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, March 07, 2009

Creating Fears Where There Should Be None - CHCH STAR

The above Christchurch Star article published late last month was dangerously pre-emptive of evidence based discussion in the community - the journalistic flaw was the presumption there is good reason to reproduce this claptrap. The STAR's "Cannabis, Mental Illness Link" [23rd Feb ] seems to be in anticipation of a New Zealand "talk to frank" public mental health message but sourced from the UK's "Independent" newspaper.
Unquestionably written in a UK political context it has little relevance to New Zealand where drug policy is being reviewed by the NZ Law Commission, essentially to take the 'politics out of drug policy'. The UK's equivalent of our Expert Advisory Committee recommended that the status of cannabis remain at the new status of C, and that the move to B was political symbolism.

The slant in our community newspaper is without merit and couched in language which is clearly so inflated as to make it untruthful. It is creating fears where there should be none. As was stated in the 1998 Health Select Cmte report on cannabis and mental health, the harms are largely overstated.

3D rendering of the THC molecule.THC in 3D,
'despite there being a lot of it around these days, there has been no corresponding increase in mental health issues' /Blair
Image via Wikipedia

Compare to a more honest piece of journalism from the UK, see here. It is notable that this is from a UK treatment provider who understands causation vs correlation and who should so succinctly with informed balance and reason make the shallow descriptive rhetoric of the Independent (and thus the CHCH Star) look infantile at best.

Given the politicised nature of the debate around the UK 'reclassification' and New Zealands public consultation surrounding drug issues about to begin, this 'mental health pitface' informed view is deserving of a wider audience.

“Reclassification [upwards to 'B' / Blair] is not ‘fit for purpose,’ it is no deterrent. There are no precise figures, but every survey shows that the use of cannabis has been coming down since 2002 and continues to drop. However, the number of incidents recorded by the police involving cannabis have rocketed, largely because of the use of sniffer dogs and the police’s policy of stopping people in the street.”

“There has been no rise in recorded figures for psychotic symptoms, or specifically, schizophrenia.”But there is no firm evidence that cannabis triggers mental illness on its own.”

Much has been made of the fact that ‘skunk’ cannabis is stronger. it has been bred to have higher levels of THC, which is likely to pro-psychotic. But it also contains levels of two other chemicals – CBD and CBN – which are anti-psychotic, and which probably cancel the effect of the THC.

“There is no evidence that cannabis kills anyone. On the other hand, it’s estimated that 40,000 youngsters die each year directly or indirectly from alcohol abuse,” said Mike.“In terms of all the drugs available to young people, cannabis is the least dangerous. I’m not lobbying for the legalisation of cannabis. But I do want us to keep the drug’s dangers in perspective.”
Beefing up the UK Class B reclassification... Talk to Frank indeed... Young people would find this multi million pound television pitch laughable. We are talking about what defines 'teenage' mental health where the diganostic standard [DSMIV] would even have us define being SAD as unhealthy and shy people, mentaly ill.

I can only but wonder what an advertising campaign might look like if the truth were told about Gin.

Blair Anderson
(643) 389 4065 cell 027 265 7219

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