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RainDog's Journal
RainDog's Journal
December 12, 2011

Peer-reviewed journal finds no link between cannabis and schizophrenia


This paper investigates whether this (a predicted increase in schizophrenia and/or psychosis among cannabis users) has occurred in the UK by examining trends in the annual prevalence and incidence of schizophrenia and psychoses, as measured by diagnosed cases from 1996 to 2005.

Retrospective analysis of the General Practice Research Database (GPRD) was conducted for 183 practices in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. The study cohort comprised almost 600,000 patients each year, representing approximately 2.3% of the UK population aged 16 to 44.

Between 1996 and 2005 the incidence and prevalence of schizophrenia and psychoses were either stable or declining. Explanations other than a genuine stability or decline were considered, but appeared less plausible. In conclusion, this study did not find any evidence of increasing schizophrenia or psychoses in the general population from 1996 to 2005.

Studies that claimed schizophrenia cast in doubt (Sept. 2009):

Previous research has suggested cannabis use increases the risk of being diagnosed with schizophrenia or other psychotic disorders.

This latest study, led by Dr Martin Frisher of Keele University, examined the records of 600,000 patients aged between 16 and 44, but failed to find a similar link. Frisher and colleagues compared the trends of cannabis use with general practitioner records of schizophrenia.

They argue if cannabis use does cause schizophrenia, then an increase in cannabis use should be followed by an increase in the incidence of schizophrenia. According to the study, cannabis use in the UK between 1972 and 2002 has increased four-fold in the general population, and 18-fold among under-18s.

...But the researchers found no increase in the diagnosis of schizophrenia or other psychotic disorders during that period. In fact some of the data suggested the incidence of these conditions had decreased.

"This study does not therefore support the specific causal link between cannabis use and the incidence of psychotic disorders," the authors say. "This concurs with other reports indicating that increases in population cannabis use have not been followed by increases in psychotic incidence."

Minimal Link Between Psychosis and Marijuana (Oct. 2009):

Scientists from Bristol, Cambridge and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine took the latest information on numbers of cannabis users, the risk of developing schizophrenia, and the risk that cannabis use causes schizophrenia to estimate how many cannabis users may need to be stopped to prevent one case of schizophrenia. The study found it would be necessary to stop 2800 heavy cannabis users in young men and over 5000 heavy cannabis users in young women to prevent a single case of schizophrenia. Among light cannabis users, those numbers rise to over 10,000 young men and nearly 30,000 young women to prevent one case of schizophrenia.

Cannabis-induced schizophrenia is merely schizophrenia (Nov. 2008)

In a previous study, Arendt and colleagues found that nearly half of people who had an episode of cannabis-induced psychosis went on to develop schizophrenia within the next six years. In the current study, the researchers looked at the genetic roots of both conditions by comparing the family histories of 609 people treated for cannabis-induced psychosis and 6,476 who had been treated for schizophrenia or a related psychiatric condition.

They found that individuals treated for post-pot smoking psychotic episodes had the same likelihood of having a mother, sister or other "first-degree" relative with schizophrenia as did the individuals who had actually been treated for schizophrenia themselves. This suggests that cannabis-induced psychosis and schizophrenia are one and the same, the researchers note. "These people would have developed schizophrenia whether or not they used cannabis," Arendt explained in comments to Reuters Health.

Based on the findings, the researcher says, "cannabis-induced psychosis is probably not a valid diagnosis. It should be considered schizophrenia."

Roger Pertwee, leading British pharmacologist, says cannabis is not a threat to the general population in regard to schizophrenia. Only those with existing risk factors are at risk.

you could identify people who might be at risk of developing schizophrenia. Cannabis is one factor which increases the risk of schizophrenia, but only if it's mixed with a bad childhood environment or a genetic predisposition to schizophrenia.

...and no indication of brain damage with heavy usage (July 2003):

Long-term and even daily marijuana use doesn't appear to cause permanent brain damage, adding to evidence that it can be a safe and effective treatment for a wide range of diseases, say researchers.

