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MPP Challenges Drug Czar To Justify Self- Contradicting Statement


Gil Kerlikowske drug czar marijuanaThe Office of National Drug Control Policy released an email invitation this past Friday for the first White House Drug Policy Reform Conference in history. The email contained a graphic with a quote from U.S. Drug Czar Gil Kerlikowske that read, Drug policy reform should be rooted in NEUROSCIENCE – NOT POLITICAL SCIENCE. Now, MPP is asking the office to explain the meaning behind their contradictory statement, since actual neuroscience has shown that marijuana harms the human brain far less than alcohol does.

For example, in 2005, Researchers at Harvard University reported in the American Journal on Addictions that marijuana use was not associated with structural changes within the brain.

When compared to control subjects, [marijuana]smokers displayed no significant adjusted differences in volumes of gray matter, white matter, cerebrospinal fluid, or left and right hippocampus. … These findings are consistent with recent literature suggesting that cannabis use is not associated with structural changes within the brain as a whole or the hippocampus in particular.

Furthermore, according to a 2004 report from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism:

Heavy drinking may have extensive and far-reaching effects on the brain, ranging from simple ‘slips’ in memory to permanent and debilitating conditions that require lifetime custodial care.

Studies that compare the effects of marijuana and alcohol side by side also find that alcohol is more damaging than marijuana. A 2009 study published in the journal Clinical EEG and Neuroscience found:

Abnormalities have been seen in brain structure volume, white matter quality, and activation to cognitive tasks, even in youth with as little as 1-2 years of heavy drinking and consumption levels of 20 drinks per month, especially if  >4-5 drinks are consumed on a single occasion. Heavy marijuana users show some subtle anomalies too, but generally not the same degree of divergence from demographically similar non-using adolescents.

Mason Tvert, MPP’s Communications Director and coauthor of Marijuana is Safer: So why are we driving people to drink? outlines the Drug Czar’s hypocrisy:

 Every objective study on marijuana has concluded that it poses far less harm to the brain than alcohol, The ONDCP has long championed laws that steer adults toward using alcohol and away from making the safer choice to use marijuana. If the drug czar is truly committed to prioritizing neuroscience over political science, he should support efforts to make marijuana a legal alternative to alcohol for adults.

To read more about scientific studies of marijuana and its effects on the human body, visit our Science, Studies, and Research page.

Source: Marijuana Policy Project - make a donation


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Johnny Green


  1. It’s easy to ingest (eating) too much MJ and get an undesireable result. Symtoms vary but for the most part you get a flushed white face (no color) and feel sick to your stomach and will probably have to lie down for a while and just let it pass. You won’t die or even have to go the hospital. But I never experienced this just by smoking it and I got over 40 experience using it from places all around the world. (Merchant Marine) So I guess that makes me an expert. If you stop using it all side effects will go away. When I stop using it, it still shows up in my Urine over 2 months later. So it will accumulate in your fat cells and be there for many weeks.

  2. Again, our government would NEVER lie to us about something so serious, and would protect us from the bad people who use it, RIGHT?!!


  3. It would seem that the only way to relate to the people, is to use the one substance that is so ingrained in our culture, that there are TV shows, that glamorize it, and games that are tied directly to it; Alcohol. Sadly, this is a seemingly bad idea, as it comes across as an attack on their favorite substance of choice, because alcohol IS so much more destructive. They take offense to this and attack with the usual government lies. It takes the conversation back 45 years. We really need to discover a newer approach, for those drinkers who have no clue about what they are doing to their bodies.

  4. Driving home the hypocrisy of our legislations.

    Some older generations and uninformed just don’t know!
    Ugh! I’m with you!!

  5. saynotohypocrisy on

    “Who out there is saying alcohol is safer at this point in time?”: The law is still saying that, with a vengeance. Focusing on alcohol vs. weed is an attempt to force the prohibs to confront the insanity of their position. Most people understand weed is safer except the people who have the power to do something about it, and until they do, the point needs to be made even more often, not less, IMO. It’s a public safety issue, Forcing people to use alcohol when there is a safer alternative is getting people killed and maimed, .

  6. Unfortunately a lot of people still think marijuana is no different from cocaine and meth. They think just cause Its an illegal drug it must be bad.

  7. I’m really getting tired of hearing the comparisons of alcohol and marijuana with marijuana being the safer alternative. There’s enough research out there NOW to show the safety and merits of cannabis without having to make this comparison. Am I the only one who feels this way?

    Who out there is saying alcohol is safer at this point in time? I’m not being snarky here, I really want to know. To me the only thing that makes alcohol safer is the fact that you don’t go to jail for possessing it, but that’s beside the point. Why are we still defending marijuana against alcohol? It’s like comparing an apple to a can of spam.

    Exactly what is driving this thinking?

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