Official Questions Linking Pot with Schizophrenia

Official Questions Linking Pot with Schizophrenia
Posted by CN Staff on December 01, 2005 at 08:49:22 PT
By Nancy Pasternack,  Sentinel Staff Writer
Source: Santa Cruz Sentinel
Santa Cruz -- 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.
Research claims broadcast on CNN, ABC, in magazines the Nation and National Review, and on dozens of governmental and nonprofit agency's Web sites in the past year have warned that smoking pot increases the risk of developing schizophrenia ó a chronic, disabling brain disorder that affects 1 percent of the U.S. population.Suspiciousness, delusions and impaired memory are tell-tale signs of serious mental illness brought on by the active ingredient in marijuana, according to study results quoted repeatedly on the Web.Like Corral, Rama Khalsa, director of the county's Health Services Agency, is skeptical of the findings, and the motives of those who promote them."Until the Bush administration," Khalsa says, "I'd never seen science used so much for political purposes." "I'm troubled," she says, "by the administration's comfort level with manipulation and their distortion of research."Studies detailed online by such organizations such as the Radiological Society of North America, and the government's National Institutes of Health and National Office of Drug Control Policy, refer to studies conducted in Britain, Sweden, New Zealand, Japan, Italy and several in the United States, including one from Yale University.Proportions of sampled pot smokers who eventually were diagnosed with schizophrenia vary from study to study, but conclusions about the basic relationship are similar in each."The findings," reads a press release from Yale following the release of that university's study in June 2004, "go along with several other lines of evidence that suggest a contribution of cannabis ... to the pathophysiology of schizophrenia."The drug control agency uses the research link as part of a television and Web campaign titled, "Parents. The Anti-Drug." Khalsa is not impressed."You need to know what you're looking at and how the results are interpreted," she says. Those who smoke marijuana or who take any other drugs need to know the actual risks involved, say both Khalsa and Corral. "Marijuana doesn't cause schizophrenia, but many people may think it's a no-harm drug," says Khalsa. People who already have a serious mental illness, "can have a relapse" by smoking pot, she says."It's important to understand the implications in taking any medications," says Corral. The mentally ill often attempt to "self-medicate," with marijuana ó a bad idea for schizophrenics, say Corral and Khalsa.Andrea Tischler, co-owner of Compassion Flower Inn, says that a lack of research about the medicinal benefits of marijuana is the real problem.Tischler's place offers rooms where medical marijuana users can gather and smoke freely."This healing plant has been used for more than 5,000 years as medicine, but they can't get the funding to study it because it's not FDA approved. It's a Catch-22," she says. "And if marijuana is so bad, why are doctors recommending it in every state where they are allowed to do so?" Complete Title: County Health Official Questions Research Linking Pot with Schizophrenia Newshawk: AfterburnerSource: Santa Cruz Sentinel (CA)Author: Nancy Pasternack,  Sentinel Staff WriterPublished: December 1, 2005 Copyright: 2005 Santa Cruz SentinelContact: editorial santa-cruz.comWebsite: Article & Web Sites:WAMM Flower Inn Marijuana Use Damages Adolescent Brains -- Cannabis Archives 
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Comment #32 posted by charmed quark on December 04, 2005 at 12:14:49 PT
Runderwo - they measure blood levels of THC
Very simply, blood from the victims is withdrawn and toxicology tests are run. One of the things they test for is levels of THC in the blood. I'm unsure of the details, it may be gas chormography, but whatever method they use is very accurate. This is nothing like testing for metabolites. It shows the actual concentration of the drug, in nano ( or micro?) grams per liter of blood.Of course, different individuals have diffent levels of intoxication at the same blood levels. Apparently, theis variability is much greater than for alchohol.Anyway, I'm sure they were acurate in this study about blood levels of THC in the crash victims. Where I suspect they are off is the estimate of the percent of the population who is "high" on cannabis at any time. Without an accurate estimate of that, their study is meaningless.