The researchers found only a "very small" impairment in memory and learning among long-term marijuana users. Otherwise, scores on thinking tests were similar to those who don't smoke marijuana, according to a new analysis of 15 previous studies.

In those studies, some 700 regular marijuana users were compared with 484 non-users on various aspects of brain function -- including reaction time, language and motor skills, reasoning ability, memory, and the ability to learn new information.
December 12, 2011

Early Studies Indicate Cannabis May Shrink Tumor Cells (Studies: 1974-2010)

Project Censored, Top 25 Stories, 2001: http://www.projectcensored.org/top-stories/articles/22-us-government-repressed-marijuana-tumor-research/

The U.S. Government Attempted to Repress the Marijuana Cancer Research Going Back to 1974

...The Madrid researcher (studying the tumor-reducing qualities of cannabinoids, noted in the post immediately below) said he had heard of the Virginia study, but had never been able to locate literature on it. “I am aware of the existence of that research. In fact I have attempted many times to obtain the journal article on the original investigation by theses people, but it has proven impossible,” Guzman said. His response wasn’t surprising, considering that in 1983 the Reagan/Bush administration tried to persuade American universities and researchers to destroy all 1966/76 cannabis research work, including compendiums in libraries, reports Jack Herer. “We know that large amounts of information have since disappeared,” he says.

From the Journal of of the National Cancer Institute, 1975. (hosted via UKCIA): http://www.ukcia.org/research/AntineoplasticActivityOfCannabinoids/index.php

Furthermore, Nahas et al. (7) showed that in chronic marihuana users there is a decreased lymphocyte reactivity to mitogens as measured by thymidine uptake. These and other (8) observations suggest that marihuana (delta-9-THC) interferes with vital cell biochemical processes, though no definite mechanism has yet been established. A preliminary report from this laboratory (9) indicated that the ability of delta-9-THC to interfere with normal cell functions might prove efficacious against neoplasms. This report represents an effort to test various cannabinoids in several in vivo and in vitro tumor systems to determine the kinds of tumors that are sensitive to these compounds and reveal their possible biochemical sites of action(s).

Researchers at Harvard published a study in 2007 that indicates cannabis cuts lung cancer tumors by 50%. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/04/070417193338.htm

They say this is the first set of experiments to show that the compound, Delta-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), inhibits EGF-induced growth and migration in epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) expressing non-small cell lung cancer cell lines. Lung cancers that over-express EGFR are usually highly aggressive and resistant to chemotherapy.

THC that targets cannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2 is similar in function to endocannabinoids, which are cannabinoids that are naturally produced in the body and activate these receptors. The researchers suggest that THC or other designer agents that activate these receptors might be used in a targeted fashion to treat lung cancer.

Although the researchers do not know why THC inhibits tumor growth, they say the substance could be activating molecules that arrest the cell cycle. They speculate that THC may also interfere with angiogenesis and vascularization, which promotes cancer growth.

Research in Spain, published in 2009, demonstrated the mechanism by which cannabis induces cancer cell death: http://www.jci.org/articles/view/37948

Δ-Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main active component of marijuana (7), exerts a wide variety of biological effects by mimicking endogenous substances — the endocannabinoids — that bind to and activate specific cannabinoid receptors (8). One of the most exciting areas of research in the cannabinoid field is the study of the potential application of cannabinoids as antitumoral agents (9). Cannabinoid administration has been found to curb the growth of several types of tumor xenografts in rats and mice (9, 10).

Based on this preclinical evidence, a pilot clinical trial has been recently run to investigate the antitumoral action of THC on recurrent gliomas (11). Recent findings have also shown that the pro-apoptotic and tumor growth–inhibiting activity of cannabinoids relies on the upregulation of the transcriptional co-activator p8 (12) and its target the pseudo-kinase tribbles homolog 3 (TRB3) (13).

