Cannabis Facts

Health Risk Myths and Realities

Marijuana Overdose

No evidence exists that anyone has ever died of a marijuana overdose. Tests performed on mice have shown that the ratio of cannabinoids (the chemicals in marijuana that make you stoned) necessary for overdose to the amount necessary for intoxication is 40,000:1. For comparison’s sake, that ratio for alcohol is generally between 4:1 and 10:1. Alcohol overdoses kill about 5,000 yearly but marijuana overdoses kill no one as far as anyone can tell.

Brain Damage

Marijuana is psychoactive because it stimulates certain brain receptors, but it does not produce toxins that kill them (like alcohol), and it does not wear them out as other drugs may. There is no evidence that marijuana use is a cause of brain damage. Studies by Dr. Robert Heath claimed the contrary in experiments on monkeys, but Heath’s work has been sharply criticized by the Institute of Medicine and the National Academy of Sciences on three primary counts:

its insufficient sample size (only four monkeys),
its failure to control experimental bias, and its misidentification of normal monkey brain structure as “damaged”.

A far superior experiment by the National Center for Toxicological Research (NCTR) involving 64 rhesus monkeys that were exposed to daily or weekly doses of marijuana smoke for a year found no evidence of structural or neurochemical changes in the brains of rhesus monkeys. Studies performed on actual human populations will confirm these results, even for chronic marijuana users (up to 18 joints per day) after many years of use. In fact, following the publication of two 1977 JAMA studies, the American Medical Association (AMA) officially announced its support for the decriminalization of marijuana.

Contrary to a 1987 television commercial sponsored by the Partnership for a Drug-Free America (PDFA), marijuana does not “flatten” brain waves either. In the commercial, a normal human brain wave was compared to what was supposedly the (much flatter) brain wave of a 14-year-old high on marijuana. It was actually the brain wave of a coma patient. PDFA lied about the data, and had to pull the commercial off of the air when researchers complained to the television networks.

In reality, marijuana has the effect of slightly increasing alpha-wave activity. Alpha waves are generally associated with meditative and relaxed states which are, in turn, often associated with human creativity.


Marijuana does impair short-term memory, but only during intoxication. Although the authoritative studies on marijuana use seem to agree that there is no residual impairment following intoxication, persistent impairment of short-term memory has been noted in chronic marijuana smokers up to 6 and 12 weeks following abstinence.

Heart Problems

It is accepted in medical circles today that marijuana use causes no evident long-term cardiovascular problems for normal persons. However, marijuana-smoking does cause changes in the heart and body’s circulation characteristic of stress, which may complicate preexisting cardiovascular problems like hypertension, cerebrovascular disease, and coronary atherosclerosis. Marijuana’s effects upon blood pressure are complex and inconsistent.


Chronic marijuana use has not been found to alter testosterone or other sex hormone levels, despite the conclusions of Dr. R.C. Kolodony’s 1974 study. Seven similar studies have been performed since then, the most recent by a Dr. Robert Block at the University of Iowa, and none have reproduced Kolodony’s results. In contrast, heavy alcohol use is known to lower these same testosterone levels.

Reproductive Damage

No trustworthy study has ever shown that marijuana use damages the reproductive system, or causes chromosome breakage. Dr. Gabriel Nahas reached the opposite conclusion in his experiments performed in the early 1980s, but did so in part using the in vitro (i.e., in test tubes and petrii dishes) cells of rhesus monkeys. His rather unjustified claim that these changes would also occur in human bodies in vivo (in the body) was criticized by his colleagues and, in 1983, he renounced his own results.

Studies of actual human populations have failed to demonstrate that marijuana adversely affects the reproductive system. Wu et al. found in 1988 a correlation between marijuana use and low sperm counts in human males. But this is misleading because (1) a decrease in sperm count has not been shown to have a negative effect on fertility, and (2) the sperm count returned to normal levels after marijuana use had ceased.

Claims that marijuana use may impair hormone production, menstrual cycles, or fertility in females are both unproven and unfounded.

The Immune System

Studies in which lab rats were injected with extremely large quantities of THC have found that marijuana (in such unrealistically huge quantities) does have an “immunosuppressive effect” in those lab rats, in that it temporarily shuts off certain cells in the liver called lymphocytes and macrophages. These macrophages are useful in fighting off bacterial, not viral, infections. But this is only for the duration of intoxication. There also exists some evidence that marijuana metabolites stay in the lungs for up to seven months after smoking has ceased, possibly affecting the immune system of the lungs (but not by turning the cells off). This said, doctors and researchers are still not sure that the immune system is actually negatively affected in realistic situations since there are no numbers to support the idea. In fact, three studies showed that THC may have actually stimulated the immune system in the people studied.

Birth Defects

Unlike alcohol, cocaine, and tobacco, studies show that there exists no evident link between prenatal use of marijuana and birth defects or fetal alcohol syndrome in humans. In fact, marijuana use during the third trimester has been found to have a positive impact on birthweight. It is known that Delta-9-THC does enter the placenta, so mothers are advised against consuming large quantities.


Smoking marijuana has the potential to cause both bronchitis and cancer of the lungs, throat, and neck, but this is generally no different than inhaling any other burnt carbon-containing matter since they all increase the number of lesions (and therefore possible infections) in your airways. There are a couple of studies that claim on the basis of carcinogens that smoking marijuana is worse for your body than smoking a cigarette, but these are rather simplified. There are actually some very convincing reasons to believe that smoking cigarettes is relatively more dangerous to the body than smoking marijuana on more than one count: (1) It is accepted by a growing number of scientists today that all American cigarettes contain significant levels of polonium-210, the same sort of radiation given off by the plutonium of atom bombs (ionizing alpha radiation). It just so happens that the tobacco plant’s roots and leaves are especially good at absorbing radioactive elements from uranium-containing phosphate fertilizers that are required by U.S. law, and from naturally occurring radiation in the soil, air, and water. It is the opinion of C. Everette Koop that this radioactivity, not tar, accounts for at least 90% of all smoking-related lung cancer. Other estimates that have been made are, about 50% according to Dr. Joseph R. DiFranza of the Univ. of Mass. Medical Center and according to Dr. Edward Martell, a radiochemist with the National Center for Atmospheric Research, 95%. Dr. R.T. Ravenholt, former director of World Health Surveys at the Centers for Disease Control, agrees with the risk, asserting that “Americans are exposed to far more radiation from tobacco smoke than from any other source”. Supporting the radioactivity notion is the finding that (a) Relatively high levels of polonium-210 have been found in both cigarette smoke and the lungs of both smokers and nonsmokers alike [60]; (b) Smokers of low-tar-and-nicotine cigarettes die of lung cancer just as much as smokers of other cigarettes; and also, (c) Even the most potent carcinogen that has been found in cigarettes, benzopyrene, is only present in quantities sufficient to account for about 1% of the lung cancer cases that occur from smoking.

