Top anti-drug researcher changes his mind – says legalize marijuana

Source Over and over again, all the bad things we’ve been told about marijuana are revealed to be not only false, but often the precise opposite of the truth. So the next time someone tells you that marijuana is worse for your lungs than cigarettes, you might want to mention that the world’s leading expert on that subject happens to be a supporter of legalization.

For 30 years, Donald Tashkin has studied the effects of marijuana on lung function. His work has been funded by the vehemently anti-marijuana National Institute on Drug Abuse, which has long sought to demonstrate that marijuana causes lung cancer. After 3 decades of anti-drug research, here’s what Tashkin has to say about marijuana laws:

“Early on, when our research appeared as if there would be a negative impact on lung health, I was opposed to legalization because I thought it would lead to increased use and that would lead to increased health effects,” Tashkin says. “But at this point, I’d be in favor of legalization. I wouldn’t encourage anybody to smoke any substances. But I don’t think it should be stigmatized as an illegal substance. Tobacco smoking causes far more harm. And in terms of an intoxicant, alcohol causes far more harm.” [McClatchy]

We’ve been told a thousand times that marijuana destroys your lungs, that it’s 5 times worse than cigarettes, and on and on. Yet here is Donald Tashkin, literally the top expert in the world when it comes to marijuana and lung health, telling us it’s time to legalize marijuana. His views are shaped not by ideology, but rather by the 30 years he spent studying the issue. He didn’t expect the science to come out in favor of marijuana, but that’s what happened and he’s willing to admit it.

Here’s the study that really turned things around:

UCLA’s Tashkin studied heavy marijuana smokers to determine whether the use led to increased risk of lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD. He hypothesized that there would be a definitive link between cancer and marijuana smoking, but the results proved otherwise.

“What we found instead was no association and even a suggestion of some protective effect,” says Tashkin, whose research was the largest case-control study ever conducted.

Prejudice against marijuana and smoking in general runs so deep for many people that it just seems inconceivable that marijuana could actually reduce the risk of lung cancer. But that’s what the data shows and it not only demolishes a major tenet of popular anti-pot propaganda, but also points towards a potentially groundbreaking opportunity to develop cancer cures through marijuana research.

Over and over again, all the bad things we’ve been told about marijuana are revealed to be not only false, but often the precise opposite of the truth. So the next time someone tells you that marijuana is worse for your lungs than cigarettes, you might want to mention that the world’s leading expert on that subject happens to be a supporter of legalization.


Tashkin is discussing the results of his pulmonary research involving marijuana for the first time:

Even heavy, long-term marijuana smokers had no lung impairment after many years of smoking, and in fact tested slightly more healthy than those who didn’t smoke marijuana – “protective effect”.  He does mention, however, that the protective effect may only be present in heavy smokers, as they are getting a higher amount of the cannabinoids.

part 2:

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32 thoughts on “Top anti-drug researcher changes his mind – says legalize marijuana

    • This sparked a memory in my mind of a story our DARE officer told us in school. It was meant to scare us and make us laugh at the same time. He said a drug dealer was bagging up marijuana and didn’t have enough, so he ground up his goldfish that had jumped out of its bowl and dried up. I wonder if he realized just how ridiculous that sounded? I highly doubt a ground up goldfish would really look like pot, let alone the smell lol! I really enjoyed your piece. It’s an interesting and creative perspective. Just keep swimmin’!


  1. Pingback: Top anti-drug researcher changes his mind – says legalize marijuana | Capital City Caregivers

  2. 40 years ago I became anti government while serving my 2nd tour in Viet Nam. The #1 main reason was the unconstitutional prohibition of cannabis. I also believe it to be a Sacrement from God, and for these past 40 years I’ve been trying my darndest to wake people up to this miracle herb. Now in my twilight years, I get the sense that a good change is coming.


    • Thanks for coming public with your opinions. Slowly but surely we are changing public opinion. A credible researcher such as yourself will help make that easier.


    • Thanks for your service Walt. As a stage 4 cancer survivor, I can attest to the healing and medicinal properties of this wonderful plant. The simpson oil saved my life, and gave me another chance at living.

      DJ, Michigan


  3. Disclosure is great! Disinformation and the Reagan administration is all over! Multiple Sclerosis made me aware of the history and benefits of hemp. Lets not forget to mention my best friends CBD,THC,CBN, and all the other 60+ cannabinoid cousins. Thank you for some bit of relief with this neuropathy phantom pain I have to manage.


