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Perspective on marijuana's effects.

Thanks for Carlton Erickson's lively article, "What's the Real Story About Marijuana?" (March 2004 issue). Curiously, he fails to mention the elephant in the living room: the chemicals in cannabis smoke. At, it states:

"Scientists have identified more than 150 chemicals in marijuana smoke and tar. Marijuana smoke contains cancer-causing chemicals such as benzopyrene, which occurs 70 percent more in marijuana smoke than in tobacco smoke. Examinations of human lung tissue exposed to continuous marijuana smoke in laboratory testing show precancerous cellular change. In laboratory tests, the tars from marijuana smoke produce tumors when applied to animal skin. These studies suggest that prolonged marijuana use causes cancer."

Whatever medical benefits THC may have, personally I favor scrupulous research on this chemical. The development of a THC inhaler may be a different matter. In any case, I will not advocate using a route of administration that is patently harmful to the body. Smoke is toxic. It is bad enough that 90-plus percent of our clientele are nicotine-dependent, with cigarette smoking universally being their means of self-administration. Recall how the famous cannabis roach looks: It is soaked and stained black with resin and other chemicals. Guess how its lungs appear.

Peter C. Venable, M.Ed., LPC, CCAS

Winston-Salem, North Carolina
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Title Annotation:Letters
Author:Venable, Peter C.
Publication:Addiction Professional
Article Type:Letter to the Editor
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:May 1, 2004
Previous Article:A beginner's perspective.
Next Article:Rapid detox procedures not based in research.

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