Is Cannabis as Bad as Thalidomide?

Only a complete moron would compare thalidomide to cannabis.

And I mean that in the nicest way possible.

Thalidomide was synthesized in 1954. It was introduced as a prescription drug on April Fools’ Day 1961.

By March 1962 it was withdrawn from Canadian markets due to its dangerous side effects.

Far from providing a “safe, sound sleep,” and a way to combat morning sickness, it killed and disabled thousands of infants.

Victims of the drug never saw justice. Families settled out of court with gag orders. It wasn’t until the 1980s that awareness of this disaster became well-known.

Cannabis, of course, has been used for centuries without these kind of serious effects.

Even with high THC levels, it’s the same plant, there are no toxic overdoses.

Cannabis is not synthesized in a laboratory. When it comes to its perceived dangers, even if we give the prohibitionists the benefit of the doubt, it pales in comparison to legal drugs like alcohol and tobacco.

Hence, only an idiot, a bonafide dunce, would compare thalidomide to cannabis.

Not surprisingly, Pamela McColl of SAM Canada fits the bill.

Her organization, the Marijuana Victims’ Association, has released a press alert that asks whether cannabis is the new thalidomide.

Citing a debunked study that links cannabis to limb malformation, McColl calls on the federal government to restrict cannabis to a controlled pharmaceutical distribution system.

The study, “Chromothripsis and epigenomics complete causality criteria for cannabis- and addiction-connected carcinogenicity, congenital toxicity and heritable genotoxicity,” did no actual tests. 

Instead, they cited other studies to “close the logical loop” that cannabis causes genetic damage that connoisseurs pass onto their kids.

Of course, as anyone familiar with logic can demonstrate, any conclusion can be validly derived from contradictory premises.

And what are these premises? As Ethan Russo, founding editor of the Journal of Cannabis Therapeutics points out, the paper McColl cites assumes that cannabis is mutagenic, teratogenic and carcinogenic.

Of course, actual human and animal studies don’t support these assumptions.

And to make matter worse, the paper doesn’t bother controlling for other factors, like cigarettes which are carcinogenic.

The paper’s authors do not demonstrate scientifically that it is cannabis and not other drugs and other factors damaging DNA.

For example, sunburns damage DNA, and so does stress.

Stress from, say, getting arrested for growing, selling and consuming a natural plant.

But let’s take McColl at her word.

Seriously, let’s pretend that she’s right and legalizing cannabis is no different from legalizing thalidomide for recreational use.

McColl writes that, “As the stewards of the country’s human and financial resources, it is critical that government protect the public from [themselves].”

If this is the role of government, then we do not live in a free nation. We live on a tax-farm where the planation owners decide what’s in our best interest.

And, considering that cannabis has been illegal for so long, and for no good reason, I question the “stewardship” of this centralized democratic bureaucracy.

McColl writes, “Marijuana harm is not only possible but probable.”

But this is true only if we include prohibition as the harm.

Outside of the state’s aggression, there is no harm to cannabis.

And, even if McColl is right and cannabis belongs in the same category as thalidomide, it’s not the government’s role to dictate what free individuals can put in their own body.