  4. I am 42 years old Canadian and have been smoking marijuana for twenty five years. I have recently had to quit smoking do to my job, for reasons I find unfair.FEDERAL LAW, I have started to notice some of my injuries from years past have been bothering me, where they have never bothered me before I had to quit, don’t know what to do? signed: want to smoke.


    • I was a single parent,about to apply for a much needed job up-grade.Having worked since the age of 14, with nothing more than a GED,not mention being the sole support of three kids,this up-grade was sorely needed. After being a committed smoker(marijuana)for nearly 30yrs.I completely stopped.Within 6mos. my vision changed so drastically I couldn’t pass the eye examination. Heredity has passed three life altering illnesses to me that require much medication as treatment. I choose not to take narcotics, and marijuana makes my life livable.I’m not a criminal.I’ve raised three wonderful kids, and have three beautiful grand-kids.The benefits I get from marijuana are nothing compared to the benefits, world-wide, that there could be through legalization.


      • Thank you Boccelli53 for speaking out. People can and do live normal lives while using pot. This is what needs to be researched, look at Michael Phelps.


  5. Pingback: Top anti-drug researcher changes his mind – says legalize marijuana | The 420 Hub

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  7. When they put us through the mandatory DARE programs at school for six years, you could literally answer every question with:

    Gateway drug, destroys family, causes cancer, worse than smoking, more car crashes, ext, for everything they asked and pass.

    When you can fill in rhetoric like that for every answer and get a ‘diploma’ afterwards, you can safely assume the stuff they told you is absolutely false. But I was a kid, what did I know, eh?


    • The DARE program as it existed when I was in 5th grade was terrible, prior to the program I did not really know anything about drugs. After I “graduated” from DARE I felt like I knew a lot about drugs, in fact after discovering a stash of marijuana in my parents bedroom I thought they were hard core criminals.

      As a young adult, looking back the DARE program was nothing but a way to fill my head the idea that drugs would kill me or anyone else who used them.

      I will agree that most drugs can have negative, if not fatal consequences. However if programs like DARE presented unbiased facts maybe I would have believed them about that. They lied about pot, should I assume they lied about meth as well? Of course there is a big difference between medicating and abusing.


    • Brainwashing, I tell ya! I went through the DARE program and at that age, I was apt to believe anything coming from a police officer. Later on, I found out most of what they told me was bull. I have two beautiful children and I wonder, is this crap DARE stuff still going on in schools? If so, I need to find a way to opt them out of the course when the time comes. I feel I, as their parent, should be the one to tell them the truth about substances, not the lies regurgitated by minds who can’t think or research for themselves. I’ve used MMJ for a decade now despite the illegal nature. It’s what makes life livable. No pain, anxiety/depression control where other meds have failed miserably and left me worse off than if I hadn’t taken them at all. But every time I have to drive into the ghetto of the major city I live near to buy my medicine, I just want to kick my governor/president in the butt. Here I am rocking my soccer mama SUV and driving into one of the worst parts of the city with a decent sum of cash in my pocket, knowing only the person I’m buying from. But, it’s my only option. Good thing I’m good friends with my dealer from way back. Otherwise, I wouldn’t feel safe enough (from arrest alone) to purchase it. I’ve been afraid they would take my kids away. The only reason pot ruins lives and families is when law intervenes and creates chaos.
      – Hippy Mama against prohibition


  8. The cannabis/hemp issue should not only be about medicinal-recreational use (aka smoking pot). Besides the med/rec uses of the cannabis plant, it is a valuable crop (resource) and has 1000′s of other uses which will help mankind in every way. The Re-legalization of cannabis in all it’s uses is the way to be able to do both.

    Millions of non-outsourced, non-government, legal, reasonably taxed, private sector JOBS worth Trillions of dollars.

    To list just a few and the industries that would be created:

    1. Paper: cheaper to produce and more environmentally friendly- would produce many thousands of jobs in the pulp/paper industry.

    2. Textiles/clothing: cheaper and less pesticides to grow than cotton and more durable fiber- anything made from cotton (jeans, shirts, shoes etc) can be made with hemp producing 1000′s of jobs.

    3. Food: The hemp seed is more nutritious than soy, and is 2nd only to soy in the amount of oils produced per seed, but commercially grown, the amount of seed produced would easily outproduce soy. 1000′s of jobs.

    4 Bio-fuels: Hemp can be produced into fuels like methanol for bio-diesel engines- which commercially grown can produce enough to virtually eliminate dependence on oil. Producing many 1000′s of jobs.

    5. Construction: The hemp fiber can replace many types of wood/tree products (plywood, chipboard, even a hempcrete) needed for construction of houses. Many 1000′s of jobs.

