from the read-it-before-the-feds-distort-the-facts-again dept.
5 Discoveries About Marijuana That You Won't Hear in the Corporate Media
Paul Armentano of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) reports via AlterNet
Scientific discoveries are published almost daily in regard to the healing properties of the cannabis. But most of these findings appear solely in subscription-only peer-reviewed journals and, therefore, go largely unnoticed by the mainstream media and by the public. Here are five just-published cannabis-centric studies that warrant attention.
- Men Who Smoke Pot Possess a Reduced Risk of Bladder Cancer
- Long-Term Pot Exposure Isn't Damaging to Lung Health
- Alcohol, Not Pot, Alters the Brain
- Marijuana Use Doesn't Lead to Depression
- Marijuana Possesses a Unique Margin of Safety Compared to Other legal and Illegal Drugs
Cannabis is Bad for You, Cannabis is Good for You - Confused?
Cannabis is bad for you, cannabis is good for you - confused? That's not surprising. Complicated and controversial, cannabis is revealed by recent science to have a dual personality, with a dark side and a more positive one. Radio 4's PM programme is this week running a whole series on cannabis, and the debate surrounding it.
Key to understanding this strange plant are two of the ingredients that make it up, known by their initials as THC and CBD. I asked Professor Val Curran of University College London to describe how they work and she came up a memorable answer:
"In a way, THC and CBD are a bit like yin and yang. The THC makes you stoned, but it can also make you anxious. It can also make you feel a bit psychotic, and it will seriously impair your memory.
"The other side of the yin/yang is CBD, which has almost the opposite effects. CBD calms you down, it has anti-psychotic properties and it also offsets the effects on memory, so that on CBD-containing cannabis you're less likely to forget what's going on."
So the first step to understanding cannabis is to realise how it can vary, how different types contain very different quantities of these polar opposites, with dramatically different outcomes.
One of the problems highlighted is that the cannabis available today (particularly 'skunk') is often much stronger than was available 20 - 30 years ago, and the balance of THC to CBD has changed, with potentially serious consequences. For example: "If you smoke high-potency skunk at all, then you are three times more likely to be psychotic. If you smoke high-potency cannabis every day, you are five times more likely to be psychotic." There is much more in the article, so give it a look.
Weed use is taking off as more states move to legalize it. And with all the buzz over medical marijuana, it's starting to gain an aura of healthfulness. But there are some serious health risks associated with frequent use. One of the more troubling ones is the risk of having a psychotic episode.
Several past studies have found that more frequent use of pot is associated with a higher risk of psychosis, that is, when someone loses touch with reality. Now a new study published Tuesday [open, DOI: 10.1016/S2215-0366(19)30048-3] [DX] in the The Lancet Psychiatry shows that consuming pot on a daily basis and especially using high potency cannabis increases the odds of having a psychotic episode later.
[...] The study also shows that three European cities — London, Paris and Amsterdam — where high potency weed is most commonly available actually have higher rates of new cases of psychosis than the other cities in the study. [...] The researchers identified 901 people aged 18 to 64 who were diagnosed with their first episode of psychosis between May 2010 and April 2015, at a mental health facility anywhere in 11 cities, including London, Paris, Amsterdam, Barcelona, other cities across Europe, and one site in Brazil.
The researchers then asked these individuals and a control group of 1,200-plus other healthy people about their habits, including their use of weed. "We asked people if they used cannabis, when did they start using it and what kind of cannabis," explains study author Marta Di Forti, a psychiatrist and clinician scientist at King's College London. People reported the names of weed strains they used, like skunk in the U.K., or the Dutch Nederwiet, which allowed the researchers to identify the THC content in each product through data gathered by the European Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Addiction and national data from the different countries.
The study found that those who used pot daily were three times more likely to have a psychotic episode compared to someone who never used the drug.
Related: Media Leaps to Questionable Conclusions from Study on the Effects of Marijuana on the Brain
Marijuana - Both Sides of the Story
Study Finds That Legalized Medical Cannabis Led to a Decline in Medicare Prescriptions
New Attorney General Claims Legal Weed Drives Violent Crime; Statistics be Damned
World Health Organization Clashes With DEA on CBD; CBD May be an Effective Treatment for Psychosis