Why don’t you know any of this?

Because the tobacco industry is suppressing the information. (2) Tobacco smoke is theorized to work as a kind of “magnet” for airborne radioactive particles such as radon, causing them to deposit in your lungs instead of on walls, rugs, or draperies. (3) Tobacco, unlike marijuana, contains nicotine, which may harden arteries and cause many of the cases of heart disease associated with tobacco use. It also breaks down into cancer-promoting chemicals called N Nitrosamines when burned, and perhaps even when it is inside the body. (4) THC is a bronchial dilator, which means it works like a cough drop by opening up your lungs and therefore aiding in the clearance of smoke and dirt. Nicotine has the exact opposite effect. (5) Unlike the chemicals in marijuana, nicotine has a paralyzing effect on the tiny hairs along the body’s air passages. These hairs normally work to keep foreign matter out of the lungs. This means that carcinogenic tar from cigarette smoke is relatively much harder to purge from your lungs than is that from marijuana. And finally, (6) Marijuana users smoke significantly less than cigarette smokers do because of both marijuana’s psychoactive properties (this is called “auto-titration”) and nicotine’s high potential for physical addiction. It is important to note that the NCTR study found no signs of lung cancer in its autopsied rhesus monkeys who had smoked marijuana for one year.

Smoking cigarettes and smoking marijuana negatively affect different areas of the body, and therefore cause different problems. But everything considered, marijuana-only smokers who average 3 – 4 joints per day show similar symptoms to cigarette smokers who polish off 20 in a day. Although one well-done study tells us that frequent marijuana smokers have a 19% greater risk of respiratory diseases than people who smoke nothing at all [66], it seems that neck and throat cancers are much more likely to result than lung cancer or emphysema. This is because, unlike tobacco, marijuana does not penetrate deeply into the lung. In order to minimize the risk of acquiring neck or throat cancer from marijuana smoke, it is best to (1) avoid as much as possible cigarette-smoking and heavy drinking while smoking marijuana, and (2) eat plenty of vegetables (such as carrots, broccoli, squash, and sprouts) or vitamin supplements of beta carotene, vitamins A, C and E, and selenium. These are believed to impede cancer’s progress.

In addition, there are actually things that can be done to reduce and even entirely eliminate the bodily harm that may potentially result from smoking marijuana. This is possible because all of the principle psychoactive ingredients of marijuana (THC and the cannabinoids) are neither mutagenic (gene-mutating) nor carcinogenic (cancer-causing).

Legalizing marijuana would make (better) water bongs and marijuana foods, drinks, and pills both less expensive and more accessible. Smoking marijuana through a water-filled bong will cool the smoke and there is reason to believe that it will filter some of the carcinogens. Eating or drinking marijuana effectively eliminates all negative effects. In addition, it is conceivable that an aerosol contraption or vaporizer, commonly called a tilt pipe, could easily be constructed that would surpass joints in efficiency, match them in onset and control of effects, and yet would be effectively harmless to the body.

Fat Cells

One of the more ridiculous myths being circulated is that marijuana stays in your fat cells and can keep you high for months. Even though they may have similar names, the psychoactive THC (Delta-9-THC) is different from the metabolites (for instance, 11-OH-THC and 11-nor) that your body breaks it down into in that the latter will not get you stoned. It is the metabolites that stay in your fatty cells and show up on drug tests. Your body is depleted of Delta-9-THC only hours after ingestion.

Other MJ Myths and Realities

Amotivational Syndrome

Amotivational syndrome is defined as a condition in which a person loses ambition or motivation to complete tasks that he would normally like to have completed. Claims made in the 60’s that marijuana use resulted in amotivational syndrome were predominantly founded on stereotypes. But more recently, the carefully-designed NCTR study has actually confirmed these suspicions under certain conditions. It found that marijuana use may consistently produce something akin to amotivational syndrome in adolescent monkeys. It did not however prove that marijuana makes adolescents apathetic or depressed. A full recovery to normal motivation levels was typically observed to occur between two to three months following cessation of exposure. For unknown reasons, one monkey was observed to never fully recover. Surprisingly, the willingness to work appeared to be equally affected in both the daily and weekend rhesus smokers in the study. Other studies have failed to prove amotivational syndrome in adults, so there is much reason to believe that this effect only occurs during adolescent use.

Marijuana Potency

Marijuana is not significantly more potent today than it has been in the past. It is generally agreed that this myth was the result of bad data. The researchers making the claims used as their baseline the THC content of marijuana seized by police in the early 1970’s, which had deteriorated since then because of poor storage conditions. In reality, it seems that domestic marijuana’s average potency probably doubled in the 70’s with the advent of sinsemilla, but has remained more or less constant since then. Scare tactics claiming that marijuana potency has increased are rather irrelevant anyways since marijuana users typically stop smoking when the desired effect is achieved (once again, “auto-titration”). Contrary to one of DARE’s allegations, it is generally agreed that marijuana does not create a tolerance, withdrawal symptoms, or physical dependence in the user. Lester Grinspoon adds, “there are many who assert that there is nevertheless drug dependence because of [marijuana’s] capacity to generate psychic dependency. However it is not at all clear that this type of dependency is essentially any different from that which a man may develop with respect to his trousers, his automobile, or his wife”.