    6. Farming: All of this hemp needs to be grown, mass produced by American farmers. Acre upon acre, mile after mile, state by state, producing many, Many, MANY 1000′s of jobs.

    All would be legal, regulated, moderately taxed, like every other job in America producing millions of jobs worth Trillions of dollars. Not one joint or bit of THC/CBD is produced out of any of it- no one can get high or get medicine from growing hemp for industrial use.

    I have still not even mentioned the industry and jobs that would be created for the medicinal/
    recreational industry. Which would, once decriminalized, account for the least amount of jobs and taxes from hemp/cannabis decriminalization, although it would also be worth several billion dollars and produce around as many jobs as the alcohol/tobacco industries only better.

    Commercial growers could produce average B-flat grades of cannabis (Budmeiser perhaps). Micro-groweries could grow the more rare, exotic, and potent, top-shelf quality varieties. Adults could grow their own medicine without the fear of having your door kicked in by Law Enforcement. Because being no longer a crime, YOU, are no longer a criminal.

    This beneficial plant is a safe medicine and recreation when used responsibly by adults. We should not go to jail or be fined for cannabis/hemp. No more than for any legal, regulated product, medicine, or resource. Time to Re-Think, Re-Educate, and Re-legalize Hemp. Lets end the War on Cannabis. For jobs, for medicine, for the economy, for the country and the world.


  9. The US Government should overcome its own “denial” with respect to Medicinal Cannabis, which can serve as a safe alternativ­e to many pharmaceut­ical chemicals on the market. I believe it is very positive that the President acknowledg­­es the “validity” of this debate. Whenever the validity of the debate is recognized­­, such a “recogniti­­on” invariably implies that our side has a “valid argument”; this being so, it follows that our side (in favor of Cannabis/M­edicinal Cannabis Legalizati­on) has a very real possibilit­­y of winning this “perfectly legitimate debate”, for otherwise it would not be a “debate”. For example, to even suggest that Cannabis Plant has no medicinal properties is not even a “logical” thing to do; as a “recreatio­­nal” substance, Cannabis is incomparab­­ly safer than alcohol! And if all this were not enough, it is scientific­­ally proven that Cannabis use (as opposed to alcohol use) suppresses violent urges and behaviors. All this is true even if the President is “personall­­y opposed” to legalizati­­on (at least for now). But we cannot sit on our butts and passively expect positive developmen­­ts to occur. We must participat­­e actively, write comments at the news articles, write to politician­­s, sign petitions, register to vote, etc. I specifical­­ly urge all the young people to talk to their parents and grandparen­­ts and educate them about Cannabis vs. alcohol and hard drugs. As the logical evidence in our favor inexorably accumulate­­s, the “qualitati­­ve shift” will occur in our common consciousn­­ess, and we will win this “perfectly legitimate­­” debate!


  10. He’s dishonest, this research turned up in 1974.

    Or rather he got honest very very late.

    Let me guess, he’s retired and off the NIDA teet.


  11. Thank you mr.tashkin. your support will assist us greatly, a man of your caliber, proof positive stating what we have been for years. The evidence supporting the repeal of the prohibitian of cannabis is stacking up aganst the lies, spewing out of those who want no change..
    the day is comming, and until than we must keep fighting!


  12. I have chronic, end-stage Lyme disease and a co-infection of babesia, which is similar to malaria. I had them licked, but as is in most cases, they both came back. I had them for decades before I was diagnosed. My heart is affected, and I have fibromyalgia and arthritis in every joint to the point where I cannot walk. I tried smokin weed once at a friend’s house, and I was still when I stood up, but felt no pain. I feel marijuana must be legalized for those of us in chronic pain so we can walk and tolerate our normal daily lives. I want to be a young, cool, fun, hip grandmother. Not one riddled with pain in a nursing home. I feel this is the time and it must be legalized. What can I do to help the process? I am just a well-educated doctor’s wife, a housewife, mother and grandmother who wants out of pain and misery. I want to make a change in the world. What can I do?


    • Dear Karen,

      i would suggest getting on Facebook, and then contacting

      He is working hard, relentlessly, trying to get medical marijuana legalized. Ask him what you can do. At the very least, he is full of information as to how far along we are toward legal medicine, and is extremely encouraging.

      He used to be a priest, and now his ministry is in helping people just like you (and me).

      God Bless.


  13. Pingback: Top anti-drug researcher changes his mind – says legalize marijuana (via Patients for Medical Cannabis) « superjens

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