Drugs of Abuse

DRCNet Response to the
Drug Enforcement Administration


For additional references on this topic, go to the Druglibrary Search Engine and search for terms such as hemp, cannabis, marijuana, marihuana, etc.

DEA Statement Response
Cannabis sativa L., the hemp plant, grows wild throughout most of the tropic and temperate regions of the world. Prior to the advent of synthetic fibers, the cannabis plant was cultivated for the tough fiber of its stem. It was cultivated for many purposes in the United States, including a large variety of industrial and medical products.  It was grown here in the United States, up until it was outlawed in 1937, and even after that, during World War II.   See, for example:
In the United States, cannabis is legitimately grown only for scientific research. In fact, since 1980, the United States has been the only country where cannabis is licitly cultivated for scientific research. The DEA is not telling the whole truth.  In other countries it is grown as hemp for industrial use.  The US maintains a marijuana farm from which it distributes smokable marijuana to medical patients -- as a medicine -- after being ordered to do so by the Federal courts.  This research shows clearly that the DEA's stance on medical marijuana is flatly wrong.
Cannabis contains chemicals called cannabinoids that are unique to the cannabis plant. Among the cannabinoids synthesized by the plant are cannabinol, cannabidiol, cannabinolidic acids, cannabigerol, cannabichromene, and several isomers of tetrahydrocannabinol. One of these, delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), is believed to be responsible for most of the characteristic psychoactive effects of cannabis. Research has resulted in development and marketing of dronabinol (Marinol), a product containing synthetic THC, for the control of nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapeutic agents used in the treatment of cancer, and to stimulate appetite in AIDS patients. So, obviously, because there is a prescription drug extracted from the plant, then it must naturally follow that the plant has medicinal properties -- the same as an orange has medicinal properties because it contains Vitamin C.
Cannabis products are usually smoked. Their effects are felt within minutes, reach their peak in I0 to 30 minutes, and may linger for two or three hours. The effects experienced often depend upon the experience and expectations of the individual user, as well as the activity of the drug itself. Low doses tend to induce a sense of well-being and a dreamy state of relaxation, which may be accompanied by a more vivid sense of sight, smell, taste, and hearing as well as by subtle alterations in thought formation and expression. This state of intoxification may not be noticeable to an observer. The truth is that the casual observer may not be able to tell when someone is stoned on pot.  In fact, the only reliable indicator is to ask them.  This is true primarily because marijuana is such a mild drug in terms of its effects.  It does not produce the same lack of physical coordination and judgment that alcohol does.
However, driving, occupational or household accidents may result from a distortion of time and space relationships and impaired coordination. Coordination is not terribly impaired by marijuana. Distortions of time and space (such as they are) are easily compensated for by experienced users.  There is no evidence that marijuana is a serious factor in any kind of accidents.  Alcohol is by far the biggest drug factor in accidents, and we have the good sense to recognize that it wouldn't be productive to try to throw all the casual beer drinkers in jail to solve the drunk driving problem.
Stronger doses intensify reactions. The individual may experience shifting sensory imagery, rapidly fluctuating emotions, a flight of fragmentary thoughts with disturbed associations, an altered sense of self-identity, impaired memory, and a dulling of attention despite an illusion of heightened insight. High doses may result in image distortion, a loss of personal identity, and fantasies and hallucinations. The DEA keeps talking about marijuana which causes hallucinations and, uniformly, marijuana users keep asking where they can get some of that stuff.   Marijuana does not cause any of these problems in any regular use.  Doses high enough to cause these sorts of problems would be outright deadly if one consumed the same relative quantities of beer or tobacco.
. Three drugs that come from cannabis--marijuana, hashish, and hashish oil--are currently distributed on the U.S. illicit market. Having no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States, they remain under Schedule I of the CSA.  
Today, cannabis is carefully illicitly cultivated, both indoors and out, to maximize its THC content, thereby producing the greatest possible psychoactive effect. Why?  Because, under prohibition, it is to the drug dealer's advantage to deal in the most potent stuff they can.  A similar trend happened during alcohol Prohibition as bootleggers moved to stronger alcoholic beverages because they made a higher profit for the same risk.
Marijuana Marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug in america today. The term mari-juana, as commonly used, refers to the leaves and flowering tops of the cannabis plant. A tobacco-like substance produced by drying the leaves and flowering tops of the cannabis plant, marijuana varies signifi-cantly in its potency, depending on the source and selection of plant materials used. The form of marijuana known as sinsemilla (Spanish, sin semilla: without seed), derived from the unpollinated fe-male cannabis plant, is preferred for its high THC content. Marijuana is usually smoked in the form of loosely rolled cigarettes called joints or hollowed out commercial cigars called blunts.  
Joints and blunts may be laced with a number of adulterants includ-ing phencyclidine (PCP), substantially al-tering the effects and toxicity of these prod-ucts. In the first place, lacing marijuana with other drugs isn't all that common.  Marijuana users prefer marijuana, not the other drugs, and will quickly abandon any dealer who gives them a polluted product.  Such marijuana is easily detectable to the experienced user by both taste and the effect.

In the second place, the pollution of relatively benign marijuana with really nasty drugs, such as PCP, is the result of prohibition.  The same thing happened during alcohol Prohibition when bootleggers sold wood alcohol for drinking.

Street names for marijuana include pot, grass, weed, Mary Jane, Acupulco Gold, and reefer. Although marijuana grown in the U.S. was once considered inferior because of a low concentration of THC, advancements in plant selection and cultivation have re-sulted in highly potent domestic marijuana. In 1974, the average THC content of illicit The DEA apparently lost part of their page here.


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