Archive for the ‘Science’ Category
Rebecca Smith, health editor and Martha Gill, blogger, both of the Daily Telegraph have been getting a hard time in the comment threads of the pieces they published on cannabis yesterday and deservedly so.
Rebecca Smith is by far the worst offender, publishing such gross distortions of the study she was reporting on that I have submitted a complaint to the Press Complaints Commission. It’s dreadful that someone granted the title of health editor can be so casually ignorant of science, evidence and ready to mix up her opinion and wild speculation with just a smidgin of fact here and there. Incidentally, I expect no satisfaction from the PCC. Three years and nearly 100 complaints show that it is a deeply corrupt organisation that acts only in the interests of the press to find excuses for breaches of the Editors’ Code. Its nothing to do with protecting readers from inaccurate, misleading and distorted reporting.
Martha Gill does a bit better because she points out what a vacuous and meaningless piece of research Rebecca Smith has made such a fuss about. But Martha, apparently, writes for the New Statesman on ‘neuroscience and politics’. She’s entitled to her political views, which are self-evident given the publication concerned but on neuroscience, the clue is in the third and fourth syllables. It’s science, not opinion and Martha is woefully out touch with the evidence. If she’s not careful she”ll grow up into a mumsy moraliser like Libby Purves or Lowri Turner. She should try reading Professor Gary Wenk, Professor David Nutt, Professor Les Iversen, Professor Peter Jones, Professor Terrie Moffitt or Professor Roger Pertwee. They and many others could give her a grounding in the neuroscience of cannabis: it’s almost undetectable toxicity, its powerful antioxidant and neuroprotective qualities, its anxiolytic and antipsychotic effects. Her sweeping statement that “cannabis bad for you” is simply wrong. For most adults, in moderation, it’s beneficial.
Martha is also detached from reality and distant from the evidence, as is all of Fleet Street, when it comes to the risks of cannabis. The endless screeds that are written about the risks of cannabis use correlating with schizophrenia or psychosis are ridiculous when you consider the evidence. Hickman et al, 2009, a review of all published research so, by definition, not cherry picked, shows the risk of lifetime cannabis use correlating with a single diagnosis is at worst 0.013% and probably less than 0.003%. By contrast, correlation between cigarette smoking and schizophrenia is 80% – 90% (Zammit et al, 2003) but when do you ever read that in a newspaper?
I’m sorry you’re getting a hard time Rebecca and Martha but you and the ‘capos’ of the Fleet Street Mafia need to realise that people have had enough of your bad science, sensationalism and scaremongering about cannabis. The internet means we can’t be bullied and misinformed by newspapers anymore which is why your circulation is plummeting and journalists are held in ever lower esteem. We know you’ve spent years supporting Big Booze with its £800 million pa advertising budget. Obviously it’s desperate to hang on to its monopoly of recreational drugs but if you want to stay in business you’re going to have to start treating readers with respect and with facts and evidence, not baloney.
The Daily Telegraph has become a broadsheet-sized tabloid since it broke the MPs expenses scandal and it is genuinely difficult to distinguish its headlines, writing and content from The Daily Mail these days.
Of course, there’s a lot of rubbish in comment threads but there’s also a lot that’s better informed and considered than in the articles themselves.
People like cannabis, they find it effective, they know it’s safe. 5% of the population uses it regularly. That’s three times as many people as go to Catholic Church regularly.
Expect to be pulled to bits if you try to go back to bad science and reefer madness hysteria. The world has moved on.
NHS Choices published an article today that represents a sea change in attitudes towards cannabis.
Finally, it seems, the facts and evidence seem to be getting through, even in Britain. Cannabis is close to a miracle plant, closely intertwined with our body’s natural endocannabinoid system, providing nurture, therapy and healing for many illnesses and promoting good health and wellbeing.
