I just saw a report of a woman (working for the BBC, reported on www.bbc.co.uk) who took part in an experiment to find out the “real” effects of Cannabis smoking. This required her to move to Amsterdam (one of the few progressive countries to have decriminalized Cannabis) for a month, and work in a Coffee-shop. (Please read the article for your own judgement: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/7314812.stm) (article is below)
She claimed to have had an unreasonable amount of Paranoia and thought that everyone on the BBC crew and the people who came into her Coffee-shop were talking about her. I would have thought that they would have been talking about here anyway considering that she was the focal point of the study. Also she claimed sleeplessness and, in the case of weaker Cannabis varieties, the inability to put together packed furniture… Uh, yeah… Highly disturbing behaviour!
An excerpt from the article goes as follows: “This is not the first time Nicky has become a guinea pig – other programmes have seen her binge drinking, and undergoing plastic surgery. ”
Now this also throws up a few questions to my mind… How about if the binge drinking experiment made her more prone to psychotic episodes? What if her previous experience of other experiments had an effect of bias in her own analysis? Is this the same with every person?
I do not concur with the idea that everybody will react to the same stimuli in the same way. This is assuming that the stimuli is the same! What if she just smoked way too much!? What if she hadn’t found which strain of cannabis would calm her down to the levels that she was comfortable with? What about all of the organic Cannabis which is grown without the addition of chemical fertilizers, and has a more pure effect? (I urge you to talk to Cannabis smokers of the non-stoner variety, the equivalent of an appreciator of wine rather than a wino!). Could it be that her inexperience and her recruitment bias, would have had an adverse effect of what she might have said (or divulged) otherwise?
These questions are not aimed at dis-reputing her endeavour, or for proclaiming the methodology in this “study” a sham (though one might be tempted to!). They are merely questions which I would like answered to clarify my position on the subject.
I will go into the legal aspects of the Plant in a later post, but must mention here that the majority of smokers who go in for hard-hitting varieties (eg. Skunk) are those that do not have the option of buying good quality Cannabis of lower THC content. These are the people who live in oppressive regimes with regard to Cannabis, and are in favor of being able to smoke in the privacy of their (or their friend’s) homes.
If when you walked into a liquor store or bar and all they had was Everclear (180% proof grain alcohol), and Absinthe, would you really be surprised that people were just getting way out of control after a night out? Would you then put forth the suggestion that maybe what they need is a weaker alternative, say, beer, or wine, or even whisky? It would seem the sensible option rather than to say that all alcohol was evil and caused death!! Seems silly when put like that doesn’t it?
Weaker varieties of Cannabis can have an equally profound and therapeutic value, as would stronger varieties, for specific uses. There are times when the therapeutic value of the drug comes from the strength of a particular property of the plant. An example of this is when a patient would suffer from major muscular cramps and would be forced to have a lot of pharmaceutical alternatives for pain and muscle relaxation. Particular strains of Cannabis would be able to help the patient control the cramps, rather than palliatively hiding it from the brain until it re-emerges even stronger! Pharmaceuticals routinely have side-effects which can be very harmful in the long term. Cannabis does too (and no I don’t count the Munchies as an adverse reaction!), and as such should be used with care and diligence!
Cannabis is often looked at as an alternative to Pharmaceuticals. I am not one to go for the “Pharma companies are keeping all of this under wraps and misleading the public so that their sales won’t drop!” philosophy. I work for a Pharma company myself, and I assure you that there are no conspiracies against the smokers!
The therapeutic value comes not from a particular compound but a mix of many! A large misconception is that THC is the only compound to have an effect. This is incorrect. There are several compounds which act in concert with each other to have the desired effect. This is why different varieties, with the same THC levels, have different effects on people. There are even compounds in these plants which can retard the onset of psychosis (CBDs) and have been proved to do so (though probably by the same types of scientists who came up with these types of studies!). It is a natural and complex plant, which should be respected!
Is it not that person’s right to have a natural alternative without the repercussions of jail time and heavy fines? (This seems to be getting through more and more since medical use of Cannabis is being decriminalized in many places).
Analysing one of the last paragraphs: “Fortunately, after the end of the month-long experiment, she has suffered no long-term effects, but has vowed to try to keep her children away from the drug.”
As my best friend would say,”Damn straight!!” We should keep our kids away from psychotropic substances such as alcohol and Cannabis, while they are kids! They are young and impressionable and easily swayed without having had the time OR the guidance (just yelling, or repeating “Drugs are bad M’kay!” is NOT adequate guidance!) to cope with it!
She suffers no long term side effects from the total over-indulgence FOR A MONTH!! To be on the brink of insanity (as it has been so voraciously stuffed down our throats by the article) and to spring back to normality, is really something! I wonder if she was as far gone as it was made to seem. Or could it (POSSIBLY? MAYBE? BY SOME FREAKISH CHANCE?) just be that she was really high at the time because she toked a few doobies too many?
Finally I must reiterate, I do not think that Cannabis is for everyone! I have a friend who, after taking two drags off a joint, pukes his guts out! This is not the thing for him! I have another friend who is bipolar and would routinely freak out (Randomly! And incidentally he was not a smoker of the weed!) until someone would give him some Cannabis (and hoping that he’d stop fighting with everyone for everything!) and he would mellow out enough for someone to talk him through his episode! This might be of some use to him! At least give these two the choice.
I end this post with an urge to keep writing. Please assess for yourself the ideas which I have put forth here, and please do comment. The debate must continue for change to ever take place. Replace the fallacies with experience and knowledge!
Till the next time!