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Pot Smokers are smarter than Sophie Scott

Pot smokers still see it as harmless: study – By national medical reporter Sophie Scott

A national survey has found many people see cannabis as a soft drug, with nearly half underestimating the harmful impacts it may have.

May have? What does that mean? Cannabis may cause a shift in the space-time continuum. The fact that pot smokers underestimate the potential harmful effects that cannabis may have on the space-time continuum hardly seems dangerous. How can you possibly blame pot smokers for underestimating the harmful effects of hypotheticals?

A study of 1,000 Australians, by the Richmond Fellowship of New South Wales, found almost one-third admitted to using cannabis.

People aged 25 to 34 were the most likely to use cannabis and also the most likely to discount the harmful effects of the drug.

So which “harmful effects” did they discount? Inquiring minds want to know. National Medical Reporter Sophie Scott, however, does not have an enquiring mind.

Richmond Fellowship spokeswoman Pamela Rutledge says the findings reinforce many anecdotal views about cannabis and mental health.

“Anecdotally our workers see the terrible toll cannabis has on users on a day-to-day basis, particularly young users,” she said.

She says there is a long way to go to change attitudes that cannabis is a harmless drug.

So what is this major research facility that performed this important scientific study? I took a look at the Richmond Fellowship of New South Wales.

You probably won’t find the “study” anywhere on their web site (I couldn’t). You will learn, however, that they are a non-profit, heavily funded by the government, that provides treatment and recovery programs for mental illness.

So what does that have to do with pot smokers and underestimating dangers? Nothing really.

But you’ll also learn on the front page of their site that they’re about to host a special symposium, and they were probably hoping that they could get National Medical Reporter Sophie Scott to shill for them.

CANNABIS AND MENTAL ILLNESS: WHAT DO WE KNOW AND WHAT CAN BE DONE? […]

The Symposium will include a panel of experts and will be moderated by the ABC’s Quentin Dempster.

The RFNSW’s experience in working with young people has provided strong anecdotal evidence of the social, emotional and economic impacts of cannabis-induced mental illness.

How dare pot smokers underestimate the anecdotal evidence that may exist?

What anecdotal evidence exists regarding mental illness and National Medical Reporters?

[Thanks, swansong]

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26 comments to Pot Smokers are smarter than Sophie Scott

  • Richie

    It’s a coordinated effort by mental health professionals in New South Wales to use cheap “reefer madness” scare tactics to boost government funding to their sector, particularly for Early Psychosis Prevention and Intervention Centres (EPPIC), which have been scrutinized during the federal budgetary sessions.

    In February, psychiatric researchers at the University of New South Wales also held a press conference with the Australian National Cannabis Prevention and Information Centre trying to tie marijuana to causing or hastening schizophrenia illness.

    Evidently throwing marijuana under the bus has paid off this month:

    “New South Wales appears to have won the lion’s share of the [EPPIC] funding – more than $69 million…”

    http://www.theage.com.au/business/federal-budget/victoria-back-on-mental-health-map-20110511-1eiwh.html

    • Richie

      The following is quoted from Richmond Fellowship July 3, 2010 press release, and the last comment is indicative of the mindset using “reefer madness” to make the mental health budget a more urgent issue:

      “The Federal Opposition’s $1.5 billion mental health plan has received support from experts operating in rural and regional Australia.

      The Real Action Plan for Better Mental Health would deliver 20 new Early Psychosis Prevention and Intervention Centres (EPPIC), 60 additional youth Headspace sites and 800 acute and sub acute early intervention beds.

      The NSW Richmond Fellowship’s chief executive officer, Pam Rutledge, welcomed the announcement.

