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Science vs Prohibition

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Ganja View Drop Down
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  Quote Ganja Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Science vs Prohibition
    Posted: 31 May 2006 at 14:48
I am thinking of a little research project, and anyone who wants to join in is welcome.

The project is to dig up the numerous reports and studies published over the last 100 years or so that have found cannabis to be overwhelmingly useful, safe and undeserving of prohibition.

The thing is, there are dozens of these studies which consistently find the hysterical view of cannabis and its dangers to be false - from The Indian Hemp Drugs Commission Report (1894 - 3000+ pages) to the Wooton Report (1969)
to the various studies by the World Health Organisation (UN), to the recent report published in the British medical journal The Lancet and the studies done when the UK made cannabis a class 'C' drug.

The problem is that each one of these studies represents years of work - compiling and assessing data in a rigourous, scientific manner, then drawing rational conclusions and finally publishing them - only to be forgotten a few weeks after being made public. If they make the news services at all, they usually attract very little attention.

The process I've noticed in recent years is:
1) A reliable, neutral and above all informed organisation of experts (doctors, scientists, professional researchers) publishes a report finding cannabis to be relatively harm-free. In the case of recent studies, it's usually been to report that there's no real link between cannabis and mental illness (or, most recently, no link between smoking cannabis and lung cancer).

2) If the study is reported at all in the media, it's newsworthy for a day or two, then slips into obscurity

3) Within a week or two, a body of non-experts - 'family' groups, concerned citizens' organisations, advocacy groups for law-enforcement professions, etc. - issue a call for 'more studies into the effects of cannabis on mental health' or something similar, usually enhanced with emotional references to 'the children'. Such reactions are usually given much more publicity than the study itself.

In this way, the years of research and large sums of money that went into the study are effectively negated in the media with the simple and very low-cost technique of acting like the report never existed.

Every study that reports findings contrary to official cannabis propaganda just seems to disappear down the 'memory hole'. The calls for studies into the dangers of cannabis stay in the public imagination for much longer, due to their emotional content and their frequent repetition.

So, despite the flawless credibility of report after study after report, the impression that remains in the mind of the public (at least, that part of it with little personal experience of cannabis) is that there are unspecified 'concerns' about the safety of cannabis and of the mental state of cannabis users.

Compiling a list of the favourable studies done over the years may be 'preaching to the choir', given that all or most forum members already have a rational, informed view of cannabis.

Still, such a list will make interesting reading and a good reference.

Also, the real studies of cannabis are especially informative when their content, tone and interpretation of data are compared with the reports issued by prohibitionist organisations (most notably the US government).

Even without judging the merits of the arguments given by each side, the fact that anti-cannabis material is always filled with emotional appeals, anecdote and disingenuous framing of data, while the studies which find little or no danger in cannabis tend to be reasoned, neutral and present their findings in a scientific way.

It's almost as if one side has something to hide...
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kidsreturn View Drop Down
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  Quote kidsreturn Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 May 2006 at 21:01

I may edit later to add links, or titles to the links ...

Economics
The Budgetary Implications of Marijuana Prohibition
http://www.prohibitioncosts.org/endorsers.html
The economics of cannabis cultivation in europe
http://www.cedro-uva.org/lib/jansen.economics.html

Comparative properties of drugs
http://www.drugwarfacts.org/addictiv.htm

Practical social & medical aspects of cannabis legalisation
http://www.pharmo.nl/pdf/reports/Medicinal%20cannabis%20in%20the%20Netherlands-summary.pdf
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drug_policy_of_the_Netherlands
Trends and patterns in the cannabis use in the nederlands http://www.parl.gc.ca/37/1/parlbus/commbus/senate/com-e/ille-e/presentation-

Cannabis withdrawal syndromes

http://www.blackwell-synergy.com/links/doi/10.1046/j.1360-0443.2002.00026.x

Press
http://www.boston.com/news/globe/ideas/articles/2006/05/28/weed_control/   < fine read
http://www.economist.com/displaystory.cfm?story_id=708564

Compassion

http://www.hr95.org/majors.htm

Politicics, organizations, public opinion
http://www.jrf.org.uk/knowledge/findings/socialpolicy/423.asp
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/talking_point/1425723.stm
http://www.drugpolicy.org/homepage.cfm
http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/253/canadiansenate.shtml
http://www.cato.org/pubs/pas/pa-157.html#18
http://www.encod.org/
http://www.drugpolicy.org/homepage.cfm

