Top Anti Drug Researcher Changes Mind, Says Legalize Marijuana

(Source)  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.
Tobacco smoking causes far more harm.   And in terms of an intoxicant, alcohol causes far more harm.

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.


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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25 thoughts on “Top Anti Drug Researcher Changes Mind, Says Legalize Marijuana

  1. Iv been a heavy Marijuana smoker for 12years (im 22) I have asthma, I find Marijuana has a greater effect than my asthma medication, smoking of course can irritate my throat but if vaporized gives an instant improvment in lung function, Once I ran out of my medication and an asthma attack was coming on, What did I do…. Smoked a joint, once finished I felt as good as new, Id say without Marijuana I could have suffered a serious attack by now and wouldent be writing this now, since I started using Marijuana my asthma has improved.

    Keep in mind the crap stuff I get here is not pure and containts containments with are harmful to my lungs/liver but I STILL find an improvment, If it was legal I wouldnt have to smoke this containmenated crap!

    I have alwasy been for legalization but I recently visited Amsterdam and spent a good amount of the time in CoffeeShops (Marijuana cafe’s) Iv never felt so strongly about legalization. Why?…

    1. You know there are no containments in the grass/resin you buy, In Northern Ireland at least there are A LOT of harmfull, carcinogenic chemicals in our resin in order to “cut it” even in grass you can find ground glass in it or fiber glass sprayed on it.

    2. A coffeeshop gives stonners a place to meet, A lot of stonners dont drink, I dont like going out to bars but theirs just no other alternitive in and around the UK.

    3. legalization will cut blackmarket profits by at least 1/4 more like 1/2 in Northern Ireland.

    4. Drinking is supported and even encouraged here, Its so much more harmful to you not to mention the things you do when drunk (fight, steal, make a fool of yourself, generaly break the law[because your drunk and you just dont care]).
    When stonned you wouldnt think of doing any thing like that and infact will try your hardest to avoid them (because it too much hastle).

    These are some of my oppinions on legalization their are MANY more but listing them all here would be just repeting what you find on 10000’s of other sites.

    If you are agenst Marijuana use please please visit a coffeeshop in Amsterdam (smokes @ rambrant square is a good place to start), Just sit there for an hour or so and talk to the customers, then you will understand! (in most coffeeshops you dont have to buy Marijuana but you will have to buy drinks)


  2. You are absolutely right, i have never had a near death experience averted like yours due to marijuana, however, i have noticed feeling uplifted. I had a bout with depression, which if left untreated too long could have turned suicidal, and that is when i started using it. I heard about peer pressure, and how it could be positive or negative, however, my friends advocating the use of marijuana, in my case, and I’m sure in many others, was indeed positive. From a young age we are brainwashed into thinking that smoking one joint will turn us crazy and send our lives down a path of destruction and hard drug use. That is not the case, in the majority of instances. Simply put, Americans need to be told the truth from unbiased experts, not the government. The government hides studies that showed that marijuana caused no detrimental damage to a person, and even caused good in terms of fighting cancer and improving overall well-being.


  3. I, like Ryan also have severe asthma, and am a similar age to Ryan (24). I was first diagnosed when I was 3 years old and spent countless months in hospital as a result of asthma attacks. My last severe asthma attack was when I was 12 years old. I was rushed to hospital, and in fact died momentarily as the passage ways to my lungs were so blocked I could not breath, which in turn resulted in cardiac arrest – I was obviously, and thankfully revived. I have been on prescribed medication for as long as I can remember; the medication constantly changed with my age (and it seemed the seasons) and yet my asthma never improved.

    And then I went to high school.

    As most kids do, I experimented. I smoked marijuana first at the age of 14 (I was worried because of my asthma, but peer pressure did the trick), and I have not looked back since. Ever since that first cone I have NEVER had another asthma attack, and, like Ryan, if I have run out of/cant find my medication and am feeling tight in the chest/breathless but have some pot around, all I need do is have a smoke and I’m fine! I’m not 100% sure what the reason for this is, but I would surmise that it probably has something to do with the fact that pot is a muscle relaxant, and lungs being a muscle are therefore relaxed, and the inflammatory symptoms of an asthma attack are relieved.

    I also have a mate who has Cystic Fibrosis. He was told at 14 that he would live until 16 at the most. He started smoking pot with me, at the same time as me – we’re the same age (24) and he is still alive. Coincidence? I dont think so!


  4. Im glad to see positive a responce to my comment, mostly you get bashed for advocating Marijuana use. Check out my website: (blog, services, shroom shop and my amsterdam trip)

    To Ben: You are right in saying part of the reason asthma symptioms are reduced is due to marijuana being a muscle relaxant but also and more importantly Marijuana has many anti-inflammatory’s which is typicaly what asthma medication is, Im sure better asthma meds and many others could be created if it was legal.

    Well Im hopeing the US becomes legal within the next 3-5yrs then the UK will follow after another 2/3yrs but I guess by that time I will prob have moved to Amsterdam.


