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Poitical abuses in national research authority

Dr E. Buxbaum EB15 at le.ac.uk
Mon Oct 21 05:03:40 EST 1996

Matt Jones <jonesmat at ohsu.edu> wrote:
>In article <542fb3$ht0 at falcon.le.ac.uk> Dr E. Buxbaum, EB15 at le.ac.uk
>>On the other hand we have considerable problems in our society with
>>drugs. Amplifying 
>>those by creating a legal market for jet another one of them should be 
>>considered only in dire 
>>emergency, if all other options are exausted. Opiates and
>benzodiazepines show 
>>how easy it is 
>>to divert such substances from legal to illegal use. And cannabis IS an
>addictive drug, 
>>contrary to the long disproved claims of its proponents. It can cause 
>>psychological dependency 
>>in "normal", and physical dependency in very high doses. 
>Dr. Buxbaum, 
>Would you mind providing citations to support your statement that
>marijuana is addictive?

That it can cause psychological dependency is by now widely accepted 
(note that "can" does not mean "will in every case"). The interesting bit 
is the physical addiction caused in very high doses. This was observed in 
certain asian countries, which virtually dried up the heroin market by 
introducing capital punishment for heroin dealers (so much for harsh 
punishment not being an effective deterrent). This of course left a 
considerable number of addicts without supply. So, in order to avoid the 
nasty withdrawl symptoms, they smoked cannabis. Since opiates and THC go 
to different receptors, this "substitution" required very large 
quantities of pot. This indeed resulted in physical dependency, which was 
even harder to treat then the opiate dependency of these people would 
have been. The moral of that story, of course, is that whatever you do 
about reducing the supply of drugs, you have to have some idea of what to 
do with the addicts first. 

>I would also point out that derivatives of the opium poppy are addictive
>(I'm sure I can find references for this if I need to), but that doesn't
>prevent us from making excellent use of these compounds in operating
>rooms or cough syrup.

Cough syrup contains small amounts of Codein, wich is not very addictive 
in the first place (it does not give a "kick", although it can be used 
in substitution), it is also used oraly, not intravenously (which 
reduces the problem further, as the "kick" from other opiates 
depends on the speed of flooding of the nervous system, which is larger 
when the drugs are injected. This is the reason why in substituion 
therapy drugs like methadon are given oraly, and the addicts are 
supervised that they realy take them this way). Despite these facts, 
codein containing cough medicin can be obtained only on prescription in 
many countries (I was actually quite surprised to find them freely 
available here in Britain). 

Other than that, you only amplify my point: there are already enough 
dangerous and addictive substances around, so lets be carefull in 
introducing new ones. 

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