Knowledge and ressources
http://www.norml.org/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cannabinoids

Cannabis and the brain
http://www.norml.org/index.cfm?Group_ID=6832
http://www.norml.org/index.cfm?Group_ID=5686
http://www.norml.org/index.cfm?Group_ID=5105
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.%2020051014.wxcanna1014/BNStory/specialScienceandHealth/

Smoke
http://www.harmreductionjournal.com/content/2/1/21
http://www.ukcia.org/research/smoke-contents.htm

Overviews/misc
http://www.madsci.org/posts/archives/dec97/875400410.Ns.r.html

Drawing false conclusion regarding drugs is easy, lets do it:
"44% of all cigarettes used in the US are smoked by the mentally ill"  = cigarettes turn sane persons into mad people ! schizophrenia ahoy !
http://www.schizophrenia.com/smoke.htm


Cannabis potency through time
http://www.blackwell-synergy.com/doi/full/10.1111/j.1360-0443.2005.001137.x

History of use
http://mojo.calyx.net/~olsen/HEMP/IHA/jiha5208.html

Therapeutic cannabis
http://www.economist.com/science/displaystory.cfm?story_id=6849915

http://www.newscientist.com/article.ns?id=dn8155
http://www.nature.com/ncpcardio/journal/v3/n3/full/ncpcardio0504.html http://www.erowid.org/plants/cannabis/references/journal/1975_munson_nci_1/1975_munson_nci_1_text.shtml
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=ArticleURL&_udi=B6VC9-4GFCR48-5&_coverDate=04%2F30%2F2006&_alid=383162461&_rdoc=1&_fmt=&_orig=search&_qd=1&_cdi=5949&_sort=d&view=c&_acct=C000046147&_version=1&_urlVersion=0&_userid=861681&md5=bc4585eff74c3b32c92ca75d4f359247

 

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kidsreturn View Drop Down
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  Quote kidsreturn Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 May 2006 at 21:29
Prohibition of cannabis is an easy way for politicians and police to look though on crime at little expense, if not for the taxpayer (who often agrees to give €200/$200 of his pocket [so very rough estimation of mine of the by citizen cost for arresting, convincting and imprisoning non-violent drug ofenders] a year to get some stoners in jail) or, the stoner.

All in all, as long as people will buy into it, therefore as long as it permits to cops and politics to spend their time eating donuts while beating on the not so vindicative stoners instead of doing their job (or loose it), science won't have a word in the discussion at hand. People often only listen to what they want to hear. People wouldn't look at all those justicial tv shows like FBI if they didn't profoundly want human justice to counter divine fate, and they think they participe to the good going of the world by not accepting canabis use. Of course they are doing the exact opposite, as prohibition always does, but well, hell, here logic is not really the point, people just want to feel themselves the rightfully ones when going to bed. That's their drug.

A little interesting derail, occidental christian culture, wich today rules the whole world including the billions of muslims or any other belivers from china, india, africa, etc...,  and cannabis may also have a history of opposition back to the biblical times. According to scholars, the gnostics, wich were labelled as 'heretics' and purchased, whose books were burned, by the early "straight thinking" church, probably, for part of them, knew and used cannabis, even if it doesn't matter an awfull lot. The gnostic believed that Jesus was a man, that the resurection was an idea and not a reality,  and that  personal enlightment like expressed in the arts made anybody an 'anointed one', ie a christ. The straight church insisted that Jeebus was god, made miracles by dozens, and rose from the deads. Wich is alltogther more interesting if you have to build a whole society on those beliefs. If people can trust that, they can trust anything Dead generally speaking, cannabis and occidental culture have no particulary positive links.

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  Quote Grasso Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 May 2006 at 22:56
Hello,


In order to give this thread a philosophical note I would like to add that Mister Nietsche called the church a moloch and called the state a vulture.

Uli
    
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  Quote enkigooroo Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 June 2006 at 06:07
Hi Kidsreturn,
 
Why are your links non "clickable"?
 
Cheers,
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Arjun View Drop Down
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  Quote Arjun Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 June 2006 at 13:11
I made all the links in kidsreturn's post clickable.
It is a nice list of usefull links ... thanks for this contribution.
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  Quote DonQuichote Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 June 2006 at 21:53
In the Netherlands, there was a mention of a doctor about a year ago, who used to be fiercely against the use of drugs. He had a good reason to, because he worked with psychiatric patients that had some disorder that made them quite sensitive to smoking weed. That was strange, because the cannabis use in this group was significant higher then for other people. You would expect that the bad experiences would stop the patients from smoking weed.
The doctor discovered that for those patients, a little weed actually improved their situation, but that a "helpful" dose was hard to achieve by smoking.

