Scientists Come Out on 13 Oft-Repeated Cannabis Claims

An international scientific body has reviewed 13 claims made by proponents of cannbis as false and published its findings saying none of them are strongly supported by scientific evidence.

Toronto-based he International Centre for Science in Drug Policy (ICSDP) has released two reports on Wednesday evaluating the strength of commonly heard cannabis claims, titled “State of the Evidence: Cannabis Use and Regulation,” and another summary report, “Using Evidence to Talk About Cannabis,” which equips readers with evidence-based responses to the claims.

ICSDPThe regulation of recreational cannabis markets has become a key issue now with Colorado and Washington State made headlines in 2012, and Uruguay in 2013, when they became the first jurisdictions in the world to legalize and regulate the adult use and sale of cannabis for non-medical purposes.

Momentum towards regulation continued in the United States in 2014 with successful ballot initiatives in Alaska, Oregon, and the District of Columbia. Globally, the issue of cannabis regulation is front and center in a growing number of jurisdictions, including Canada, Jamaica, Italy, Spain, Latin America, as well as several U.S. states set to vote on legalization initiatives in 2016.

“We are at a critical juncture, as more and more jurisdictions are reconsidering their policies on cannabis,” said Dr. Dan Werb, Director of the ICSDP. “There is a serious danger that misrepresenting the evidence on cannabis will lead to ineffective or harmful policy.”

The majority of cannabis use claims outlined in the reports tend to either misinterpret or overstate the existing scientific evidence. Dr. Carl Hart at Columbia University, explained, “The evidence tells us that less than 1 in 10 people who use cannabis across their lifetime become dependent, whereas the lifetime probability of becoming heroin-dependent is closer to 1 in 4. False claims like these hamper public understanding of these issues and ultimately lead to harmful policies.”

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