Driving in any inebriated state is adding complication to what already amounts to a constant life-threatening situation. That said, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) summarized all of its studies by saying that there was “no indication that marijuana by itself was a cause of fatal accidents,” and that alcohol was by far the “dominant problem” in drug-related accidents. The Victorian Institute of Forensic Pathology and Monash University’s Department of Forensic Medicine in Melbourne, Australia have found that drivers who use cannabis are actually less likely to cause fatal accidents than drug-free drivers, and are no more likely than other drivers to be killed or seriously injured in road accidents. One experiment tested marijuana-intoxicated drivers on both a closed course and on a crowded city street. It found that the elements of driving most affected were concentration and judgment. An experiment involving a driving simulator that tested actual driving ability according to how many mistakes are incurred by sober, drunk, and high subjects found that marijuana, unlike alcohol, does not significantly affect driving ability. It was found that these results hold true for even higher doses (within reason) and inexperienced marijuana users. In fact, the only significant difference reported by the stoned subjects was an altered perception of time, which effectively made them drive relatively slower. A similar study found that marijuana additionally impairs the driver’s ability to attend to peripheral stimuli. One theory attempting to explain these surprising findings states that marijuana users, in instances requiring seriousness, are in fact able to willingly “bring themselves down,” such that they are no longer high. Studies that in the past have shown that marjuana-intoxicated drivers cause significantly more accidents than sober drivers are typically unreliable on one or more of the following counts: (1) They use drug tests to determine whether or not a person is high, and drug tests in use only indicate use over the past 30 days; (2) Some studies have not corrected for alcohol use, or do not provide a control group; and (3) In many studies there were relatively more stoned drivers killed, but it was not their fault. And when the police “culpability scores” were tallied and factored in, marijuana was generally not to blame for the accidents. It must be emphasized however that one study shows that daily marijuana smokers tend to have a 30% higher risk of injuries than non-users [66]. In fact, accidents resulting from intoxication are thought to be “the number one hazard of marijuana use”.

The Gateway Effect

Marijuana use has not been found to act as a gateway drug to the use of harder drugs. Studies show that when the Dutch partially legalized marijuana in the 70’s, heroin and cocaine use substantially declined, despite a slight increase in marijuana use. If the stepping stone theory were true, use should have gone up rather than down. In reality, it appears that marijuana use tends to substitute for the use of relatively more dangerous hard drugs like cocaine and heroin, rather than lead to their use. Thus, oftentimes strict marijuana laws themselves are the most significant factor involved in moving on to harder drugs like cocaine. Such is the case in Nevada and Arizona, the states toughest on marijuana use. A recent study by Columbia University’s Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse attempts to show, like many past studies have, that marijuana users are more likely to use heroin or cocaine. But what the study actually does show is that a large number of heroin or cocaine users have used marijuana, not the reverse. What is not mentioned is that just as many or even more had probably also drank alcohol, smoked cigarettes, had sex, or eaten sandwiches prior to their hard drug use. In fact, a National High School survey tells us that in 1990, 40.7% of all high school students had tried marijuana or hashish at least once, whereas only 9.4% and 1.3% had ever used cocaine and heroin, respectively. Thus, at maximum, only 23% of marijuana users go on to use cocaine, and only 3% go on to use heroin. Thus, the stepping stone theory fails on even empirical grounds.

Marijuana and Crime

DARE literature would have you believe that there exists a strong correlation between marijuana use and juvenile and young adult crime. And a recent study attempts to present a link between marijuana use and violence by stating that 2/3 of all students who admit to taking a gun to school at least once had smoked marijuana. In fact, DEA head Thomas Constantine recently stated in a Washington Times interview that “Many times people talk about the nonviolent drug offender. That is a rare species. There is not some sterile drug type not involved in violence who is contributing some good to the community; that is ridiculous. They are contributing nothing but evil.” But these allegations are unsupported by research because test results show that changes in personality resulting from marijuana use, even though they are not relatively significant, include among other things a lessening of aggressive trends. And large population studies such as the La Guardia report have found that, if anything, marijuana use inhibits antisocial activity such as violence. The drug-inspired violence myth, including a comprehensive history of its conception, is discussed at great length in Lester Grinspoon’s book, where it is shown to be based largely on a distorted Persian story that is hundreds of years old. The problem inherent in drawing conclusions based on correlations such as the 2/3 statistic above is that causality cannot be inferred from correlation. In other words, there is no way of determining whether marijuana use contributed in some way to the existence of certain traits of marijuana users, i.e. bringing a gun to school, or, as seems entirely more likely, people with such traits are drawn to marijuana use. One study found that chronic marijuana users had significantly higher WAIS IQ scores (113.08) than both moderate users (102.15) and nonusers (103.26). It is simply impossible to make sense of such statistics as presented.

Click Here to see HEMP Facts


[1] Mikuriya, T.H. “Historical Aspects of Cannabis Sativa in Western Medicine,” New Physician, 1969, p. 905.
[2] Cotts, Cynthia, “Hard Sell in the Drug War.” The Nation. March 9, 1992. p 300 – 302.

[3] Nadelmann, Ethan A. “Drug Prohibition in the United States: Costs, Consequences, and Alternatives,” Science, Vol 245: 943, 1 September 1989.

[4] Heath, R.G., A.T. Fitzjarrell, C.J. Fontana, and R.E. Garey. “Cannabis sativa: Effects on brain function and ultrastructure in Rhesus monkeys,” Biological Psychiatry. 15:657-690, 1980.

[5] Marijuana and Health, Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences, 1982.

[6] Slikker, William Jr. et al. “Behavioral, Neurochemical, and Neurohistological Effects of Chronic Marijuana Smoke Exposure in the Nonhuman Primate” in “Marijuana Cannabinoids Neurobiology and Neurophysiology,” Laura Murphy, Andrzej Bartke ed. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, 1992.

[7] Matsuda, L.A., S.J. Lolait, M.J. Brownstein, A.C. Young, and T.I. Bonner. “Structure of a Cannabinoid Receptor,” Nature, 346 (issue 6824): 561-564. August, 1990.

