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January 2019
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A fossil shows up on the pages of the New York Times

We haven’t had many of these in a while — but they used to be pretty common fare, until the public stopped falling for them.

In the New York Times: What Advocates of Legalizing Pot Don’t Want You to Know by Alex Berenson

Federal surveys also show that rates of serious mental illness are rising nationally, with the sharpest increase among people 18 to 25, who are also the most likely to use cannabis. The surveys and hospital data cannot prove that marijuana has caused a population-wide increase in psychosis, but they do offer intriguing evidence. […]

Many people are arrested for marijuana possession, but very few end up imprisoned. […] But advocacy groups don’t view decriminalization as an acceptable compromise. […]

Worse — because marijuana can cause paranoia and psychosis, and those conditions are closely linked to violence — it appears to lead to an increase in violent crime. Before recreational legalization began in 2014, advocates promised that it would reduce violent crime. But the first four states to legalize — Alaska, Colorado, Oregon and Washington — have seen sharp increases in murders and aggravated assaults since 2014, according to reports from the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Police reports and news articles show a clear link to cannabis in many cases. […]

As Americans consider making marijuana a legal drug, it would be wise to remember the choices that fueled the devastating opioid epidemic. Decades ago, many of the same people pressing for marijuana legalization argued that the risks of opioid addiction could be easily managed.

A half-million deaths later, we have learned how wrong they were.

Marijuana’s risks are different from opioids’, but they are no less real. Let’s remember that hard truth as we listen to promises that allowing the use of this drug will do no harm.


Am I getting out of touch? I don’t remember hearing about this guy, and yet apparently he’s writing a book: “Tell Your Children: The Truth About Marijuana, Mental Illness, and Violence.”

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31 comments to A fossil shows up on the pages of the New York Times

  • Servetus

    Except for two non-fiction books, Alex Berenson writes spy novels. Pot is really out of his genre, as well as his grip on reality.

    Jacqueline Basha Berenson, MD, his wife, is a forensic psychiatrist and researcher at Columbia University. She may be the inspiration for Alex’s hit piece on cannabis, and that may be due to what appears to be an OD death of her brother, Joseph Basha, in Hong Kong in 2011:

    28 December, 2011 — Distraught relatives were last night trying to come to terms with the death of University of Hong Kong student Joseph ‘Joey’ Basha after it emerged that his body was found slumped in a public toilet near his home, 48 hours before he was reported missing.

    Friends and family were informed of his death only yesterday – four days after they told police Basha was missing and six days after his body was found in Yau Ma Tei, a 20-minute walk from his flat in Jordan.

    Basha’s sister Jacqueline Berenson, a forensic psychiatrist, and her husband, Alex Berenson, a novelist and former New York Times journalist, arrived from New York on Monday night with plans to search the city’s hospitals.

    ‘Jacky’s in terrible shape right now,’ Alex Berenson said yesterday. […]

    Alex Berenson is the named author, but that’s likely due to his books being best sellers, not because he’s a drug expert.

    So we end up with a familiar scene. Jacky, a professional psychiatrist, but certainly not a molecular psychiatrist, needs a scapegoat to blame for her brother’s OD death, and like hundreds of others have done, she blames marijuana because it’s been called a gateway drug.

    Columbia University has been the stomping ground for quack psychiatrists such as Dr Robert DuPont, and his trusty sidekick Kevin Sabet. The caliber of the propaganda certainly sounds as if it came from Kevin, so a connection may exist.

    As for Yale graduate and author Alex Berenson, based on his vitae, I would color him CIA.

    • DdC

      Again, how the hell does someone gateway to what hadn’t been invented or discovered? They can’t. Prohibition is the only causal connection. Reefer Mad Gossip only prevents citizens from getting medicinal relief and a less inebriating harmful way to relax and reduce stress. Get the fuck over it Raspberry!

      Darryl Strawberry is Against Marijuana Legalization,
      Calls it a Gateway Drug

      Origin and History
      3400 BC opium poppies Mesopotamia
      1805, morphine and codeine were isolated from opium
      1874 Heroin was synthesized from morphine
      1898 commercially

      Cannabis Timeline – Kikoko
      Cannabis cultivation goes back some 12,000 years,
      making it one of humanity’s oldest crops. Archaeological finds from another pre-Columbian people known as the Mound Builders, who lived in the Great Lakes and Mississippi River regions of North America between 3000 BCE and the 16th century, show evidence of the cannabis plant being used for textiles, as medicine and in rituals.

      Endocannabinoid System
      The endocannabinoid system could be extremely important in preventing, managing, or even treating certain chronic conditions.

