Canvassing for Opinion - aka "Blairs Brain on Cannabis"

IMHO prohibition sentiment requires inherent addiction to status quo, an incapacity to visualise beyond the here and now and a desperate desire to know others might feel the same... Reform is not revolutionary, rather it is evolutionary. Having survived banging your head against a brick wall the evolutionist relishes having stopped. / Blair

Tuesday, November 26, 2002

Suspect study perpetrates "reefer madness" myth [MAPS]

Press release: Nov 25 2002: MILD GREEN COMMUNICATIONS

Suspect study perpetrates "reefer madness" myth

Cannabis law reformers say that research reported in the British Medical Journal - touting a causative link between cannabis use and mental illness - is fatally flawed and "conspiratorial" in its lack of objectivity.

The failure of researchers (Arseneault et al., http://www.bmj.com/) to note that cannabis users are persecuted by law is a glaring omission from the analysis, say the Mild Greens.

Exclusion of the wider black market "set and setting" renders dangerously inadequate, Dr Arseneault's conclusion that "cannabis may be affecting the dopamine system in the brain."

Presumptions about the adverse affects of cannabis formed the basis for concern when New Zealand Parliament's Health Committee inquired into the
Mental Health Effects of Cannabis in 1998. However the committee on confronting the evidence reported that "the negative mental health impact of cannabis appears to have been overstated", and their report acknowledged arguments that it was actually the climate of criminality which generates paranoia and anxiety:

"Those who develop problems [with marijuana] are less likely to seek help because they use an illegal substance, and may spiral in alienation, anti-social behaviour, criminality, mental illness or violence" (p19).

That inquiry suggested in conclusion that "if cannabis does cause harm to a small proportion of users then it is preferable that those people have good access to treatment without fear of stigmatisation and discrimination". MPs then unanimously recommended a harm minimisation and harm reduction approach - and reconsideration of the legal status.

A follow up inquiry before the Health Select Committee is now into its third year of failing to implement a precautionary approach against the black market criminalised context of widespread cannabis use in NZ.

The committee announced recently that due to excessive workload, the inquiry report on "health strategy's relating to cannabis" would not now be ready until early 2003.

Meanwhile in research which winds back the clock, and seeks apparently to deliberately misinform the current international "legal status debate", (and increase latent "reefer madness" prejudice), BMJ reported studies speculate that the incidence of schizophrenia would "reduce by 13%" if use of cannabis was eliminated.

Unfortunately the research papers fail to explore the oppressive (coercive care?) mechanism by which such "zero use" might eventuate.

Blair Anderson, Kevin O'Connell
50 Wainoni Road, WAINONI
Christchurch, NZ 8006

Mild Green Initiatives phone ++64 3 389-4065
Web & Media Commentary http://www.mildgreens.com/press.htm
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Monday, November 25, 2002

British Medical Journal Reports on Link Between Marijuana, Schizophrenia

Drug Policy Alliance: British Medical Journal Reports on Link Between Marijuana, Schizophrenia

...... snip ........

Blair Anderson of New Zealand�s Mild Greens issued a press release on the BMJ studies that points to the need for harm reduction. According to Anderson, the failure of researchers to note that cannabis users are persecuted by law is a glaring omission from the analyses published in the BMJ. Presumptions about the adverse affects of cannabis formed the basis for concern when New Zealand Parliament's Health Committee inquired into the Mental Health Effects of Cannabis in 1998. The committee reported that "the negative mental health impact of cannabis appears to have been overstated." Their report acknowledged that it was actually the climate of criminality which generates paranoia and anxiety: "Those who develop problems [with marijuana] are less likely to seek help because they use an illegal substance, and may spiral in alienation, anti-social behaviour, criminality, mental illness or violence." The inquiry suggested in conclusion that "if cannabis does cause harm to a small proportion of users then it is preferable that those people have good access to treatment without fear of stigmatisation and discrimination."

...... end snip ......
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Saturday, November 02, 2002

Link Between Marijuana, Schizophrenia (BMJ)

British Medical Journal Reports on Link Between Marijuana, Schizophrenia

The respected British Medical Journal recently published 3 studies which found an increased risk for the onset of schizophrenia among chronic marijuana smokers. There is cause for concern � chronic use of a variety of drugs, including alcohol, has been known to exacerbate the symptoms of schizophrenia � but it is very likely that media reports will sensationalize these studies without providing adequate perspective. In their definitive meta-analysis of marijuana research, authors Lynn Zimmer, Ph.D. and John P. Morgan, M.D. dedicated an entire chapter to the subject of marijuana and mental illness. From Marijuana Myths, Marijuana Facts:

"There is no convincing scientific evidence that marijuana causes psychological damage or mental illness in either teenagers or adults. Some marijuana users experience psychological distress following marijuana ingestion, which may include feelings of panic, anxiety, and paranoia. Such experiences can be frightening, but the effects are temporary. With very large doses, marijuana can cause temporary toxic psychosis. This occurs rarely, and almost always when marijuana is eaten rather than smoked. Marijuana does not cause profound changes in people's behavior."


"Blair Anderson of New Zealand�s Mild Greens issued a press release on the BMJ studies that points to the need for harm reduction. According to Anderson, the failure of researchers to note that cannabis users are persecuted by law is a glaring omission from the analyses published in the BMJ. Presumptions about the adverse affects of cannabis formed the basis for concern when New Zealand Parliament's Health Committee inquired into the Mental Health Effects of Cannabis in 1998.

The committee reported that 'the negative mental health impact of cannabis appears to have been overstated.'

Their report acknowledged that it was actually the climate of criminality which generates paranoia and anxiety: 'Those who develop problems [with marijuana] are less likely to seek help because they use an illegal substance, and may spiral in alienation, anti-social behaviour, criminality, mental illness or violence.'

The inquiry suggested in conclusion that
'
if cannabis does cause harm to a small proportion of users then it is preferable that those people have good access to treatment without fear of stigmatisation and discrimination.'

also see
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