Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The cannabis opposition rears its head

Just got off the phone after a heated cannabis debate with a dear friend of many years. She's a clinical pharmacist. So it was heavily weighted in her favor, but I gave it my best shot. 

She was adamant that legalization of medicinal cannabis is bound to spawn extensive recreational use of the drug. Cannabis, she said, has been shown incontrovertibly to cause psychosis. Consequently, her argument went,  changing the law - it is still an illegal substance in her country - is fraught with unavoidable disaster. "We are given healthy bodies so why should we go and willfully destroy them?" she wondered.

Now I've never read of a link to psychosis. In fact, I learned here that adolescent users risk addiction and cognitive damage, but that adults do not.

And this article virtually debunks the  cannabis-psychosis connection. It stated:
A 2010 paper by Australian researchers concluded that existing data from a slew of major studies can’t determine whether cannabis use can cause serious psychotic disorders that would otherwise not have occurred. Schizophrenia is a relatively rare condition that afflicts about 1 percent of the American adult population. Although some people with a predisposition or existing disease may be adversely affected by marijuana use, the vast majority of individuals who consume cannabis do not experience any kind of psychosis.
I suggested to my friend that the jury might be out on this point. But she wasn't buying that. She said that her source is a reputable medical journal while mine were probably disreputable sites with a pro-cannabis agenda.

She noted that there aren't any sound scientific studies proving the medical benefits of cannabis and that her country is correct to wait for them before removing its ban, insinuating that my country is reckless. 

Now this is normally a very sweet, warm generous soul (not me, my friend). So I was blindsided by her tendentiousness. I had presumed the cannabis issue was close to resolution and just needed the rubber stamp of new legislation. Couldn't have been more wrong.

In any case she didn't sway me an iota. I wish she'd read the articles I linked to above as well as this one, accompanied by a must-watch video.

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