[8] Co, B.T., D.W. Goodwin, M. Gado, M. Mikhael, and S.Y. Hill. “Absence of cerebral atrophy in chronic cannabis users,” Journal of the American Medical Association, 237: 1229-1230, 1977.

[9] Kuehnle, J., J.H. Mendelson, K.R. Davis, and P.F.J. New. “Computed topographic examination of heavy marijuana smokers,” Journal of the American Medical Association, 237: 1231-1232, 1977.

[10] Lancaster, Cattell. Mayor’s Committee on Marijuana. The Marijuana Problem in the City of New York. 1944.

[11] Freedman and Rockmore, “Marihuana: A Factor in Personality Evaluation,” 7: 765-781, 1946.

[12] Siler et al., “Marihuana Smoking in Panama,” The Military Surgeon, 73: 269-280, 1933.

[13] R. L. Dornbush, M.D., M. Fink, M.D., and A. M. Freedman, M.D. “Marijuana, Memory, and Perception,” presented at the 124th annual meeting of the American Psychiatric Association, May 3-7, 1971.

[14] Block, Robert, M.D. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 28: 121-8, 1991.

[15] Hollister, Leo E. “Marijuana and Immunity”, Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, 24 (issue 2):159-164, April, June, 1992. pub. Haight-Ashbury Publications in association with the Haight-Ashbury Free Medical Clinic, San Francisco, CA.

[16] Kaklamani, et al. “Hashish smoking and T- lymphocytes,” 1978.

[17] Kalofoutis et al. “The significance of lymphocyte lipid changes after smoking hashish,” 1978.

[18] Wallace, J.M., D.P. Tashkin, J.S. Oishi, R.G. Barbers. “Peripheral Blood Lymphocyte Subpopulations and Mitogen Responsiveness in Tobacco and Marijuana Smokers,” Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, 1988.

[20] Kaplan, John. Marijuana, The New Prohibition, New York, World Publishing Co., 1969.

[21] Health Consequences of Smoking: Nicotine Addiction, Surgeon General’s Report, 1988.

[22] Winters, T.H., and J.R. Franza. “Radioactivity in Cigarette Smoke.” New England Journal of Medicine, 1982: 306 (6): 364-365.

[23] Mikuriya, Tod H., M.D., and Michael R. Aldrich, Ph.D. “Cannabis 1988, Old Drug New Dangers, The Potency Question” , Journal of Psychoactive Drugs. Vol. 20, Issue 1: 47-55. pub. Haight-Ashbury Publications in association with the Haight-Ashbury Free Medical Clinic San Francisco, Calif.: January March, 1988.

[24] Dennis, Richard J. “The Economics of Legalizing Drugs,” The Atlantic Monthly, Vol. 266, No. 5, Nov 1990, p. 130.

[25] Data supplied by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Alcohol, Drug Abuse, and Mental Health Administration. Revised January, 1991. For more information contact the National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Info., P.O. Box 2345, Rockville, Maryland 20847 / (800) 729-6686.

[28] the name of the DARE pamphlet is “Facts About Marijuana; Marijuana: Drug of Deception”

[29] Nationally-televised speech in 1990

[30] Singer, Jerome L. “Ongoing Thought: The Normative Baseline for Alternate States of Consciousness,” Alternate States of Consciousness.

[32] The NHTSA report, “The Incidence and Role of Drugs in Fatally Injured Drivers,” by K.W. Terhune, et al. of the Calspan Corp. Accident Research Group in Buffalo, NY (Report # DOT-HS-808-065) is available from the National Technical Information Service, Springfield VA 22161.

[33] Bruer, Mark. Age, March 23, 1994, p. 3 [Melbourne, Australia; this report is also published in the university’s

Business Victoria].

[34] Halpern. “Emotional Reactions and General Personality Structure,” The Marihuana Problem, pp. 130 – 131.

[35] Martell, Edward. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, Biophysics, and Biological Science, March 1983.

[36] Hoffmann, Dietrich, Gunter Rathkamp, and Ernest L. Wynder. “Comparison of the Yields of Several Selected Components in the Smoke From Different Tobacco Products,” Journal of the National Cancer Institute, Vol. 31, No. 3, 1963, p. 627-635

[37] Hofmann, D., J.D. Adams, K.D. Brunnemann, and D.D. Hecht. “Formation, occurrence and carcinogenesity of N-nitrosamines in tobacco products,” Am. Chem. Soc. Symp. Ser., 174:247-273, 1981.

[39] Hammond, E.C., L. Garfinkel, H. Seidman, and E.A. Lew. “Some Recent findings concerning cigarette smoking,” In: Origins of Human Cancer. New York: Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, 1977. p. 101-112.

[40] Starks, Michael, “Marijuana Chemistry Genetics, Processing, and Potency’,” Ronin Inc., 1990.

[41] Murphy, Laura, and Andrzej Bartke. “Marijuana Cannabinoid Neurobiology and Neurophysiology,” CRC Press Boca Raton, FL, 1992.

[42] Mendelson, Dr. Jack H., “Behavioral and Biological Concomitants of Chronic Marijuana Use,” 1974.

[43] “Marihuana A Signal of Misunderstanding,” U.S. Government Printing Office Washington, 1972.

[44] Wu, Tzu Chin, Donald P. Tashkin, Behnam Djahed, and Jed E. Rose. “Pulmonary Hazards of Smoking Marijuana as Compared with Tobacco,” New England Journal of Medicine, 318 (issue 6): 347-351, 1988.

[45] Slikker, William Jr, H.C. Cunny, J.R. Bailey, and M.G. Paule. “Placental Transfer and Fetal Disposition of Delta-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) During Late Pregnancy in the Rhesus Monkey,” pp. 97-102.

[46] Lyman, W.D., J.R. Sonett, C.F. Brosnan, R. Elkin, and M.B. Bornstein. “Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol A Novel Treatment for Experimental Autoimmune Encephalitis” by in Journal of Neuroimmunology, 23: 73-81. 1989.

