The Emperor Wears No Clothes

[Here are some excerpts from "The Emperor Wears No Clothes", by Jack Herer, starting from pp. 77.]

When U.S. government sponsored marijuana research prior to 1976 indicated that pot was harmless or beneficial, the methodology of how the studies were done was always presented in detail in the reports; e.g., read "The Therapeutic Potential of Marijuana" (1976) and you will see exactly what the methodology of each medical study was.

However, when our government bureaucrats deliberately sponsored negative marijuana research -- time and time again Playboy magazine and/or NORML, High times, etc. had to sue under the new Freedom of Information Act to find out the actual methods employed.

Dr. Heath/Tulane Study, 1974.

The Hype: Brain Damage in Dead Monkeys

In 1974, California Governor Ronald Reagan was asked about decriminalizing marijuana. After producing the Heath/Tulane University study, the so-called "Great Communicator" told the national press, "The most reliable scientific sources say permanent brain damage is one of the inevitable results of the use of marijuana." (L.A. Times.)

And ever since, dead brain cells found in monkeys who were forced to smoke marijuana has been given maximum scare play in federal booklets and government sponsored propaganda literature against pot.

In the report, Heath concluded that Rhesus monkeys, smoking the equivalent of only 30 joints a day, began to atrophy and die after 90 days [that's 2700 joints, or an average of 1.25 doobies per hour 24 hours a day, for 90 days!]

Heath opened the brains of the dead monkeys, counted the dead brain cells, then took control monkeys who hadn't smokes marijuana, killed them, and counted their dead brain cells. The pot smoking monkeys had enormous amounts of dead brain cells as compared to the "straight" monkeys.

Ronald Reagan's pronouncement was probably based on the fact that marijuana smoking was the only difference in the two sets of monkeys. Perhaps Reagan trusted the federal research to be real and correct, therefore reflecting a real health hazard to humans.

Perhaps he had other motives.

Whatever their reasons, this is what the government ballyhooed to press and PTA, who trusted the government completely.

In 1980, Playboy and NORML finally received for the first time -- after six years of requests and suing the government -- an accurate accounting of the research procedures used in the famous report:

The facts: Suffocation of Research Animals

The Heath "Voodoo" Research methodology, as reported in Playboy: Rhesus monkeys were strapped into a chair and then strapped into gas masks and given the equivalent of 63 Colombian strength joints in "five minutes, thru the gas masks" losing no smoke. The monkeys were suffocating!

When NORML/Playboy hired researchers to examine the reported results against the actual methodology, the laughed.

They discovered, almost immediately, that Heath had completely (intentionally? incompetently?) omited, among other things, the carbon monoxide the monkeys inhaled during these intervals of 63 joints in five minutes...

Carbon monoxide is a deadly gas that kills brain cells and is given off by any burning object. All researchers found the marijuana findings in Heath's experiment to be of no value, because carbon monoxide poisoning and other factors involved were totally left out of the report.

Three to five minutes of oxygen deprivation causes brain damage, i.e. "dead brain cells" (Red Cross Livesaving and Water Safety manual).

The Heath Monkey study was actually a study in animal asphyxiation and carbon monoxide poisoning.

Because of the smoke concentration, the monkeys were, in effect, a bit like a person running the engine of their car in a locked garage five, 10, 15 minutes at a time, every day!

Lung Damage Studies

The Hype: More Dangerous Than Tobacco

The Berkeley marijuana carcinogenic studies of the late 1970s concluded that "marijuana is one-and-a-half times more carcinogenic than tobacco."

This is only true if you compare the smoke from the broad leaf of the tobacco to the broad leaf of the marijuana plant, which is how the government does it.,

The Facts: Not If You Smoke the Buds

The marijuana flowers have one third or less carcinogenic tars as tobacco leaf, and virtually all the carcinogens can be removed by using a water pipe system. Our government omitted this information and its significance to the results of such studies when speaking to the press.

In fact, it has been U.S. government policy to only compare leaf to leaf, even though it knows that 95% to 99% of marijuana smoked by Americans are the flowering tops (or buds) of the female plant.

Marijuana leaf sells for $20 to $100 per ounce on the street, but "buds" from the same plant will often sell for around $200 per ounce. Yet even the most naive marijuana smokers prefers a gram of bud to an ounce of leaf.

Yet this difference in tar comparisons with tobacco leaf carcinogens gives a totally false interpretation in the public mind of marijuana smoking verses tobacco smoking and the carcinogenic properties of each. Also a tobacco smoker will smoke 20 to 60 cigarettes a day, where a heavy marijuana smoker may smoke five to seven joints a day.

