Marijuana Linked to Schizophrenia, Depression

Marijuana Linked to Schizophrenia, Depression
Posted by CN Staff on November 22, 2002 at 06:51:02 PT
By Adam Marcus, HealthScoutNews Reporter 
As many as one in seven cases of schizophrenia could be prevented by eradicating marijuana. That's the contention of a new study of Swedish soldiers that found smoking pot increases the risk of the psychiatric disorder by about 30 percent.The Swedish study is one of three reports in this week's British Medical Journal linking marijuana to emotional problems, including depression and anxiety, as well as schizophrenia.
Some scientists believe marijuana doesn't cause psychiatric illness. Rather, they argue, people smoke it as a way to self-medicate. However, the authors of the Swedish study say their evidence suggests that now seems unlikely."It's not as good an explanation than the possibility that cannabis itself causes schizophrenia," says Dr. Stanley Zammit, a psychiatrist at the University of Wales College of Medicine in Cardiff and lead author of the new paper.Zammit and his colleagues compared schizophrenia rates and marijuana use among more than 50,000 Swedish conscripts who participated in a 1969-1970 survey. Of those, 362, or about 0.7 percent, had been hospitalized with the disorder by 1996.Of the 11 percent of the entire group that admitted ever trying marijuana, 73, or 1.4 percent, went on to be hospitalized for schizophrenia. The odds of having the disease grew as pot use climbed, reaching nearly a sevenfold increase in the men who used it 50 times or more but tried no other illegal drugs, the study says.The effect was strongest among soldiers who developed schizophrenia within five years of entering the military. It held after the researchers accounted for use of alcohol and other drugs."You would expect that if there was a common reason for using substances, that would have eliminated" the influence of marijuana, Zammit says.The second study in the British Medical Journal, of 759 New Zealanders, found that those who started smoking pot by the time they were 15 years old had quadruple the risk of non-users of being diagnosed by age 26 with schizophrenia and related disorders. That risk didn't hold for people who began taking the drug at age 18 or later. The study also found that 10 percent of the young smokers went on to develop psychosis, compared with 3 percent of the rest of the study group.Louise Arseneault, a psychiatrist at King's College, London, and a co-author of the study, says marijuana use "predisposes" children to schizophrenia later in life."It's part of a complex group of causes. You don't need to smoke cannabis to have schizophrenia," Arseneault says. "A lot of people have it who didn't smoke, and a lot smoke but don't get it."In the third study, scientists in Australia found that teens who smoked marijuana at least once a week were twice as likely as less frequent users to suffer depression or anxiety over the next seven years. Girls who used the drug every day had between five and six times the rate of these conditions as non-users.The study also found that teens with emotional problems at the beginning of the study weren't more likely to take up marijuana in the future -- suggesting that self-medication wasn't a factor.Michael Lynskey, a psychiatrist at Washington University in St. Louis and a co-author of the Australian study, says he "wouldn't want to make a definitive statement either way" about whether marijuana causes psychosis or depression. Even a doubling of the risk of depression is considered a relatively small increase, he says. So the effect of marijuana is probably modest.However, research shows that people who take THC, the active ingredient in pot, to control nausea are more prone to depression, Lynskey says. He considers that "strong evidence" that marijuana can play a role in depression.Source: HealthScout.comAuthor: Adam Marcus, HealthScoutNews Reporter Published: November 21, 2002Copyright: 2002 Website: editors Related Articles:Pot May Cause Depression, Schizophrenia Link Cannabis Use With Depression a Medical Miracle - It's Official 
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Comment #28 posted by ekim on October 17, 2003 at 19:21:52 PT
take some time --then write about your life Muff
years will give me back my photographic memory, my writing skills, my vivid dreams (which i never had when i smoked), and most of all, my enthusiasm for life and not a fear of it like i have now------------------Please know that you are not the only person who has felt that death grip on you neck, doing anyamount is against the law. Maybe if you do write you will come to some conclusion about weather or not it should be against the law. Good luck== you have Enthusiasm for life you showed that by taking the time to post and explaining yourself.
