Monday, December 22, 2008

Marijuana Gets Safer; Peyote Already OK

Wired reports:
Modern agriculture hasn't just made beef cows beefier and corn cornier, it's also made pot more potty.

The potency of marijuana, measured by the presence of its (psycho)active ingredient, THC, has tripled since 1987, according to the latest figures from the Department of Justice's National Drug Intelligence Center.

Anyone who finds this news to be alarming clearly doesn't know much about marijuana users. People are likely to simply smoke a smaller quantity of plant matter if its THC content is higher. This makes marijuana less of a public health concern by decreasing the damage the average smoker causes to his or her lungs.

In other drug-related news, Medpage Today reports (via DoseNation):
There seem to be no mental or behavioral problems associated with long-term use of the hallucinogenic substance peyote (mescaline), at least among Native Americans.

That's the conclusion of researchers at the McLean Hospital here and Harvard Medical School, who found that among the Navajo who take peyote legally as part of their religion, long-term drug users did just as well as non-users on standard neuropsychological tests. On some measures, they did even better.

The study, led by John H. Halpern, M.D., of the McLean Hospital, was partly funded by the National Institute for Drug Abuse. It was published in the November issue of Biological Psychiatry.

So now we'll no doubt see a serious reevaluation of federal anti-peyote policy, right? Oh wait, that would assume that the drug war has any foundation in science or reason. And anyone willing to make that assumption must already be under the influence of some pretty strong drugs.

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