The Drug Enforcement Agency just admitted that cannabis has never killed anyone. Ever. They also acknowledged that the little green plant, which has been used across civilizations for thousands of years, causes “merriment” and “happiness.” But they still want to keep it illegal.
The new 94-page report released this week is entitled “Drugs of Abuse” and is intended to foster a better understanding of the dangers of drug consumption. “Education plays a critical role in preventing substance abuse,” the document opens. “Drugs of Abuse, A DEA Resource Guide, is designed to be a reliable resource on the most commonly abused and misused drugs in the United States.”
While the report correctly includes seriously dangerous drugs like heroin, fentanyl, and pharmaceutical opioids, it also includes substances increasingly proven to be far less harmful than the government would like its citizens to believe — “drugs” that actually have medicinal properties. The report fails to acknowledge these benefits throughout its in-depth explanations.
Nevertheless, when it comes to cannabis, the DEA is surprisingly honest, at least in part. Describing the plant for what it is — a “dry, shredded green/brown mix of flowers, stems, seeds, and leaves” — they note that “[n]o deaths from overdose of marijuana have been reported.”
They even acknowledge that cannabis use can cause “[m]erriment, happiness, and even exhilaration at high doses,” as well as “[d]isinhibition, relaxation, increased sociability, and talkativeness.” The illegal, allegedly dangerous substance even causes — gasp — “[e]nhanced sensory perception, giving rise to increased appreciation of music, art, and touch.”
Of course, the report focuses far more on the “dangerous” effects of the plant, including bronchitis, emphysema, paranoia, anxiety, panic attacks, and a litany of other alleged dangers. Despite the fact that research has found marijuana use has few significant effects on lung health — far less than legal tobacco use — and the fact that mounting evidence shows varieties of cannabis like CBD (cannabidiol) can help treat anxiety and other mental health ailments, the DEA displays no such nuance in their explanations, instead appearing to base their assessment of safety on the legality of the drug.
For example, though they claim cannabis can cause nausea, they go on to explain in the very same section that “Marinol, a synthetic version of THC, the active ingredient found in the marijuana plant, can be prescribed for the control of nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapeutic agents used in the treatment of cancer and to stimulate appetite in AIDS patients.”
Indeed, though cannabis is indisputably a form of medicine, whether for nausea, anxiety, Parkinson’s disease, Crohn’s disease, chronic pain, or countless other disorders, the DEA insists that because it is a Schedule I drug, it has no medicinal value.
The same pattern emerges with psychedelic drugs, which the federal government also claims have no medicinal value despite increasing evidence that MDMA can help treat PTSD (the FDA itself has authorized research into the drug’s potential for helping those who suffer with it) and that psychedelic mushrooms and LSD can help treat depression.
None of this is acknowledged in the report. Instead, myths that they are addictive and dangerous abound.