      ‘From our point of view anything that brings mental health and the need for resources in mental health to the forefront of the public debate . . . that’s fantastic,’ she said.”

      http://www.rfnsw.org.au/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=944&Itemid=174

  • Yes, I tore apart Dr Matthew Large from UNSW and his unscientific propaganda on my website last February.

    http://peterreynolds.wordpress.com/2011/02/10/this-man-isnt-a-scientist-hes-a-prohibition-propagandist/

    In March Dr Large himself left a comment indicating he wanted to talk and I’ve tried to engage with him since, sending him a personal email but he has not responded.

    There is undoubtedly a comspiracy to misinform about cannabis in Australia. Religious organisations, the self-serving drug support industry and corrupt scientists are involved. When I saw this Richmond Fellowship “study” I could barely believe anyone could have the gall to present it as serious work.

    Those in Australia who value the truth and wish to protect the integrity of science should stop this corrupt and dishonest movement now.

    • Richie

      Serge Sevy, MD, Feinstein Institute for Medical Research, Jianping Zhang, MD, PhD; Anil Malhotra, MD concluded the following in response to Dr. Matthew Large’s February study:

      “As we believe that the data on the causal relationship between cannabis use and early onset of psychosis is still unconfirmed, it seems premature to suggest that intervention in one variable may result in change in another variable.”

      Darryl J Wade, PhD Department of Psychiatry, University of Melbourne, also expressed his doubts about the results.

      You can read the complete critiques at the following links:
      http://archpsyc.ama-assn.org/cgi/eletters/archgenpsychiatry.2011.5v1#14185

  • This Richmond Fellowship is simply a propaganda organisation, spreading lies and distortions about cannabis. Any intelligent person with an enquiring mind will be able to see that.
    There is a vast industry of people who do very well out of the anti-cannabis laws, they will fight tooth and nail against the steady dismantling of prohibition. Watch them squirm as we reveal their lies.

  • […] Pot Smokers are smarter than Sophie Scott « Drug WarRant […]

  • strayan

    We think cannabis is the most terrible thing in the world, but lots of people who actually use cannabis and even people who don’t seem to disagree.

    It concerns us that so few people share our point of view because they undermine the credibility of our very existence.

    If anyone exposes us we’ll lose all our funding. It is imperative that we conduct studies to identify people who aren’t scared to death of cannabis and re-educate them.

  • (the harms [of cannabis] must not be overstated: cannabis is neither poisonous nor highly addictive, and we do not believe that it can cause schizophrenia in a previously well user with no predisposition to develop the disease.)

    1998, UK Home Office

    • DdC

      Marijuana causes insanity… in non-smokers ~ Tim Leary

      APA Awards Unanimous Support for Medical Marijuana
      In an attempt to push forward the acceptance of the effectiveness of medical marijuana, the American Psychiatric Association has declared their unanimous vote in support of the legal protection of patients with doctors’ recommendations to use the herb for medical reasons.

      2nd Largest US Medical Association Calls for Rescheduling of Cannabis
      With this action, the ACP joins the American Nurses Association, the American Public Health Association, the American Academy of Family Physicians, and many other medical associations calling for cannabis to be made a legal medicine.

      Study: No Marijuana Link To Schizophrenia
      There is no scientific proof that cannabis use induces schizophrenia, Dutch scientists say, questioning recent research and an argument the Dutch government uses to crack down on marijuana-selling “coffee shops.

      Cannabis Use Not Linked with Psychosocial Harm

      NORML Responds
      To Pending BMJ Editorial Regarding Marijuana And Schizophrenia
      November 21, 2002 – Washington, DC, USA

      Cannabis link to schizophrenia: The LIE exposed!!
      11-09-2003 Koen van Eijk.

      Official Questions Linking Pot with Schizophrenia By Nancy Pasternack
      Source: Santa Cruz Sentinel December 01, 2005
      Mention a causal link between pot smoke and paranoid thoughts, and you may elicit a knowing chuckle from Santa Cruz’s recreational drug users. But bring up a recent flurry of studies that link marijuana use to schizophrenia, and the buzz wears off quickly. “There’s a lot of bamboozling going on here,” says Valerie Corral, founder of the Wo/Men’s Alliance for Medical Marijuana. Corral has a decidedly nonrecreational approach to both the drug and the political issues surrounding it.