    • Mr_Alex

      @DdC and Servetus

      My mum’s brother in law used to be a Royal Hong Kong Police and Hong Kong Police Officer until 2012 when he retired. For those who don’t, I was brought up in Hong Kong when it was a British colony until 1997 but immigrated to New Zealand in 1994 with my parents to New Zealand. The Hong Kong Police themselves are corrupt, you know sometimes after the Cannabis raids when they take the confiscated Cannabis back to the Police Station, they help themselves to some of it.

  • NCN

    Not just a fossil, a coprolite.

  • kaptinemo

    Unfortunately, the NYT has been the long-time home of drug prohibitionism, dating all the way back to the beginning of the last century:NEGRO COCAINE “FIENDS” ARE A NEW SOUTHERN MENACE; Murder and Insanity Increasing Among Lower Class Blacks Because They Have Taken to “Sniffing” Since Deprived of Whisky by Prohibition.

    The evident tradition of the NYT’s willful ignorance about illicit substances, why they were made so, and the consequences of keeping them so has seemingly remained intact. The late Abe Rosenthal, the Executive Editor of the NYT from 1977 to 1988 penned many of the Times articles excoriating cannabis over the decades prior to his demise, is no doubt smiling in Hell.

    To give a hint to the depth of journalistic prostitution the Times was willing to stoop, one need only view the phone conversation between Rosenthal and then-Drug Czar Berry McCaffrey, who unbeknownst to Rosenthal, recorded the call.

    Notice the craven collusion between one of the top members of the 4th Estate and the very bureaucrat he’s supposed to keep an eagle eye on while keeping an ethical distance from.

    (Notice also the willingness to be an accessory to de facto social engineering of the public to further government aims and policies, i.e., WRT altering the public’s perception of tobacco usage.)

    This pattern of traditional media enabling, aiding and abetting of government policies regarding illicit substances is but a small part of that corrosive collusion (like that which led to newsreaders cheerleading government propaganda to gin up support for the Middle Eastern Wars) that is the hallmark of traditional media outlets, and is largely why I get my news from alternative media sources, and have since 2002-2003.

  • Servetus

    Caffeine, a popular but legal recreational street drug, has been discovered to have both mental and physical therapeutic benefits. Sergi Ferré, Manuel Díaz-Ríos, John D. Salamone, and Rui Daniel Prediger, published their findings in the Journal of Caffeine and Adenosine Research:

    7 Dec 2018 –Preclinical evidence is reviewed which indicates that caffeine and selective A2AR antagonists could be used to treat the motivational symptoms of depression as well as cognitive and emotional impairments in attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. In addition, new research suggests that the A1R-D1R heteromer, which modulates the excitability of the spinal motoneuron, could be targeted by A1R antagonists to therapeutic effect in spinal cord injury. […]

    New Developments on the Adenosine Mechanisms of the Central Effects of Caffeine and Their Implications for Neuropsychiatric Disorders

    • DdC

      Food and Drug Administration officials confiscated CBD products from an Arizona smoke shop, the store’s owner said.

      Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb tweeted, “#FDA treats products containing cannabis or cannabis-derived compounds as we do any other FDA-regulated products. These products are subject to the same authorities and requirements as FDA-regulated products containing any other substance.”

      Maggots crawling all over the NYT piece…

      The U.S. attorney for the Southern District of West Virginia tweeted, “CBD products remain illegal and are an increasing problem and puts public at risk because products have not been proven safe or effective. Health claims, proper labeling & warnings critical for public safety like all other products. SERIOUS ISSUE.”

    • NorCalNative

      This video on the use of Rick Simpson Oil combined with chemotherapy for Stage IV pancreatic cancer is pretty awesome.

      I’ve been looking at the work of Israeli scientist, David Meiri, of the Laboratory of Cancer Biology and Cannabinoid Research. He’s at the Israeli version of MIT.

      Meiri has lab equipment that allows him to identify cannabinoids and terpenes and he uses his lab to study the 36 available cannabis flowers prescribed by doctors in Israel.

      In at least one case (this is in vitro, i.e., Petri dish) he found a chemovar killed cancer when it was an ethanol-based extraction but NOT when it was the same thing in CO2 extraction (e.g., like Epidiolex or Sativex). He also found that sometimes the acidic form worked against the cancer and the decarboxylated version did not, and visa versa.

      He found that chemovars that worked against breast and ovarian cancers didn’t touch prostate cancer. He found that chemovars that helped kill prostate cancer didn’t touch other types.

