First NAS report on marijuana since 1999 finds marijuana especially damaging for psychosis, driving safety, progression to other drugs, learning, pregnancy; says state-based legalization connected to injuries among kids

WASHINGTON, DC] - The National Academy of Sciences (NAS), in a landmark report written by top scientists, The Health Effects of Cannabis and Cannabinoids: Current State of Evidence and Recommendations for Research, concluded after a review of over 10,000 peer-reviewed academic articles, that marijuana use is connected to, among other problems:

  • respiratory problems; 
  • mental health issues (like psychosis, social anxiety, and thoughts of suicide);
  • increased risk of car accidents;
  • progression to and dependence on other drugs, including studies showing connections to cocaine and heroin use;
  • learning, memory, and attention loss (possibly permanent in some cases); and 
  • low birth weight.

Notably, the report also stated that, "in states where cannabis use is legal, there is increased risk of unintentional cannabis overdose injuries among children."

 "This report is a wake-up call to all Americans who have been sold the false promise that marijuana use is not harmful across multiple health outcomes," said Kevin A. Sabet, Ph.D., the President of Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM). "It confirms that although more research is badly needed, tens of thousands of peer-reviewed articles tell us today that marijuana use can produce serious health and social problems. We should be doing everything we can to stop the marijuana industry from continuing to deceive the public the same way Big Tobacco did for a century."


Furthermore, the report underscored the success of the FDA process in developing legitimate marijuana-based medications for treating specific problems, such as chemotherapy-induced nausea.  In calling for addition research to explore other possible medical uses for cannabinoids, it implicitly criticized the medical marijuana ballot initiatives funded by the marijuana industry, which permit marijuana use without any FDA oversight.


"The NAS report confirmed that we need more research on potential negative effects, such as cancer."

Pill Testing – Four Facts you may not know!
Pill Testing may indeed sound like a compassionate option for the drug user.
But what really happens?
Fact 1: Pill Testing increases drug use and the likelihood of risk and death
Pill Testing will be seen by many young people as a clear endorsement of drug use. It sends a message that illicit drugs are ‘safe’.
The result? This gives permission for young people to engage in an otherwise illegal act and worse, harmful drug use. Yes, it is likely to encourage use!
Pill Testing facilitates the taking of illicit drugs by equipping young people to consume illicit drugs.
The result? More lives are put at risk with a belief that the drug they are taking is somehow ‘safe’!
Fact 2 – Pill Testing has no safety guarantees
 Pill Tests do not (and cannot) guarantee that the drugbeing taken will not cause any harm or death to the individual consumer
Pill Testing cannot account for the individual’s physiological response to each drug – allergies, levels of toxins etc.
The result?
More young people destroying their lives with one mis-informed decision
Fact 3 - Pill Testing promotes ‘drug normalisation’ and ignores all facts of health and safety around drug use that we need to know.
The results?
More young people destroying their brains before the age of full development (age 25).
More young people developing depression and psychosis
More young people suiciding
More family violence, broken relationships
More drug related crimes to pay for the habit of addiction.
Fact 4 – Consider - Who will pay the price?

Our Vision: Communities are well-informed about the harms of illicit drugs and empowered with anti-drug strategies

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The Four Corners report earlier this week, ‘Dying to Dance’, is misleading and needs to be more accurately reported by responsible media. It called for governments to fund the testing of party pills at concert venues and states that the rising purity of ecstasy tablets is endangering the lives of ecstasy users because of more likely overdoses. The reality is that overdose deaths from ecstasy are rare, and most deaths are due to individual reactions to relatively small amounts of the drug.

Gary Christian, Secretary for Drug Free Australia said, “Concerns about ecstasy overdoses and varying purity represents a fundamental confusion between ecstasy and heroin. In fact, some ecstasy users can boast of having previously taken so much ecstasy that ecstasy blood levels were more than 70 times the lowest levels associated with ecstasy mortality, and at least 4 times greater than the higher levels more typically found in ecstasy deaths.”

Drug Free Australia has noted that the Four Corners program interviewed one ecstasy user who claimed celebrating his 22nd birthday by taking 22 ecstasy tablets that day, contradicting the thesis of the program. “Whether a tablet is 5% or 60% MDMA is not that important in terms of deaths – it is more likely to relate to what other drugs are being taken with it AND what physiological reaction an individual user will have to it. That is what is causing the deaths,” said Mr Christian.

