2016 FLASHBACK – AUSTRALIA GOVERNMENT RESEARCH – Compares Cannabis users DNA defects to Thalidomide babies. Then debunked by more senior consultant.

APRL 2020

I was reminded of this story . How bad can reefer madness be. That is we can argue about what the weather will be NEXT week but we should be able to agree what the weather was YESTERDAY That is not the case with Reefer Madness in 1936 or in 2021.

Recent discussions in bias in research could not be more ironic in some ways when looking at Cannabis law reform in the last few years. Facts would be a good place. But if facts are off the table like Australia Cannabis law reform in 2016 and NZ No Vote in 2020 2 great examples, then Houston we have a problem.

Doesn’t All Research Have Bias ?
It is fascinating to see Australia involved “research” into Cannabis, none of it is ever good because that is NOT the INTENT.

Example “research” done in 2020 by a NSW University funded by a billionaire anti-Cannabis Hemp CEO was advertised as looking at problems with driving whilst under the influence of Cannabis. The outcome was hemp CBD is safe should be more widely available and REAL Cannabis is the devils lettuce. It ignores that CBD is psychoactive, so at least says Dr. Ethan Russo that discovered new aspects of CBD, THC and the Entourage Effect of REAL Cannabis with others going back decades, and was the chief medical guy at … GW Pharma UK

So how do you address bias in research when the research’s intent is the bias 🙂

I defer ..


Australia Cannabis Law Reform 2016

The Australian Department of Health funded research into the damage caused by Real Cannabis (<2% THC) – They would use this to support the ongoing view for law reform that despite legal scripting, the government does not in 2016 or 2021 support REAL Cannabis for anything medical.

So much so the Government website for potential patients, consumers, and GPs all say so. The 4 companies allowed to import or sell REAL Cannabis are powerless to speak as 99% of Cannabis sellers in the Australia Medical Cannabis Association are pharma funded sometimes by billion dollar companies. The largest supplier of pharma Cannabis hemp in Australia and the world only sells GMO CBD Hemp, GW Pharma UK for instance is distributed by a $150b distributor Novartis, but the largest distributor remains the co-inventor of the GMO Isolates for GW Pharma, that is of course Bayer-Monsanto.

TUESDAY, MAY 31, 2016

‘Cannabis Damages DNA’ Claim Debunked By Leading Researcher Ethan Russo

Cannabis has been shown in cell, animal and limited human trials to prevent, halt or kill cancer, researchers note. Australia is getting world-famous for their reefer-madness research, this time for equating pot to the notorious birth defect-causing chemical thalidomide.


On Tuesday, Associate Professor Stuart Reece and Professor Gary Hulse at The University of Western Australia released a paper called “Chromothripsis and epigenomics complete causality criteria for cannabis- and addiction-connected carcinogenicity, congenital toxicity and heritable genotoxicity”, published July 2016 in the journal “Mutation Research”.

press release from the university paper ran the chilling conclusion that pot smokers were damaging their DNA, and effectively giving their kids cancer. “The worst cancers are reported in the first few years of  life in children exposed in utero to cannabis effects,” one researcher said.

But the paper’s authors did no actual tests. Rather, they reviewed studies to “close the logical loop” that pot causes gene replication damage that is passed on to kids.

So the Express contacted Ethan Russo, founding editor of Journal of Cannabis Therapeutics, widely considered to be one of the leading cannabinoid researchers on the planet who actually studies cannabinoids and he sent us this reply.  He stated:

“This report is based on a foundation of falsehoods. Cannabis is not mutagenic (productive of mutations in DNA), nor is it teratogenic (productive of birth defects) or carcinogenic (causative of cancer). Countless animal studies and human epidemiological studies support its relative safety in this regard.”

The paper’s abstract makes no mention of how the research reviewed was controlled for byproducts of smoking or other drugs, which are carcinogenic.

Russo states: “Additionally, there is a world of difference between drug abuse, and the judicious use of low doses of cannabinoids for therapeutic application in serious diseases.”

The paper’s abstract lacks basic information as to how much cannabis’ relative carcinogenicity, congenital toxicity and heritable genotoxicity
could be a problem. It’s unclear if we should be singling out cannabis relative to other vectors. Even the research authors note other drugs damage DNA and cause the “acceleration of the aging process … including alcohol, tobacco, … stimulants and opioids.”

Other sources of epigenetic damage include life stressors like prohibition-related violence and incarceration. Sunburns and oxygen also damage DNA.

“Exposure to pharmaceutical and toxic chemicals, diet, stress, exercise, and other environmental factors are capable of eliciting positive or negative epigenetic modifications with lasting effects on development, metabolism and health. These can impact the body so profoundly as to permanently alter the epigenetic profile of an individual,” other reviews have noted.

Russo concludes: “It is high time to move beyond reefer madness and acknowledge the utility and safety of cannabis-based for the advancement of the public health.”

The Original Press Release

Cannabis use linked to gene mutation


Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Scientists from The University of Western Australia have identified that using cannabis can alter a person’s DNA structure, causing mutations which can expose them to serious illnesses, and be passed on to their children and several future generations.

Although the association between cannabis use and severe illnesses such as cancer has previously been documented, how this occurs and the implications for future generations was not previously understood.

Associate Professor Stuart Reece and Professor Gary Hulse from UWA’s School of Psychiatry and Clinical Sciences completed an extensive analysis of literary and research material to understand the likely causes and uncovered alarming information. 

“Through our research we found that cancers and illnesses were likely caused by cell mutations resulting from cannabis properties having a chemical interaction with a person’s DNA,” Associate Professor Reece said.

“With cannabis use increasing globally in recent years, this has a concerning impact for the population.”

Although a person may appear to be healthy and lead a normal life, the unseen damage to their DNA could also be passed on to their children and cause illnesses for several generations to come.

“Even if a mother has never used cannabis in her life, the mutations passed on by a father’s sperm can cause serious and fatal illnesses in their children,” he said. 

“The parents may not realise that they are carrying these mutations, which can lie dormant and may only affect generations down the track, which is the most alarming aspect.”

Associate Professor Reece said that when the chemicals in cannabis changed a person’s DNA structure it could lead to slow cell growth and have serious implications for the foetal development of babies that may cause limbs or vital organs not to develop properly or cause cancers.

“The worst cancers are reported in the first few years of  life in children exposed in utero to cannabis effects,” he said.

Associate Professor Stuart Reece said that the finding was of major importance with cannabis use increasing in many nations around the world, and many countries legalising its use.

“Some people may say that previous data collected doesn’t show there are serious effects from using cannabis, but many authorities acknowledge that there is now a much larger consumption of cannabis use compared to previous years,” he said.

The study carries implications for researchers, medical health professionals and governments in regulating drug use and protecting those who are most vulnerable.

The research has been published in the journal Mutation Research – Fundamental and Molecular Mechanisms of Mutagenesis.

Media references

Jess Reid (UWA Media and Public Relations Adviser)                                                              (+61 8) 6488 6876

Associate Professor Dr Stuart Reece                                                    (+61 7) 3844 4000 / (+61 4) 24 439 639

(UWA School of Psychiatry and Clinical Services)


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