      Cannabis and cancer is an extremely complex subject. The odds that any individual patient gets matched with the best cannabis genetics is totally random at this point. Success stories are dependent on luck. However, with a really, really well-stocked dispensary patients have more options and a better chance to find the right chemovar(s).

      He studied a chemovar known to help with epileptic seizures that suddenly stopped working. He found that clones from the same mother plant, planted at the same time and conditions at different locations produced radically different cannabinoid and terpene profiles. In this case, the grower claimed identical THC/CBD ratios in the plant that had quit working for the epileptic patient. Identical THC/CBD ratios but widely varying ratios of other cannabinoids and terpenes.

      With just four clones from the same mother he found that for example THCV a cannabinoid helpful for diabetes, that there were high levels of THCV, medium levels, low levels and zero THCV.

      David has a 90-minute video you can find at the Society of Cannabis Clinician’s website video library. It’s pretty cool stuff and worth checking out if you have the time. If you do, there’s also a cool video by PhD Christina Sanchez of Spain on cancer I’d recommend as well.

    • Servetus

      Tobacco just upstaged marijuana as the alleged gateway to harder drugs:

      9 Jan 2019 — Tobacco is a known risk factor for the misuse of prescription opioids. In addition, concurrent use of opioids and sedative-hypnotics is a risk factor for opioid overdose or addiction. In an American Journal on Addictions study, tobacco users were more likely to receive prescriptions for opioid analgesics with muscle relaxants and/or benzodiazepines than people who did not use tobacco. […]

      And it gets worse. Whereas marijuana can have an anti-cancer effect, and results in cancer cell apoptosis in vitro: Cigarette smoking may contribute to worse outcomes in bladder cancer patients

      The science points to giving up tobacco and consuming marijuana instead.

  • Servetus

    Alex Berenson’s book, Tell Your Children: The Truth About Marijuana, Mental Illness, and Violence, hit the shelves today. It’s worse than anyone imagined. His deceased brother-in-law, Joey Basha, isn’t mentioned. However, Berenson does give credit to his wife for her inspiration to write the book:

    …this book would not have been possible without my wife, Dr. Jacqueline Berenson. And I don’t mean that in the usual pro forma “This wouldn’t haven’t been possible without my spouse” way. Jackie’s work as a forensic psychiatrist gives her a unique perspective on the violence that marijuana causes. Her understanding of the issue led me down the path to this book. I hope I’ve done it—and her—justice. [Kindle 231]

    Yes, violence, that’s what the man said. Using post hoc arguments he shows marijuana causes people to become violent—citing the most discredited pot propaganda in existence.

    The violence he associates with schizophrenics and the mentally ill who smoke marijuana, and who afterwards commit violent, horrible crimes, such as mass murder. Other cannabis violence he attributes to dealer ripoffs in black market transactions. None of it proves a direct, organic link exists between marijuana and violence, but by listing many dubious connections, he infers it.

    Berenson takes quotes from prosecutors and police officers. He adopts every myth that comes along that supports his thesis, for instance, he talks about increases in cannabis purity resulting in a more dangerous product.

    One of the researchers Berenson discusses includes Robin Murray, a Scottish psychiatrist who set out with others to prove marijuana causes violence. Almost every page of Berenson’s book contains feeble attempts to revive discredited presumptions about pot. Here Alex quotes Dr Nora Volkow in his defense:

    The opioid crisis has also deflected attention from the new [marijuana] research. For health and law enforcement agencies, the effects of rising marijuana use are a slow-motion problem. The 70,000 annual drug overdose deaths are an immediate emergency. “The size and scope of the opioid crisis has distracted people,” says Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

    But the legalization lobby—and its supporters in the media—sure haven’t helped. In 2011, a 22-year-old named Jared Lee Loughner shot Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords in Tucson, Arizona, wounding her and killing six other people.

    Loughner was mentally ill and had frequently smoked. But when a commentator named David Frum raised the potential link, he was roundly mocked. The Atlantic magazine called Frum’s theory one of the “5 Strangest Explanations for Jared Loughner’s Attack,” along with suggestions that heavy metal songs might be responsible.

    The reaction to Loughner’s case is the rule, not the exception. Marijuana’s advocates have the money, the cultural gatekeepers, and the elite media. The Washington Post—not High Times, the Washington Post—runs headlines such as “Marijuana May Be Even Safer Than Previously Thought, Researchers Say” and “11 Charts That Show Marijuana Has Truly Gone Mainstream.” Because everybody knows that if you smoke too much, you just eat Doritos until you fall asleep. Everybody knows Reefer Madness is a joke. Cops just want excuses to put black people in jail. And everybody knows marijuana should be legal. […] [Kindle 227-246]

    Berenson even defends Harry Anslinger’s attitudes toward marijuana:

    The marijuana lobby views Anslinger as a racist anti-cannabis fanatic who exaggerated the drug’s dangers to convince Congress to prohibit it.

