With the recent scientific papers released revealing how marijuana use results in psychosis (i.e. schizophrenia) and other mental illnesses, (see below) knowing it’s youth that frequents their entertainment section to listen to and watch their music videos, it’s more than just the height of irresponsibility to have MSN promoting drug music! It ought to be criminal! They make it easier to find by categorizing it as: “Bong Songs”. One would think that Bill Gates and other mega-wealthy would be more responsible!
High risks: cannabis and psychosis // By Quentin Dempster (My comments below, in italics)
PostedTue May 24, 20113:22pmAEST
There is now widely believed to be a link between the stronger cannabis distributed clandestinely throughout Australia (what’s there, is also here) and increasing cases of severe psychosis such as schizophrenia.
Both the Mental Health Review Tribunal in NSW and the National Cannabis Prevention and Information Centre have said publicly that if cannabis was removed from the chemistry of young brains, the incidence of schizophrenia in this country would be dramatically reduced. Adolescents who start to use cannabis at any time are considered particularly vulnerable because the human brain does not complete its development until the early to mid 20s. (It’s also accepted that high-THC potency pot can also trigger mental illness in Adults.)
Mr Greg James QC, president of the tribunal, said cannabis often cocktailed by users with the many licit (alcohol and tobacco) and illicit drugs (amphetamines) was producing what was broadly known as ‘drug induced psychosis’. After many years of the tribunal’s work assessing mentally ill people incarcerated after catastrophic criminal events, he believed psychosis could be reduced to negligible levels if cannabis was removed from the chemical equation. Greg James was speaking at a Richmond Fellowship symposium on cannabis and mental illness in Sydney last week.
Without cannabis in the chemistry of the brain psychiatrists and clinicians could make more accurate diagnoses of mental illness leading to more effective treatment and stabilisation of the individual.
Professor Jan Copeland, director of the NCPIC (www.ncpic.org.au) a government-backed preventative agency, told 7.30 NSW that if cannabis was taken out of the picture the incidence of schizophrenia in Australia could be reduced by 8 to 14 per cent. She could not be more specific. That guesstimate was based on overseas studies. There have been no studies in Australia. This is revealing.
Australians love marijuana and do not seem to care that its current stronger THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol) chemical component produced through plant variety selection and hydroponic cultivation comes with much greater risk of psychosis with all the long term and devastating impact on mental illness that can bring. A Richmond Fellowship survey (1,000 people selected by region, gender and demographic methodology) shows regular users of cannabis are largely ignorant of the risks and dangers. The problem is acute in indigenous communities where marijuana is smoked excessively.
The outlaw motor cycle gangs and the freelance growers and dealers who cultivate and distribute cannabis in Australia also do not seem to care that many cannabis users, particularly those with a family history of mental illness, are being seduced down a path to the destruction of their mental health.
Higher THC content comes from cultivating hybrid varieties and processing cannabis flowers, buds and heads known to have a higher THC concentration. Under hydroponic cultivation through control of lighting, humidity and temperature up to four crops a year can be produced. THC interacts with receptors in the brain and can produce the ‘stoned’ or ‘high’ effects of heightened awareness loved by many. Many users dilute their ‘spliffs’ or ‘joints’ with tobacco. But the psychoactive strength of THC can also trigger or exacerbate, through repeated use, hallucinations, anxiety, panic attacks and paranoid delusions leading to, if properly assessed, a diagnosis of schizophrenia. For those who do not suffer psychosis from the effects, the long term detriments are addiction and dependence (social isolation and unemployability) and profound memory loss. One in 10 cannabis users become dependant. (In America, 2009 emergency room visits for illicit drugs was most commonly caused by marijuana.)
The symposium was told by one health worker that he knew smart users who only grew cannabis plants with greater concentration of the more medicinal cannabinoid CBD which actually counters the THC effects and had an anti-anxiety, pain relief and relaxation effect. This CBD cannabis was grown for personal use as a direct counter to the higher THC cannabis or ‘hydro cannabis’ currently on the Australian market. The pharmaceutical and pain relief benefits of CBD (cannabidiols) in cannabis have been studied internationally but one experienced psychiatrist, Dr Andrew Campbell, told the symposium paracetamol would have just as beneficial analgesic effects.
State governments concerned about criminalising young people for possession of small quantities of cannabis have implemented a cautioning system over recent years. But evidence shows there is little or no follow-up from the cautioning. No enlightened provider of mental health services wants to go back to criminalising the possession of small quantities of dope, but they are calling out for greater public and user awareness of the great danger from the contemporary cannabis black market. Cannabis currently sells on the streets ofAustralia for about $20 a gram, $50 for three grams, $80 to $90 for seven grams or from $280 to $320 an ounce.
In spite of regular police drug squad raids and seizures of cannabis from hydroponic cultivation factories and satellite detection of field-grown product, the taxpayer-funded law enforcement effort has had no discernible impact on the price or availability of cannabis on the streets of Australia. It is everywhere and easily reaches the affluent and the unemployed. There is a user/dealer sub-culture where dealers provide credit to impecunious users waiting for their next dole or pay cheque.
Researchers Professor Ken Clements and Xueyan Zhao of the University of Western Australia have guesstimated that from data available up to 1998 the value of the cannabis market in Australia was $5.6 billion, two thirds of then beer sales and twice the market value of wine sales. It is hard to estimate the value of the market. There are no invoices, no receipts and no BAS statements for GST. This guesstimate was based on drug possession and arrest data, crop seizures, interdictions at the customs barriers, hospitalisations and user surveys of regular or occasional consumption and expenditure. With population growth and affluence it would be wise to get a government agency to update this figure and track current consumption trends and the actual size of this market by 2011. But there seems to be little criminal intelligence available to better inform the public about what is really going on.
Those bikies shooting and bludgeoning each other to death or spraying suburban homes with bullets in drive-by shootings are not indulging in inter-club rivalry out of pride of membership. They are out to disrupt a competitor’s supply or distribution system to try to get greater control of Australia’s now very lucrative illicit poly drugs market. The outlaw motor cycle gang network involved in the cultivation/manufacture and distribution of both cannabis and amphetamines including ice is now criminally significant in this country. But again there seems to be little published criminal intelligence into the power of these black market forces.
The products reach their customer base at the point of sale every day of the week and the cash flows freely. There is a considerable money laundering offshoot to this substantial industry, which could be seen as the sick triumph of private enterprise.
Although the symposium debated legalising cannabis and regulating it like tobacco and alcohol, it was acknowledged that current state and federal governments lacked the political courage to do so. No country in the world has yet legalised cannabis. Many have decriminalised it and tried to divert cannabis users to health support programs. Others impose the death penalty on convicted traffickers.
So… if there are any Australian bikies reading this, will you please consider redesigning your business plans to cultivate only CBD component cannabis as an alternative product to high THC-concentration cannabis?
Please try to be more responsible in future.
If this plea will not work, perhaps a threat will: Otherwise there will be a greater political momentum to hunt down the scum who are destroying the mental health of thousands of young Australians.