WHO on Marijuana
In December 1997 a long-awaited report by the World Health Organisation (WHO) of the United Nations about marijuana came out, the first in 15 years. A scandal erupted when the British science magazine "New Scientist" in its February 1998 issue exposed the suppression of a chapter in the document.
In the censored chapter the authors, three leading addiction researchers, compare the dangers of marijuana, as documented by science, against those of the legal drugs alcohol and nicotine and illegal opiates. In dry, factual language they point out that where risks exist these are actually more serious for these two legal drugs. They exposed the double standards that are being applied in the drug debate, and according to an insider quoted by New Scientist some WHO officials "went nuts". Two WHO bureaucrats opposed to the report were WHO-head Nakajima (retired in June 1998) and narcotics division head Dr. Yoshida. They were infuriated by a statement eventually deleted from the final report that "there are good reasons for saying that [cannabis] would be unlikely to seriously rival the public health risks of alcohol and tobacco even if as many people used cannabis as now drink alcohol or smoke tobacco."
The conclusion of the New Scientist on the whole issue of marijuana is that legalisation is not a question of "if" but "when".
WHO Project on Health Implications of Cannabis Use:
Comparative Appraisal of the Health and Psychological Consequences of Alcohol,
Cannabis, Nicotine and Opiate Use
By Wayne Hall, National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, University of New South Wales and Robin Room and Susan Bondy, Addiction Research Foundation, Toronto
I. OUR APPROACH
II. THE PROBABLE HEALTH EFFECTS OF CANNABIS USE
Acute Psychological and Health Consequences
The Health Effects of Chronic Cannabis Use
Psychological Effects of Chronic Cannabis Use
III. A QUALITATIVE COMPARISON OF THE HEALTH RISKS OF ALCOHOL, CANNABIS, NICOTINE AND OPIATE USE
IV. COMPARING THE MAGNITUDE OF RISKS
Quantifying the Relative Risks of Adverse Health Effects of Cannabis Use
Public Health Significance
Some Direct Comparative Evidence on Consequences: What Users Report
V. CONCLUSIONS & REFERENCES
TABLE 1: SUMMARY OF RATINGS OF OVERALL EFFECT OF DRUG USE BY CURRENT USERS (PERCENT)
TABLE 2:TYPES OF PROBLEMS REPORTED IN THE PAST 12 MONTHS BY CURRENT USERS AGE 18 TO 34 (ONTARIO 1992)