    They’re partly right. Anslinger was openly racist, and marijuana’s association with immigrants from Mexico undoubtedly fueled the drive for prohibition. Yet Mexico itself criminalized marijuana seventeen years before the United States, in 1920, after Mexican lawmakers became convinced the drug caused mental illness and violence.

    Were those lawmakers motivated by anti-Hispanic prejudice too? Advocates for legalization have been too busy mocking Anslinger to wonder if he might be right. Because the “delirious rage” he describes sounds a lot like psychosis. And the “heinous crime” he mentions is happening far more often than anyone understands. […]

    Alex Berenson’s book is little more than a feeble attempt to revive reefer madness, and maybe make some money at the same time. He needn’t bother. He and his wife exhibit enough madness to fulfill the needs of every prohibitionist on the planet.

    • DdC

      Berenson resurrects HARRY ANSLINGER’S GORE FILE

      MARIJUANA REVOLUTION by John Sinclair
      It might seem strange to a lot of people to spend so much time and energy — and so many pages — on the subject of marijuana, which is after all only an innocuous naturally-occurring weed that people smoke to get high. But what’s even stranger is that an increasingly frightening number of people are being ordered to spend inconsiderable amounts of time (9½ to 10 years in my case) in penitentiaries and prisons simply for smoking this weed in America these days. People who do smoke marijuana are probably pretty much aware of the things I want to say in this article, but for those who can’t understand what all the commotion is about, maybe my remarks will be helpful.

      It just doesn’t seem to make any sense to have so many people smoking and praising this weird little weed marijuana, and it makes even less sense to see these people attacked so viciously by the purveyors of “law and order.” But once some basic facts concerning marijuana use and marijuana repression are established, it seems to me that the whole issue will become much clearer, and that we can finally move to rectify the situation which is now so confusing.

      Going to class wiped out on weed really makes you realize how ridiculous the whole Western system of “education” really is, how little it has to do with learning anything of value, and how destructive of native intelligence, curiosity and creativity it is. After a few months of this contradictory strain I dropped out of school for almost a year to immerse myself in Black ghetto life, which I approached from a stupid romantic beatnik viewpoint which held that there was where people really lived and fulfilled themselves. It wasn’t like that though, and it didn’t take me long to find out how fucked up America really is at its core, how pervasive and evil racism and industrial exploitation are in this country.

      “Reefer makes darkies think they’re as good as white men.”
      ~ Harry J. Anslinger
      (1892-1975) Assistant Prohibition Commissioner in the Bureau of Prohibition, first Commissioner of the Treasury Department’s Federal Bureau of Narcotics (FBN) (1930-1962, 32 years), US Representative to the United Nations Narcotics Commission

  • Jimmy's Got Weed

    Violence? It’s true, and I’ve got the body count to prove it. Why in just the last year alone I killed three house flies and two Redwood spiders. The horror…

  • mike

    Here’s what Robin Murray -mentioned above -was saying about his concerns back in 2004.

    • Servetus

      Good write-up by Murray, who appears to be honest about his topic. His information indicates anyone with schizophrenia is likely to have an adverse reaction to marijuana, or any other psychotropic substance, as their brains are likely to process the chemicals differently. The effect can be tested and the numbers determined by research. It doesn’t imply cannabis causes schizophrenia, however. Psychosis remains little understood, but progress is being made every day.

      Recently, today in fact, Robert Yolken, M.D. and researchers at Johns Hopkins revealed a link between Epstein-Barr virus (EBV, herpes, mononucleosis, mono, etc.) and schizophrenia. They found that people with schizophrenia were 1.7 to 2.3 times more likely to have increased levels of some EBV antibodies compared to non-schizophrenics.

      None of the anecdotal stories in Alex Berenson’s book implicate mono with schizophrenia. Obviously, no one could know of the mono link at the time.

  • DdC

    mho Cannabis is a supplement for the ECS, not a “drug” treating symptoms. It feeds the ECS that intern deals with the symptom.

  • DdC

    I talked to a Cannabis Medical Card doctor about Ganja and Schizophrenia. He was under the impression it was bad and increased symptoms. I ask him why some patients find relief and if it might be the various strains. That Indica may prove better than Sativa and without a menu of choices many in outlawed states have to use what is available. Plus the fact that NO doctor in the US has ever sat in an ECS classroom in Med School. It is also a rather new phenomina since nothing I know of has been said in 12,000 years of use. Before prohibition made it worthy of inclusion.