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Comment #27 posted by Muff_Daddy on October 17, 2003 at 09:08:52 PT:
Marijuana and Panic Disorders
I smoked about 1/8oz. every day for 2.5 years. Before this I smoked like 4 times a year for 4 years. I have now cut back for the past year, which was not that hard to do...lessened to a joint here and there, to a puff, and now to nothing. The reason is because I started having panic attacks. I do not know if weed brought these on. I have had agoraphobia in the past, but the panic attacks were very mild (this was like 10yrs ago), but today they are awful! I feel faint, have a massive fear of death, a sense of unreality, and a fear that i am going crazy. They came on for a month ALL DAY EVERY DAY. the only time it wasn't happening was when i was asleep but i went to sleep thinking "oh my god i'm going to die" and woke up thinking "phew! i made it...oh my god i am going to die!". It was hell. the panic was at first only when i was high cause thinking is so distorted, the trippiness i used to love now scares the sh*t out of me. then i started having the panic attacks when sober, and i felt like i was high even tho i wasn't! i miss weed. it was a very close friend! but i can't handle it, and the panic is not worth the high...when sober day to day things block out the fear: i.e. yes, i'm going to die, but i also have to pay my rent therefore i have to go to work.Anyway, i don't have schizophrenia, i don't have dellusions or hear voices. all i have is panic attacks, but they really suck. weed also took away my language skills, i couldn't string together a sentence. my muscles started atrophying. i had all these big plans but never put any in action. i miss being able to eat well, since i have many digestive problems, when high i ate so much and never got sick! it was wonderful. that's the part i miss the most: going out for all you can eat sushi!!!! i hear all this stuff today about how we should legalize weed, and how it is not harmful. well it is harmful, to some people -- BUT SO IS ALCOHOL. some ppl are predisposed to alcoholism, but alcohol is still legal. i love weed and won't ever stop loving it, but not every person can take every drug. one day i hope to smoke again, actually maybe just eat it instead cause that is more like a body buzz...but i think i have associated the panic with being high so i have to disassociate those two things before taking weed again. what's the point of this posting? well i just wanted to tell my story and maybe someone else has experienced the same thing? as i write this i can hear my neighbour coughing outside as he smokes up (married, father, 40yrs old+)...and it pangs me! i miss my drugs! however, sobriety is trippy on its own when you haven't seen it for a few years. i wonder if quitting weed for a few years will give me back my photographic memory, my writing skills, my vivid dreams (which i never had when i smoked), and most of all, my enthusiasm for life and not a fear of it like i have now.:o)
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Comment #26 posted by p4me on November 23, 2002 at 12:49:26 PT
Nol Van Schaik at the DE messageboard said...
I enjoyed Nol's brief comment on the subject that appeared this Saturday at Swedes talk bullshit about cannabis and schizophrenia again....As the figures below show, the Swedes are just the most schizophrenic people in Europe!Yet, they state that cannabis causes schizophrenia, after long term use....In Holland we can use cannabis freely for over 30 years now, but, Holland has the lowest percentage in schizophrenics of the EU! Sweden, however, with a very strict repressive Law against cannabis, has one of the highest percentages of schizophrenics of the EU!!This shows it is not the cannabis or the use of it making people go schizo, it is the country they live in, and the prohibition of cannabis!!!Forget this lie, get your high!1
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Comment #25 posted by lag on November 23, 2002 at 10:58:13 PT
What causes depression is losing faith
Not just faith in religion...something I don't think I ever really had, but faith in humanity, that life is worth living. When I hear about all the pain and suffering that exists it is sometimes too much. Long before I discovered Marijuana I used to go into the basement(my family room, and bedroom at the time) to get away...veg if you will. I would browse the web or play video games.So, I don't think that Marijuana has turned me into the person I am. But the more I read about the senseless tragedies and the pain brought on by self-righteous people, either the government, or crime, or something I am just really sensitive to it.I am no neuroscientist, but it seems to me that the people I know with bi-polar disorder and schizophrenia just don't really know what to do about life...they are bogged down by the pressure, the insecurity and just can't deal with it. Perhaps that is the symptom of the disease...if that is the case, then perhaps I, too, am schizo...but then I would have been schizo long before I started the use of Marijuana.