[47] Cabral, Guy A., Amy L. Stinnet, John Bailey, Syed F. Ali, Merle G. Paul, Andrew C. Scallet, and William Slikker, Jr. “Chronic Marijuana Smoke Alters Alveolar Macrophage Morphology and Protein Expression,” 1991.

[48] Ponte, Lowell. “Radioactivity: The New-Found Danger in Cigarettes,” Reader’s Digest, March 1986, pp. 123-127.

[49] Litwak, Mark. “Would You Still Rather Fight Than Switch?” Whole Life Times, Mid-April/May, 1985, p. 11.

[50] Crancer, A., et al. “Comparison of the Effects of Marihuana and Alcohol on Simulated Driving Performance,” Science, 164:851-854, 1969.

[51] Caldwell, D.F., et al. “Auditory and Visual Threshold Effects of Marihuana in Man,” Perceptive and Motor Skills, 29:758-759, 1969.

[52] Klonoff, H. (1974). “Effects of marihuana on driving in a restricted area and on city streets: Driving performance and physiological changes.” In L. L. Miller (Ed.), Marijuana, Effects on human behavior (pp. 359-397). New York: Academic Press.

[57] Westlake, Tracy M., Allyn C. Howlett, Syed F. Ali, Merle G. Paule, Andrew C. Scallet, William Slikker, Jr. “Chronic Exposure to Delta-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol Fails to Irreversibly Alter Brain Cannabinoid Receptors,” Brain Research, 544: 145-149, 1991.

[58] Ali, Syed F., Glenn D. Newport, Andrew C. Scallet, Merle G. Paule, John R. Bailey, William Slikker, Jr. “Chronic Marijuana Smoke Exposure in the Rhesus Monkey IV Neurochemical Effects and Comparison to Acute and Chronic Exposure to Delta-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in Rats” Pharmacology, Biochemistry & Behavior, 40: 677-682. 1991.

[59] Radford EP Jr, and V.R. Hunt. “Polonium-210: a volatile radioelement in cigarettes.” Science. 1964; 143:247-9.

[60] Little JB, E.P. Radford Jr, H.L. McCombs, V.R. Hunt. “Distribution of polonium-210 in pulmonary tissues of cigarette smokers.” New England Journal of Medicine. 1965, 273:1343-51.

[66] Polen, Michael. “Health Care Use by Frequent Marijuana Smokers Who Do Not Smoke Tobacco,” West J Med 1993: 158.

[67] Gieringer, Dale. “Marijuana, Driving and Accident Safety,” Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, Jan-Mar, 1988.

[68] Weil, Andrew, and Winifred Rosen, From Chocolate to Morphine: Everything You Need to Know About Mind-Altering Drugs. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1993.

[69] Cozzi, Nicholas. “Effects of Water Filtration on Marijuana Smoke: A Literature Review.” MAPS Newsletter IV #2 (Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, 1993). Reprints available from California NORML.

[70] “Cannabis and Memory Loss,” (editorial) British Journal of Addiction, 86:249-252 (1991).

[71] Muskowitz, H., Hulbert, S., & McGlothlin, W.H. (1976). “Marihuana: Effects on simulated driving performance.” Accident Analysis and Prevention, 8(1), p. 45 – 50.

[72] Astley, Susan, Dr. “Analysis of Facial Shape in Children Gestationally Exposed to Marijuana, Alcohol, and/or Cocaine,” Pediatrics, 89 #1: 67 – 77 (June 1992).

[73] Day, Nancy, et. al. “Prenatal Marijuana Use and Neonatal Outcome,” Neurotoxicology and Teratology, 13: 329-334 (1992).

[74] Tashkin, Donald, et. al. “Effects of Habitual Use of Marijuana and/or Cocaine on the Lung,” in C. Nora Chiang and Richard L. Hawks, ed., Research findings on Smoking of Abused Substances, NIDA Research Monograph 99 (US Dept of Health and Human Services, 1990).

Suggested Reading

[61] Grinspoon, Lester. Marihuana Reconsidered. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1971.

[62] Herer, Jack. The Emperor Wears No Clothes. Van Nuys, CA: Hemp Publishing, 1990.

[63] Hendin, Herbert. Living High: Daily Marijuana Use Among Adults. New York: Human Sciences Press, 1987.

[64] Himmelstein, Jerome L. The Strange Career of Marihuana: Politics and Ideology of Drug Control in America. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1983.

[65] Dale Gieringer, Ph.D from California’s NORML. “Health Tips for Marijuana Smokers,” Feb. 1994 edition. To receive this very comprehensive 32-page compilation of reports, send a $5 donation to California NORML, 2215-R Market St. #278, San Francisco, CA 94114 or call (415) 563-5858 and ask for the paper by name. The packet includes detailed instructions on how to construct a vaporizer.

Hemp Facts

A Brief History of Hemp

The hemp plant is the most versatile crop in the entire plant kingdom and has shown its uses throughout history. The first book was written in China on Hemp paper, and our country was founded on hemp. George Washington was the largest hemp farmer in the world during the late 1700’s and Thomas Jefferson called on farmers to “plant hemp seed, not tobacco”, in fact, hemp was legal tender for almost 200 years in the United States, that’s right, you could even pay your taxes with hemp!

The current laws against the cultivation of Hemp can be attributed to three men, Henry J. Anslinger, Lammont DuPont, and William Randolph Hearst, who made growing hemp illegal. Anslinger was the head of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, DuPont and Hearst were the owners of the largest chemical company and newspaper, respectively. Hearst began printing outlandish stories with headlines such as “Marijuana goads user to blood lust” and “Hotel clerk identifies Marijuana smoker as gunman”. He also took advantage of the country’s prejudice against blacks and immigrants by printing that marijuana-crazed negroes were raping white women and by painting pictures of lazy, pot-smoking Mexicans. DuPont’s banker Andrew Mellon who happened to be Secretary of the Treasury under Herbert Hoover, also had a nephew-in-law, Henry Anslinger, who had the Marijuana Tax Law of 1937 passed allowing munitions maker DuPont to supply synthetic fibers for the domestic economy without competition.

