Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Why Do We Underplay the Links Between Cannabis and Psychosis? A Guest Commentary

Cannabis Flag

Yes, there are probably more serious issues that should be taking up our time and blog, like Canada sending military troops to Mali...for what?  Nobody has told us why...and certainly it was not debated in parliament.....Is the Cannabis Act a distraction from what our soldiers are doing?...or is what our soldiers are doing a distraction from the Cannabis Act?  Difficult to tell...but for now I'd like to re-print this short analysis by Patrick Cockburn.  I found it in the Unz Review.  This article repeats what I learned about marijuana addiction while I was a social worker in Child Protection Services.  It is a gateway drug and in addition to often having a very negative effect on the ability to parent, it is associated with psychosis. Here it is and I will have more comments to follow:

Why Do We Underplay the Links Between Cannabis and Psychosis?

by  • June 24, 2018

What is really needed in dealing with cannabis is a “tobacco moment”, as with cigarettes 50 years ago, when a majority of people became convinced that smoking might give them cancer and kill them. Since then the number of cigarette smokers in Britain has fallen by two-thirds.

A depressing aspect of the present debate about cannabis is that so many proponents of legalisation or decriminalisation have clearly not taken on board that the causal link between cannabis and psychosis has been scientifically proven over the past ten years, just as the connection between cancer and cigarettes was proved in the late 1940s and 1950s.The proofs have emerged in a series of scientific studies that reach the same grim conclusion: taking cannabis significantly increases the risk of schizophrenia. One study in The Lancet Psychiatry concludes that “the risk of individuals having a psychotic disorder showed a roughly three times increase in users of skunk-like cannabis, compared with those who never used cannabis”.

As 94 per cent of cannabis seized by the police today is super-strength skunk, compared to 51 per cent in 2005, almost all those who take the drug today will be vulnerable to this three-fold increase in the likelihood that they will develop psychosis.

Mental health professionals have long had no doubts about the danger. Five years ago, I asked Sir Robin Murray, professor of psychiatric research at the Institute of Psychiatry in London, about them. He said that studies showed that “if the risk of schizophrenia for the general population is about one per cent, the evidence is that, if you take ordinary cannabis, it is two per cent; if you smoke regularly you might push it up to four per cent; and if you smoke ‘skunk’ every day you push it up to eight per cent”.

Anybody wondering what happens to this 8 per cent of the skunk-smoking population should visit any mental hospital in Britain or speak to somebody who has done so. Dr Humphrey Needham-Bennett, medical director and consultant psychiatrist of Cygnet Hospital, Godden Green in Sevenoaks, explained to me that among his patients “cannabis use is so common that I assume that people use or used it. It’s quite surprising when people say ‘no, I don’t use drugs’.”

The connection between schizophrenia and cannabis was long suspected by specialists but it retained its reputation as a relatively benign drug, its image softened by the afterglow of its association with cultural and sexual liberation in the 1960s and 1970s.

This ill-deserved reputation was so widespread that even 20 years ago, the possible toxic side effects of cannabis were barely considered. Zerrin Atakan, formerly head of the National Psychosis Unit at the Maudsley Psychiatric Hospital and later a researcher at the Institute of Psychiatry, said: “I got interested in cannabis because I was working in the 1980s in an intensive care unit where my patients would be fine after we got them well. We would give them leave and they would celebrate their new found freedom with a joint and come back psychotic a few hours later.”

She did not find it easy to pursue her professional interest in the drug. She recalls: “I was astonished to discover that cannabis, which is the most widely used illicit substance, was hardly researched in the 1990s and there was no research on how it affected the brain.” She and fellow researchers made eight different applications for research grants and had them all turned down, so they were reduced to taking the almost unheard of course of pursuing their research without the support of a grant.

Studies by Dr Atakan and other psychiatrists all showed the connection between cannabis and schizophrenia, yet this is only slowly becoming conventional wisdom. Perhaps this should not be too surprising because in 1960, long after the link between cigarettes and lung cancer had been scientifically established, only a third of US doctors were persuaded that this was the case.