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Comment #24 posted by knox42897 on November 23, 2002 at 10:23:39 PT:
I am schizo or atleast I was diagnosed to be schizophrenic. I have been smoking cannabis since I was 14. I have been hospitalized 4 fucking times. The evil drug dealers or doctors as they prefer to be called, think that by lockng you up in a cage, giving you shit food and forcing their medication on you is going make things better. My friends this is the sad truth. Be very carefull which doctors you go to. Even my own family didn't believe the schizophrenic part, however they believe I am Bi-polar. I don't know what the hell that means. I think, they think I'm some kind of bi-sexual polar bear living in vegas.What is really fun is that I don't exhibit any symptoms of "bi-polar" or "schizophrenia" when I have my cannabis.
In fact, its gotten to the point that I have warned my family, tat if I go into a "manic mode", to quickly hand me some medical marijuana and all symptoms go away.I honestly believe these conditions are made up. The reason more cannabis smokers are diagnosed with schizophrenia is probably that we are more creative and consider thinking different than the "normal" people. As the doctor said, "I am in self-denial becuase I would not take his medication." However, I have sought out my own doctor and he recommends medical marijuana for schizophrenia. So now I am comfortable with being a schizophrenic and some kind of bi-polar bear, as I now have a medical necessity for marijuana for the rest of my life. I am so happy being schizo.
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Comment #23 posted by Patrick on November 23, 2002 at 09:17:43 PT
Pounding the nail on the head. That is exactly how I have felt for over 20 years now.
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Comment #22 posted by BGreen on November 23, 2002 at 07:04:31 PT
Thinking "outside the box" is enough to be
labeled "schizophrenic." This is garbage, not science.What kind of negative psychological effects upon the human brain are brought on by being hunted like an animal 24-hours-a-day by an evil, sick government just for using cannabis?
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Comment #21 posted by Craiggoth on November 23, 2002 at 04:33:53 PT
I do not believe that cannabis CAUSES schizophrenia. I believe that a lot of people who use cannabis use it because it is great, an escape from the thinking which hurts because of this painful world. People are drawn to it from experience in life, whether it is bad or good experience. Those who had a bad life might be using it to escape, chewing gum for the brain or something...they might already have mental problems...even if they are subtle. These tests are s** don't listen to them. How many years has cannabis been used? Somebody else said something about shamans hearing voices and stuff...then they are schizophrenic? We don't see it like that though do we...cananbis simply opens up our minds and changes the way we think. If this does not make sense then it it because of the space cakes I ate last night.
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Comment #20 posted by FoM on November 22, 2002 at 20:35:47 PT
Oh mayan
Thanks for the laugh! I needed that.
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Comment #19 posted by p4me on November 22, 2002 at 20:33:17 PT
The propagandist are parroting tonight
The Fox channel 18 in Charlotte carried the stupidity and then at 11PM the BBC broadcast on public educational channels, UNC-TV, made a big deal to say three different reports carried this locoweed story.I wonder how many people will be told by the growing numbers of people in the know that this is propaganda and the prohibitionist will tell any lie to keep their insanity going.1
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Comment #18 posted by mayan on November 22, 2002 at 16:02:03 PT
not schizo...
I know dozens of hard-core tokers & not one is schizo. I know I'm not schizo...and I'm not either. Hee-Hee!
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Comment #17 posted by drfistusa on November 22, 2002 at 14:50:59 PT
schizophrenia is judgment not a disease
a shaman in amazonia or elsewhere would be called schizophrenia, or a Buddhist zen master, or anyone who "doesn't fit in" or has "wrong ideas or beliefs" hear Voices talking to aliens, you name it! our ancient shamen were burned at the stake now it is a diesease!! needs treatment, more profitable!!