These men succeeded in a conspiracy which ultimately added to the destruction of the environment, by them producing plastic and paper where hemp could have been more beneficial. In 1991 DuPont was still the largest producer of man-made fibers, while no citizen has legally harvested a single acre of textile grade hemp in over 50 years. The standard fiber of world history, America’s traditional crop, hemp, could provide our textiles, paper and be the premier source for cellulose. The war industries DuPont, Allied Chemical, Monsanto, and others are protected from competition by the marijuana laws and they make war on the natural cycle and the common farmer.

Remember this Hemp has been around far longer than synthetic substances and has endured much controversy, it is also 100% natural and is much better for our environment, you can not get high off of hemp it is not marijuana. But it still has many other uses and many that have yet to be discovered, can you imagine if they put as much time and research into Hemp as they have into plastic what uses they would have for it now.


# Hemp is 8 times stronger than cotton and requires no pesticides to grow.

# Hemp paper lasts 4 to 5 times longer than paper made from trees, is easier and causes virtually no pollution to grow or to make into paper.

# Hemp fiberboard is far stronger than similar wood products, and can replace almost every item used in building a house. (Except electrical wiring and glass windows.

# The Hemp plant has been used since the beginning of time as one of the worlds most nutritious plants, second only to the Soybean.

# Hemp can be grown in almost any climate, allowing for the world to be clothed, housed and fed!

# Hemp fiber when wet, swells and forms a natural water barrier.

# The Hemp plant reduces soil erosion thereby controlling mudslides and saving mountains and rivers.

# Environmental and Economic Benefits of Hemp – Marijuana Hemp is the same plant as marijuana, its scientific name is “cannabis sativa.” For thousands of years hemp was used to make dozens of commercial products like paper, rope, canvas, and textiles. In fact, the very name “canvas” comes from the Dutch word meaning cannabis, which is marijuana.

# The potential of hemp for paper production is enormous. According to the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, one acre of hemp can produce 4 times more paper than one acre of trees! All types of paper products can be produced from hemp: newsprint, computer paper, stationary, cardboard, envelopes, toilet paper, even tampons.


# Paper production from hemp would eliminate the need to chop down BILLIONS of trees! MILLIONS of acres of forests and huge areas of wildlife habitat could be preserved.

# Trees must grow for 20 to 50 years after planting before they can be harvested for commercial use. Within 4 months after it is planted, hemp grown on most farmland throughout the U.S., where forests require large tracts of land available in few locations. Substituting hemp for trees would save forests and wildlife habitats and would eliminate erosion of topsoil due to logging. Reduction of topsoil erosion would also reduce pollution of lakes/rivers/streams.

# Fewer caustic and toxic chemicals are used to make paper from hemp than are used to make paper from trees–LESS POLLUTION!

# Hemp can also be substituted for cotton to make textiles. Hemp fiber is 10 times stronger than cotton and can be used to make all types of clothing. Cotton grows only in warm climates and requires enormous amounts of water. Hemp requires little water and grows in all 50 states! There are now many stores in the U.S. that sell hemp-derived products such as clothing, paper, cheese, soap, ice cream, cosmetics, and hemp oil. Demand for these products–not even in existence in 1990–is growing rapidly.

# Hemp naturally repels weed growth and hemp has few insect enemies. Few insect enemies and no weed problems means hemp requires NO HERBICIDES and FEW or NO PESTICIDES!

# Hemp produces twice as much fiber per acre as cotton! An area of land only 25 miles by 25 miles square (the size of a typical U.S. county) planted with hemp can produce enough fiber in one year to make 100 MILLION pair of denim jeans! A wide variety of clothing made from 100% hemp (pants, denim jeans, jackets, shoes, dresses, shorts, hats) is now available.

# Building materials that substitute for wood can be made from hemp. These wood-like building materials are stronger than wood and can be manufactured cheaper than wood from trees. Using these hemp- derived building materials would reduce building costs and save even more trees!

# Hemp seeds are a source of nutritious high-protien oil that can be used for human and animal consumption. Hemp oil is NOT intoxicating. Extracting protein from hemp is less expensive than extracting protein from soybeans. Hemp protein can be processed and flavored in any way soybean protein can. Hemp oil can also be used to make highly nutritious tofu, butter, cheese, salad oils, and other foods. Hemp oil can also be used to produce paint, varnish, ink, lubricating oils, and plastic susbstitues. Because 50% of the weight of a mature hemp plantis seeds, hemp could become a significant source for these products.

# Unlike virtually all hemp substitutes, growing hemp requires very little effort and very few resources. Most substitutes for hemp (sisal, kenaf, sugar cane) grow in limited geographical areas and none have the paper/fiber potential of hemp. Hemp can be grown in all 50 states!

# Unlike many crops, hemp puts little strain on the soil and requires only moderate amounts of fertilizer. Less fertilizer use results in less runoff into waterways and groundwater; therefore, less water pollution.

# Hemp produces more biomass than any plant that can be grown in the U.S. This biomass can be converted to fuel in the form of clean-burning alcohol, or no-sulphur man-made coal. Hemp has more potential as a clean and renewable energy source than any crop on earth! It is estimated that if hemp was widely grown in the U.S. for fuel/energy, it could supply 100% of all U.S. energy needs!
Hemp is sustainable clothing, footwear, shelter, foods, tree-free paper, cement, gasoline, fuel, nutritious and delicious foods, paint, industrial sealants, industrial composites, and so much more. Its beauty, usefulness, and astounding versatility truly boggle the mind! Hemp oil, for example, has the highest percentage of usable essential fatty acids of any plant, period.

Why hemp? Because it is, by far, Earth’s premier, renewable natural resource. The hemp plant can single-handedly reverse the Greenhouse Effect, purify our air, water, & soil, and clothe and shelter us in a sustainable fashion.

Hemp paper lasts 50 to 100 times longer than most preparations of papyrus and is a hundred times easier and cheaper to make. It also does not yellow with age like acidic paper made from tree pulp.

If the hemp pulp paper process of 1916 were in use today, it could replace 40 to 70% of all pulp paper (from trees), including corrugated boxes, computer printout paper and paper bags. Imagine the effect this conversion to hemp paper alone would have on near-extinct species and all forms of wild life, on old-growth forests that are fast disappearing, on the quality of our water, air, and soil, as well as on our planet’s sensitive ecosystem!