Of course, like anything, even water, it is not without the potential for harm. It is habit forming, about as much as coffee. Children shouldn’t be using it, just as they shouldn’t be drinking double espressos. The madness that is current policy causes far more harm than it prevents. We need to get the dealers off the streets, regulate and control the market properly and start allowing the people of Britain to benefit from the plant they have been denied for too long.
So I’ve stuck with it. A shot every day for five days so far and I do feel better for it. Of course it could be any one of a hundred other unconnected reasons but as best as I can determine, my appetite is slightly reduced and I generally feel better this week than I did last.
I thought I felt a surge of energy after yesterday’s dose but I have felt pretty bad and bilious all day. My second dose definitely rejuvenated me this evening. I have bowed to the inevitable that my cocktail shall be called a Virgin Mary Jane.
Today I juiced a bucketful of shade leaves, trimmed from a very large white widow cannabis plant.
My excellent Breville juicer produced exactly a pint of thick, green cannabis juice which tastes vile.
I shall consume one shot of this each day and report any observable results. My measure is an espresso cup which I have measured at 80 ml (my pint of juice is, near as damn it, 600 ml).
Today’s medicine was taken in a large glass of ice cold V8 vegetable juice with a generous slug of Worcestershire sauce, an extended shake of Tabasco and a little salt.
“In years to come, the attitudes that now prevail towards people that choose cannabis will be as politically incorrect as racism, homophobia or denying women the vote.
Cannabis is one of God’s greatest gifts with which mankind has had a symbiotic relationship since the dawn of time.
The prohibition experiment of the last 80 years has been a disaster. A rational approach will bring enormous benefits to our country, save billions in wasted expenditure, create thousands of new jobs, cut crime and disorder, provide tremendously safe and effective relief to millions in pain and disability.
The man, the genius, the inspiration that the whole world is feting and eulogising; it turns out he’s just another one of those dirty, disgusting, scumbag drug users.
The estate of Albert Hoffman, inventor of LSD, with exquisite timing, has released correspondence with Steve Jobs, a keen advocate for and user of psychedelic drugs.
David Cameron and Theresa May would have him sent to jail like Casey Hardison for 20 years.
Barack Obama would have him renditioned to wherever he wanted him and subjected to special interrogation techniques.
The Daily Mail and these days, to its eternal shame, even The Independent would have him ostracised, demonised, castigated and excluded.
I know who I think is smart and I know who I know is stupid.
A great man and a great example. The contrast between his intelligence and the ruling oligarchy is startling.
Probably the worst part of becoming leader of Cannabis Law Reform (CLEAR) has been learning how to deal with the abuse and vitriolic jealousy that has been directed at me.
In fact it started even before my election when I set up the British Medicinal Cannabis Register (BMCR). Immediately, some individuals accused me of being an undercover cop, of trying to cheat medicinal users into incriminating themselves. I was astonished at the divisiveness, backstabbing and bitterness within the cannabis community. I was accused of making money out of it and exploitation – ridiculous ideas to anyone with an ounce of common sense
You will know the rest. It got even worse. A Peter Reynolds “hate site” was set up by a psychotic breakaway from UK420 which made a series of completely ludicrous and false allegations about me. Everything I had ever said about myself was untrue, apparently. I was said to be a fascist, a Jew hater, a racist, etc, etc, etc.
I published evidence of my previous work and the trolls and numpties faded away – but not completely. Even in quite close proximity, some who you might expect to be supportive of the progress we have achieved recently, have grumbled and groaned and suggested that I have not been truthful about my record in the cannabis campaign. Those who prefer to look backwards rather than forwards continue to quibble.
Last week my ex-wife cleared out her loft. My sons salvaged a copy of the report I submitted to the Home Affairs committee nearly 30 years ago. It was in 1983, not in 1978 as I had said previously - which will probably bring yet more accusations!
So here it is, printed on a daisy wheel printer, with finger marks and smudges intact. It’s amazing really because this was written even before the discovery of the endocannabinoid system and that is the only real difference in the argument I presented then from what I would say today.