      Psychosis, Hype And Baloney
      Although the mainstream media is eating it up, a new study claiming a link between marijuana use and psychosis should be approached with great caution.

      Marijuana-Like Drugs Could Treat Schizophrenia, Study Suggests
      May 20, 1999 – Irvine, CA, USA
      Researchers at the University of California, Irvine, speculated that the body may be producing higher amounts of the chemical, called anandamide, to fight the disease, “Our findings of high levels of anandamide in these patients does indicate that [it”> plays an important role in the development of the disease,” Daniele Piomelli, an associate professor of pharmacology at UCI, said. He noted that “many schizophrenics smoke marijuana and claim it eases some of their symptoms.

      Marijuana may help schizophrenia by Dana Larsen (01 Sept, 1999)
      Cannabis can aid hyperactive dopamine systems

      Cannabis and schizophrenia by Reverend Damuzi (02 Dec, 2004)

      Why You Should Smoke More Pot by Jack Herer

      I thought my generation fought the Cold War to prevent things like Lysenkoism from happening. Looks like we failed…
      kaptinemo November 2, 2009
      Lysenkoism is used colloquially to describe the manipulation or distortion of the scientific process as a way to reach a predetermined conclusion as dictated by an ideological bias, often related to social or political objectives.

      Stupid U.K. Tricks
      Professor David Nutt, head of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, criticised the decision to reclassify cannabis to Class B from C.

      “I cannot have public confusion between scientific advice and policy and have therefore lost confidence in your ability to advise me as chair of the ACMD.

      Got that? Can’t have “science” mucking up the policy we’ve decided we want. Those pesky facts keep getting in the way of our bad policy.

      Europe: Britain’s Drug War Not Working, Think-Tank Finds

      Users of Cannabis Scoff at Mental Health Risks of Cannabis

      The relationship between schizophrenia and religion
      and its implications for care.

      Coffee may give you schizophrenia
      Mentioned in a 1936 article by Drs. McManamy and Schube, a young woman, allergic to caffeine, presented with alternating states of delirium and mania, resembling schizophrenia (1).

      Schizophrenia Linked to Prenatal Nutritional Deficiency
      Contributed by Nicole Weaver| 03 August, 2005

      After Two Puffs, I Was Turned Into a Bat

      Drugwar Lies Linked to Schizophrenia

      # Choosing Science

      The ‘War on Drugs’ topics

      Cops Against the Drug War

      Reefer madness across the pond

      Brits Copycat U.S. D.E.A.th… A-Motivated?

      Fry the Liars!
      The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

      How’s that war on drugs going? Brit/Mex\DeCrim

      Reefer madness across the pond
      Reporter Smokes Marijuana to Enhance Story comments
      The BBC is understood to be keen to show the film on the eve of a decision by Jacqui Smith, the Home Secretary, to recriminalise cannabis by upgrading it from C to B status. Her decision is expected in the spring.

    • DdC

      Don’t Blame The Reefer May 16 2011
      Prohibitionists have a long history of exploiting tragedy to further their own Drug War agenda. Once again, the anti-cannabis forces have seized upon another big lie to demonize the plant.

  • Adam

    When social workers say they see mentally ill Cannabis smokers every day, they then extrapolate that into meaning Cannabis causes mental illness. This is idiocy in it’s greatest, because firstly there is no Causal link proven and secondly, what about the millions upon millions of Cannabis smokers who have no problems, so don’t go and be seen by these people?

  • Scott

    We live in a world in which an objectively conclusive basis is not a prerequisite for regulations.

    Convincing the public that such a prerequisite must exist to protect society from the many Sophie Scott’s in our world is critical.

  • Scott

    Cannabis users are smarter than prohibitionists, based on the whole truth (and nothing but).

