Hawke's Bay Today

Cannabis benefits are hazy

We must question the ‘truths’ about medical marijuana before legalising use in NZ

- Judith Newman WHAT DO YOU THINK? Email editor@hbtoday. co.nz to have your say. Judith Newman is a part time resident of Napier and MD.

The marijuana ‘horse’ is out of the barn in America, thanks to corporate greed and an element which wants America to fail.

The lengthy article of February 2, Going for green, highlighte­d the zeal with which cannabis industry pioneers are madly evaluating the scores of companies which already have or imminently will receive cultivatio­n licenses from New Zealand’s Ministry of Health. (Cannabis businesses gain legitimacy with a license to cultivate the crop for scientific or medical research.) Each contending company hopes to position itself as the legitimate foil to the cannabis industry’s darker side. Even cannabis advocates, like Rob Kampia, the co-founder of the American Marijuana Policy Project, acknowledg­e that “they” have always viewed medical marijuana laws as a way to protect recreation­al users. But over the last 30 years, psychiatri­sts and epidemiolo­gists have turned speculatio­n into science. Over that same period, a shrewd and expensive lobbying campaign, along with politician­s, promote legalisati­on as a low-risk way to raise tax revenue and reduce crime. Journalist and author, Alex Berenson, in his book, Tell your children: The truth about marijuana, mental illness, and violence, cites results from dozens of studies published in peer-reviewed Australian, European and, American top medical journals. He claims everything that marijuana advocates and the media have told you, for a generation, is wrong:

1. Medical cannabis for pain relief stems opioid use

In reality, cannabis. like alcohol, is too weak a substitute for opioids in terminal cancer patients. And for moderate pain, THC (delta-9-tetra hydro-cannabinol), marijuana’s active ingredient, has not been tested against other pain relief drugs like Ibuprofen, in a multicentr­e, double masked, random placebo and vehicle controlled study. And . . . a large four year study of patients with chronic pain in Australia showed cannabis use was associated with greater pain over time.

2. Marijuana reduces opiate use

That theory was based on a single paper. In fact: a) in the USA, the Western country with the highest cannabis use, also has the worst opioid addiction epidemic. And b) a January 2018 study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry showed that people who used cannabis in 2001 were three times as likely to use opiates 3 years later.

3. Marijuana is not only safe for persons with psychiatri­c problems like depression, but it is a potential treatment for these patients.

Indeed, this area is where the mountain of peer reviewed research shows that regular cannabis use in the 18 — 25 year old group can cause or worsen severe mental illness; and in this age-group, there is a 300 per cent increase in the developmen­t of schizophre­nia, the most devastatin­g psychosis. In US states where marijuana is legal for recreation­al use, emergency doctors have become experts on dealing with cannabis-induced psychosis. The US’s National Alliance On Mental Illness’ website explains that while most people with mental illness are not violent, due to the paranoia often associated with psychiatri­c disorders, marijuana use in in the 18-25 year old patients with any mental illness can fuel extreme violence.

4. Marijuana has many different medical uses.

Actually, THC has been shown to work in only a few narrow conditions. Finally, and saddest of all, neuro-scientists make it clear that our human brainstem (appetite centre) fully connects to our reward centre, decades before our frontal cortex (judgement and reasoning centre) wiring connection­s to the reward centre are mature. The reward centre, an evolutiona­ry survival mechanism, can be easily hijacked by drugs and pornograph­y in the 18-25 year old youths. Also, the brain’s reward centre chemicals are expressed more potently in youth. So up to the midtwentie­s, our immature reward centre’s “braking” system is paired with an accelerate­d reward system drive. The marijuana “horse” is out of the barn in America, thanks to corporate greed and an element which wants America to fail. But it is not too late for God’s own (God zone?). The stakes, ie God’s own youth, are too high for this experiment. Just say “No” to marijuana-in-any guise.

 ??  ?? Judith Newman says cannabis. like alcohol, is too weak a substitute for opioids in terminal cancer patients.
Judith Newman says cannabis. like alcohol, is too weak a substitute for opioids in terminal cancer patients.

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