Cannabis 'Link To Schizophrenia Rise' 

Cannabis 'Link To Schizophrenia Rise' 
Posted by CN Staff on April 05, 2003 at 17:56:17 PT
By Jo Revill, Health Editor
Source: Observer UK
Stronger cannabis - and users getting stoned to a 'far more debilitating degree' - could lead to a rise in cases of schizophrenia and present the NHS with a much larger bill, a leading drugs expert will warn tomorrow. Professor John Henry believes that the Government, in its decision to relax the laws on cannabis, has overlooked the burden that greater use puts on health services and on families - as well as the way young people are seeking to heighten the effects of the drug. 
Henry, a toxicologist and professor of accident and emergency medicine at Imperial College London, will talk about the medical risks associated with the drug at a conference tomorrow. He fears that several hundred more young people could end up in hospital suffering from schizophrenia, and might need anti-psychotic drugs to deal with their condition. A year ago the Government announced plans to reduce the classification of cannabis from category B to C, after a recommendation from the Police Federation that it was far less harmful than other drugs. The reclassification takes place this summer, and anyone caught smoking a joint will be much less likely to be arrested or prosecuted for possession. The policy change follows a controversial scheme in Lambeth, south London, in which the Metropolitan Police decided to focus on hard drug users rather than cannabis smokers. The Met said it achieved great results against hard drug dealers, but some health workers were worried that children in the area felt it was now legal - and safe - to smoke cannabis. There is mounting concern among psychiatrists about the future impact of the softening of the law. Three million people are thought to smoke cannabis regularly, a quarter of them young adults under the age of 29. It has been shown that more people are growing cannabis for their own consumption. Some doctors have argued that cannabis can be highly beneficial for patients suffering chronic pain, or those with multiple sclerosis. However, Henry will warn at the Royal Society of Medicine's conference that there has been a recent, dangerous shift in the way people use cannabis and alcohol. Recreational use has given way to a cultural acceptance of getting stoned regularly to a 'far more debilitating degree', according to Henry. 'Modern cannabis is nearly 10 times the strength the "flower power" generation was used to, and in Amsterdam it is at least twice as strong as in the UK,' he said. 'We know that for those who take the drug there is a fourfold increase in schizophrenia and a fourfold increase in the chances of suffering major depressive illness. Given that we know schizophrenia accounts for some 3 per cent of the total NHS bill, the costs could go up by another 1 per cent. That should be urgently considered by the Government.' Henry believes there are emerging mental health problems associated with THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, the main active ingredient of cannabis, which in greater concentrations makes more potent forms of the drug, such as 'skunk'. To investigate its effects on the brain, a study is about to begin at the Maudsley Hospital in south London. Volunteers will be offered free cannabis, so that researchers can carry out brain scans and conduct memory tests to see how mental activity is affected. Professor Robin Murray, who is leading the study, said his view of the drug had changed in recent years. He used to be sceptical when cannabis was blamed. 'Relatives would say "It seems to be the cannabis that makes my son or daughter or brother psychotic" and I would say, "Oh, they're being hysterical, they're just trying to look for something to blame". We've come to realise that it does have a significant effect, but it has taken us a long time to wake up to this.' Others, however, point to the fact that rates of schizophrenia have not risen dramatically in the past 50 years to correspond with increasing use of the drug. There is also a question over whether those who are likely to develop schizophrenia are already predisposed to take cannabis. Recent guidance on the provision of drugs for schizophrenia by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (Nice) estimated that treatment of schizophrenia in England and Wales was responsible for around 3 per cent of the entire NHS budget - some £1 billion a year. Cliff Prior, chief executive of Rethink, a charity helping those with mental illness, said: 'The public needs to understand that this danger is real. There is growing evidence that cannabis may trigger schizophrenia in vulnerable people.' Note: Softer drugs law blamed for risk of mental illness as users aim to get heavily 'stoned' Source: Observer, The (UK)Author: Jo Revill, Health EditorPublished: Sunday, April 6, 2003Copyright: 2003 The ObserverContact: letters Articles & Web Site:Drugs Uncovered: Observer UK Marijuana Linked to Schizophrenia, Depression May Cause Depression, Schizophrenia a Medical Miracle - It's Official 
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Comment #18 posted by smithereens on May 22, 2003 at 11:58:00 PT
What a hassle expenditure on pot has now gone thru the roof. What with now having to buy for me, myself and I. Me smokes like there is no tomorrow.I always freeloads and myself is always picking fights.Ha, ha, ha...............hey shut the f**k up you and you and you.
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Comment #17 posted by bobajob on April 12, 2003 at 12:51:05 PT:
Wolfgang my man !! 
You are my man !!! Many thanks for your reply (and the rest of you guys) have guessed it...I work for one of your 'dirty banks' here in the UK. None other than..JP......Something or whatever....can I CHASE U or wot ????... Got my thread or wot mate.Mate....your comment 'bout 'dirty money', the drug war is so Let's prepare to correspond...and forget 'bout JPM ??Look out for my mate Lazza....................Lets Go.Cheers Bob
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Comment #16 posted by WolfgangWylde on April 06, 2003 at 18:34:51 PT
Thanks, Bob...