A difficulty is that people are frightened of mental illness and ignorant of its causes in a way that is no longer true of physical illnesses, such as cancer or even HIV. I have always found that three quarters of those I speak to at random about mental health know nothing about psychosis and its causes, and the other quarter know all too much about it because they have a relative or friend who has been affected.

Even those who do have experience of schizophrenia do not talk about it very much because they are frightened of a loved one being stigmatised. They may also be wary of mentioning the role of cannabis because they fear that somebody they love will be dismissed as a junkie who has brought their fate upon themselves.

This fear of being stigmatised affects institutions as well as individuals. Schools and universities are often happy to have a policy about everything from sex to climate change, but steer away from informing their students about the dangers of drugs. A social scientist specialising in drugs policy explained to me that the reason for this is because “they’re frightened that, if they do, everybody will think they have a drugs problem which, of course, they all do”.

The current debate about cannabis – sparked by the confiscation of the cannabis oil needed by Billy Caldwell to treat his epilepsy and by William Hague’s call for the legalisation of the drug – is missing the main point. It is all about the merits and failings of different degrees of prohibition of cannabis when it is obvious that legal restrictions alone will not stop the 2.1 million people who take cannabis from going on doing so. But the legalisation of cannabis legitimises it and sends a message that the government views it as relatively harmless. The very fact of illegality is a powerful disincentive for many potential consumers, regardless of the chances of being punished.

The legalisation of cannabis might take its production and sale out of the hands of criminal gangs, but it would put it into the hands of commercial companies who would want to make a profit, advertise their product and increase the number of their customers. Commercialisation of cannabis has as many dangers as criminalisation.

A new legal market in cannabis might be regulated and the toxicity of super-strength skunk reduced. But the argument of those who want to legalise cannabis is that the authorities are unable to enforce regulations when the drug is illegal, so why should they be more successful in regulating it when its production and sale is no longer against the law?

The problem with these rancorous but sterile arguments for and against legalisation and decriminalisation is that they divert attention from what should and can be done: a sustained campaign to persuade people of all ages that cannabis can send them insane. To a degree people are learning this already from bitter experience. As Professor Murray told me five years ago, the average 19- to 23-year-old probably knows more about the dangers of cannabis than the average doctor “because they have a friend who has gone paranoid. People know a lot more about bad trips than they used to.”
Patrick Cockburn is the co-author of Henry’s Demons: Living With Schizophrenia, A Father and Son’s Story

Greencrow says:  I believe having a discussion about the actual anecdotal effects of cannabis, particularly since, come October, it will be legalized as a "recreational drug" in Canada is important.  I note that, coincidentally, Trump wrote Trudeau a letter this past week telling Trudeau that Canada is not spending enough on NATO.  Was that the tit for tat?  Was Canada "allowed" to legalize marijuana and thus raise 4 billion per year and gawd knows how much in taxes...so that Canada could spend more on buying military weaponry and equipment?  We all remember the Iran/contra affair where drugs and military hardware were inextricably linked...at least in the mind of the Deep State.  I just find it peculiar the week after the Cannabis Act is passed, Trudeau gets a letter from Trump about our military 'contributions'...and our military sends some Canadian soldiers on a strange mission to the African continent.

Meanwhile, our children and young will become sacrificial lambs in yet another dubious social experiment.


greencrow said...

I received two comments on this blog [that were printable] this morning but inadvertently deleted them. One was from Beulah Man who commented that research into cannabis use has been going on for time immemorial with no ill effects. I agree that man has always experimented with psychotropic substances. Does that mean they're good for mass consumption as a recreational activity?

Also received one comment that said that as a former worker for the "kidnapping arm" of the government it was no surprise that I was against the legalization of marijuana for recreational use. Ha ha. I've been waiting FOR YEARS for someone to come at me for having being a child protection social worker. All I can say to them is...you had to be there. If you had ever been in some of the homes I've been in...and seen the condition that children ae living in...well....

Anonymous said...