However, the mechanisms that promote the activation of this signaling route as well as the targets downstream of TRB3 that mediate its tumor cell–killing action remain elusive. In this study we found that ER stress–evoked upregulation of the p8/TRB3 pathway induced autophagy via inhibition of the Akt/mTORC1 axis and that activation of autophagy promoted the apoptotic death of tumor cells. The uncovering of this pathway, which we believe is novel, for promoting tumor cell death may have therapeutic implications in the treatment of cancer.

California Breast Cancer Research Program (from Molecular Cancer Therapeutics): Inhibition of Breast Cancer Aggressiveness by Cannibidiol: http://www.cbcrp.org/research/PageGrant.asp?grant_id=4903

An anti-cancer agent with a low toxicity profile that can both inhibit cancer cell growth and metastasis would be extremely valuable clinically. We have discovered that cannabidiol (CBD), a non-psychotropic cannabinoid constituent of the plant Cannabis sativa, can inhibit the growth, migration and invasion of aggressive breast cancer cells in culture.

Cannabinoid compounds, in general, have low toxicity profiles. Furthermore, our preliminary research demonstrated that CBD is a novel inhibitor of a protein whose activity has been closely linked to the aggressiveness of human breast cancers; called inhibitor of DNA binding-1 (Id-1). Whether CBD can inhibit the spread of metastatic breast cancer in vivo (in the body), compared to cell culture conditions, has not been determined.

However, CBD has been demonstrated to inhibit aggressive human brain cancers in vivo. Understanding the mechanisms behind the anti-cancer activity of CBD may lead to the validation of new biological targets for diagnostics and therapies for breast cancer.

Combining Cannabinoids Enhances Inhibition of Brain Cancer Cells: http://patients4medicalmarijuana.wordpress.com/2010/01/11/combining-marijuana-components-enhances-inhibitory-effects-on-brain-cancer-2/

The study was done at the California Pacific Medical Center by researchers who combined a non-psychoactive ingredient of marijauna, cannabidiol (CBD), with Δ9-tetrahyrdocannabinol (Δ9-THC), the primary psychoactive ingredient in Cannabis. The findings demonstrated the inhibitory effect of these two ingredients on brain cancer cells when used together.

“Our study not only suggests that combining these two compounds creates a synergistic effect,” says Sean McAllister, Ph.D., a scientist at CPMCRI and the lead author of the study. “but it also helps identify molecular mechanisms at work here, and that may lead to more effective treatments for glioblastoma and potentially other aggressive cancers.”

pretty interesting research, huh?

December 12, 2011

Nixon's Schafer Report (which he ignored) recommended decriminalization

Nixon's (Raymond) Schafer Commission recommended decriminalization. Schafer was a conservative former gov. of PA, so Nixon thought he'd bought off the commission. oops. Here's that report: http://www.druglibrary.org/schaffer/library/studies/nc/ncmenu.htm

From the final comments:

The Commission feels that the criminalization of possession of marihuana for personal is socially self-defeating as a means of achieving this objective. We have attempted to balance individual freedom on one hand and the obligation of the state to consider the wider social good on the other. We believe our recommended scheme will permit society to exercise its control and influence in ways most useful and efficient, meanwhile reserving to the individual American his sense of privacy, his sense of individuality, and, within the context of ail interacting and interdependent society, his options to select his own life style, values, goals and opportunities.

The Commission sincerely hopes that the tone of cautious restraint sounded in this Report will be perpetuated in the debate which will follow it. For those who feel we have not proceeded far enough, we are reminded of Thomas Jefferson's advice to George Washington that "Delay is preferable to error." For those who argue we have gone too far, we note Roscoe Pound's statement, "The law must be stable, but it must not stand still."

We have carefully analyzed the interrelationship between marihuana the drug, marihuana use as a behavior, and marihuana as a social problem. Recognizing the extensive degree of misinformation about marihuana as a drug, we have tried to demythologize it. Viewing the use of marihuana in its wider social context, we have tried to desymbolize it.

