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Marijuana -- How Little Anyone Knows About It


"What is amazing about marijuana is how little is know about it," Dr. Andrew T. Weil '63 told an audience of about sixty students in CRIMSON yesterday. "Thousands and thousands of articles have been printed. Ninety-nine per cent are simply rumor and anecdotes."

Last year Dr. Weil, as a fourth-year Harvard Medical School Student, did the first marijuana experiment in the United States since 1947, and the only one completed under modern drug experiment procedure. "Everyone agrees that we need to do the research," Dr. Weil said, "--but somewhere else."

The Medical School tried to deny him course credit, and Boston University didn't want the experiments executed on its premises, he said. The article, published a few months ago in Science magazine, has been quoted internationally, "because it's the only study that's been done," Dr. Weil said.

Whites are Red

"Only two physical effects of marijuana were proven in the laboratory," Dr. Weil said. "Heart rate goes up at a moderate increase and the whites of your eyes get red."

As for mental effects of marijuana, Dr. Weil said he was doing further experiments but that his first experiments showed the frequent user had '100 per cent compensation" in standard, reflex, and coordination tests.

Dr. Weil, now a resident at Mount Zion Hospital in San Francisco, is following up his preliminary study with further experiments.

The scientific problems inherent in testing marijuana are almost as difficult as the bureaucratic and prejudicial problems. Marijuana is different from all other drugs in its effects, Dr. Weil said. Most effects can be suppressed at will by the frequent user.

THC, commonly known as "synthetic marijuana," is one compound isolated from marijuana, but it has never been proven as the active compound, Dr. Weil said, "and there is no such thing as illegal THC. That is just tranquilizer in a capsule. The real stuff is too hard to get and too expensive to manufacture illegally."

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