...for the report. Its been far too long since my last trip too Holland, and I've forgotten what its like to breathe easy.And I think its quite correct to say that the average American is unaware of the crumbling of Cannabis Prohibition in the rest of the civilized world. Probably because our keepers know a little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing.As for the reasons why America is so Drug War inclined, I think its simple: Illegal drugs account for upward of 8% of world trade, and that money's gotta be laundered somewhere. I'm afraid our financial institution are awash in dirty money. If the Drug War ended, our economy would collapse.
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Comment #15 posted by afterburner on April 06, 2003 at 13:32:42 PT:
Don't Sleep or Operate Heavy Machines after View.
The following video is a well-spent use of 38 minutes, but it's not for the faint of heart.High Society - Drug and Oil War ConnectionAgent M13 investigates the connections between the Drug War and Iraq 2 and the world's two biggest chemical cartels - the Rockefellers and IG Farben. High Society with David Malmo-Levine: corresponding links: ego destruction or ego transcendence, that is the question.
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Comment #14 posted by freedom fighter on April 06, 2003 at 11:26:17 PT
Welcome Bob!
Thanks for droppin by. Your comment made me abit ashame to be an American. Indeed, there are some insane people in this country who thought it is okay to jump in your backyard peeking through the window. These parasites represent a very small percentage of the population and they are very powerful because they keep brainwashing 25% of the population. I am green with envy that you are able to travel and see what's like on the other side of the fence.. In fact, an average American probably does not know yet what's going on with other countries about pot. So your input is very important. For example, recently Belgium has "decrim" the pot. None of that info has been published in America. Lookin forward to better days!pazff
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Comment #13 posted by Truth on April 06, 2003 at 11:23:21 PT
Thanks, Bob
Nice report.
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Comment #12 posted by bobajob on April 06, 2003 at 10:37:19 PT
Wake up America
Folks - (and I mean you Yanks),What sort of country are you guys living in ? I am new to this site but after a bit of digging around I am now horrified about cannabis tolerance in your country. Aaaaah !!, the beauty of ignorant bliss.OK the war on drugs takes back stage while we blast the crap outta IRAQ. I have seen what the USA can do to another country. What in hell happens when they win and start getting back to the drug war at home. Sounds very scary indeed. Prohibition NEVER works. You have tried it with alchohol success. Make a substance forbidden and then everybody wants it. I'll say it again ..Prohibition NEVER works. You have gotta reach some middle ground where there is a little bit of give and take. I am talking pot here, nothing harder.I am 46 years old, and have spent the last 18 years working around the world as a computer consultant. All that time I have been a frequent user of cannabis. My experiences in other countries have prompted me to give this site some feedback based on my international experience. Still interested, then read on.I lived in the USA for 2.5 years, and never felt so paranoid about smoking a bit of weed. I lived and worked in 3 states: Illinois, Oklahoma and Hawaii where I was fortunate to sample some very lovely buds. At the end of our stay my wife and then 3.5 year old daughter did a 6 month camping tour of your wonderful country. Oh, yeah, we had 2 oz of primo gear to take with us. How foolish I feel now, what could have happened to our holiday of a lifetime if we had been busted. Nice smoke tho'I have also worked in Australia, Holland, Germany, Switzerland and also the UK - from where I am sending this communication. All of the above countries have dope laws that leave the USA looking positively oppressed. Sure - Saddam is one hell of a mean mother f**ker when it comes to instilling fear into his own people. But he has got nothing on the b**tards who make and enforce your drug laws.I worked in Adelaide and also Canberra, Australia. There, pot has been decriminalised. You are allowed to grow your own for personal use. Pot fines for anything above an ounce are comparable to speeding or parking fines ( I know, I worked for the Police at the time in their IT Departments, making code changes and introducing new legislation into their online and batch systems). Switzerland has a very liberal and successful drug tolerance policy. Absolutely no problems about growing and smoking pot, you can even get your 5 gram baggie of WW or whatever else from numerous headshops. The Swiss are very tolerant, so many people grow it on their balconies…even little old ladies suffering from debilitating diseases, no joke. And nobody rips off each others home grown, fantastic country. Germany is no different, however it does take a little bit more research to find a ‘supply’. Then again a train ride to the ‘Dam sorts that one out. Holland…no comment, you all know about that country and its wonderful coffee shops. The UK is undergoing change. I recently discovered a local hydro shop and have just kitted out with all the gear plus seeds (none other than good old White Widow, 2 weeks old and coming on just fine).So, all I can say is that the US of A is light years behind the rest of the ‘smart’ world when it comes to pot reform. Don’t give up in your attempts to introduce change. No matter what it takes it must happen. I wish you all the very best in your struggle for reform. My last words of advice, no matter what the risk, those tasty buds have just gotta be smoked.CheersBob
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Comment #11 posted by puff_tuff on April 06, 2003 at 09:42:33 PT
Drug use among schizophrenics schizophrenics, 75% are nicotine addicts, 30-50% are alcoholics, 15-25% smoke pot, 5-10% snort coke...if they're going to ban drugs associated with schizophrenia, they should start with tobacco and alcohol...but that would be bad for the corporations and good for the unlicensed dealers/ would be impossible to enforce and it would criminalize a strong majority of the population.
