It’s a victory! The US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has removed inaccurate website information claiming that cannabis damages brain cells. But why the sudden change? As you may have guessed, someone had to force the DEA’s hand first!
Legal petition to debunk brain-dead hippie image
The DEA took down the oft-believed scare-story after the non-profit, Americans for Safe Access (ASA), filed a legal petition saying that the information violated the Federal Information Quality Act. The Act was put in place to make sure federal agencies publish true information.
The ASA’s executive director, Steph Sherer, says the removal of the misinformation is another victory in ending the Washington deadlock. The federal government now admits that marijuana is not a gateway drug, doesn’t cause psychosis, and doesn’t cause long-term brain damage.
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DEA must stop presenting misleading information
The ASA is still awaiting an official response from the agency even though the information was removed from the DEA’s website. The deadline for a reply and removal of other misinformation is already overdue, said ASA’s lawyer, Vickie Freeman. She says she is hopeful that the DEA will stop misleading the public on medical marijuana.
This is particularly important now because attorney general Jeff Sessions has made statements showing strong opposition to medical marijuana in the past. Some advocates are concerned about what he will do now, and whether the federal government will continue to allow states to make their own medical marijuana policy.
In an official statement, the ASA said that it was important for Sessions to have accurate information from the DEA. He has already said that he believes in the now-debunked gateway drug theory and says that cannabis use will permanently damage those who use it. There is no real scientific evidence to support either claim.
Knowledge is power: there is still much to do
Ignorance and misinformation are often the root of irrational fears, and the ASA is doing everything in its power to ensure that government agencies don’t propagate untrue or unproven information. Persuading the DEA to take down its false information on cannabis and brain damage is certainly a victory, but the ASA still has a lot of work ahead of it.
For example, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) website page on “What are marijuana’s long-term effects on the brain?” still reflects confusing and inconclusive information that could easily be regarded as factual by an uninformed reader. With decades worth of false information having become entrenched beliefs, the ASA is sure to have its work cut out.
But we were always TOLD cannabis causes brain damage!
It’s important to remember that what we’re told isn’t always true! The only evidence so far is very inconclusive and flawed. For example, a study found that there were “changes” in the brains of pot smokers. But a closer look at the methodology shows that the study proves nothing. Researchers may think they’ve seen brain differences among pot users and non-pot users, but there is no evidence that cannabis use caused the differences. The research subjects’ brains may not have changed at all!
The DEA’s acquiescence in taking down at least some of the misleading information it has posted online is an open admission that the agency accepts the facts. There is absolutely no conclusive evidence linking cannabis use to brain damage!