Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Again ... Pot is Relatively Harmless

[Sigh] How many (real) studies do we have to have before the anti-cannabis morons go away? Below is another report that reinforces what we have known for 40 years or so - pot is relatively harmless. No amount of junk science, slandering or silly comments can change that. So why do the anti-cannabis crusaders persist? Why do they go on and on with unimportant, unreliable, non concluding theories or go to great lengths to find the smallest of loopholes to exploit. Only those with a set agenda or an ulterior motive would go to such extremes and frankly, it’s pathetic.
These people would have developed schizophrenia whether or not they used cannabis -Dr. Mikkel Arendt of Aarhus University in Risskov, Denmark
I don’t feel the need to try and explain to these people that they are wrong anymore. I’ve gone past that point as I am discovering more and more that these nay-sayers will never change their mind regardless of the evidence or truth. The difference is that the anti-cannabis crowd aren’t looking for the truth like scientists or the AOD industry, they are simply trying to discredit marijuana as dangerous so it becomes unacceptable. Whether it’s relatively safe or not doesn’t matter to the anti-cannabis zealots and they are just another step in the sinister history of trying to demonise marijuana. We need to ask ourselves one simple question. If cannabis is so dangerous, where are the bodies? Where are the millions of freaked out cannabis addicts who should be filling up our hospitals, rehabs and morgues? With so many smokers throughout the world , why hasn’t society been overrun with these damaged cannabis smokers? It only takes 5 minutes or so on the internet to find out that there are no recorded deaths due to cannabis use alone. It also becomes apparent that many normal and/or successful people have smoked cannabis recreationally without any negative consequences. What you won’t find is that cannabis is responsible for violent crimes. Unlike the legal drug alcohol, you won’t find cases of domestic violence because someone was high on dope or a fight broke out amongst a crowd of stoners. But beware, you will find many, many sensational headlines telling you that new research points to cannabis being more harmful than we first thought. Read them carefully and you see that the so called new evidence is not supported by most scientists or the research falls into the category of junk science. As a research expert said, 90% of new research is useless in the real world and research based on established evidence is much more likely to be conclusive. In other words, the dangers of cannabis has been shown to be minor for many years with thousands of reports proving that. The research used by the anti-cannabis crowd is often tricks of randomised statistics, shoddy research practices or taken out of context to shock the public. For example, you must of heard of that often used fallacy, “The cannabis of today is not what it was when our parents smoked it”. It’s bullshit. Apart from the contention that strong cannabis has always been available in the form of hash, it’s bullshit for the simple reason that people just take less of something that is stronger. If you are used to drinking 6 bottles of beer, do you drink 6 bottles of whisky if it available? No, of course not, you drink less to get the same effect. It is a vital part of their argument that alcohol can be moderated over a session of drinking but for some reason this is not so when it’s cannabis. And then there’s that long ago, dismissed gateway theory ... that is bullshit. The high levels of cannabis causing major psychosis is bullshit. It’s all bullshit. Yes there are dangers involved but they are minimal. Like all substances, some people are prone to have a reaction to cannabis and they should not participate. Common sense should prevail. The truth is simple, most cannabis smokers have no problems whatsoever and never will but there will always be a group of nutters who will try and deceive us into thinking otherwise. For those tired old moralists, read on and weep...
Pot-Induced Psychosis May Signal Schizophrenia By Anne Harding - Reuters November 2008 NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - People who have long-lasting psychotic episodes after smoking marijuana may be exhibiting early signs of schizophrenia, researchers reported Monday in the Archives of General Psychiatry. "Cannabis-induced psychosis," in which a person loses touch with reality and the symptoms persist for at least 48 hours, is an established psychiatric diagnosis, but it is controversial, Dr. Mikkel Arendt of Aarhus University in Risskov, Denmark, and colleagues note in their report. There has been little research on the condition, and doctors have a hard time distinguishing it from other psychiatric disorders or developing a specific list of symptoms by which to characterize it. In a previous study, Arendt and colleagues found that nearly half of people who had an episode of cannabis-induced psychosis went on to develop schizophrenia within the next six years. In the current study, the researchers looked at the genetic roots of both conditions by comparing the family histories of 609 people treated for cannabis-induced psychosis and 6,476 who had been treated for schizophrenia or a related psychiatric condition. They found that individuals treated for post-pot smoking psychotic episodes had the same likelihood of having a mother, sister or other "first-degree" relative with schizophrenia as did the individuals who had actually been treated for schizophrenia themselves. This suggests that cannabis-induced psychosis and schizophrenia are one and the same, the researchers note. "These people would have developed schizophrenia whether or not they used cannabis," Arendt explained in comments to Reuters Health. Based on the findings, the researcher says, "cannabis-induced psychosis is probably not a valid diagnosis. It should be considered schizophrenia." It's "very common" for people to have psychotic symptoms after using marijuana, such as hearing voices, feeling paranoid, or believing one has some type of special ability, Arendt said. But these symptoms typically last only an hour or two. "It's a very important distinction, this 48 hours criterion," he said. Other researchers have shown that pot smoking roughly doubles the risk of being diagnosed with schizophrenia, and that people who use marijuana and go on to develop schizophrenia become psychotic earlier than people with the illness who don't use cannabis, Arendt added. It's unclear whether smoking marijuana causes schizophrenia or not, but if it does, according to the researcher, it's likely a gradual process. Nevertheless, he said, "the consensus is pretty much you should not use cannabis if you want to avoid an increased risk of schizophrenia." Anyone who experiences an extended psychotic episode after using marijuana should get help, Arendt advised. These symptoms could represent an opportunity for early diagnosis and treatment of schizophrenia, he added, and the earlier people with this illness begin treatment, the better their prognosis. SOURCE: Archives of General Psychiatry, November 2008.


epicene said...

The only semi-rational explanation for the Cannabis demonisers is the simple fear'n'loathing most of the uptight Right show to anyone they deem to be having too much fun, esp (what they deem to be) 'unearned' pleasure.
How one "earns" pleasure is always related to their particular pathology - religious sin, political promiscurity, pick your own poison from OUR choices.

Dave Bath said...

The prohibitionists won't dare answer your call for a body count, because it is near impossible to kill yourself with THC unless you stick condoms full of hashish in your gut and they break.

Based on a thing called a Therapeutic Index for safety (how much over a typical desired effect you need to kill you)... here are (approximate) relative dangers.

Ethanol 10
Paracetamol 25
Aspirin 50
THC 1000

(I forget the actual figure, but the ratio for death/desired_effect for distilled water means it is much more dangerous than THC).

David said...

Everything should be banned - food, breathing, living and odd coloured socks.

We need a two-pronged program of rolling nuclear strikes and mandatory abortions until the entire human population is extinct.

epicene said...

The old joke about the lethal dose of cannabis was 100 gms for each kilo of body wiehgt which must then be dropped from at least the fourth floor onto the subjects cranium.

Terry Wright said...

Thanks for those stats, Dave Bath.

It's obvious from the feedback so far that the labelling of cannabis as dangerous won't stick. We know a bit more than previously but a casual link to psychosis after heavy use is not going scare anyone with average intelligence.

Epicene, again spot on. I knew that under the plastic smiles of the cheery Christians was intense unhappiness. And they're not going to let anyone else experience happiness if they're not!

BTW, I'm sure that dropping tonnes of cannabis on your head will soon become another reason why it will be classed as harmful.

Dave, good to see you're in good spirits.