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Comment #31 posted by John Tyler on December 03, 2005 at 21:17:27 PT
Gov. sponsored lies
Letís face it, the government has lied so much about just about everything for so long, that I donít believe anything they say anymore especially when it is has anything to do with the Drug War. 
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Comment #30 posted by FoM on December 03, 2005 at 09:58:12 PT
Driving Under The Influence of a Cell Phone
I believe more people die from talking on the phone while driving then from having traces of THC in their system.
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Comment #29 posted by runderwo on December 03, 2005 at 09:32:00 PT
How did they test for active THC? Supposedly this is so difficult to do that we resort to metabolite testing over here in the states. And the lack of an easily administered active test is one of the prohibitionist arguments, because they are so worried about someone being high at work or driving (even if it does not produce a measurable negative effect on their performance)
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Comment #28 posted by charmed quark on December 03, 2005 at 06:23:06 PT
French study
I read the original study. The researchers compared the number of crash victims with active levels of THC in their blood to estimates of what precent of the French population would have active levels in their blood at the same time. They came out with a 2.5X higher level in the crash victims. Of course, the estimate of the the general population is open to a LOT of uncertainty.Note how the estimated risk from THC is almost in the noise compared to the alchohol risk. Yet you will see headlines about the risk of "drugged driving" and little about alchohol. As I've said before, develop real measures of blood levels and impairment and set some limits. If that doesn't work, the cops will just have to work harder and measure impairment at the roadside.I'm very suspicious of the study as it also concluded that THC users were much more likley to die from injuries in the wrecks than were the other subgroups, even for the same types and severity of crashes. They concluded that something about THC intoxication makes it more likely injuries will kill you. Well, there is nothing in the general literature that would even suggest this.
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Comment #27 posted by afterburner on December 02, 2005 at 20:50:34 PT
Vested Interest at the Top of the Medical Pyramid
bmj british medical journal, doctors' political hierarchy (are they too chummy with pharmaceutical vendors?) has a vested interest in opposing medical cannabis, like the AMA, CMA and most likely others.Medical Freedom Amendment for 2006; let us heed the words of Benjamin Rush, George Washington's personal doctor and a signer of the Declaration of Independence: "Unless we put medical freedom into the Constitution, the time will come when medicine will organize into an undercover dictatorship. To restrict the art of healing to one class of men and deny equal privileges to others will constitute the Bastille of medical science. All such laws are un-american and despotic and have no place in a republic. The Constitution of this republic should make special privilege for medical freedom as well as religious freedom.""Make the most of the Indian hemp seed, and sow it everywhere!"
- George Washington, Note to gardener at Mount Vernon - Ask "Dad," he knows.
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Comment #26 posted by dongenero on December 02, 2005 at 12:44:28 PT
thanks ron......
for that insight.I was wondering about the schizophrenia reports. I remembered an article awhile back on this subject, which also pointed out Nahas' background as being generally held in low regard by legitimate researchers.
I had not been able to locate it in the archive though.I did not know the same knuclehead was tied in to the latest French bunk research.
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Comment #25 posted by ron on December 02, 2005 at 12:02:49 PT
If Nahas was involved
disregard the study.Gabriel Nahas is the "scientist" who dedicated his life to proving pot was bad for you.He's spent half a century on his crusade.Columbia University first disassociated itself from his publications, and then fired him.No matter. US Drugthugs like what he says, and so do the French.He's been Chirac's main advisor on cannabis, and so, bears responsibility for the recent violence.The article will be reprinted throughout the land, with different scary headlines, and no real analysis of the protocols or the motives of the researchers.That's the state of modern mainstream media.
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Comment #24 posted by FoM on December 02, 2005 at 08:52:53 PT
BBC: More on The French Driving Study
Drug 'Doubles' Fatal Crash Risk 
 ***Friday, December 2, 2005Driving after taking even small amounts of cannabis almost doubles risk of a fatal road accident, research suggests. 