    Drugwar Lies Linked to Schizophrenia
    Cannabis Strains For Schizophrenia
    Using Pot To Save Brains!

    Marijuana Compound May Beat Antipsychotics at Treating Schizophrenia

    Schizophrenia – Medical Marijuana Research Overview

    Systematic Review: Cannabidiol (CBD) in the Management of Schizophrenia

    Small Doses Of Cannabis May Help Treat Schizophrenia

    CBD-Based Therapy May Help Treat Schizophrenia

  • DdC

    I talked to a Cannabis Medical Card doctor about Ganja and Schizophrenia. He was under the impression it was bad and increased symptoms. I ask him why some patients find relief and if it might be the various strains. That Indica may prove better than Sativa and without a menu of choices many in outlawed states have to use what is available. Plus the fact that NO doctor in the US has ever sat in an ECS classroom in Med School. It is also a rather new phenomena since nothing I know of has been said in 12,000 years of use. Before prohibition made it worthy of inclusion.

    Marijuana Compound May Beat Antipsychotics at Treating Schizophrenia

    Schizophrenia – Medical Marijuana Research Overview

    Systematic Review: Cannabidiol (CBD) in the Management of Schizophrenia

    Small Doses Of Cannabis May Help Treat Schizophrenia

    CBD-Based Therapy May Help Treat Schizophrenia

    ☛ N0 Medical Schools have a Department of Endocannabinoid (EC) Science or Director

  • DdC

    Drugwar Lies Linked to Schizophrenia
    Cannabis Strains For Schizophrenia
    Using Pot To Save Brains!

  • Servetus

    Facebook is addictive in the same way former Drug Czar Bill Bennett is addicted to gambling. That’s according to research from Michigan State University by Dar Meshi and colleagues from Australia:

    10-Jan-2019 — …Dar Meshi and his co-authors had 71 participants take a survey that measured their psychological dependence on Facebook, similar to addiction. Questions on the survey asked about users’ preoccupation with the platform, their feelings when unable to use it, attempts to quit and the impact that Facebook has had on their job or studies.

    The researchers then had the participants do the Iowa Gambling Task, a common exercise used by psychologists to measure decision-making. To successfully complete the task, users identify outcome patterns in decks of cards to choose the best possible deck.

    Meshi and his colleagues found that by the end of the gambling task, the worse people performed by choosing from bad decks, the more excessive their social media use. The better they did in the task, the less their social media use. This result is complementary to results with substance abusers. People who abuse opioids, cocaine, methamphetamine, among others – have similar outcomes on the Iowa Gambling Task, thus showing the same deficiency in decision-making.

    “With so many people around the world using social media, it’s critical for us to understand its use,” Meshi said. “I believe that social media has tremendous benefits for individuals, but there’s also a dark side when people can’t pull themselves away. We need to better understand this drive so we can determine if excessive social media use should be considered an addiction.” […]

    MSU Public Release: Researcher Finds Connection Between Social Media Addiction and Risky Decision-Making

    Journal of Behavior Addictions : Excessive social media users demonstrate impaired decision making in the Iowa Gambling Task (pdf)

    A deficiency in decision making certainly fits with what we know about Bill Bennett. It’s critical that we now have a test for the problem that could prevent people such as Bennett from ever assuming a position in government, or the dark side.

    Kevin Sabet and Alex Berenson will want to extend Dr Meshi’s findings to establish that Facebook usage by young people causes them to develop schizophrenia and commit violent crimes. Data shouldn’t be hard to cherry pick.

  • WalStMonky


    Hmmm, no one else recalled that “Reefer Madness” was originally named “Tell Your Children”?

  • DdC

    A member of the National Academy of Sciences committee that crafted a comprehensive marijuana report is taking issue with the way author Alex Berenson characterized its findings in his new book and related media appearances.

    • DdC

      Check out the comments (retweets)

      Ziva Cooper @zivacooper Jan 9
      In response to the recent @NYTimes editorial on cannabis and as a committee member on the @theNASEM #cannabis and #cannabinoids report we did NOT conclude that cannabis causes schizophrenia.

    • DdC

      Tell Your Children
      Author David Bienenstock joins Bruce, Ben, and Alyssa to talk about Alex Berenson’s Reefer Madness Redux act.

