By Shiacmkmleer · Mar 18, 2007 · ·
  1. Shiacmkmleer
    Cannabis: An apology

    In 1997, this newspaper launched a campaign to decriminalise the drug. If only we had known then what we can reveal today...

    By Jonathan Owen

    Published: 18 March 2007

    Record numbers of teenagers are requiring drug treatment as a result of smoking skunk, the highly potent cannabis strain that is 25 times stronger than resin sold a decade ago.
    More than 22,000 people were treated last year for cannabis addiction - and almost half of those affected were under 18. With doctors and drugs experts warning that skunk can be as damaging as cocaine and heroin, leading to mental health problems and psychosis for thousands of teenagers, The Independent on Sunday has today reversed its landmark campaign for cannabis use to be decriminalised.
    A decade after this newspaper's stance culminated in a 16,000-strong pro-cannabis march to London's Hyde Park - and was credited with forcing the Government to downgrade the legal status of cannabis to class C - an IoS editorial states that there is growing proof that skunk causes mental illness and psychosis.
    The decision comes as statistics from the NHS National Treatment Agency show that the number of young people in treatment almost doubled from about 5,000 in 2005 to 9,600 in 2006, and that 13,000 adults also needed treatment.
    The skunk smoked by the majority of young Britons bears no relation to traditional cannabis resin - with a 25-fold increase in the amount of the main psychoactive ingredient, tetrahydrocannabidinol (THC), typically found in the early 1990s. New research being published in this week's Lancet will show how cannabis is more dangerous than LSD and ecstasy. Experts analysed 20 substances for addictiveness, social harm and physical damage. The results will increase the pressure on the Government to have a full debate on drugs, and a new independent UK drug policy commission being launched next month will call for a rethink on the issue.
    The findings last night reignited the debate about cannabis use, with a growing number of specialists saying that the drug bears no relation to the substance most law-makers would recognise. Professor Colin Blakemore, chief of the Medical Research Council, who backed our original campaign for cannabis to be decriminalised, has also changed his mind.
    He said: "The link between cannabis and psychosis is quite clear now; it wasn't 10 years ago."
    Many medical specialists agree that the debate has changed. Robin Murray, professor of psychiatry at London's Institute of Psychiatry, estimates that at least 25,000 of the 250,000 schizophrenics in the UK could have avoided the illness if they had not used cannabis. "The number of people taking cannabis may not be rising, but what people are taking is much more powerful, so there is a question of whether a few years on we may see more people getting ill as a consequence of that."
    "Society has seriously underestimated how dangerous cannabis really is," said Professor Neil McKeganey, from Glasgow University's Centre for Drug Misuse Research. "We could well see over the next 10 years increasing numbers of young people in serious difficulties."
    Politicians have also hardened their stance. David Cameron, the Conservative leader, has changed his mind over the classification of cannabis, after backing successful calls to downgrade the drug from B to C in 2002. He abandoned that position last year, before the IoS revealed that he had smoked cannabis as a teenager, and now wants the drug's original classification to be restored.

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  1. Nature Boy
    Seems highly hypocritical if anything. Comparisons being made to the weed our fathers smoked back in the day and skunk. It was ok then but oh wait, let's throw in some dodgy statistics and all of a sudden the sweet leaf has turned into the devil's harvest again. Virtually claiming that 10% of the UK's schizophrenics are like that because of weed is a complete and utter crock of shit.
  2. snapper
    SWIM wonders if they accounted for population increase in their statistics.
    SWIM doesn't even want to comment any further. This mental illness angle is the most unsubstantiated and retarded yet ! What the hell is 'skunk' anyways. It's just smelly weed ! Nothing new there ..
  3. kalishakti
    Hmm. I wonder if all the overly-prescribed SSRIs, tranquilizers, anti-anxiety drugs, etc have more to do with increased rates of mental illness than weed ever could. It would be interesting (and likely, quite telling) to see how many of these so-called "cannabis-damaged youths" are in fact using/absuing a lot of other chemicals, at greater levels than ever before, and weed is taking the blame for it all.

    Peace and Divinity
    Baudeaux Machs
  4. Alicia
    lol.. another comical read. even thou skunk is only one strain in hmm thousands of different strains. but no that one strain is what causes the madness even thou some people with schizophrenia in the early stages tend to medicate on these sort of drugs and to say its a direct cause with out any clear evidence is frankly pingu poo..
  5. stoneinfocus
    ... needless to say, that everything, cocerning satisfation of the human mind and his own nature is cocncerned something evil and life´s just for working and making kids to ensure the rent, while the right to work is a disguise and swapped to the do what we say and you-work-or-you´ll be-poor-and-die-attitude.

    Of course teens might get into trouble with cannabis, they might do with alcohol, but on the other hand, the wouldn´t if their natural life and conscious, unaltered mind would be the most desireable state of mind to be up to and drugs just " an exploration of space" or necessary mean to fit accomplishments.

    Swim was doing cannabis 1-2 a year, when he was 17-19years old and never felt sliek shizophrenic or a trouble individuum, just amazingly stoned.
  6. Isochrist
    It seems that every propaganda laided story I see regarding pot, it never fails to mention that the pot in question is now Xtimes stronger than the pot Xmany years ago.

    So... where's all the ridiculously good pot at?! I mean, if I seen shit 10 years ago saying herb was 25 times more potent than a decade ago, and now I see it again...

    ... Where are you super pot?!
  7. Nagognog2
    Paid liars I have no mercy for. They should be kicked in front of an express train.
  8. sunyata
    People who get addicted to cannabis to the point where they need treatment shouldn't be allowed outside an institution, they'll never make it in the real world. Might sound harsh, but I'm tired of being punished so these weaklings can continue their pathetic existences, where's Darwin when you need him?

    And how are they addicted? They don't get withdrawals so it's just a matter of them being unable to break a routine. And that's really their problem, losers.
  9. snapper
    Millions of people are addicted to cigarettes in the same way and the withdrawal is similar for those who are dependent.
    SWIM could be called a 'weed' addict. SWIM has not stopped for the last 25 years. Hates to be without (or even the thought) and gets anxious and irritable if SWIM doesn't smoke any for a few days. However, if it came down to it, SWIM could stop - it's just that SWIM sees no reason to. SWIM is very together by normal standards BTW, and is managing quite well in life.
    SWIM has always adopted the philosophy of avoiding judgement of people's mental problems. Most addictions are symptomatic of other psychological problems. Young people are also more prone to screw up and develop dependencies with any drug given all of the other psychological stresses of growing up with no perspective on life.
    For the record, SWIM also feels that weed is pretty much the same spectrum of potency as when SWIM started using over 25 years ago. SWIM is just able to acquire better quality with more consistency now, but the good stuff back then was just as good!
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