The French National Institute for Transport and Safety Research found evidence of cannabis use among 7% of drivers involved in fatal crashes. However, the figure was dwarfed by the 21.4% who tested positive for alcohol consumption. The British Medical Journal study was based on 10,748 drivers involved in fatal crashes between 2001 and 2003. 
 Complete Article:
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Comment #23 posted by dongenero on December 02, 2005 at 08:47:30 PT
statistics on French cannabis use
Lifetime prevalence rates for cannabis among adults 15-64 years old increased from 21.9% in 1999 to 26.2% in 2002 (EROPP 2002, 1999) based on surveys carried out among the general population. rate of cannabis use in France in 2002 was 26.2%.The rate of cannabis use of those tested in fatal car crashes in France is 7%.It looks like the real statistic is that use of cannabis decreases you odds of involvement in a fatal car crash significantly.The 26.2% number is lifetime occurance of use. I have not found stats on current and recurring cannabis use.
I would not advocate driving impaired but, evidence suggests this article which tries to connect cannabis with culpability in fatal car crashes is being spun.
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Comment #22 posted by dongenero on December 02, 2005 at 08:20:36 PT
use percentage in France
If indeed the use of cannabis in France exceeds 7%, it would indicate that cannabis users rate of involvement in fatal accidents is lower than that of the average population.
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Comment #21 posted by jared3602 on December 02, 2005 at 07:25:54 PT
driving under the influence in France
one of the reasons for the riots in France is because they started to crack down harder on the cannabis users. So there is alot more then just 7% of cannbis users in France.
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Comment #20 posted by dongenero on December 02, 2005 at 07:13:46 PT
RE: car crash statistics
So, 7% of those involved in fatal car crashes test positive for marijuana.Metabolites from past cannabis use will exist in the blood for about 1-4 weeks after use. This does not mean the individual is impaired.This means that 7% of the people involved in fatal crashes used cannabis in the last several weeks, not that they were under the influence at the time.Furthermore, I wonder what the rate of cannabis use within the general public in France is? Do you suppose it's 7 percent???I think what their study proves is that cannabis users are no more immune to fatal car crashes than is the general non-cannabis using population.
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Comment #19 posted by runderwo on December 01, 2005 at 22:38:52 PT
I forgot to mention how hilarious I found the phrase "blood concentration of marijuana" used in the article. That could be due to my being affected at the moment.
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Comment #18 posted by runderwo on December 01, 2005 at 22:37:00 PT
I'm not convinced by the WebMD article. They do not mention whether they were testing for THC or for THC metabolites. If the latter, the entire study is invalidated.
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Comment #17 posted by siege on December 01, 2005 at 21:00:16 PT
this i found
Smoked, oral, injected
Pot, Acapulco Gold, Grass, Reefer, Sinsemilla, Thai Sticks
2 days -11 weeks
Smoked, oral
THC, Marinol
2 days -11 weeks
Smoked, oral
Hashish, Hashish Oil
2 days -11 weeks Smoked,
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Comment #16 posted by Hope on December 01, 2005 at 21:00:13 PT
Reading about that study and it's statistics...
did anyone else have the feeling of watching a shell game artist at work, or one of those guys who try to confuse you into giving them more change than the money they gave you in the first place?I don't believe it, either.
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Comment #15 posted by FoM on December 01, 2005 at 20:28:12 PT
This is how I look at a study like this. First it is from France and it made me smile a little to think of how we have to call french fries freedom fries and then they use a study from France. As far as the study goes I just don't believe any of it. You know when parents yell at a child long enough the children don't hear them anymore. That's what they have done to me. I go to myself with my fingers in my ears and sing La La La La I don't hear you anymore! LOL!
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Comment #14 posted by Siege on December 01, 2005 at 19:55:38 PT
Some is not right here, My doctors at the VA said that THC stay's in the bood for not less then 7 days or is he wrong?? So if this is right 
then the French researchers studied are not right!