    Despite billions of taxpayer dollars flowing to the prohibitionists annually to rid the world of a plant (for which no experimental science concludes any harm in moderate use), cannabis and its supporting culture are flourishing.

    I hope you are reading this, prohibitionists, so I can rub it in your face how idiotic you have demonstrated yourselves to be for decades.

    We are kicking your ass over and over, and it is only a matter of time before we grab hold of your powerful, ill-gotten “megaphone” (in part called the mainstream media) to seriously humiliate you in the court of public opinion.

    The public record (as appended by our Supreme Court) shows that you are guilty of supporting a completely irrational “interpretation” of our Constitution, and for all of the consequent suffering.

    To “interpret” the Commerce Clause (i.e. “to regulate Commerce, with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes;”) to authorize a ban against the free growth, distribution, and possession of cannabis, all within a single state, is unacceptable. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas agrees, according to his dissent in the case of Gonzales v. Raich.

    You are traitors. You are liars. You are criminals. You are the most serious problem in American society.

    You will be stopped, if true justice is to be served.

    • Leonard Junior

      As ironic as it is, you could quote Nixon on this: “They’re the same thugs and criminals that have always plagued the good people.”

  • Duncan20903

    .
    .
    Is there something in the water in Oz?

    Well, I do have to admire the Know Nothings dedication to Goebbel’s Law of Propaganda.

  • Duncan20903

    .
    .
    Say, what about the association of wheat with the incidence of schizophrenia? No, I’m not making that up:
    http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/evolutionary-psychiatry/201103/wheat-and-schizophrenia-0

    Hey darkcycle, I’ve wondered about the claims of “early onset” of schizophrenia alleged by the kooks in NSW. Is onset of the condition based on a specific protocol, or is it when the headshrinker first notices the symptoms? If the latter, doesn’t it make sense that cannabinoidians are noticed sooner since they’re more likely to be sent to for examination after an encounter with authorities?

    • darkcycle

      “Early onset” schizophrenia is a label that has been abused in the profession of late. The propensity of psychology to be fad driven in many instances is well known.
      But I think in this case the researchers are using what used to be labeled ‘pre-schizophrenia syndrome’, or something to that effect (memory fails at this moment). It’s a collection of symptoms that are usually diagnosed after the fact, after the patient becomes acutely ill. In isolation without major symptoms it can be difficult to discern. There is (or was) some controversy as to whether the syndrome even exists.
      In answer to your two part question, it is only after the person encounters a mental health professional that it can be identified, and for that to happen it has to come to the attention of some adult in power. Usually a teacher or policeman, less often a concerned parent (schizophrenia run in families, and parents may not identify pathological behaviors, to them it may be ‘normal’).
      Traditionally schizophrenia was only diagnosed after a “Break”. An acute episode of thought disruption so sever it requires outside intervention. That was part of the criteria. So a collection of schizophrenic symptoms in a person who had not had a “break” was labeled a ‘pre-schizophrenic syndrome’ and that person was thought to be at risk for a “hard break”. After the “break”, the criteria having been met, the person was then “schizophrenic”. Trouble with this was, the people expected to have the ultimate outcome of schizophrenia did not seem to have as many ‘hard breaks’ as expected. So a new diagnosis was created.
      Fact is, these people have been quietly experiencing thought disruptions, thought intrusions, hallucinations and other symptoms quietly for years. There is something wrong in their thinkers and they know it WAAAY before the symptoms come to the attention of people around them. And many times these people will control these symptoms with anything they can find that works. Fact is, cannabis works.
      Cannabis works for many patients who experience minor symptoms without any need to progress to stronger compounds. So those people seek it out and medicate with it. The “connection” is only there because the plant can moderate minor symptoms.
      When you hear the hyperbolic ‘marijuana causes schizophrenia’ claim, remember: Schizophrenia affects about 1% of the general population. It has affected people at that rate since it was identified as an “illness”. The rates of pot smokers varies greatly over time, as well as between societies. Yet that one percent figure holds no matter what. When the percentage of pot smokers went from about 2 to 5% of the population in the thirties and fourties to 40 some percent in this century, NOTHING happened to the schizophrenia rate. There are correlations that can be made, but they are correlations. 100% of schizophrenics drank milk as children, too.

