Friday, January 22, 2010

Why "good," old fashioned Cannabis didn't cause psychosis

Like many observers, I have wondered about the reports from Britain and Australia that "Skunk" Cannabis is causing psychosis among some users. Since psychosis from Cannabis use has not been revealed to be a genuine phenomenon in the numerous careful studies of Cannabis users since the 19th Century, was this real? Was this research "sexed up" like intelligence about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction to justify the British government moving Cannabis from class C up to class B in January 2009? Is this recent "finding" simply the research wet dream of various law enforcement officials? It may be, but the scientists reporting these findings were reputable, even if the reporting seemed less than serious and careful.

Recent research just published suggests that breeding Cannabis to eliminate cannabidiol (CBD) and increasing THC may be the difference. A study that compared the responses of volunteers who were injected only with THC with subjects who were injected with the same amount of THC plus CBD, found that that the latter were evaluated as less psychotic.

This finding would help explain why so many patients who are prescribed Marinol (which is THC plus inactive ingredients) -- the DEA's and medical industry's "equivalent" to medical Cannabis -- find it to be so unsatisfactory ("However some reject it [Marinol] because of the intensity of the neuropsychological effects..." Marijuana and Medicine: Assessing the Science Base (1999, p.156)).

For marijuana to become fully useful and accepted as medicine, it needs to be standardized. The chemical profile of every standard variety would be published and recommendations for dosage would be more authoritative.

The breeding of "skunk" as high quantity THC and no CBD is a relatively new phenomenon. Good, old fashioned Cannabis contained a balance of cannabinoids, and therefore did not cause psychosis.

The economics of prohibition encourage producers to manufacture the most potent product they can. During alcohol prohibition, why smuggle beer which is more than 90 percent water, when you could smuggle whiskey that is only half water or less? One consequence of spending billions of dollars to enforce the marijuana laws has been to encourage plant breeders to develop the highest percentage THC Cannabis they can. It might not be the best Cannabis at all, but it packs the biggest punch per gram of bud and brings the highest price.

Fortunately, many nations are moving toward ending prohibition of Cannabis. This research from the Beckley Foundation and others suggests that regulations that require product ingredient labeling would be a good idea.

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1 comment:

Marijuana Lobby said...

Considering Marijuana is one of the oldest organic substances used by Man, it is also important to fully-realize - it is the most complex and undervalued organic materials too. Marijuana needs to be legalized and fully researched — so more its potential can be discovered.

Last week’s New York Times article quotes:

“Marijuana is the only major drug for which the federal government controls the only legal research supply and for which the government requires a special scientific review.” – The New York Times

If the American Medical Association and New York Times are behind this should you and your elected officials also be? is the NEW online portal for responsible adults to come out and network in support of marijuana legalization