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Comment #13 posted by FoM on December 01, 2005 at 18:17:43 PT
Web MD: Marijuana Raises Risk of Fatal Car Crash
Marijuana Raises Risk of Fatal Car Crash***French Study Shows Pot Smokers More Likely to Be Responsible for Deadly Accident By Jennifer Warner,
WebMD Medical News Reviewed By Michael Smith, MD
on Thursday, December 01, 2005  
Dec. 1, 2005 - People who drive after using marijuana are nearly twice as likely to be involved in a fatal car crash.French researchers studied all drivers involved in fatal car crashes over a two-year period and found 7% tested positive for marijuana, including nearly 3% who tested positive for a combination of marijuana and alcohol.Although marijuana's share of fatal crashes is much lower than those attributed to alcohol, researchers say the results show that marijuana use, even in low doses, significantly increases the risk of fatal car accidents.More Pot, More DeathsIn the study, published in the medical journal BMJ, researchers reviewed information on 10,748 drivers who were involved in fatal car crashes and took required tests for drugs and alcohol.Twice as many drivers involved in fatal car accidents tested positive for marijuana compared with a group of other drivers.Researchers say about 2.5% of the fatal crashes were attributable to marijuana compared with nearly 29% attributable to alcohol.The study also showed that drivers who tested positive for marijuana were more than three times as likely to be responsible for the fatal car crash. Researchers say the likelihood of being at fault increased as the blood concentration of marijuana increased.SOURCES: Laumon, B. BMJ, Dec. 2, 2005, online first edition. News release, BMJ.Copyright: 2005 WebMD, Inc.
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Comment #12 posted by Ferre on December 01, 2005 at 18:12:08 PT
Psyched over cannabis
And there's this...CANNABIS could have a personality as confused as some of its users.Thought to increase the risk of psychosis, cannabis has a compound that could also reverse psychotic behaviour. 
Melbourne scientists found cannabidiol reversed drug-induced behavioural disturbances in mice.,5478,17429369%255E2862,00.htmlAnd this...Study: Pot Smokers Don't Get the Blues November 22, 2005 3:16PM The online survey, which involved 4,400 people, was supported by a grant from the Marijuana Policy Project, a group that supports legalizing and regulating the drug. "I expected that depression would be even, that the groups wouldn't differ at all," said study co-author Mitchell Earleywine of SUNY-Albany. "I never thought the users would be less depressed." Why the long face? Maybe you're not getting enough pot. 
Mitchell Earleywine, a psychology professor at the State University of New York at Albany, and Thomas F. Denson, of the University of Southern California, recently completed a study claiming that people who smoke marijuana are less depressed than those who never smoke.
Cannabis will heal the nations!
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Comment #11 posted by whig on December 01, 2005 at 18:09:43 PT
Correlation is not causation
Let's grant the statistical correlation as fact, some substantial percentage of people who are diagnosed with schizophrenia have taken cannabis, and that percentage is greater than the usage rate among the general population. There are many possible explanations, including the self-medication of pre-diagnostic symptoms, etc., which do not require a causal role of cannabis (either singly or in combination with other factors).Still, the correlation is not nearly so high as tobacco. Some 75% to 90% of all people diagnosed with schizophrenia smoke tobacco., this does not prove that tobacco is causal either, but if we're going to talk about correlation it's a rather stronger one.
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Comment #10 posted by Ferre on December 01, 2005 at 17:57:16 PT
We heard that before
The lancet published a study on this subject...
Cannabis Ministry Amsterdam
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Comment #9 posted by lombar on December 01, 2005 at 17:56:37 PT
Don't get me wrong...
Some people, many, are helped by anti-psychotic meds, my friends acute symptoms are treatable but its taking the meds for long periods he does not like. If the symptoms do not become acute, by whatever method, that goes a long ways towards stablizing their lives. I have seen many people on the streets around town that live in half-way houses, without their meds they could be a danger to themselves and others. 