    • darkcycle

      In any case, this flap in NSW seems to happen from time to time all over the world. Some significant person somewhere or a family member of some significant person is diagnosed with this one-in-a-hundred illness and all of a sudden that country is having an “epidemic” of schizophrenia. The press is all over it because it’s easy to sensationalize, or there’s hank-panky going on they’d rather divert attention from. Then the money vultures get on board, hence these “EPPIC” treatment centers. I will be fucking shocked if these things don’t cause an increase in breaks among the people sent off to them. Severe stress is the predominant trigger for a first break, and guess what? There is virtually NOTHING more stressful than involuntary treatment. Not to mention the “institutionalization’ that inevitably occurs in a mental hospital. People actually LEARN maladaptive behaviors in institutions. Like drugs? Act agitated, assault someone or throw something, and bang! Never-never land. Etc.
      I was holding back just how fucked up this was, because it’s one of my pet peeves, it seemed off topic….but since you’ve asked…

      • Duncan20903

        .
        .
        I’d actually meant to ask you that question for some time, probably since the Large report came out a couple of months ago that mentioned the 2 years x months faster onset for cannabis users and 2 years quicker for users of other MADs. The only thing standing in the way of concluding that “Dr.” Large’s claim had any validity was the remote possibility that there was a specific protocol for diagnosing the disease’s onset retroactively rather that the first time the patient shows up at the doctor’s office. It’s certainly not farfetched to presume that people who get into trouble with the law get to that first doctor’s appointment a lot quicker than those who do nothing illegal.

        I did know about the consistent 1% of the population statistic for people diagnosed with schizophrenia. It’s one of the most annoying parts of the entire reefer causes madness canard as it’s just insulting that they’ll put out a bald faced lie that’s so easily proven untrue. I’ve actually run into at least a half a dozen Know Nothings that just folded up and quit arguing when presented with the consistent 1% statistic, and that’s not something that’s easy to cause. Hell, they still subscribe to the fraudulent gateway theory for the most part.

        I’m not sure why it would be off topic since the entire ball of smegma comes out of the New South Wales cohort of Know Nothing prohibitionists.

        I went back to my mother
        I said “I’m crazy Ma help me”
        she said I know how it feels son
        because it runs in the family

        Can you see the real me?

      • darkcycle

        The problems with diagnosis in psychology are the dirtiest little secrets there are. Not only is there widespread disagreement over the conditions themselves, no two diagnosticians are likely to agree on a diagnosis. Even based on the same recorded interview.
        I can’t tell you how many cases involving chronic patients I’ve seen where there have been a dozen prior hospitalizations with as many different diagnoses.
        And the politicized, fad driven nature of the work some of these crackpots and quacks do…frankly, as someone who actually considers himself something of a scientist…it’s fucking embarrassing.

  • vickyvampire

    To many people are benefiting from neuropathic pain relief and cancer and Aids Multiple Sclerosis,so it lets try the crazy angle schizophrenia does not compute my daughter is working towards masters in psychology a teachers and a friend and others say many who have schizophrenia,use Cannabis after diagnosis to medicate and help calm them,one of her psych teachers son uses to help him deal with his schizophrenia he does not do well on regular drugs for that condition,the pot works better.

  • […] Pot Smokers are smarter than Sophie Scott « Drug WarRant Pot Smokers are smarter than Sophie Scott. Pot smokers still see it as harmless: study – By national medical reporter Sophie Scott. A national survey has found many people see cannabis as a soft drug, with nearly half underestimating . […]

  • Anecdotal? The plural of “anecdote” is not “data”, Sophie.