Hemp stems are 80% hurds (pulp byproduct after the hemp fiber is removed from the plant). Hemp hurds are 77% cellulose–a primary chemical feed stock (industrial raw material) used in the production of chemicals, plastics, and fiber. An acre of full grown hemp plants can sustainably provide from four to 50 or even 100 times the cellulose found in cornstalks, kenaf, or sugar cane–the planet’s next highest annual cellulose plants.

Hemp will grow in any state in the US and most of Canada. In most places, hemp can be harvested twice a year and, in warmer areas such as southern California, Texas, Florida and the like, it could be a year-round crop. Hemp has a short growing season and can be planted after food crops have been harvested.

Farming only 6% of continental US acreage with biomass crops would provide all of America’s gas and oil energy needs, ending dependence upon fossil fuels.

Hemp is Earth’s number-one biomass resource; it is capable of producing 10 tons per acre in four months. Hemp is easy on the soil, sheds its lush foliage throughout the season, adding mulch to the soil and helping retain moisture. Hemp is an ideal crop for the semi-arid West and open range land.

Hemp is the only biomass source available that is capable of making the US energy-independent. Ultimately, the world has no other rational environmental choice but to give up fossil fuels.

From the farmers’ point of view, hemp is an easy crop to grow and will yield from three to six tons per acre on any land that will grown corn, wheat, or oat. It has a short growing season, so that it can be planted after other crops are in. It can be grown in any state of the union. Hemp’s long roots penetrate and break the soil to leave it in perfect condition for the next year’s crop. The dense shock of leaves, eight to twelve feet above the ground, chokes out weeds, eliminating the need for chemicals or pesticides, 50% of which is used today on conventionally-grown cotton plant alone to produce cotton clothing products that are inferior to hemp clothing in terms of durability, thickness, softness, and sustainability. Two successive hemp crops are enough to reclaim land that has been abandoned because of Canadian thistles or quack grass.

The earliest known woven fabric was apparently of hemp, which began to be worked in the eighth millennium (8,000-7,000 BC).”

From more than 1,000 years before the time of Christ until 1883 AD, cannabis hemp–indeed, marijuana–was our planet’s largest agricultural crop and most important industry, involving thousands of products and enterprises; producing the overall majority of Earth’s fiber, fabric, lighting oil, paper, incense, and medicines. In addition, it was a primary source of essential food oil and protein for humans and animals.

Ninety percent of all ships’ sails (since before the Phoenicians, from at least the 5th Century BC until long after the invention and commercialization of steam ships–mid- to late-19th century) were made from hemp.

The word “canvas” is the Dutch pronunciation (twice removed, from French and Latin) of the Greek word “Kannabis.”

In addition to canvas sails, until this century virtually all of the rigging, anchor ropes, cargo nets, fishing nets, flags, shrouds, and oakum (the main protection for ships against salt water, used as a sealant between loose or green beams) were made from the stalk of the marijuana plant.

Even the sailors’ clothing, right down to the stitching in the seamen’s rope-soled and “canvas” shoes, was crafted from cannabis.

Additionally, the ships’ charts, maps, logs, and Bibles were made from paper containing hemp fiber from the time of Columbus (15th century) until the early 1900s in the Western European/American world, and by the Chinese from the 1st Century AD on.

Until the 1820s in America (and until the 20th Century in most of the rest of the world), 80% of all textiles and fabrics used for clothing, tents, bed sheets, and linens, rugs, drapes, quilts, towels, diapers, etc.–and even the US flag, “Old Glory,” were principally made from fibers of cannabis hemp.

From 70-90% of all rope, twine, and cordage was made from hemp until 1937. It was then regrettably replaced mostly by petrochemical fibers, but at what untold costs to the environment?

Hemp is the perfect archival medium for artists’ work, because it is acid-free. The paintings of Van Gogh, Gainsborough, Rembrandt, etc., were primarily painted on hemp canvas, as were practically all canvas paintings.

A strong, lustrous fiber, hemp withstands heat, mildew, insects, and is not damaged by light. Oil paintings on hemp and/or flax canvas have stayed in fine condition for centuries.

For thousands of years, virtually all good paints and varnishes were made with hempseed oil and/or linseed oil.

Until about 1800, hempseed oil was the most consumed lighting oil in America and the world. From then until the 1870s, it was the second most consumed lighting oil, exceeded only by whale oil.

Hempseed oil lit the lamps of the legendary Aladdin, Abraham the prophet, and in real life, Abraham Lincoln. It was the brightest lamp oil.

In the early 1900s, Henry Ford and other futuristic, organic, engineering geniuses recognized (as their intellectual, scientific heirs still do today) an important point–that up to 90% of all fossil fuel used in the world today (coal, oil, natural gas, etc.) should long ago have been replaced with biomass such as : cornstalks, cannabis sativa (hemp), waste paper and the like. Biomass can be converted to methane, methanol or gasoline at a fraction of the current cost of oil, coal, or nuclear energy–especially when environmental costs are factored in–and its mandated use would end acid rain, end sulfur-based smog, and reverse the Green house Effect on our planet–right now!

Hempseed can be pressed for its highly nutritious vegetable oil, which contains the highest amount of essential fatty acids in the plant kingdom.

Because one acre of hemp produces as much cellulose fiber pulp as 4.1 acres of trees, hemp is the perfect material to replace trees for pressed board, particle board and for concrete construction molds.

Practical, inexpensive fire-resistant construction material, with excellent thermal and sound-insulating qualities, is made by heating and compressing hemp fibers to create strong construction paneling, replacing dry wall and plywood. William B. Conde of Conde’s Redwood Lumber, Inc, near Eugene, OR, has demonstrated the superior strength, flexibility, and economy of hemp composite building materials compared to wood fiber, even as beams.

Iso-chanvre (chanvre is French for hemp), a rediscovered French building material made form hemp hurds mixed with lime, actually petrifies into a mineral state and lasts for many centuries. Archeologists have found a bridge in the south of France, from the Merovingian period, built with this process.

