Columbia Prof: Most Of What You Hear About Weed ‘Is Bullsh–‘

A Columbia University professor says that most of what we hear about drugs (particularly marijuana) is “just bullsh**.”

“Much of what we believe in this society about drugs is just bullsh*t,” Columbia University professor Carl Hart says. He’s a psychology professor who researches how drugs affect the behavior and nervous systems of humans.

In a piece for Rolling Stone, Hart debunks what he says are a number of “myths” about marijuana. Most of it is the stuff you hear in passing about smoking weed: That it leads to depression, that it’s a gateway to hard drugs, etc.

Marijuana activists are lobbying hard for full legalization, but the debate stops up around the massive amount of contradictory information about the drug flying around. Does it really pose significant health risks, or is it a cure for cancer? Not that we’re taking a stance, but you can see how dramatically divided the issue has become.

Hart says that “we as scientists have been complicit” in the confusing flow of information and research about marijuana, and apparently wanted to set the record straight with new research (why he didn’t present the information to medical journals, we don’t know).

Still, here are the biggies he “debunks” in his article:

Does pot ruin your memory?

“Temporary short-term memory loss was worst among inexperienced smokers, but regular stoners showed no serious decrease in cognitive function. ‘Just like any other drug, if you let tolerance develop, you decrease a lot of the negative effects.’ ”

Does pot have medicinal benefits?

“Guillermo Velasco, a professor at Madrid’s Complutense University, has found that THC has a powerful tumor-shrinking effect in rodents with breast, liver, pancreatic and brain cancers. Next, he hopes to test the hypothesis on people. ‘I think we’ll see clinical trials in the next five years,’ says Velasco. ‘Cannabinoids also ameliorate the side effects of chemotherapy, so they could make patients feel better in general.’ ”

Is pot a “gateway” to harder drugs?

“Anti-drug zealots want you to think that if your honors-student daughter takes a couple of hits off a joint over spring break, she’ll probably be passed out in an alley with a needle sticking out of her arm by Labor Day. ‘Most people who try it don’t even continue smoking marijuana,’ says Hart. ‘You might as well argue that pot is a gateway drug to get in the White House.’ ”

What do you think? Is most of what we hear about marijuana “just bullsh**?” You can read the entire Rolling Stone article here.

[Image via: stieberszabolcs / Shutterstock]