      ☛ While, like alcohol and tobacco, there are associations with cannabis use and psychosis, causation has not been established. However, even IF we did assume that cannabis is an independent cause of psychosis, then it so rarely does that you would have to stop thousands from using it to prevent just one case::

      ☛ “IF we assume that cannabis use plays a causal role in psychosis, it will be difficult to reduce psychosis incidence by preventing cannabis uptake in the whole population: an estimated 4,700 young men in the United Kingdom aged 20–24 years would have to be dissuaded from smoking cannabis to prevent one case of schizophrenia” [Hall 2014]

      ☛ If cannabis was a significant cause of psychosis, then varying rates of cannabis usage over time in the U.S. and other countries should have a corresponding change in rates of psychosis in those countries, but they have not despite decades of increased use by millions:

      ☛ “The most parsimonious explanation of the results reported here are that the schizophrenia/psychoses data presented here are valid and the causal models linking cannabis with schizophrenia/psychoses are not supported by this study.” [Frisher et al. 2009]

      ☛ “There was a steep rise in the prevalence of cannabis use in Australia over the past 30 years and a corresponding decrease in the age of initiation of cannabis use. There was no evidence of a significant increase in the incidence of schizophrenia over the past 30 years”

      ☛ “Cannabis use does not appear to be causally related to the incidence of schizophrenia…” [Degenhardt et al. 2003]

      ☛ “The current data do not support low to moderate lifetime cannabis use to be a major contributor to psychosis or poor social and role

  • The New York Times Got Duped Into Printing Reefer Madness

    … “Berenson goes to some lengths to claim that he is not a propagandist and Tell Your Children should not be compared to Reefer Madness (forget for a moment that the original title for the film was literally Tell Your Children). But there is no reason we should give Berenson the benefit of the doubt when he cherry picks and manipulates data. Our society has been deeply damaged by pot fearmongerers like Berenson, from the impacts on criminal justice to the delayed FDA-approved therapies that can clearly help people to just regular folks being denied a safe buzz from pot.

    I believe that legalization is the only sensible way to treat pot, but how exactly we legalize and regulate is a complicated question. We need people to be critical about our policy decisions, and we need scientists to keep studying what happens when we smoke pot (and if they keep looking, they will likely keep finding new benefits). But people like Berenson who merely have a book to sell and don’t care who they damage in the process don’t deserve to be listened to. And the media blitz surrounding Berenson’s book clearly shows how much East Coast media circles need to learn about pot.”

  • Servetus

    The cerebellum is the center for the brain’s reward and preference circuitry. Based on mouse studies, the new discovery points to inherent brain defects rather than cannabis as an initiator of psychoses:

    17-Jan-2019 — Researchers found a direct neural connection from the cerebellum to the ventral tegmental area (VTA) of the brain, which is an area long known to be involved in reward processing and encoding. These findings, published in Science, demonstrate for the first time that the brain’s cerebellum plays a role in controlling reward and social preference behavior, and sheds new light on the brain circuits critical to the affective and social dysfunction seen across multiple psychiatric disorders. […]

    …abnormalities in the cerebellum have been linked to autism, schizophrenia, and substance use disorders, and brain activation in the cerebellum has been linked to motivation, social and emotional behaviors, and reward learning, each of which can be disrupted in psychiatric disorders. […]

    The results of this study suggest a potentially major–and previously unrecognized–role for the cerebellum in the creation and control of reward and social preference behaviors. Although there is much left to explore, the identification of this direct neural pathway may help explain the role of this circuit in disorders that involve reward-related and social-processing systems, such as addiction, autism, and schizophrenia, and may point to future targets for intervention and symptom management. […]

    In future studies, the researchers plan to test whether the cerebellum-VTA pathway can be manipulated, using drugs or optogenetics, to treat addiction and prevent relapse after treatment.

    “Cerebellar abnormalities are also linked to a number of other mental disorders such as schizophrenia,” said Dr. Khodakhah. “We want to find out whether this pathway also plays a role in those disorders.”

    AAAS Public Release: New findings reveal surprising role of the cerebellum in reward and social behaviors: NIH-funded study sheds new light on brain circuits related to affective and social dysfunction

    Carta, I., Chen, C. H., Schott, A., Dorizan, S., & Khodakhah, K. (in press). Cerebellar modulation of the reward circuitry and social behavior. Science.

  • Servetus

    Author Alex Berenson lists the names of the medical and science professionals he conferred with to write his book. Uncharitably, he tells his readers they can look up their information and details on the researchers and their work if they’re interested. So I did. Below are the results.

    It’s clear why Mr. Berenson didn’t include details about the professionals he lists. He cites people whose research in most cases is old, inconclusive, irrelevant, or presumptuous. Most of the researchers’ agendas are anti-cannabis, while calling for more research to tackle the many unknowns not acknowledged. In the end, Berenson manages to prove that even by cherry picking researchers it doesn’t work to make his case against cannabis.