Considering the range of social concerns in contemporary America, marihuana does not, in our considered judgment, rank very high. We would deemphasize marihuana as a problem. The existing social and legal policy is out of proportion to the individual and social harm engendered by the use of the drug. To replace it, we have attempted to design a suitable social policy, which we believe is fair, cautious and attuned to the social realities of our time.

Nixon ignored those recommendations. As revealed in his comments from his tapes, Nixon blamed cannabis use on Jews, psychiatrists, commies and homosexuals. Apparently paranoia isn't limited to some people who use cannabis.

In 1982 an 18-member committee of the National Academy of Sciences who had studied the drug laws for four years unanimously advocated decriminalizing marijuana, and eventually legalizing and regulating it, only to have Reagan’s science adviser, Dr. Frank Press, repudiate their report and successfully pressure the media not to publicize it. (This was during the time Reagan was outright lying his ass off claiming that suffocating monkeys with smoke indicated that cannabis caused brain damage.)

In 1988, Drug Enforcement Administration Judge Francis Young noted: "In strict medical terms marijuana is far safer than many foods. For example, eating 10 raw potatoes can result in a toxic response. By comparison, it is physically impossible to eat enough marijuana to induce death. Marijuana in its natural form is one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man. By any measure of rational analysis marijuana can be safely used within the supervised routine of medical care." (This was during hearings into the use of marijuana as medicine.)

Prescription drugs deemed safe by the FDA kill up to 27,000 per year. Aspirin kills up to 1,000 Americans per year. Zero deaths have been attributed to cannabis ingestion. Ever.

It is impossible to overdose on cannabis for a couple of reasons... a "lethal" does would require someone to smoke or eat more than a pound of it within a hour or so - impossible. Also, cannabinoid receptors in the brain are sparsely located in this autonomous nervous system region - the region that controls for heart and lung function. The reason barbiturates kill is because they depress heart and lung function to the point that someone stops breathing, or their heart stops pumping. This is impossible with cannabis.

(This is just general information about the relative safety of cannabis in relation to a host of other substances that are legal and considered viable for medical or other use in this nation.)
December 12, 2011

LaGuardia Report from 1941 Indicates U.S. Waged Propaganda Campaign Against Cannabis

Back in the 1940s, Frank LaGuardia, mayor of NYC, wanted to test the scare claims made by the anti-drug warriors that created prohibition in the 1930s because he was skeptical. (Many of these same claims are continually recycled.)

His large-scale study and report debunked the claims made by the prohibitionists. Nevertheless, LaGuardia was attacked. It turns out his report was one of a few done at the time (others were in Canada and Great Britain and in the U.S. Army) that indicated there was no danger of physical addiction or physical or mental deterioration for those who smoked over a period of years. You can read LaGuardia's study and conclusion here:


Since the LaGuardia Commission Report, published in 1944, our govt has known that marijuana is nothing like the claims they have made against it to justify prohibition. In spite of this reality, the Boggs Act of 1951 created harsher penalties for possession than this nation had for serial killers and rapists. The reason for this was that marijuana use was considered something done by African and Latin -Americans...and movie stars and musicians.

When a sociology professor published research in the 1950s that debunked misinformation spread by our govt., his phone was tapped, the federal govt (FBN - federal bureau of narcotics) tried to suppress his work and they also tried to get the FBI to find a way to associate this professor with the communist scare of the time. When Canada created a public service documentary that indicated the FBN stereotypes of addicts and drug fiends were lies, this govt. org. sought to ban the film. This professor (of sociology at Indiana University, fwiw) spoke out about this abuse of govt power that sought to interfere with the medical treatment of people with addictions. Finally, the ACLU, the AMA (American Medical Asso.) and the American Bar Asso. spoke out in defense of this professor and this film - and against the govt. lies.