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Comment #16 posted by DdC on November 22, 2002 at 12:32:48 PT
Remember Their Names. The Wishers
Sometimes people have to get wet to admit its raining. This lie is just another on the heap of lies to keep Ganja out of the markets of Nothing new, other than many people are getting sick from being wet. Its up to them to come inside and get warmed by the fire. Its up to us to keep the light on for them so they can find their way. Nothing new to anyone fighting this evil a while. Fascist media lies protecting Fascist business. Surprize? Hardly. They've continued the racism 70 years, nothing new. Still lies the same as Anslinger before them. Those proud and obediently sacraficing their souls to being wet will die of exposure. Just a matter of time. Keep the faith. Remember their names. Boycott the Fascist and don't elect them to office. The New Science is a propaganda rag of the English version of Randolph Hearst. Profits on Pharmaceuticals, paper, trees, plastic and yellow coward journalism spreading the filthy lies. Know that we have the truth and mercy and compassion and logic to free the people of their oppression.The sheople that will graze on this poison will die from the poison. Those blaming Ganja or the Bogeyman won't hold up forever and they that don't die will have to live with the lies and stigma of the they represent. Remember their names and don't let them ever forget the harm they cause on innocents, in the name of profit.Peace, Love and Liberty to All Willing to Fight for It... DdCRemember Their Names. The Wishers
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Comment #15 posted by DdC on November 22, 2002 at 12:12:17 PT
The Wingnuts of 
To: "NORML Affiliates" affiliates
Sent: Thursday, November 21, 2002 2:29 PM
Subject: [affiliates] Look out for tomorrow's headlines! Cannabis and schizophrenia...Address messages for this group to affiliates'
Hello all,
NORML has received advanced, embargoed copies of THREE medical papers which will be published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) next week.All three papers (from the UK, Australia and of course, Sweden), babble dressed-up like 'science', make the same basic claim: Schizophrenia steeply rises in societies as more cannabis is used by its population. The papers claim there is a 30% increase in Schizophrenia attributable to cannabis use.Further, if the cannabis plant was stripped away from humanity, there would be a 13% reduction in Schizophrenia worldwide.Better know that Walters, et al also have the same studies in hand and as soon as tonight/tomorrow, will hatch a new 'anti-mj.' campaign to exploit these 'meat-on-the-bones' medical missives.This week's NORML's weekly press release delves into last week's govt-inspired hysteria about 'drugged driving' as it concerns week....Schizophrenia.
Check it prepared. Regards,-Allen St. Pierre NORML Foundation
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Comment #14 posted by JR Bob Dobbs on November 22, 2002 at 12:06:24 PT
Interesting if lengthy article
Madison Avenue and the prescription drug biz:
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Comment #13 posted by Ethan Russo MD on November 22, 2002 at 12:03:53 PT:
Specific Comment #3
The Arsenault study examined a cohort of young New Zealanders for cannabis use vs. development of adult psychois. In this 1 1/2 page article, "controls" smoked cannabis 0-2 times, while "cannabis users" took the drug "three times or more" by age 15 and continued at some unspecified rate of intake by age 18.Supposedly smoking cannabis increased the incidence of psychosis in adults, and it was more likely the earlier they began.If cannabis were truly etiological in development of psychosis, it would be reasonable to expect some dose-response effect. That is not evident here in any respect. As they say, "More study in warranted." As a journal editor, I would never have even published this "investigation." It contributes nothing to our understanding of the alleged problem.
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Comment #12 posted by Slatts on November 22, 2002 at 12:03:34 PT:
Where are the bodies?
From The BMJ report: "Cannabis linked to depression and schizophrenia"
"...four times as likely" - But then they say.
"This large effect is surprising and not yet reflected in an increased
incidence of schizophrenia in the population."So cannabis use has increased by a factor of - What?100 in the last
40 years, yet there is no parallel increase in schizophrenia?So can someone explain to me how can it cause schizophrenia with out
causing schizophrenics?