The bottom line is
Why do you want to alter your mindset???
Why do you want to feel fuc-ed up??
It always catches up with you
If you want to use it as a painkiller
Go ahead
I use frame of mind
I have survived pain without taking anything
If you dwell on the pain,you will always need your fix of a pill.I have pain right now in my knee,i bet a lot of these brainwashed sheeple will go get there opiod fix,not me

Try not taking care of a toothache
That is hard
4 days of pain twice
I made it
No drugs
It is very dooooable

On to Greencrow being a social worker
I am assuming she believes it is justified under what she saw that taking kids away are a great thing????
That is the fact that every talking head on the tv screen should be talking about
We separate kids every day from there parents,i have not seen one idiot talking head mention that
They just dwell on the poor illegal immigrants
Someone bitch slap some of these taking heads for me and tell them to start spewing the fact that breaking up families is an Amerikan thing and welcome immigrants to our sick way of life
Greencrow I am assuming believes this is justified and these people need a judgemental Amerikan to tell them how to live?????
I think in some cases it does more harm
For once the kid gets older
Thay realize they have fake mommies and daddies and I believe some act out in suicide or killing the fake parents???
Then there are custody battles and revenge
It all started with that movie
Kramer vs Kramer
Hey you can see your kid with a supervisor right with you
Yep,only in Amerika,telling people how they should act and behave

Bottom line is this country loves separating kids from families or just one spouse

Whether you think it is justified or not is your opinion
It causes one parent to kidnap there child,it makes the news and the parent gets arrested
Yeh,great country
Hey propaganda talking heads

Hey talking heads
DWELL ON THE HARM IT CAUSES FOR REAL AMERIKANS and not the poor illegal immigrant

How about the down and out parent that says if I can not have them
Neither will you
It happens all the time

greencrow said...

Hi Anonymous:

Thanks for your comments. Regarding removing children deemed at risk under the Child Protection Act. We act according to the law of the land. We always try to maintain the family unit and only act as a last resort. We know there will be no good outcome as removing children DOES CAUSE permanent harm. We weigh risk. That is all we can do in most circumstances. There is no happy outcome between leaving the children at risk and removing them for being at risk. The only happy outcome comes when one or both parents...or some relative...steps up to the plate and takes on the responsibility of caring for the child. Now THAT is a very happy outcome!!!

Anonymous said...

Not only in the mental health field but even in critical care, we know the dangers of marijuana. In the middle east, they mix it with other drugs to make lunatic "fighters".

It is nearly impossible to find young people in a mental health ward who do not have a long history of marijuana use.

As with various other addictions, you will observe that those who are in its thrall will do their best to convince you that it is so "natural" and "harmless" and even good for you. Curare is natural too.


77% of children rescued from trafficking came form the foster care system, or CPS as you call it.


I agree with the above post which says that one can simply endure pain. You don;t die of pain per se, this is why pain is used in torture.


Anonymous said...

Well said Greencrow
rrrrr rrrrrrrr
crow sound
I think the talking heads should dwell on that fact
The fact that kids go through this everday
Only 2 conclusions on why they do not
But enough said
Thanks for partially agreeing for I agree with your comments
rrrrr rrrrr
crow sound
Welcome to Amerika immigrants
The land of oppression and government tyranny
How does it feel to be Amerikan???

greencrow said...

Laskarina says:

"...it is nearly impossible to find young people in a mental health ward who do not have a long history of marijuana use."

This is true but obviously they don't want the general public to be aware of the connection between mental illness in the young and marijuana addiction. In the '60's we called them Potheads for a reason.

greencrow said...

Hi Anony:

"... kids go through this everyday…"

Yes. The thought of the price that Canadian children will pay... because their parents have now been encouraged to spend their weekends blasted on the couch makes me sick. Every time I look at Justin Trudeau from now on...I will think about those kids!


Anonymous said...

