Cannabis: The Final Word

Cannabis: The Final Word
Posted by CN Staff on December 05, 2005 at 07:27:54 PT
By Barbara Lantin
Source: Daily Telegraph
United Kingdom -- Why can't people make up their minds about cannabis? A recent issue of a tabloid newspaper carried news of an Australian study that showed that four out of five people with severe schizophrenia had been regular marijuana smokers in their youth. A few pages later, it included an article extolling the virtues of a cannabis-derived medicine for multiple sclerosis (MS) patients.
The Home Office insists that cannabis "is still a controlled drug, and possession, production and supply are still illegal", but last week, it published proposals that mean anybody carrying enough to make up to 500 joints is likely to escape trafficking charges. What are we to make of these apparent contradictions?The 'good' news about cannabis...Last month, the Government announced that Sativex - an oral spray derived from cannabis that is licensed in Canada but not yet in the UK - could be prescribed on a "named patient" basis for pain relief in patients with MS. Sativex, which is the only medicine in the world derived from the cannabis plant, works by influencing the way pain messages are transmitted through the body. "It's not that patients get high and stop caring about their pain," emphasises Mark Rogerson, spokesman for the manufacturers, GW Pharmaceuticals. "A person taking a normal dose will receive only a fraction of the tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) - the active ingredient in cannabis that causes a high - of a recreational user." A recent trial in the journal Neurology showed that Sativex was significantly better than a placebo at reducing pain and sleep disturbances in MS patients.... and the 'bad' Two pieces of research published last week have added to the growing body of evidence that, when smoked by vulnerable, young people, cannabis can lead to serious mental illness. A Danish study in the British Journal of Psychiatry found that almost half of patients treated for a cannabis-related mental disorder go on to develop a schizophrenic illness. People who had used the drug developed schizophrenia earlier than those with the illness who had not smoked marijuana.The researchers emphasised that the study did not show that cannabis caused psychosis, because factors such as heredity, other drug use and socio-economic status had not been taken into account. However, an American study using sophisticated imaging techniques found similar abnormalities in the brains of adolescents with schizophrenia, and those who use cannabis daily, but no such abnormalities in healthy teenagers."These findings suggest that, in addition to interfering with normal brain development, heavy marijuana use in adolescents may also lead to an earlier onset of schizophrenia in individuals who are genetically predisposed to the disorder," says Dr Sanjiv Kumra, assistant professor of psychiatry at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, New York, who worked on the study.According to Robin Murray, professor of psychiatry at the Institute of Psychiatry in London, one person in four has the genes that make them susceptible to developing cannabis-induced psychosis.Are patients who take cannabis-derived drugs at risk?"There is a distinct difference between using a drug therapeutically, under medical supervision, and taking it recreationally," says Prof Murray. "Cannabis is a mixture of substances; when it is used in medicine, the aim is to have less of the hallucinogenic components, and more of those that have an effect on muscle tension."Also, if you smoke a joint, you get high levels of these components in the blood, and they decrease quite rapidly; whereas in pharmaceutical use, you have slow absorption, and levels remain fairly constant, so the psychotropic effects are likely to be fewer."According to one survey, around 16 per cent of people with MS smoke cannabis to help relieve their symptoms. However, because of their age, this group is less likely to be at risk of schizophrenia. "Psychosis is a disorder of youth," says Prof Murray.According to Rogerson of GW Pharmaceuticals: "We have found no evidence that Sativex causes psychosis. Such side effects as there are - and no drug is without them - are generally mild, reversible and well tolerated. There may be a temporary intoxication-like reaction, and, for this reason, we have always excluded people with serious mental illness from our trials." What is the Government's attitude to cannabis?Having downgraded the drug from class-B to class-C, the Government has asked its advisory council on the misuse of drugs to review the possible links between cannabis and mental illness. Its report is due by the end of the year, but leaks suggest that it will recommend no change in the law."I don't care about the classification of cannabis," says Prof Murray. "But the Government has made a major error in accompanying the reclassification with reassurance that the drug is not harmful. What is needed now is education. The Americans are tackling it very well. What is our Government doing?"Note: A risk to mental health, or a boon for people with MS? Both, says Barbara Lantin.Source: Daily Telegraph (UK)Author: Barbara LantinPublished: December 5, 2005Copyright: 2005 Telegraph Group LimitedContact: dtletters Articles:Official Questions Linking Pot with Schizophrenia Marijuana Use Damages Adolescent Brains
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Comment #7 posted by cannabliss on December 06, 2005 at 16:34:15 PT
Proven: Cannabis *DOES* cause psychotic behavior
After a long day working a relatively demanding job in a technical profession, a man comes home and unwinds by having a bong hit, listening to some music, and reading some news sites.This affects the mental state of a large number of people.So much so, that they are willing to tolerate the following:- Decimation of the Bill of Rights (due process, search and seizure, C&U punishment, speech, arms, devolution of power to states, possibly religion, etc)- Wholescale lying to young impressionable children - Increase in police corruption- Increase in likelihood of early release of murderers- Loss of (conservatively) $10s of Billions of economic activity- Increased damage to health and evironment- (fill in your personal favorite)in order to prevent said man from doing so.Truly psychotic behavior.
