ‘Truth is often Stranger than Fiction’…. “Believe it OR not” :/

    • Kitty Catkin

       /  February 11, 2018

      I can well believe that all or most hard drug users begin with marijuana, as alll or most alcoholics begin with beer. I’d be prepared to make a bet on this. It’s true as far as it goes.

      BUT not all beer drinkers DO become alcoholics and not all marjuana users DO become hard drug users. It’s an oldie but not a goodie.

      It’s all As are Bs, therefore all Bs are As logic.

      All people like me who can read several languages began with the alphabet, therefore all people who learn the alphabet can read several languages.

      All mathematical geniuses begin with the times tables, therefore all people who learn the times tables become mathematical geniuses.

      • Kevin

         /  February 11, 2018

        Cannabis is the most popular illegal recreational drug by a country mile. The next most popular is MDMA (aka Ecstasy). It’s no wonder that most hard drug users started with cannabis. But it does not follow that they wouldn’t be hard drug users if cannabis wasn’t around.

        • Kitty Catkin

           /  February 11, 2018

          Exactly. It’s false logic to say because all/most hard drug users begin with dope that dope users will then use hard drugs.

        • It would be as valid (ie not at all) to claim that alcohol is a gateway drug. It’s likely that most hard drug users have used alcohol first.

          • Kevin

             /  February 11, 2018

            During alcohol Prohibition in the US soft drinks were called a gateway “drug” to alcohol. I kid you not.

    • Kevin

       /  February 11, 2018

      Prohibitions always lie, Zedd. They lie so much they can’t even keep their lies straight.

  6. Zedd

     /  February 11, 2018

    btw: There closing date for submissions on the Govt. Med-use bill closes 21/3/18.
    IF you support some level of law reform.. PLEASE write/send a submission to say so ASAP 🙂

    • Kevin

       /  February 11, 2018

      I can’t really see the point myself. The Bill isn’t even about medical cannabis. It’s about cannabis-derived medicines.

      If you look at States in the US where cannabis has been legalised the legal authorities (ie police) and lawmakers fought tooth and nail to keep cannabis illegal. It took a direct public vote for there to be change and even then it was close.

      Thing is though that when there was change support for keeping cannabis legal went up – ie those that were opposed to cannabis legalisation were ok with keeping it legal. Shows the lies of the prohibitionist industry.

      In my opinion the only way we’re going to see cannabis legalised here is by doing the same thing. Take it direct to the public. Our politicians are just too entrenched in the prohibitionist lies and propaganda, and I’m including the Green Party here. Take it to the public, campaign as hard as you can, expose the lies of the prohibitionist industry. Let the public know how much of their tax money is being wasted on something that simply doesn’t work.

  7. PartisanZ

     /  February 11, 2018

    Prohibition …