“My Son Played Russian Roulette With Cannabis – And Lost” – More Sensationalist Misinformation From The Mail
Last week, Peter Hitchens penned a disgusting diatribe of untruths which has already been sent to the Press Complaints Commission. This Sunday’s paper will be the subject of a second complaint. It is truly appalling, crass and cheap nonsense. See here for the full story.
This is my response. Whether the Mail publishes it is up to them but I and the millions of other cannabis users in Britain have had enough. From now on, no such instance of lies and propaganda will be allowed to pass without being called to account.
My Response To The Mail On Sunday
This is a tragic story but blaming it on cannabis is not justified, nor is it helpful.
Whatever Henry’s story, the data simply does not support the idea that cannabis can cause schizophrenia. In fact, it more strongly suggests that people who have mental illness may use cannabis to self-medicate. It is instructive to note that Henry’s crisis arose when he had deliberately stopped using cannabis. Indeed, there is existing and continuing scientific research into cannabinoids as an anti-psychotic therapy.
This is similar to the recent story about Jared Loughner who shot Congresswoman Giffords in Arizona. He was said to be a cannabis user but, in fact, his friends said that he had stopped using it to self-medicate and since doing so had become more unstable and strange in his behaviour.
The article mentions “Sir William Paton, professor of pharmacology at Oxford University and one of the world’s greatest experts on cannabis” but I am personally acquainted with Professor Les Iversen, a current professor of pharmacology at Oxford University, the current chairman of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs and author of many books on the subject of cannabis. Prof Iversen was also the author of an article in The Times entitled “Cannabis. Why It’s Safe” and he delivered a lecture last month entitled “Bringing Cannabis Back Into The Medicine Cabinet”.
The demonisation of cannabis is a grave mistake and a disservice to young people and their parents. It looks almost certain that cannabis will be legalised in at least one state in the USA either this year or next. Progress will then roll out across the world. It’s about time that the British media caught up to fact that, as Professor Iversen says, cannabis is “one of the safer recreational drugs”, much safer than alcohol. It also has tremendous actual and potential benefit as medicine and Britain is way, way behind in the world in recognising this.
The Mail On Sunday’s scare stories about cannabis should be replaced with facts and information about this valuable and relatively harmless substance.
Professor Glyn Lewis of the University of Bristol said in 2009 that even on the most extreme interpretation of the data on cannabis and psychosis (a review of all published evidence) that 96% of people could use cannabis with no risk whatsoever of developing psychosis.
Six million people in Britain use cannabis regularly. We are sick and tired of the lies that are told about us.