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Comment #10 posted by FoM on April 06, 2003 at 09:25:38 PT
Just a Comment
I do not understand much about mental illness. I know that people who use drugs can have symptoms of mental illness. I wonder how many people who say they suffer from Schizophrenia are using hard drugs, legal or illegal (not cannabis)? 
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Comment #9 posted by markjc on April 06, 2003 at 09:08:54 PT
schizophrenia doesnt exist
schizophrenia is not a real disease. it is a blanket term that covers a multitude of symptoms. 
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Comment #8 posted by W on April 06, 2003 at 08:50:43 PT
Schizofrenia causes cannabis use
At least I think cannabis saved me from being schizofrenic. If there is any reason to believe in God for me, then it would be cannabis.I don't understand why they want to take it from me. Blind ignorance or senseless cruelty? I guess they just don't see.There doesn't seem to be any clear explanation why cannabis users would become schizofrenic. The following is an interesting article (which you probably have read already) which seems to give a clue why schizofrenics would be drawn to cannabis:
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Comment #7 posted by WolfgangWylde on April 06, 2003 at 07:52:43 PT
...what's with the title, "Link to Schizophrenia Rise"? It says right in the article "...rates of schizophrenia have not risen dramatically in the past 50 years to correspond with increasing use of the drug". How can there be a link to something that doesn't exist? Perhaps we can CREDIT increased cannabis use for preventing a rise in the rate for the last 50 years.Richard Cowan is right: Cannabis Prohibition depends on bad journalism for its survival.
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Comment #6 posted by WolfgangWylde on April 06, 2003 at 07:49:02 PT
Repeat after me...
...Coincidence is NOT Causality. The Prohibitionists in the UK must be getting desperate to float such easily refutable BS. It is well-known that the mentally ill abuse substances at a higher rate. It does not mean that those substances CAUSED the mental illness. Booze is the number one drug of choice among the mentally ill, will we be outlawing that? 
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Comment #5 posted by lombar on April 06, 2003 at 03:03:02 PT
If they would just stop killing people
...maybe I would not smoke so much cannabis...It's no wonder there is so much demand for drugs since we have been subjected to weeks of real live mass murder on can survivor stack up to real-time war...It's not enough that we are witness to thousands of our fellow beings getting killed on tv just like our video games, there is some deadly bio-toxin roaming the earth, a grand coup-d'etat is unfolding before our eyes, and now this..keep the people afraid and they can't think straight, let alone stop it. Suspect everyone, trust no one. Now physical contact can be deadly...I thought the acid in my stomach was due to diet or something but now that I think of it, the whole thing started when the Us and Uk invaded Iraq. Either that or its the foul deciept that we are constantly steeped in. I pray for the end of all war....
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Comment #4 posted by lag on April 05, 2003 at 22:24:10 PT
Emerging evidence?
News flash...when it rains it snows. I mean, they have been pushing this crap on us for so long, any attempt to make it sound new and more troubling is complete BS. This article sounds like it is attempting to bring new insight into the situation when this message is ages old, and that ruins it credibility.Plus...I don't care what percentage of THC there is in this stuff...I can't imagine that Cheech and Chong were smoking some under THC'd goods. I don't doubt they got just as stoned then as we do today...Of course this is Britains attempt to get all American on the drug perhaps they are a little behind the times.
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Comment #3 posted by SoberStoner on April 05, 2003 at 20:59:14 PT
And all this time we thought we had the truth..
turns out we were all psychotic..thomas, i think you have the real truth of all this crap, my wife was on antidepressants, and they made her life worse not better...doctors no longer care about healthcare, they just want to push the pills so they can get their check from the network provider.I personally refuse to take anything except for my allergy medication that allows me to live with my pets. You see numerous cases where people are taking so many pills for so many problems that when they stop taking the pills, the problems go away because the pills were the cause of the problem..I cant believe anyone would actually believe this steaming pile of cow dung.At least they didnt say it turns you into a bat when you smoke it...oh wait..they already used that lineSS
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Comment #2 posted by Kegan on April 05, 2003 at 19:34:29 PT
Absolutely anything
They will say and do anything to stop people knowing the truth."It causes hemaroids!" Well....we can't have THAT! Outlaw it!!!!Good GOD this planet is crawling with idiots.
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Comment #1 posted by Thomas on April 05, 2003 at 18:47:57 PT
Vested Interest
It seems that if people are smoking they may not be scheduling that office visit to get thier Prozec, Paxil, et al. Is this the real reason for the psychiatrists concerns?
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