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Comment #11 posted by Ethan Russo MD on November 22, 2002 at 11:53:08 PT:
Specific Comment #2
The Zammit study from Sweden on schizophrenia is most suspect. They examined Swedish conscripts from 1969. This investigation seems to be an attempt to rehabilitate an extremely criticized study of the same cohort published in 1987 by Andreasson et al: and Morgan savaged this study in Marijuana Myths, Marijuana Facts.The current authors claim that, based on their data, up to 13% of schizophrenia incidence could be attibutable to cannabis. This is an unsubstantiated and outrageous allegation. Keep in mind that only 1.4% of the conscripts that ever smoked cannabis wound up schizophrenic. Men of such age are at the critical time of development of the disorder. All of the eventual schizophrenics in the earlier study were recognized to have some psychiatric issue before they entered the service!As they say, "Garbage in, garbage out." I would add, "Garbage is not worthy of rehabilitation."
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Comment #10 posted by Ethan Russo MD on November 22, 2002 at 11:37:45 PT:
Specific Comment #1
In the Patton study from Australia, the only real increased association involved depressed and anxious girls who smoked cannabis daily. They did not have excess use of other substances, and that was taken to mean that cannabis must have had a causal effect. Notably, no one analyzed why they smoked, or confirmed diagnoses via more specific testing. There is more heat than light.It is quite possible that many of the patients had symptoms of one kind or another that were alleviated in some fashion by cannabis (e.g, the depression, anxiety or even gynecological issues such as endometriosis). Why would they use more tobacco, alcohol or other drugs to try to treat their symptoms? They would not help, and would not necessarily be sought out preferentially. 
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Comment #9 posted by unknown pleasures on November 22, 2002 at 11:32:19 PT
'association' is not cause and effect
I would like to present an analogy to this study, to illustrate why I believe this research to be flawed.Imagine if a study was done on kids who listen to dark "Gothic" music and found that those who listen to it have a higher rate of depression than kids who do not. This is reasonable, but does it imply that listening to dark music causes mental illness?People like music that they can relate to. Hence, kids who feel depressed, confused and angry will probably be attracted to music that deals with those issues. Just because someone is depressed and listens to dark music, doesn't mean that the music is causing his condition. In fact, the opposite is likely to be true, with depressed kids listening to gothic or angry music as a form of catharsis, to help them deal with their inner feelings. As a famous saying in blues music goes: "We listen to someone sing about feeling bad in the hope of feeling good." My point is, that just because those with mental illness are 'more likely' to have used cannabis heavily does not imply that cannabis is the root cause, and is more likely to be a form of 'self medication' for inner-problems.
There are an unknown number of factors that were not tested for or considered in this study (as the researchers themselves admit).If scientists do not fully understand the causes of mental illness in people who have never smoked cannabis, how can they say that cannabis is the cause of mental illness in the people who have smoked it?    
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Comment #8 posted by FoM on November 22, 2002 at 11:30:14 PT
I'm not sure what it is either. I've never met anyone that has it.
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Comment #7 posted by VitaminT on November 22, 2002 at 11:27:02 PT
Is schizophrenia a real disease?
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Comment #6 posted by goneposthole on November 22, 2002 at 10:16:51 PT
Louis Armstrong
He must have been one crazed, depressed, and schizophrenic stoned jazz musician.With the 8000 year history of cannabis, the entire world's population must be depressed and schizophrenic.I may be jumping to a conclusion, but John Walters must really be depressed after visiting Vansterdam and the cannabis coffeehouse. To observe people having a good time and a little fun must depress his psyche in the worst of ways.It's a wonderful world, John.
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Comment #5 posted by Sam Adams on November 22, 2002 at 09:58:59 PT
You're right about the Scandanavians. A friend of mine was dating an immigrant woman from Latvia, the northernmost Baltic republic, it is just south of Finland. I hung out with them recently at a party. She was a beautiful blond and I enjoyed talking with her. Then, her boyfriend told me that he had to totally hide all cannabis smoking from her. She was militantly against it and wouldn't tolerate it. This surprised me as she spent the entire evening chain-smoking cigarettes and quaffing hard-liquor drinks. Bigotry pure and simple.
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Comment #4 posted by Sam Adams on November 22, 2002 at 09:53:16 PT
What a complete crock of BS!
