Professor Wayne Hall, a narcotics advisor to the World Health Organization, recently published a paper revealing the results of a 20-year study he conducted on the long term effects of weed. He found that "cannabis is highly addictive, causes mental health problems and opens the door to hard drugs." Yeah … we're gonna tear that study apart now.

Professor Wayne Hall, a narcotics advisor to the World Health Organization, recently published a paper revealing the results of a 20-year study he conducted on the long term effects of weed. He found that "cannabis is highly addictive, causes mental health problems and opens the door to hard drugs." Yeah … we're gonna tear that study apart now.

The paper is being billed as an important scientific discovery, building a compelling case against those who "deny the devastation cannabis wreaks on the brain."

Here are its main findings:

1. One in six teenagers who regularly smoke the drug become dependent on it.

2. Cannabis doubles the risk of developing psychotic disorders, including schizophrenia.

3. Cannabis users do worse at school. Heavy use in adolescence appears to impair intellectual development.

4. One in ten adults who regularly smoke the drug become dependent on it and those who use it are more likely to go on to use harder drugs.

5. Driving after smoking cannabis doubles the risk of a car crash, a risk which increases substantially if the driver has also had a drink.

6. Smoking it while pregnant reduces the baby's birth weight.

7. Regular use, especially among teenagers, leads to long-term mental health problems and addiction.

8. Those who try to stop taking cannabis often suffer anxiety, insomnia, appetite disturbance and depression

… Okay then! And now for the fun part, where Hall compares weed to both alcohol and heroin. Ready?

"If cannabis is not addictive then neither is heroin or alcohol," said Hall about his study results. He added that, "It is often harder to get people who are dependent on cannabis through withdrawal than for heroin – we just don't know how to do it."

Okay so it's harder to get stoners to put the blunt down than it is to ween junkies off heroin … but there are no current methods of doing that — wait, how you can you say it's harder when you don't even know how it's done? Okay … Moving on …

"The important point I am trying to make is that people can get into difficulties with cannabis use, particularly if they get into daily use over a longer period," he continued. "There is no doubt that heavy users experience a withdrawal syndrome as with alcohol and heroin."

Whoa, Nancy! Have you ever run out of weed only to find yourself sweating, feverish, writhing, nauseous, hypothermic and on the verge of coma? In fact, here's a link to some heroin withdrawal symptoms … see if they match the way you feel when you find out the dispensary's closed. If they do, we're guessing it's not just weed you're smoking.

Or, does running out of weed cause you to do this? If so, let us know.

Saying weed "withdrawal" is like heroin withdrawal discredits the incredibly difficult process heroin addicts go through, and trivializes their addiction. We're definitely not saying that it can't be hard when you run out of weed, but we're also saying that comparing it to kicking heroin is a little disrespectful.

Might we also add that heroin is responsible for over 3,000 deaths annually in the US alone, while weed is responsible for no deaths. No deaths at all.

Moving on some more …

Mark Winstanley, of the charity Rethink Mental Illness, said in response to the study, "Too often cannabis is wrongly seen as a safe drug, but as this review shows, there is a clear link with psychosis and schizophrenia, especially for teenagers … Instead of classifying and re-classifying, government time and money would be much better spent on educating young people about how smoking cannabis is essentially playing a very real game of Russian roulette with your mental health."

No one's arguing that certain substances can bring forth mental illness in individuals who are already genetically predisposed to psychosis. In fact, we recently published an in-depth article explaining that weed can actually be dangerous for certain individuals, but the danger lies in its interaction with their personal biochemistry. Which, in turn, is a product of both genetic heritage and environmental influences. However, only 11 percent of people experience panic or psychosis after smoking weed. That means 89 percent — the vast majority — of people who smoke don't have any such reaction, and in fact, feel it benefits their mental health immensely.

There's no shortage of studies lauding weed's ability to cure or alleviate symptoms of anxiety, depression, chronic pain, and even cancer, to name a few. And we're not talking guerilla studies; there's a huge amount of scientific literature published in academic journals about weed's physical and emotional benefits. It's not even news at this point.

That's why we think it's scientifically irresponsible to vilify a substance that has been proven to be not only safe, but medically curative for so many people in such a broad way. What would be much more responsible, is to warn against using marijuana if certain factors apply to you, stressing proper education rather than fear. As Boulder's anti-marijuana "lab rat" campaign proved, fear-based advertising doesn't work.

So, why are people still publishing studies like this, when there's so much literature in support of marijuana? We think it's a case of confirmation bias; or the tendency to search for, interpret, or prioritize information in a way that confirms your hypotheses.

Think about it. Professor Hall's study began 20 years ago in England.

Back then, society had a very different idea about weed, especially in England, where it remains completely illegal to this day. Back in 1994, being in a conservative scientific environment and publishing a result that proved anything other than that weed was bad, was probably highly improbably. In fact, the study congratulates itself on being one of the first human studies on the epidemiological framework of marijuana use, which is nice, but that also means they weren't privy to the research we are to today.

Hall also conducted this study for the World Health Organization, a public heath body tasked with collecting data about trends in narcotic use. They would likely come under intense scrutiny if they were to publish study results validating the safety or efficacy of a drug that's scheduled on the same level as heroin in most countries. We mean, can you imagine the WHO coming out with a study that lauded weed's benefits 20 years ago?

Add up who conducted the study, how long ago it began, and attitudes about weed at the time, and you have a hypothesis that likely looked negatively upon weed. Were this study conducted in the present day, we're guessing different results might have been reported.

We'd imaging that coming out with findings that are so far polarized in one direction would garner more press than studies that publish more neutral results as well. In fact, the site we found this research on, Daily Mail, called the study the "Terrible Truth About Cannabis," which looks like click-bait to us.

All this being said, we're not saying weed can't be dangerous for some people. We don't doubt that some people can develop addictions to weed. And we're not saying that the study's findings are false. We're saying that they might be biased, outdated, and ill-informed.

It's been proven time and time again that in most cases, the addiction is psychological, not physical. So comparing it to alcohol and heroin, which have a well-documented and proven mechanisms for physiological addiction, isn't quite accurate. It's been proven that it's medically beneficial. And it's been proven to be safer than alcohol … so we're pretty sure it's safer than heroin.

Sure, weed can be dangerous. But so can milk if you drink too much of it. So can certain antibiotics if you have allergies to them. If you think about it, most things are dangerous to some people but not not others, but you sound like an idiot if you come out and say, "Eating strawberries is like playing Russian Roulette with your life," just because they made you gassy once.

So, long story short? The "terrible truth" about marijuana is that there is no universal truth about it. The way it's talked about tends to err on extreme in both directions, and little credit is given to the fact that anything is dangerous in certain quantities to certain people. So until someone can definitively prove, over and over again with the same results, that weed is a devil drug, we'll be over here rolling joints … or at least making our interns do it for us.