(Out of this experience, an independent org. began that was dedicated to issues of public heath and science, rather than scare campaigns and propaganda. That group eventually merged with the Drug Policy Foundation to create the current Drug Policy Alliance - a group that still works to provide information based upon research and science.)

On its website, the Drug Policy Alliance notes that: Numerous published studies suggest that marijuana has medical value in treating patients with serious illnesses such as AIDS, glaucoma, cancer, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, and chronic pain.

December 12, 2011

Global Commission on Drugs Policy Report (2011)


Global War on Drugs Has Failed, say Commissioners


The 19-member commission includes Mexico's former President Ernesto Zedillo, Brazil's ex-President Fernando Henrique Cardoso and former Colombian President Cesar Gaviria, as well as the former US Federal Reserve chairman Paul Volcker and the current Prime Minister of Greece George Papandreou. The panel also features prominent Latin American writers Carlos Fuentes and Mario Vargas Llosa, the EU's former foreign policy chief Javier Solana, and George Schultz, a former US secretary of state.

It is a damning indictment. The group of world leaders, including former Presidents of Mexico and Colombia which are blighted by the trade in illegal drugs, says urgent changes are overdue.

Their report says current policies to tackle drug abuse and the crime that preys on it are clearly not working, but result in thousands of deaths and rampant lawlessness.

It calls for an end to the 'criminalisation, marginalisation and stigmatisation of people who use drugs but who do no harm to others'.

The leading international figures behind the report do not pull their punches. They say sensible regulation of drugs is working in some countries but they accuse many governments around the world of pretending that the current war on drugs is effective when they know it isn't.[/e]

December 12, 2011

Senate subcommittee report: drug war has largely failed (June 2011)

(unless you're a private contractor)


A U.S. Senate subcommittee report this week called into question efforts to curb drug exports from Latin America, suggesting that billions in tax dollars had been wasted in no-bid contracts with no oversight on how the money was being spent or whether efforts were succeeding.

"It's becoming increasingly clear that our efforts to rein in the narcotics trade in Latin America, especially as it relates to the government's use of contractors, have largely failed," Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO), chair of the Senate Subcommittee on Contracting Oversight, said in a media advisory. "Without adequate oversight and management we are wasting tax dollars and throwing money at a problem without even knowing what we're getting in return."

The McCaskill report indicates that U.S. taxpayers have shelled out over $3 billion for work and equipment related to the drug war in Latin America from 2005-2009, and most of that money went to private contractors.

McCaskill launched the inquiry after looking into counternarcotics efforts underway in Afghanistan. However, neither the Department of Defense nor the State Dept. were able to provide adequate documentation on their contracts and in many cases could not even identify firms that were given millions in tax dollars.

Five major defense contractors received the bulk of drug war contract spending: Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, DynCorp, ARINC and ITT. Out of all the firms, DynCorp benefitted most, winning $1.1 billion.

December 12, 2011

After Cancer Treatment, Utah Attn. Gen. supports legal medical marijuana


Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff said he would support the legalization of medical marijuana after experiencing months of intensive cancer treatment.

"Until you've experienced chemo, you can't describe exactly how it feels," he said Thursday on KSL Newsradio's Doug Wright Show. "It's kind of like having the flu because you ache all over. But it's worse than that... Everything feels awful."

Shurtleff said never used marijuana himself, but had talked to other patients who had traveled out-of-state to receive marijuana treatment.

"They give you pills to help you with the nausea, but if you can't keep those down, then what do you do?" he said. "You just suffer. That's one of the reasons I understand why people who are going through chemo are prescribed medicinal marijuana in states where it is legal."

This is why the DEA must reschedule cannabis and stop preventing people from using medication that alleviates their suffering. This travesty has gone on long enough. Cancer patients should not be denied access to medication just b/c they live in a state that will be among the last to change their laws. The federal govt is making it possible to do this by maintaining cannabis as a substance with no medical value. This is a lie. Everyone knows it - at least everyone who is paying attention knows this.

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