What are legal highs, and how do scientists, doctors and law-makers keep up with new drugs entering the market? Plus, biofuels and why they cost the Earth, the cause of LED droop, a neutron star proves Einstein's theory of general relativity right, and E. coli programmed to pump out diesel.
There is a reason why there is a lot of retaliation against Marijuana laws across the USA. I could care less if a person tokes on some weed in the comfort of their own home, as long as they aren't diving or operating equipment intoxicated or impaired (by any drug, legal or otherwise). And while teetotallers may be less likely to get addicted to more harmful drugs, I don't believe there is a much evidence that Marijuana is a "stepping stone" drug.
There is perhaps a fairness test here - are some people being asked to pay for the side-effects of someone else's adventure?
With what we know now, tobacco could not be declared "safe for human consumption" by smoking. I heard that a study of cancers in bodies from archaeological sites showed a similar incidence to today's population - except for an excess of lung cancer in modern populations, which was attributed to smoking. I haven't seen the same evidence for less-popular modes like chewing or snorting tobacco.
evan_au 'We already have enough legalised, addictive health hazards which could not pass safety legislation today. Don't add to past mistakes...'
Has regulation gone too far? It's a sobering fact that, under the present regime, aspirin - which saves millions of lives annually - would never be approved for human use because it's "far too dangerous". chris, Fri, 17th May 2013
Peter, I think that prohibition in the US is a poor example of drug control where the substance is already legal, and with near-universal usage. In an attempt to protect the small percentage who were the victims of alcohol abuse, a blanket ban was introduced. A legal addictive substance was made illegal, effectively overnight. The more numerous social or chemical addicts became criminals overnight. Once you declare a significant fraction of the population to be criminal, it just encourages criminal behaviour.
Smoking causes cancer; full stop. It also causes a host of other diseases, including heart disease. But most smokers don't live long enough to get lung cancer because they die of a heart attack or a stroke first. chris, Tue, 4th Jun 2013
The researcher interviewed on Naked Neuroscience was investigating the cocaine addictions of mice and men.
An interesting graphic where an attempt has been made to quantify addictiveness and risk of harm for various drugs: