Tell the truth about cannabis and maybe we’ll get somewhere
Is there any wonder at all that everything which surrounds cannabis information-wise, is mixed up and confused?
To illustrate this lets take a look at some news published this week through the worlds press.
Cannabis far more toxic to the adolescent brain
Just yesterday, a report was published by ‘The Independent’ newspaper in Ireland, as anti-cannabis an organisation as you’ll ever find, in which the publication loudly proclaimed that cannabis is far more toxic to the adolescent brain, than it is to a flaky old 41 year old brain such as mine.
This story is nothing new in fairness and the majority of the anti-cannabis parade have been banging this particular drum for the majority of 2007. But does the story hold any water?
Lets face it if our young people are to make a balanced judgement on the risks involved with using cannabis, its likely that the reports they read in newspapers are going to play a big part in that decision making process. Its only fair then, that we expect these newspapers to tell the truth, and without the added embelishments necessary to sell more newspapers.
Another New Study
“Studies into cannabis, running in tandem, point to a difference in the way the brain operates for cannabis users and non-cannabis users.”
No sh*t sherlock?
Its called getting stoned and I’m sure when an alcohol abuser gets drunk his or her brain works a little differently to when they are sober. But the research also suggests that the drug is more toxic to youngsters. A point I would like to take issue with.
I mean..toxic? Is that the right word to use in this instance?
Cannabis has been in the service of mankind for over 10,000 years in one guise or another, and whilst I have heard many descriptives used when communicating on the topic, toxic isn’t one that would automatically spring to mind.
To quote this new report, “Dr Hugh Garavan, who is leading one of the studies, is examining the prefrontal cortex which is used for decision making, and the hippocampus which is used for memory”.
I have to say at this stage my own decision making pre-frontal cortex is popping and jumping as it comes up with the decision never to buy a newspaper which has The Independent written on the front page but I digress..
“We are finding differences with cannabis users. The hippocampus is being driven to work harder, perhaps to overcompensate for the drug.”
Memory loss, psychosis and paranoia are some of the symptoms that might be linked to these skewed brain pictures.
Dr Garavan added that the hippocampus is one of the last regions to develop properly.
“Adolescents are more likely to experiment but their brains may not yet be mature.”
So let me get this right Dr Garavan. The Hippocampus in adolescents is one of the last regions in the brain to develop, and therefore could be damaged permanently?
Ok I think I’m getting the gist.
..or so I thought
The following day, November 6th, another news report, sourced in Switzerland reads, “Teenagers Who Smoke Marijuana But Not Tobacco Are Different From Other Teen Groups”.
Get this. A Swiss study suggests that teens who use only cannabis appear to function better than those who also use tobacco, and are more socially driven and have no more psychosocial problems than those who abstain from both substances.
“The gateway theory hypothesizes that the use of legal drugs (tobacco and alcohol) is the previous step to cannabis consumption,” the authors write. “However, recent research also indicates that cannabis use may precede or be simultaneous to tobacco use and that, in fact, its use may reinforce cigarette smoking or lead to nicotine addiction independently of smoking status.”
So lets just get this straight. This new report tells us that cannabis use could lead to nicotine addiction in otherwise socially well rounded young people?
From a personal point of view I can see how this works.
Not so fast, NicoTine
I’m sure you would agree that the steps which have been taken to shield our kids from tobacco products is only now starting to pay dividends.
It wasn’t all that long ago that no matter which TV channel you decided to watch, you were force fed pictures of your favourite rock stars, race drivers, actors etc, influential people in the eyes of the Great British youth, all of whom would be smoking as they were filmed doing their thing.
Coronation Street, and the old actors and actresses from days gone by, who played parts such as Bet Lynch, Stan and Hilda Ogden, Mike Baldwin, Deidre Barlow etc, would often be seen puffing on a cigarette as they acted out their scene.
Back when Murray Walker was the King of Formula 1, every single race car on the track, was emblazened with cigarette manufacturers logo’s. The all important sponsorship deals which no race team could operate without, and Guns & Roses rock legend Slash was never without a cigarette hanging from his mouth as he killed his latest guitar solo stone dead.
These days of course things are very different.
But would that be the case if tobacco was an outlawed, underground substance like cannabis?
No of course it wouldn’t because black market tobacco use would be as rife as cannabis use is today.
If we wish to educate our young people to the real risks involved with cannabis use, as well as teaching an attitude of tolerance, knowing your limits etc, we need to guarantee the information they are exposed to is truthful and factual.
Young people today are more in control of the information they are exposed to than ever before.
By feeding them with mis-guided information its the fastest way to get them to slam the door right in FRANK’s face and with figures showing 50% of our 15-24 year olds using cannabis regularly, its time to face facts.
Prohibition doesn’t work. Its time for change.
Join us and help make it happen.