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Comment #6 posted by cornoir on December 05, 2005 at 19:40:37 PT
Cut to the Chase
Mind altering drugs affect the mind of young growing people!Okay that we already know if you studied biology.Mind altering drugs most commonly used= Alcohol, Cannabis, not too sure on Nicotine being mind altering, but I bet it is.So keeping it illegal means no quality control, no checking for kid's ID by dealers, disagreements being resolved by violence since it is illegal to go to the police.Not to mention that the "drug warriors" are still harping on the "smoking cannabis is bad", well what about vaporizing or eating/drinking it?An open appeal to whomever: Collaborate with NORML, MPP, hell even George Soros and sue the current White House Administration, the DEA, ODCNP, FDA and even Congress. Most of us already know the whole Cannabis Prohibition is scientifically baseless, a scare tactic based upon control and by ever definition of the legal word, a conspiracy.Protests/Petitions/Arguements will not really get anything done in our lifetime. Go to the top and the rest will crumble. The UN drug policies were pushed by Anslinger who lied out his teeth, so if the USA repeals Cannabis prohibition so will the UN follow too.The people who are controlling this hate the discerning public eye, so publicize the trials as well as never stop. Hell if OJ can get off can't there be a "Dream Team of Canabis" lawyers (10+) as vicious as the ones the government has? If I ever win the lottery, so help me.
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Comment #5 posted by FoM on December 05, 2005 at 16:57:59 PT
Related Article from DGDispatch
Marijuana Use, Schizophrenia Show Similar Patterns in Developing Adolescent Brains: Presented at RSNABy Ed SusmanCHICAGO, IL -- December 5, 2005 -- Studies using brain diffusion tensor imaging appear to show similar developmental delays or deficits in scans of teenagers who are heavy users of marijuana as in teenagers who have schizophrenia."The worst developmental deficit is seen in schizophrenics who are marijuana smokers." said Manzar Ashtari, PhD, Researcher, Zucker Hillside Hospital, Glen Oaks, New York, United States.In a presentation here at the 91st scientific assembly and annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA), Dr. Ashtari described her examination of several small groups of subjects in late adolescence -- healthy, non-drug users; teens who had been using marijuana daily for at least 1 year; and schizophrenics.Diffusion tensor imaging depicts the motion of water molecules in the brain, and Dr. Ashtari and colleagues looked specifically at the arcuate fasciculus, a bundle of fibers in the left frontal lobe.Her work revealed that repeated exposure to marijuana was related to abnormalities in the development of the fiber pathway, she said in a press briefing on November 30th. "Because this language/auditory pathway continues to develop during adolescence, it is most susceptible to the neurotoxins introduced into the body through marijuana use," she explained.The researchers compared the arcuate fasciculus development in the brains of 12 healthy, early adolescents with 12 later adolescents; 11 schizophrenic patients with 17 matched controls; 15 schizophrenic patients who smoke marijuana with 17 matched controls; and 15 marijuana smokers with 15 matched non-drug users.Complete Article:
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Comment #4 posted by FoM on December 05, 2005 at 16:53:25 PT
Cannabis Almost Doubles Risk Of Fatal Crashes
 December 06, 2005  Driving under the influence of cannabis almost doubles the risk of a fatal road crash, finds a study published online by the BMJ today. However its share in fatal crashes is significantly lower than those involving alcohol. The study took place in France and involved 10,748 drivers who were involved in fatal crashes from October 2001 to September 2003. All drivers underwent compulsory tests for drugs and alcohol. A total of 681 drivers tested positive for cannabis (7%) and 2096 for alcohol (21.4%), including 285 for both (2.9%). Men were more often involved in crashes than women, and were also more often positive for both cannabis and alcohol, as were the youngest drivers, and users of mopeds and motorcycles. The risk of being responsible for a fatal crash increased as the blood concentration of cannabis increased (known as a dose effect). The odds increased from 1.9 at a concentration of 0-1 ng/ml to 3.1 at or above 5 ng/ml. Click here to view full paper: Article:
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Comment #3 posted by Richard Zuckerman on December 05, 2005 at 14:46:59 PT:
