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Tag: cannabis

Parker: UK Study Shows High Potency Pot Users Have Triple the Rate of Psychosis

Ross Parker

Ross Parker was chief of the criminal division in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Detroit for 8 years and worked as an AUSA for 28 in that office.
By Ross Parker
ticklethewire.com

A British study found recently that the risk of first time psychosis among users of high THC cannabis was three times greater than for non-users, regardless of the age of the user or the frequency of use. Frequent users were found to have more than five times the risk.

The study was conducted by a group of physicians and scientists at Kings College London, and the results were published in this week’s Lancet, one of the most highly regarded medical journals in the world. The study was funded by the UK National Institute of Health Research.

No psychosis risk increase was found comparing low potency users with non-users. However, recent studies show that the legalization trend has resulted in a steady increase in the THC content of marijuana available for use and sale in the US.

The study results add to the increasing body of medical research pointing out the increasing dangers of marijuana use, particularly among children and young adults. Ironically these studies are bucking the trend toward legalization of medical and recreational use in roughly half the states. This occurs at the same time that use, distribution, and cultivation continue to be federal crimes. This anomaly is nowhere more blatant than in the District of Columbia which legalized use and cultivation this week.

Nor does there appear to be any resolution in the offing of this conflict. The federal executive and Congressional branches seem to offer no leadership on the dilemma.

Meanwhile many state government leaders considering the issue seem to be focused on short term financial projections than on the health issues. And whatever medical research is made part of the debate is often from an earlier time when THC levels were a small fraction of today’s high potency pot being cultivated by enterprising agronomists.

The psychosis study seems symbolic of this entire issue from a macro-examination perspective as well.

Parker: Congress and DEA Should Legalize Hemp

Ross Parker

Ross Parker was chief of the criminal division in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Detroit for 8 years and worked as an AUSA for 28 in that office.
 
By Ross Parker
ticklethewire.com
Among the many varieties of weeds on my father’s Southwest Iowa farm in the 1950s and 60s was the hemp weed. Dad called it “ditch weed’ because that was where it mainly grew, along with in fence rows and sometimes in our cornfields. My brothers and I hated ditch weed because the plants grew to a considerable height if you didn’t keep it mowed or cut down, and they had extensive root systems which made it difficult to pull out of the ground.

Little did we know that these Cannabis Sativa L plants were cousins to a variety that would swamp the country, defy law enforcement for the next half century, and become the root cause of countless murders and violent crimes and the most widely used illegal drug in the world.

Awhile back, this column weighed the pros and cons of legalizing marijuana. The conclusion was that the unknown medical effects and health dangers of continued usage of today’s marijuana with its greatly increased THC content as well as the potential for escalated use particularly by America’s youth made legalization a bad idea. Some readers probably doubted the conclusion’s objectivity coming from a career drug prosecutor but that’s what I continue to think.

The continued prohibition of hemp cultivation and manufacturing, however, poses an entirely different set of questions.

The hemp plant has a long and storied history. It was used in the Neolithic Age in China to make paper more than 10,000 years ago. Its hardy nature and versatility spread its cultivation until it became one of the most produced agricultural plants in the world.

Its uses ranged widely from ropes on ships, clothing, food, and dozens of other products. It is claimed that Columbus’s ships’ riggings, the Gutenberg Bible, the paper on which the Declaration of Independence was written, and the first American flag were all made of hemp products. George Washington and Thomas Jefferson were hemp farmers.

During World War II hemp was used to make uniforms and for other military products. The government considered it so important to the war effort that it produced a film entitled “Hemp for Victory” in 1942. Some irony there.

Hemp’s industrial future crashed in 1970 by its inclusion with marijuana as a Schedule I controlled substance which was illegal to grow, sell or possess. Its close relationship to marijuana plants and the possibility of its use as a recreational drug perhaps made that a not unreasonable policy decision at the time.

There was limited scientific understanding of the psychoactivity of Cannabis varieties in 1970 and, even if that had been known, the difference of THC content between the two was not as dramatic as it is today. Ann Arbor pot dealers, when confronted with a dearth of product to sell to University of Michigan students were known to travel to Iowa, cut up some ditch weed, bag it up and sell it to eager consumers. Considering the low THC content, they would have had to share some monster joints for many hours on the Quad to get high. But they still bought it.

Today hemp weed still averages about ½% THC, not enough to produce a psychoactive effect. Although marijuana plants averaged about 1% in the 1970s, they can easily exceed 20% today. Plus hemp contains cannabidiol which some scientists believe has an opposing effect both pharmacologically and behaviorally to THC. But these were unknowns in 1970.

Whether it was a reasonable policy at the time to prohibit the production of hemp I will leave to others to debate. Perhaps today’s retrospective analysis of hemp’s aborted future is exaggerated. Maybe hemp’s day was essentially done, and it would have had limited impact in a more complex world of synthetics and agri-business.

Read more »

Popularity of Synthetic Pot on the Rise

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

New trends indicate an increase in the use of dangerous synthetic drugs not currently covered under federal drug laws, reports Business Wire. The new drugs come from the cannabinoid family, closely related to marijuana.

“Simply making the new drugs illegal is not likely to make them go away,” said Dr. Barry Logan, Director of NMS Labs Designer Drug Initiative. “There is now an established market for these products alongside traditional recreational drugs.”

“The latest trend we are seeing is the appearance of completely new drugs. These new drugs are different in design from the current synthetic drugs and alter the brain’s chemistry by amplifying the effects of normal brain chemicals, producing the same marijuana-like effects,” said Logan.

To read more click here.