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Comment #8 posted by FoM on December 01, 2005 at 15:21:47 PT
I only met one person with Schizophrenia. When I went thru de-tox years ago I met a young man that said he had Schizophrenia. He was in treatment because a friend of his found him with a gun to his head and had locked himself in a car. He said his friend noticed the car shaking and that is how he found him. He said he stopped taking his medicine and started drinking beer again and I guess he snapped. He said he didn't like the high being taken away so he stopped the medicine.
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Comment #7 posted by lombar on December 01, 2005 at 15:13:32 PT
It's his only psychoactive medication. I believe it stablizes his mood and stops/treats the depression that is an inevitable symptom(leads to sucidal ideation, perhaps action on such ideas). Whether he suffers from hallucinations still I doubt it but he would likely not admit it anyway... who wants to be locked up, even if it is a hospital? The only real drawback is the 'lack of motivation' to have a 'normal' life ie, a 9-5 job but that is a sign of sanity in my opinion! It is not a function of cannabis but of attitude I am sure. He said he was never that motivated, even in university(before illness struck in 20s).Of course the medical establishment is dead set on the belief that cannabis CAUSES schizophrenia more so than the idea that perhaps cannabis just makes them feel better. What if 'high' for a schizophrenic is like 'normal' for a regular person? The politics will prevent research in this area.
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Comment #6 posted by FoM on December 01, 2005 at 14:58:48 PT
Does Cannabis help your friend when he is in a down swing for lack of a better way of saying it? What I mean does it help him fron crashing that I think people do with Schizophrenia that aren't on some type of prescription medicine?
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Comment #5 posted by lombar on December 01, 2005 at 14:44:54 PT
I know a person diagnosed as schizophrenic who self-medicates with cannabis. It seems he does ok until he quits then the symptoms resurface. He says the anti-psychotics they proscribe make him feel like a zombie, and not himself. It completly destroys any creativity he may have. He would rather be 'loopy' than the walking dead but cannabis actually helps him be relatively normal. You would not know he was a schizophrenic unless you were told...or he did not get any cannabis for a few weeks...Cannabis is either really helpful for some schizophrenics or the person is misdiagnosed. Try and find a definition of 'cannabis psychosis' which a few of the reports I have read of late mention. It is vague and if you dig deep enough you will find that what counts a 'positive psychosis' due to cannabis can just be paranoid thoughts. Who in the USA would be paranoid if they smoke pot? (anyone who knows they risk jail)More state sponsored reefer madness because the one immutable truth about those in power is that they never want to give any of that power up, even if it is based in injustice. If the drug war goes away so does the many state intrusions into our lives.
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Comment #4 posted by drfistusa on December 01, 2005 at 09:58:13 PT
cannabis is treatment for Schizophrenic
many people self medicate too get relief from mental disorders , I have seen this many times, just because some one uses cannabis to relieve their symptoms. It's like saying that people with glacoma got it from cannabis vrs. using it because they have it. 
like cannabis causes depression because we found some people with depression use it!! WHO is the crazy one in this lame argument.
Western Buddhism = Scythien Buddhism
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Comment #3 posted by jared3602 on December 01, 2005 at 09:26:25 PT
because JHarshaw
there is no link. Just like cannabis use increases crime. If that where true then why has cannabis use gone up lately and crime has fallen over the same time period. Because there is NO link between the two. The government know the sheeple will follow anything they hear on TV.
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Comment #2 posted by FoM on December 01, 2005 at 09:24:10 PT
Hi to you too.I think we have about 300 million people in the states now or close to it. With that many people health issues will happen but what I mind is our government trying to is make a mountain out of a mole hill to try to keep cannabis illegal for normal, average, everyday adults.
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Comment #1 posted by JHarshaw on December 01, 2005 at 09:03:47 PT
Hi.If cannabis causes schizophrenia then given there has been a huge increase in the number of cannabis consumers over the last 50 years or so why has there been no similar rise in the number of schizophrenic suffers?Just a thought, peace and pot
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