    Alex Berenson: “Psychiatrists, researchers, and scientists who shared their knowledge— in person, over the phone, or via email…”— included:

    Seth Ammerman, pediatrician, Seth Ammerman on the AAP’s stance against marijuana legalization

    Sven Andréasson, former Swedish professor and currently vice president of Novavax, a pharmaceutical company: Cannabis and schizophrenia. A longitudinal study of Swedish conscripts, shows correlation but not cause for psychosis.

    Louise Arseneault, MRC Social, Genetic and Developmental Psychiatry Center, King’s College London, Causal association between cannabis and psychosis: examination of the evidence: “Cases of psychotic disorder could be prevented by discouraging cannabis use among vulnerable youths. Research is needed to understand the mechanisms by which cannabis causes psychosis.”

    Jacob Ballon, researcher, says cannabis psychosis may be due to a genetically altered CB1 receptor, Schizophrenia and cannabis: “One particular genotype has been most clearly linked to people with disorganized type of schizophrenia; a type more characterized by inability to maintain activities of daily living than with positive/psychotic symptoms. This variation has also been seen in people with the amotivational syndrome due to marijuana but not with psychosis due to amphetamine (speed, etc.) or other drug use. However, this genetic variation is merely an association and not yet determined to actually be a testable risk factor for schizophrenia. The role of cannabinoids will be the subject of much further research over the upcoming years.”

    Sagnik Bhattacharyya, researcher, Cannabis extract helps reset brain function in psychosis, referring to CBD.

    Mary Cannon, researcher, says research is needed to understand the mechanisms by which cannabis “causes psychosis.” Causal association between cannabis and psychosis: examination of the evidence

    Marta Di Forti, cannabis potency fear mongerer, Marta di Forti explains her research into recreational cannabis use

    Cyril D’Souza says cannabis is absolutely addictive Yale Psych Prof Warns Against Legalization

    Amir Englund, researcher, pot potency fears, Cannabis: The science behind super-strength skunk, says high potency “skunk” leads to psychosis.

    Seena Fazel, researcher, Substance abuse as a risk factor for violence in mental illness: some implications for forensic psychiatric practice and clinical ethics; Fazel claims use of illicit drugs is likely to cause criminal offenders to re-offend.

    Tom Freeman, Senior academic Fellow, King’s College London, investigates marijuana and its comorbidity with psychosis, Treatment of cannabis related problems, wherein he presumes without evidence that psychosis is one of the problems.

    Wayne Hall, Prof. UNWS Sydney, claims marijuana is as addictive as heroin. On The Daily Mail’s reporting of cannabis research

    Julie Gazmararian, Implications of prescription drug monitoring and medical cannabis legislation on opioid overdose mortality. “When combined with the availability of medical cannabis as an alternative analgesic therapy, PDMPs [prescription drug monitoring programs] may be more effective at decreasing opioid-related mortality.”

    Robert Heinssen, researcher who promotes idea of cannabis psychosis links, Scientists are learning to predict psychosis years in advance—and possibly prevent it

    Kevin Heslin, researcher, Trends in Emergency Department Visits Involving Mental and Substance Use Disorders, 2006–2013, noted an increase in ED admissions for marijuana over a 7 year period.

    Shelaigh Hodgins, clinical psychologist. “In the 1990s, Shelagh Hodgins evaluated the risk factors of adolescents who abused psychoactive substances. This was achieved by using national records documenting criminal acts, health care, employment, and poverty levels.

    John Huffman, Clemson Univ. chemist who created synthetic marijuana, How this chemist unwittingly helped spawn the synthetic drug industry

    James Kirkbride, Univ. of Bristol Researcher, If cannabis caused schizophrenia—how many cannabis users may need to be prevented in order to prevent one case of schizophrenia? England and Wales calculations

    Emily Kline, proponent of claims that marijuana leads to psychosis, The Effects of Marijuana in First Episode Psychosis

    Matthew Large, researcher, Cannabis Use and Earlier Onset of Psychosis: A Systematic Meta-analysis, concluded that a correlation exists due to some incidences of early onset of cannabis smoking and later psychosis.

    Bernard Le Foll, addiction researcher and pot fear monger, Toronto, says marijuana is clearly addictive for 5 percent of all users: Is marijuana dangerous? Should it be legal?

    Valentina Lorenzetti, marijuana researcher, Australian Catholic University School of Psychology; her research produced inconclusive results.

