Did you know that marijuana addiction is not only a thing, but also, according to the National Institute of Drug Abuse’s drugabuse.org, an affliction that will affect nearly 1 in 10 habitual pot smokers? And if you broaden “addiction” to “dependence,” well, then it’s nearly 20 percent.
As the iron bars of pot prohibition slowly fall, “pot addiction” is a thing that the kind folks at the federal government are becoming more and more concerned with.
So concerned, in fact, that in the ashes of in-school anti-drug rhetoric movement D.A.R.E. and the widespread failure of the so-called War on Drugs, the government has decided they’re just going to ask for help. To help incentivize it, they’re offering a cash reward.
Basically, find a cure for cannabis addiction, become a millionaire. Simple.
Well, maybe not that simple.
The National Institutes of Health has ponied up $3 million in cash for scientists and doctors to chase after a cure. The three best potential treatments for what they are calling Cannabis Use Disorders, or CUDs, will take home the cash. Under the title Fast Track Developments of Medication to Treat Cannabis Use Disorders, the NIDA has partnered with the NIH to nip the next great thorn in the side of society in the bud with—what else?—another pharmaceutical drug.
Because as we all know, the best way to combat illegal or quasi-legal drugs is with state-sanctioned drugs. Just ask every ex-heroin addict who will never be off the methadone or suboxone.
As venerable stoner bible High Times is quick to note, the NIDA is rushing headlong into treating a forthcoming calamity that is hardly that, based on its own data. A 9 percent addiction rate for a substance that offers no threat of overdose—sorry, Maureen Dowd—isn’t all that high, especially when compared to the three out of four regular coffee drinkers who are physically addicted to caffeine, or the recent discovery that Oreos are likely more addictive than cocaine or heroin.
But while the pot prohibitionists are circling their wagons and waiting for the sky to fall, other parts of the government are taking the rational steps of making it easier for scientists to actually study cannabis and its chemical contents. Just last week the Obama administration removed a roadblock that could have once kept potential scientific examination of THC shelved for years awaiting proposal approval.
While it’s laudable for the anti-drug powers that be to try to stem the tide of what they honestly perceive as a potential public health calamity, the NIH “invests nearly $30.3 billion annually in medical research for the American people.” That makes $3 million seem a little paltry. Especially when, by their own numbers, they estimate 17.4 million Americans are regular marijuana users.
Maybe they should take that cash and dedicate it to something a little more useful, like figuring out why so many patients maintain that medical cannabis can help with everything from seizures to beating cancer.
Oh, wait. We already have legally sanctioned, high-profit drugs for sale for those.