Hemp has been used throughout history for carpet backing. Hemp fiber has potential in the manufacture of strong, rot-resistant carpeting–eliminating the poisonous fumes of burning synthetic materials in a house or commercial fire, along with allergic reactions associated with new synthetic carpeting, which may outgas volatile toxic fumes for months or even years, endangering human health.

Plastic plumbing pipes (PVC pipes) can be manufactured using renewable hemp cellulose as the chemical feedstocks, replacing nonrenewable coal or petroleum-based chemical feedstocks.

So we can envision a house of the future built, plumbed, painted, and furnished with the world’s number-one renewable resource–hemp.

We believe that in a competitive market, with all facts known, people will rush to buy long-lasting, biodegradable “Pot Tops” or “Mary Jeans,” etc, made from hemp grown without pesticides or herbicides.

It’s time we put capitalism to the test and let the unrestricted market of supply and demand as well as “Green” ecological consciousness decide the future of the planet.

A cotton shirt in 1776 cost $100 to $200, while a hemp shirt cost $0.50 to $1. By the 1830s, cooler, lighter cotton shirts were on par in price with the warmer, heavier, hempen shirts, providing a competitive choice, thanks to government subsidies.

People were able to choose their garments based upon the particular qualities they wanted in a fabric. Today we have no such choice. Conventional cotton growing, which depletes and pollutes our nonrenewable resources, is still heavily subsidized by the government, masking the true costs of production and costs to the environment, whereas hemp is not allowed to be grown at all in the US (hopefully this is changing, for our planet’s sake!).

The role of hemp and other natural fibers should be determined by the market of supply and demand and personal tastes and values, not by the undue influence of prohibition laws, federal subsidies and huge tariffs that are designed to keep the natural fabrics from replacing synthetic fibers.

Sixty years of government suppression of information has resulted in virtually no public knowledge of the incredible potential of the hemp fiber or its uses.

By using 100% hemp or mixing hemp with cotton, you will be able to pass on your shirts, pants, and other clothing to your grandchildren. Intelligent spending could essentially replace the use of petrochemical synthetic fibers such as nylon and polyester with tougher, cheaper, cool, absorbent, breathable, biodegradable natural fibers such as hemp and flax.

China, Italy and Easter European countries such as Hungary, Romania, Czechoslovakia, Poland, and Russia currently make millions of dollars worth of sturdy hemp and hemp/cotton textiles–and could be making billions of dollars worth–annually.

These countries build upon their traditional farming and weaving skills, while the US tries to force the extinction of the hemp plant in the attempt to promote destructive synthetic technologies.

Additionally, hemp grown for biomass could fuel a trillion-dollar-per-year energy industry, while improving air quality and distributing the wealth to rural areas and their surrounding communities, and away from centralized power monopolies. More than any other plant on Earth, hemp holds the promise of a sustainable ecology and economy.

If all fossil fuels and their derivatives, as well as trees for paper and construction were banned in order to save the planet, reverse the Greenhouse Effect and stop deforestation…

Then there is only one known, annually renewable natural resource that is capable of providing the overall majority of the world’s paper and textiles; meeting all of the world’s transportation, industrial and home energy needs, while simultaneously reducing pollution, rebuilding the soil, and cleaning the atmosphere all at the same time…

And that substance is–the same one that did it all before–Cannabis Hemp!

Hempseed is the highest of any plant in essential fatty acids.

Hempseed oil is among the lowest in saturated fats at 8% of total oil volume. The oil pressed from hempseed contains 55% linoleic acid (LA) and 5% linolenic acid (LNA). Only flax oil has more linolenic acid at 58% , but hempseed oil is the highest in total essential fatty acids at 80% of total oil volume. These essential fatty acids are responsible for our immune response.

In the old country the peasants ate hemp butter. They were more resistant to diseases than the nobility, who shunned hemp butter as peasant food.

LA and LNA are involved in producing life energy from food and the movement of that energy throughout the body.

Essential fatty acids govern growth, vitality and state of mind. LA and LNA are involved in transferring oxygen from the air in the lungs to every cell in the body. They play a part in holding oxygen in the cell membrane where it acts as a barrier to invading viruses and bacteria, neither of which can thrive in the presence of oxygen.

420 Girls Mission Statement

420 Girls is a social action campaign that redefines Flower Power for the progressive modern girl; featuring nudes ingesting Marijuana, this bold artistic metaphor raises awareness to ask for the Naked Truth About Cannabis in a fun and engaging way. “Hemp Hemp Hooray for 420 Girls!”


420 Girls exists to support the repeal of all Cannabis prohibition laws and penalties throughout the world. Not another person should suffer incarceration or stigma because of these unjust laws.

420 Girls believe Cannabis prohibition will end as more people become aware of the true benefits of the plant. 420 Magazine is the vehicle that provides you with the scientific and anecdotal advice of Cannabis experts in the areas of cultivation, medical, social and legal matters. Our community provides support to those bringing Cannabis awareness to the world.

Believing each human has the right to consume a plant in his or her own body. Believing government should repeal all laws violating this right. Believing those incarcerated for Cannabis offenses should be set free.


Cannabis is a medically wondrous plant. It provides a safe alternative for pain relief, anti-nausea, appetite-inducement, anti-bacterial, and anti-inflammation medication. It’s properties have been demonstrated to fight cancer, and provide relief to the seriously ill and dying as well as those challenged with anxiety and depression. Millions of people have shared the medical benefits of Cannabis throughout the centuries.

The 420 Magazine community believes farmers shall have the right to grow and profit from Industrial Hemp–one of the strongest, environmentally friendly substances on the planet. Industrial Hemp is a natural fiber found in everything from rope to the finest clothing designs. It shows benefit as both a food form and as a health and beauty aid. Hemp is the environmental answer to the elimination of our dependence on earth-destroying fossil fuels. The Hemp bounty will end oil wars, deforestation, pollution, acid rain and global warming.

The Mission of 420 Girls is to repeal Cannabis prohibition by promoting international Cannabis awareness to the masses.