  5. Be careful in how you argue medical issues. Your lungs are not a muscle. But, I do agree, I have long used marijuana as an anti-asthmatic. I grew up playing a lot of sports and have always suffered from asthma. I toke up 15-30 minutes before playing and no problems, not to mention a more focused state of being.


    • True, the lungs are not a muscle. However, all of the airways to the level of the respiratory bronchioles contain smooth muscle in their walls and muscle relaxants would help. These smooth muscles predominately cramp down with low oxygen so one would expect that marijuana, or any smoke, would make this cramping worse. HOWEVER, 420 has several effects beyond simply hypoxia induction. For one thing, it has anti inflammatory properties which is the key to asthma. It also induces a heavy cough which clears the airways. Also, as previously mentioned, mj has muscle relaxant properties.the small airways to open more.


  6. Just to clarify Asthma is a disease that affects the breathing passages of the lungs (bronchioles). Asthma is caused by chronic (ongoing, long-term) inflammation of these passages. This makes the breathing passages, or airways, of the person with asthma highly sensitive to various “triggers.”

    Muscles within the breathing passages contract (bronchospasm), causing even further narrowing of the airways. (aka acute attack).

    So it may reduce inflammation of the bronchioles and/or Muscles in breathing passages.

    CheckMate 😛


    • yes, for the record, thc is a bronchial dilator, which i imagine helps people suffering from asthma. i can’t say for sure though, as i don’t have asthma.


      • Yep, it’s a bronchodialator, which means it dialates (opens, widens) the air passage through which you breathe. This of course leads to less blockages and easier breathing.


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  15. LEGALIZE IT!!!! Sorry I had a whole nice thing typed out then accidentally hit my stumbleupon shortcut key and left the page losing everything I typed : ) So I’ll just say keep up the good work guys and hopefully the government will realize their foolish mistake, then suck it up and finally legalize this misunderstood plant. By the way my shortcut key is q lol might have to change that.


  16. Surely marijuana has good benefits instead of bad. And this has to do with the cannabinoids which it contains. More and more they are going to find out that cannabinoids heal. There are some new cannabinoids like this one: which are synthetic but also show promise All of these substances I am sure will prove to have health benifits in the future. This new synthetic cannabinoid is now being targeted by the same ignorant people who have said that marijuana causes cancer.


  17. Just a little info for everyone in current neuroscience research…

    The endocannabinoid system is one (if not “the one”) of the most complicated neurotransmitter systems in the brain. Cannabinoids have MANY different effects in MANY different parts of the brain and the body. The key to marijuana’s health benefits is the SAME as every other medicinal drug that exists. It’s all about the dose. The amount is the key. Little amounts are actually better, and go a long way. Too high of a dose leads to detrimental effects on health. This is true for most drugs, although many drugs have sharp lines between an effective dose for treatment and a dose that can kill you or cause unpleasant side effects. Even drugs like cocaine and heroin have medicinal value, but it is all about the dose and the severity of one’s illness/medical condition. One example is anxiety: at small doses marijuana tends to be an anxiolytic, but with increasing doses it tends to become an anxiogenic. I believe all drugs (legal and illegal) all have medicinal value, it just depends on the type of illness being treated and the severity, no matter how rare the medical condition may be.


    • Interesting. I agree the dosage is key. I would suggest that smoked and ingested cannabis act differently enough to require separate tests. In your example regarding depression, it is true with smoked cannabis, but imho, not at all true when dealing with edibles.

      I would ask what the medicinal value to Meth would be, as I can’t think of one, though I realize heroin and cocaine can be useful.


  18. editors,

    You’re right. This is mainly because inhaled cannabinoids reach the brain before they circulate throughout the entire body and get to the liver, allowing for a quick high (hence the early onset when compared to how long it takes when ingested). When most of the cannabinoids pass the blood brain barrier and enter the brain, which happens quickly when they are inhaled, they can then act diffusely on C1 receptors throughout the brain. However, when ingested, which takes longer for the cannabinoids to reach the blood stream, the drug has to go to other parts of the body first and pass the liver before it gets to the brain. Keep in mind there are about 70 cannabinoids or so in marijuana smoke, only a few of which have the psychoactive effects we research heavily, others may have effects in the body we don’t know about. Most cannabinoids when ingested then act on C2 receptors which are found in the body and peripheral nervous system, and may account for different effects. (perhaps the “body high” associated with ingesting marijuana, but i have not read literature regarding ingestion so that is strictly opinion). I would argue that it is the difference between these two receptors and the dose that plays a big part in the difference between ingesting and inhaling. On top of that, ingested marijuana will store THC and other cannabinoids in fat around the small intestines and may release it slowly into the blood stream over time.

    Seeing as I have never used meth, I can’t think of any medicinal purposes off the top of my head, but I can imagine it would have beneficial effects similar to those of regular amphetamine salts due to their similarity in chemical structure and function in the brain.


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