But off course I forgot the name of the doctor and the institue he was working for...
The world's first phyberpunk
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  Quote kidsreturn Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 June 2006 at 23:25
(thanks Arjun for editing the previous post links)


As far as the scientific litterature goes (well... as far as i followed it), there is no definitive direct and complete answer to the link between cannabis and mental disorders,in this case schizophrenia and maybe bi polarism... Some studies say that cannabis predates psychotic episodes -those studies being discuted in the Norml link below-, other say the opposite. For now, i will just think by myself: as i have half a dozen persons that i know who have been interned for mental disorders.. i see the story of some (sexual violence while young, suicide of a parent) or others (long time acknowledged mental problems, psychotic onsets clearly before any cannabis use)... i  put my little brain in action, and it says:  mental disorderly persons tend to use cannabis more than  mentally ordered persons. Life events, psychic predispositions, various abuses, have such a great and direct influence on the onset of psychotic problems that i have trouble fitting cannabis in the picture otherwise than like a mild tranquilizer. And that will not turn mad people who weren't already on the tip for much greater reasons, if it ever does anyway.

last edit:



This NZ-Norml page

http://www.norml.org.nz/modules.php?name=News&file=print&sid=564

adresses the studies that try to link cannabis use to onsets of psychotic episodes, wichever often rely on the same swedish conscript study.

The other great mental disorder issue that cannabis opponents have is linking cannabis to depression. More and more studies rule that out (just by finding that cannabis users are less depressive than non-users, http://www.mapinc.org/norml/v05.n1126.a01.html?), and it appears since quite recently, as seen in http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.%2020051014.wxcanna1014/BNStory/specialScienceandHealth/

that

Most "drugs of abuse" such as alcohol, heroin, cocaine and nicotine suppress growth of new brain cells. However, researchers found that cannabinoids promoted generation of new neurons in rats' hippocampuses.

Hippocampuses are the part of the brain responsible for learning and memory, and the study held true for either plant-derived or the synthetic version of cannabinoids.

"This is quite a surprise," said Xia Zhang, an associate professor with the Neuropsychiatry Research Unit at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon.

"Chronic use of marijuana may actually improve learning memory when the new neurons in the hippocampus can mature in two or three months," he added.

The research by Dr. Zhang and a team of international researchers is to be published in the November issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation, but their findings are on-line now.

The scientists also noticed that cannabinoids curbed depression and anxiety, which Dr. Zhang says, suggests a correlation between neurogenesis and mood swings. (Or, it at least partly explains the feelings of relaxation and euphoria of a pot-induced high.)

Other scientists have suggested that depression is triggered when too few new brain cells are created in the hippocampus. One researcher of neuropharmacology said he was "puzzled" by the findings.

LampHeart
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  Quote enkigooroo Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 June 2006 at 01:45
Thanks for making the links "clickable"!!! That way many more people will
visit the sites, furthering education.
 
As a science nut, I see many new reports that are studies drawing from the "body of scientific knowledge". There will be future reports, published in peer reviewed scientific journals, summing up the bulk of information in a new report. The science is maybe lost to the popular media rather quickly, but researchers always are prudent to draw from the largest pile of data possible, so all the past reports will be referenced in new studies at some time. Science is a body of knowledge, continually added to and referenced to include all available info. It is our....your job to spread the word and educate and inspire the people you know to seek understanding. Unfortunatly, there are "war on drugs" types that spread misinformation and propaganda. It is a battle, and we know which side will win in the long run. I personally speak out, distribute information, and challenge the ignorance, something everyone should do. It will not
change anything in the short term, but every new person who gains understanding is a vote in the right direction.
 
Cheers!!!
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  Quote enkigooroo Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 June 2006 at 01:53
Hi Kidsreturn,
 
There is also the opinion's that those with schizophrenia mental disorders are "self medicating" making it seem to be a cause, also there is the opinion that those that choose pot are a unique subset that includes those with schizophrenia mental disorders. The same could be said for peaceful people, does pot "cause" people to be peaceful, or do a subset of people who are peaceful choose pot?? Did "hippys" choose pot, or did pot cause people to become "hippys"??
 
 
Cheers,,,,
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