“Our concern is not so much about more MDMA in an ecstasy tablet, but rather larger numbers of people initiating ecstasy use, which the current publicity could presently encourage. For example, allowing drug testing at concerts would send a message that taking illegal drugs is okay and even safe. We need to get the facts right and be asking pill-testing advocates, ‘Precisely what impurities killed all those ecstasy users over the last couple of years here in Australia?’ They won't have an answer.”

Excellent medical information particularly on ecstasy blood levels and mortality is at

See also the website of a harm reduction organisation which provides testing of pills for users

Contact: Gary Christian 0422 163 141 (02) 4306 3466




Media Release:


Cannabis Causes Cancer, Major Congenital Abnormalities and Inheritable Defects including Cancers in Babies and Children.


By showing that genetic mechanisms exist to account for previously observed elevated rates of cancers in people exposed to cannabis and major congenital abnormalities in their offspring, UWA researchers were able to show that the previously described statistical associations in many studies were in fact causal in nature.  As long ago as 1965 scientists defined the criteria which would need to be met to imply that a particular statistical association would be causal in nature.  With regard to cannabis the most difficult of these has been the identification of a molecular and genetic mechanism which would account for the surprising and diverse findings.

AudioSlides presentation and use it as a way to attract interest to your work. You can download a video for your presentation by clicking on this link:

Cannabis has been linked epidemiologically with ten cancers in adulthood including the mouth and throat, larynx, lung, leukaemia, brain, prostate, cervix, testes and bladder.  Cancer development in cannabis-exposed people has often been reported to occur at younger ages, and to be very aggressive and rapidly lethal.  Indeed similar observations are also true of addictions to other drugs including alcohol, tobacco, opioids and benzodiazepines.  It apparently implied a diffuse action at the cellular level rather than any organ-specific toxicity.

Similarly a wide variety of congenital abnormalities has been described in many studies studying foetal abnormalities in babies born to cannabis-exposed mothers.  These included cleft lip and palate, spina bifida and encephalocoele, absent and shrunken ears and eyes, microcephaly, major heart defects of many kinds, abnormalities of the fingers, major defects of the abdominal wall so that babies are born with their bowels hanging out, and shortened arms, known as phocomelia.  The great diversity of tissues affected by these changes again implied toxic effects occurring at the cellular level rather than tissue-specific actions.

Perhaps worst of all very high rates of cancers have been reported in the first few years of life in children exposed in utero to cannabis through their mother's use.  These include  major childhood leukaemia, and nerve cell and muscle cell cancers.  Such children experience inheritable teratogenicity and cancerogenicity.

Chromothripsis, or chromosomal shattering, was recently shown to occur when chromosomes fall off the cellular framework of cell division, known as the "mitotic spindle", become isolated in micronuclei, become shattered by the normal process of gene duplication and transcription, and then get re-joined in a haphazard or higgledy-piggledy way.

Epigenetics refers to the information encoded in the genome but not in the genetic code per se.   This happens through the addition of one-carbon methyl groups to various DNA bases; by changes to the histone proteins around which the DNA helix is wound; and through various short and long non-protein coding information-only RNA strands which read information back to the DNA-proper and control the flow of information from the main gene sequence.  Cannabis changes all three.  Since cannabis and other drugs of addiction cause both chromothriptic and epigenetic changes, this implies that there are therefore not one but two genotoxic mechanisms to explain the previously confusing findings relating to cancer and congenital abnormalities, some of which are inheritable.

UWA researchers were therefore able to show that, together with previously published work, all the criteria for cannabis causing these major defects had been fulfilled. 

This dramatic finding is of major importance with cannabis use increasing in many nations around the world, and Australia apparently set to follow a similar erroneous trajectory.  This finding has major public health importance, and is also important to authorities internationally charged with regulating drug use and protecting vulnerable populations.  It also carries major implications for cancer researchers, addiction medicine professionals, psychiatrists, psychologists, counsellors, educators, employers, child care workers and parents.

See :

Reece A.S., Hulse G.K.  "Chromothripsis and Epigenomics Complete Causality Criteria for Cannabis- and Addiction- Connected Carcinogenicity, Congenital Toxicity and Heritable Genotoxicity." 

Drug Prevention Mill Park 2016

Mill Park Secondary College

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