Once again, it's time for me to return to my "causality and modern medicine" rant.This study is complete bulls**t, they've proven NOTHING. If they did a 1000 page report proving that every last detail of the childhood of the control group vs. marijuana smokers was IDENTICAL, I would believe it.In fact, therein lies the problem.  This study is a prime example of the how the Western medical establishment routinely violates the painfully simple protocol of the Scientific Method. Any experiment must have a control group - a group of test subjects that is IDENTICAL to the test group in EVERY WAY except for the property being tested.I'm sure a cursory analysis of major lifestyle traits between young potsmokers and non-smokers would reveal gaping differences in average education of parents, mental health of parents, income of parents, divorce rate of parents, geographic location, weight of parents, diet & nutrition, etc, etc, etc!! ANY of these factors could be affecting the schizophrenia rate.Just remember that these same clowns are the ones that make up all the rules how you'll be treated for all other sicknesses & ailments. Don't ever trust doctors! Honest and compassionate ones are very rare. In the late 70's an Australian doctor discovered that bacteria was causing 90% of stomach ulcers, 20 years passed before the elitist American/European medical community would accept this discovery, just because the doctor was from some Australian backwater. Hundreds of thousands of women had total hysterectomies for decades because of greedy male doctors. And now they're discovering that thousands of mastectomies were needlessly done as well.The health care industry is one of the most politicized areas of modern life. Big Pharm and the egotistical AMA take turns bending over patients, taking their wallet, and giving them a 5-finger DRE. If you don't know what DRE is, don't ask.
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Comment #3 posted by Ethan Russo MD on November 22, 2002 at 09:35:34 PT:
Here are the links to the PDF's of the 3 articles and the editorial from the BMJ. It is possible that you will not be able to access them without a subscription. usual, this stuff hits the press before we've had a chance to read the original articles. Some of the data was generated via self-reports of drug use, which are notoriously inaccurate.At most, such data can indicate an association, or even what we call "comorbidity," meaning that two "problems" occur in the same patient. However, none of this proves that cannabis produces psychosis.Generically, I can say the following. The issue of cannabis as causing mental illness has been debated for at least 1000 years, usually on the basis of hysteria and myths, such as that of the hashish-crazed assassins. There is no substantiation of the whole story according to the thesis of Michael Aldrich. It is apocryphal.
The first serious survey of cannabis in schizophrenia was the Indian Hemp Drugs Commission in 1893-1894. They scoured the country's asylums for cases of cannabis psychosis and came up with a mere handful of cases where there was not some alternative explanation. Their conclusion was that cannabis did not cause permanent harm of this nature. Everyone knows that a rare patient may have a temporary psychosis that seems to be triggered by cannabis overuse. Virtually all recover. This does not require the caging of human beings, especially those who are ill, to protect our society from a rare sequela. In contrast, alcohol clearly rots one's brain in overuse.The same conclusion that cannabis did not "cause permanent psychosis"was reached in the Panama Canal Zone studies in the 1920's and the LaGuardia Commision report of 1944. The IOM in 1999 and the Canadian Senate Report in 2002 came to the same conclusion with lots of other studies inbetween.Some people will have schizophrenia and depression, and in some cases, cannabis will not help, or may even contribute to the problem. However, there is just as much high quality evidence that cannabis ameliorates symptoms for afflicted people. See study by Leweke et al.: I also address this topic in the cannabis chapter in Handbook of Psychotripic Herbs.
Thus the truth on this issue is a shade of gray that is much closer to white than it is to the black that the BMJ, ONDCP and other acronyms espouse.
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Comment #2 posted by goneposthole on November 22, 2002 at 08:20:28 PT
A poll taken in England revealed that 58 percent of the population would emigrate to another country if given the chance..They're so depressed, they don't even know if they are schizophrenic.
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Comment #1 posted by MikeEEEEE on November 22, 2002 at 08:07:39 PT
The other side effects
Prohibition produces lairs and mean spirited people.These statistics mean nothing; it could be disorders of the mind that come from anywhere, trauma, social circumstances, an abusive childhood, drinking diet soda, or other chemical additives in food, etc.The sweds are avid prohibitionists. I don't buy it!
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