The Hype: More Harmful Than Tobacco

Marijuana has never caused a known case of lung cancer as of Decenber, 1989, according to Dr. Donald Tashkin of UCLA.

In 1976, Tashkin sent a written report to Dr. Gabriel Nahas at the Rheims, France, Conference on Potential Cannabis Medical Dangers.

The report Tashkin sent vecame the most sensationalized story to come out of this negative world conference on cannabis.

This surprised Tashkin, who had sent the report to the Rheims conference as an afterthought.

The Facts: Only in One of the 29 Areas of the Lungs -- and Marijuana Even Helps Other Areas

What Tashkin reported to the Rheims conference was that of 29 areas of the human lung (pulmonary) studied, one -- the large air passageway -- found marijuana 15 times more an irritant than tobacco.

Afterwards, the U.S. Government offered more money to fund ongoing marijuana/pulmonary studies (which they had de-funded two years earlier when Tashkin was getting encouraging therapeutic results with marijuana/lung studies), but limited the research to the large air passageway.

However, Tashkin admits that tobacco has little effect on this area (the large air passageway) and marijuana has a positive or neutral effect in most other areas of the lung. (See chapter 7, Therapeutic Uses of Cannabis.")

He admits the biggest health risk in the lungs would be a person smoking 19 or more "large" spliffs a day of leaf/bud because of the hypoxia of too much smoke and not enough oxygen.

Tashkin feels there ius no danger for anyone to worryt about potentiating emphysema "in any way" by the use of marijuana -- totally the opposite of tobacco.

The Single Most Inportant Fact: Not One Recorded Case of Lung Cancer Linked to Cannabis

We have interviewed Dr. Tashkin numerous times. In 1986 I asked him about an article he was preparing for submission to the New England Journal of Medicine, indicating that cannabis smoking caused as many or more pre-cancerous lesions as tobacco in "equal" ammounts.

Most people do not realize, nor are the media told, that a pre-cancerous lesion is any tissue abnormality; abrasion, eruption, or redness. Unlike the radioactive lesions caused by tobacco, the THC-related lesions contain no radioactivity.

We asked Tashkin how many people had gone on to get lung cancer in these studies -- or any other studies on long-term smokers like Rastas, Coptics, etc.?

Dr. Tashkin, sitting his UCLA laboratory, looked at me and said, "Well, that's the strange part. So far no one we've studied has gone on to get lung cancer."

"Was this reported to the press in the article?"

"Well, it's in the article," Dr. Tashkin said in passing, "but no one in the press even asked. They just assumed the worst."

Another Fact: Emphysema Suffers Benefit

During a later interview, Tashkin congratulated us on the tip that marijuana used for emphysema produced good results among people we knew.

He had presumed that marijuana aggravated emphysema, but after revewing his evidence found that, except in the rarest of instances, marijuana actually benefitted emphysema sufferers due to the opening and dilation of the bronchial passages.

And so the relief reported to us by cannabis smoking emphysema patients was confirmed.

Marijuana smoke is not unique in its benefits to the lungs. Yerba Santa, Colt's foot, Hoarhound and other herbs have traditionally been smoked to help the lungs.

Tobacco and its associated dangers have so prejudiced people against "smoking" that most people believe cannabis smoking to be as or more dangerous than tobacco. With research banned, these public health and safety facts are unavailable.

And So On

Other reports of reduced sperm count, breast enlargement, obesity and the like all remain unreplicated and are given little credence by the scientific community.

["The Emperor Has No Clothes" goes on to describe how the radioactive fertilize (phosphates) used on tobacco (which is very hard on the soil) causes it to be radioactive, that smoking a pack and a half of cigarettes per day for one year is equivalent to your lungs of what some 300 chest x-rays (using the old, slow x-ray film and without using any lead protection) are to your skin. But an x-ray dissipates its radioactivity instantly, while tobacco has a radioactive half-life that will remain active in the lungs for 21.5 years. And that Surgeon General C. Everett Koop said that radioactivity is probably responsible for most tobacco-related cancer. And that no radioactivity exists in cannabis tars. And there is much much more well documented information in that book about the history of hemp use, marijuana prohibition, its medical and therapeutic uses, its many uses as food, fiber, energy, and how it can save the ecology as well as the economy! It's got a great bibliography, and a thick appendix including copies of much of the primary source material, so you can read the evidence for yourself!]