Another comment on pain
True story for me
At the dentist for root canal
Woman kept telling me I was gonna have pain
So I am saying really??How much??
She went on with the pain sell
I purchased the drugs she pushed on me
When I went to bed that night no pain but in my mind I am still hearing the expert brainwash me about pain
So I took a pill and went to bed
Woke up in morning and still no pain
I still have the pill bottle with one pill missing
They extorted my money with fear
Next story
A different dentist for a tooth pulling
One of the back ones
Once again they pushed me with pain
He extracted the truth and guided me to the recovery area
A bunch of small rooms like jail cells with dividers
I walk past the first room
Someone lying down and holding there face and looked like they were dying
Room 2
Another person laying there and looked dead
They put me in room 3
I am walking in circles in the small room and standing there looking out the area like a horse in his starting gate for a race
I keep walking and stretching and waiting
Finally she says
Your ready to go
She starts the billing process and asks me which drug I want
I say
Drug for what
The pain you gonna have
I feel no pain
What pain you speaking about???
You will get it
You will get it and you need these pills

Which one do I want she says
I say
I do not know for I am not into legalized drugs just give me the one for the pain I am gonna get
She gives me the prescription
I NEVER had pain and I have an untouched pill bottle that they brainwashed me into thinking I was gonna have pain.

I never had pain
It reminded me of the movie love and other drugs
The character was a legalized drug pusher
The more dangerous drugs than dope
I see why we have a problem
Those were my 2 stories from the dentist
No hospital stories for I never go there
Although I think I have to go for my knee
Last time I was there was for carpal tunnel in the wrist
They wanted to do an operation
The Doc said if I do not get it done
It will get worse
Cuz I asked him the options
That is his response
I did not get it done
I have managed it and only get it occasionally
Mission accomplished and I did not let them touch me
I also fell off a ladder and put my hand out to break the fall
It went all the way back
It killed
I could not zip my fly
I had to use one arm to take my clothes off
It killed
When I turned in bed if my hand touched anything
ahhhhhhhhh it hurt
Trouble sleeping for a week for evertime I bumped it
I finnaly got it working
If I threw a baseball after about a month
There was still lingering effects
After a few months
Back to normal
I am not sure if it was broke or sprained but I never went to doctors and never bought drugs
I did not take drugs and get addicted
I am not a victim
Now go please wake another human up

Considerit said...

I strongly disagree with Cockburn's article: Academics applying as per usual, their biased conclusions.
They ignore the high probability ( certainty actually ,) that people with pre-existing mental / emotional problems are far more likely to be drawn into indulging in cannabis , in the same way that people have a drink to unwind.
Cannabis contributes to psychosis no more than alcohol, antidepressants, and other officially ."approved" drugs,- indeed alcohol tends to trigger violence & aggression, whereas cannabis does not.

In the end it's a fact that all these substances are being over used by society as never before , suggesting that society could be in a state of terminal illness. ( there are plenty of other signs pointing to this )
There has most definitely been a steep backslide in societal wellbeing since 1970's. This is an undeniable fact and no statistics required to verify.
This shouldn't be happening in today's supposedly"smart" technologically advanced age. I

Back to cannabis use, the only difference between that and the usage of approved drugs, is that cannabis, being a (one time common) botanical (I recall seeing seeds of it in budgerigar seeds, in the 1960's ) is not generating huge profits for big business, since it can't be patented.....
But who knows , by now there could be a plan in place to circumvent this minor obstacle.
There already was a manufactured synthetic cannabis allowed to be sold in shops . That did however make people psychotic, with some ending up in hospital - resulting in calling for a ban.

One thing for sure, - if someone like billionaire George Soros supports decriminalisation of cannabis - it can't be for the right reasons, and it sure as hell won't be for the benefit of people.

greencrow said...

Hi considerate:

Thanks for your comments. What you raise is a "chicken or egg" argument regarding the connection between cannabis and psychosis. Perhaps someone with gene predisposing him or her to schizophrenia will develop the mental illness if exposed to marijuana on a regular basis, particularly while they are young and still physically developing.

Frankly, I can't see how this is an argument in favour of cannabis. Millions of humans have a gene predisposing them to schizophrenia...should they not be protected or at least educated that this substance presents a serious threat to their well-being?

While cannabis seeds have always been readily available and thus as you say "is not generating huge profits for big business, since it can't be patented"...big business has finally found a way around this...through "legalization and regulation".

I agree with you that "...society could be in a state of terminal illness. ( there are plenty of other signs pointing to this)…"

As society [due to AI] moves away from the necessity of having healthy human beings around in order to provide a workforce...we will need to find other reasons to maintain a physically and mentally healthy population. Drugging them up "recreationally" is certainly not one of them.