The U.S. Navy psychiatrist diagnosed me as "manic depressive psychosis Manic type 296.1", with "Marijuana use and abuse" in the diagnosis. He said I am not schizophrenic.After I mail threatened the federal judge over the pot and gun laws, Butner Federal Correctional Facility Chief Forensic Psychiatrist Dr. Sally Johnson diagnosed me as "Paranoid Schizophrenic", which psychiatrists have used as "...a long history of mental illness dating back to 1977."Read the article critical of psychotherapy and psychiatry in this month's issue of Paranoia Magazine? Read the literature by Dr. Thomas S. Szasz, M.D., Psychiatrist? Read the late David L. Bazelon's chapter entitled THE SOVIET PARALLEL, in his book entitled QUESTIONING AUTHORITY? He failed to mention his quote in U.S. v. Wright, 627 F.2d 1300, 1311 (D.C. Cir. 1980): 
"We know the danger of a Big Brother state that treats its critics as mentally ill."Wait until the weather and economic disasters hit this country! We'll see much more "mental illness"! 
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Comment #2 posted by legalizeit on December 05, 2005 at 09:37:00 PT
"The Americans are tackling it very well." ??
"I don't care about the classification of cannabis," says Prof Murray. "But the Government has made a major error in accompanying the reclassification with reassurance that the drug is not harmful. What is needed now is education. The Americans are tackling it very well. What is our Government doing?"Americans are tackling it very well? How? By regulating and allowing its legal sale only to adults, as with cigarettes and booze, so that the adolescents she claims are adversely affected don't use cannabis? NOT!!This professor should keep her trap shut. Does she ever read the American news? The complete disaster that is cannabis prohibition proves itself again and again. If her supposedly analytical mind thinks the Americans are "tackling it very well," how are we supposed to trust her research?No one has ever said that cannabis is completely harmless, or that kids or adolescents should be granted open access to it. But it rings true again and again that the current, draconian prohibition of cannabis does far more harm, and causes many more problems, than using it can.
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on December 05, 2005 at 09:07:32 PT
Press Release from MPP
Medical Marijuana Bill Introduced in Michigan House of Representatives***Measure by Rep. LaMar Lemmons III Builds on Strong Support for Local InitiativesDecember 5, 2005 LANSING, MICHIGAN  Building on the strong voter support for medical marijuana initiatives over the last 16 months, Rep. LaMar Lemmons III (D-Wayne County) and a bipartisan group of cosponsors have introduced a bill to protect medical marijuana patients from arrest statewide.Rep. Lemmons' bill, HB 5470, would allow seriously ill patients to use and possess a limited amount of medical marijuana if their doctor has recommended it. The bill is similar to medical marijuana laws now in force in Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington."Patients battling cancer, multiple sclerosis, AIDS, or other terrible illnesses should not have to risk arrest and jail for using medical marijuana if their doctor believes it may help them," Rep. Lemmons said. "Science, compassion and common sense say that we should protect medical marijuana patients from arrest, and the voters in four Michigan communities have resoundingly agreed.."State voters have overwhelmingly endorsed a series of local laws to protect medical marijuana patients, beginning with passage of Detroit's Proposal M by a 60 percent to 40 percent margin in August 2004. This was followed by an even larger victory in Ann Arbor that November. In November of this year, medical marijuana initiatives passed in Ferndale and Traverse City by 61 percent to 39 percent and 63 percent to 27 percent, respectively."In Michigan and around the U.S., voters want to protect medical marijuana patients," said Michael McKey, legislative analyst with the Marijuana Policy Project in Washington, D.C. "The overwhelming votes in support of local medical marijuana initiatives in Detroit, Traverse City, Ferndale, and Ann Arbor sent a clear message to legislators, and Rep. Lemmons deserves credit for listening. We are hopeful that his fellow legislators will join him in passing this sensible, humane legislation."With more than 18,000 members and 100,000 e-mail subscribers nationwide, the Marijuana Policy Project is the largest marijuana policy reform organization in the United States. MPP believes that the best way to minimize the harm associated with marijuana is to regulate marijuana in a manner similar to alcohol. For more information, please visit
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