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

Saturday, July 28, 2007

The Pot Epidemiology doesn't support the headlines.

Re:Lancet cannabis research review and NZ media response
It appears that Cannabis can also make you go to University (CloseUp TV1), become Prime Minister and even tell the truth.
Pot 20 times more powerful?... if this were so, where is the 20 times increase in nutters.
Based on UK data for Alcohol, Psychosis* and youth exceeding 100,000 admissions makes Cannabis look patently benign. I advised TV1/RNZ that on the strength of the argument put by this latest scaremongery Alcohol is about 2 orders of magnitude greater risk of mental health issues, and in which the relationship is entirely causative I suggested that where alcohol displacement is occurring cannabis use 'on the evidence thus far' is reducing the Mental Health system burden leaving it more accessible to the at risk cohort of journalist, editors and other social commentators with stakeholder interests that are chronicaly addicted to moral panics and sensational crime stories.
(*not measured, even ignored is the collateral social angst every time there is an alcohol related incident/tragedy, also ignored is the estimate by the NHS (UK) that 70% of the total Health Vote is accountable to the Alcohol burden.)
Perhaps in the interests of greater public good as Mayor(al candidate) I should promote extending the alcohol ban in Christchurch to the City Boundaries and make cannabis compulsory for anyone convicted of antisocial behaviour... the evidence for net social capital is on my side of the ledger.
Current CCC Alcohol ideology has us treat adults as if they are children while expecting children to behave like adults, "'It's enough to drive anyone to drink."
Whether cannabis can cause psychotic or affective symptoms that persist beyond transient intoxication is unclear.
"The idea that reclassification upwards will do anything to reduce psychosis is naive and runs the risk of perversely inflicting even greater suffering - through increasing criminal sanctions - on vulnerable individuals already afflicted with mental illness." - Prof Nutt.
"not evidence in itself that cannabis should be reclassified."
Cannabis 'can increase risk of schizophrenia by 40%'
"There hasn't been an upward blip [in schizophrenia] of any kind since cannabis use became common in the 1960s and 1970s." - (ACMD) Prof Iverson who'se statutory Cmte I believe said it would resign if politics of pot trumped science.
Cannabis 'doubles risk of psychotic illness'
"Their prediction that 14 per cent of psychotic outcomes in young adults in the UK may be due to cannabis use is not supported by the fact that the incidence of schizophrenia has not shown any significant change in the past 30 years." Prof Iverson, Oxford
Research bolsters the case for reclassification
However, this is not conclusive proof of cause and effect. As Prof Glyn Lewis from Bristol University, and the senior author on the paper, said: "It is possible that the people who use cannabis might have other characteristics that themselves increase risk of psychotic illness.''
Cannabis smokers 'are taking huge risk of psychotic illness'
"Despite a thorough review the authors admit that there is no conclusive evidence that cannabis use causes psychotic illness." Prof Iverson (again)
A review of cannabis is a welcome first step. Yet if it is not followed up by a more fundamental rethink on the prevalence of [all] drugs in contemporary society, we will have ignored the reality of misuse and addiction.
(Thanks for the comprehensive UK media heads up, Paula.)
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