    Michael Lynskey, New Zealand addiction specialist, gateway theorist, Escalation of Drug Use in Early-Onset Cannabis Users vs Co-twin Controls

    Erik Messamore, MD, PhD, pot critic, Mania, Bipolar, Schizoaffective, Schizophrenia: What Are The Differences? What Is The Overlap?

    Nathaniel Morris, resident mental health physician, pot critic, A Doctor’s Take on Pot

    Valerie Moulin, psychiatrist, Cannabis, a Significant Risk Factor for Violent Behavior in the Early Phase Psychosis. Two Patterns of Interaction of Factors Increase the Risk of Violent Behavior: Cannabis Use Disorder and Impulsivity; Cannabis Use Disorder, Lack of Insight and Treatment Adherence

    Robin Murray, Guardian op-ed, A clear danger from cannabis — Murray criticizes Univ. of Bristol’s Dr. David Nutt for not conclusively blaming marijuana for psychoses.

    Olav Nielssen, psychiatrist, Cannabis Use and Earlier Onset of Psychosis: A Systematic Meta-analysis

    Mark Olfson, psychiatrist, gateway theorist: Cannabis Use and Risk of Prescription Opioid Use Disorder in the United States.

    Elyse Phillips, Effects of prenatal marijuana exposure on neuropsychological outcomes in children aged 1‐11 years: A systematic review

    Aneta Lotakov Prince — worked for several years at the LA Public Clinic, complained she and staff couldn’t stop patients from using marijuana: book section

    Genie Roosevelt, The Continued Impact of Marijuana Legalization on Unintentional Pediatric Exposures in Colorado

    Russell Russo, top orthopedic surgeon in New Orleans. He offers … Smoking synthetic marijuana leads to self-mutilation requiring bilateral amputations.

    Melanie Rylander, University of Colorado Denver – Anschutz Medical Campus Department, Associate Program Director, Psychiatry Residency, Assistant Professor. The association of cannabis use on inpatient psychiatric hospital outcomes. Conclusion: “Patients presenting with psychotic symptoms and cannabis use require shorter inpatient psychiatric hospitalizations. This study is the first to quantify this observation and highlights the need for future clinical decision-making tools that would ideally correlate cannabis use with the degree of potential need for expensive and scarce mental health resources, such as psychiatric hospitalization.”

    Phil Silva, New Zealand, founder of the world-famous Dunedin study. … The study says that cannabis use under 18 is a “huge” risk.

    Scott A. Simpson, University of Colorado Denver – Anschutz Medical Campus Department SOM-PSYCH, paper: Psychiatric and medical management of marijuana intoxication in the emergency department.

    Christian Thurstone, MD: named an Advocate for Action by the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy in October 2012 for his “outstanding leadership in promoting an evidence-based approach to youth substance use and addiction.” Thurstone, an associate professor of psychiatry at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, is the director of one of Colorado’s largest youth substance-abuse treatment clinics.

    Jim van Os, Dutch professor of Psychiatric Epidemiology and Public Mental Health at Utrecht University Medical Centre, the Netherlands, who wrote: “Schizophrenia” does not exist

    Nora Volkow, Director of the NIDA, wants to win the Nobel Prize for her work on dopamine channels as the singular alleged cause for drug addiction—it’s not.

    Cathy Wasserman, Affiliate Assistant Professor, Epidemiology, University of Washington, and George Wang The Continued Impact of Marijuana Legalization on Unintentional Pediatric Exposures in Colorado

    Names (but not their info) from “Tell Your Children: The Truth About Marijuana, Mental Illness, and Violence” (pp. 229-230). Free Press. Kindle Edition.

    • kaptinemo

      But thus has it ever been…

      The prohibs count upon the general ignorance of the public regarding scientific research on cannabis, knowing that few of the public have the time or inclination to fully research the sources the prohibs claim as vindicating their positions.

      And so, they often engage in editorial sleight-of-hand, claiming studies proven inaccurate (like the Zhang study) by later ones (like the Tashkin study) as being valid, knowingly and with intent to deceive. Which is, in turn, part-and-parcel with their adherence to their Straussian ‘noble lie’ concept regarding ‘protecting youth from drugs by any means necessary’, itself a cornerstone of anti-drugs propaganda.

      With such a rationale, prohibs can excuse themselves for any amount of mendacity they feel is necessary to further their ‘noble’ cause, And in doing so, they expose their true natures. (“We ought to kill all the druggies!” is a sentiment often expressed in numerous comment sections on the Webpages catering to such people.) No wonder so many of them would have made good commissars in the old Soviet Union; they’ve certainly got the right attitude for the job.

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