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Drug Prof Slams Pot Lung-Danger Claims

In a scathing newspaper letter, prominent expert David Nutt accuses the British Lung Foundation of scaremongering on cannabis and cancer.

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David Nutt is critical of scaremongering.
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By Bryan Le

06/08/12

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In a British spat with wide-reaching ramifications, David Nutt, a high-profile and outspoken UK drug expert, has called out the British Lung Foundation's recent assertion that an average joint is as carcinogenic as 20 cigarettes. “Scaremongering over cannabis does not equip the public to make wiser choices,” he writes in a letter published in the London Metro. “Neither does making tobacco look safer with this false comparison.” He also notes that the study cited by the BLF has been accused of “incorrect methodology” and “false reasoning,” and that other studies have not connected cannabis with lung cancer. Nutt, who is currently Professor of Neuropsychopharmacology at Imperial College, London, is no stranger to controversy. He was sacked from his position on the UK government's Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs in 2009, after publicly criticizing drug policies that he felt classified substances wrongly considering their respective levels of danger. Ever since, he has spoken out against government scapegoating and scaremongering over drugs; he's called for the legalization of psychedelics to assist neuroscience, and has proposed legal avenues for club-goers to test their ecstasy for toxic impurities. He clearly feels the BLF's report was just more of the same ignorance. "The best evidence-based advice to help cannabis smokers look after their lungs," he writes, "would be to abandon the peculiar British habit of mixing cannabis with tobacco."

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