Herald on recreational drugs

May 28th, 2013 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald editorial:

New Zealand once prided itself on being a “social laboratory” for advances in public welfare. Within a few months it will become a laboratory in every sense: for the approval of new recreational . Other countries are taking a close interest in Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne’s proposed licensing system for synthetic psychoactive substances, as Mr Dunne found when he addressed a United Nations Drug Convention in Vienna recently. Drug researcher Chris Wilkins told the Weekend Herald he found the same interest at a drug policy conference in Bogota, Colombia last week.

Neither Mr Dunne nor Dr Wilkins relishes the idea that New Zealand could be the first legal, regulated market for recreational drugs thanks to the Psychoactive Substances Bill before Parliament. The bill’s purpose is to put a stop to present sales of untested, unregulated party drugs. It will require them to be proven safe before they can be put on sale and the regulators probably would not mind very much if their testing regime proves prohibitive.

I can’t say I have a problem with a regime that drugs need to be proven safe before being allowed to be sold.

Campaigners for the legalisation of cannabis must be watching with interest. While the law would apply only to synthetic equivalents, it might be hard to deny the same tests to naturally grown leaf.

Exactly. What not subject all drugs to the same regime?

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62 Responses to “Herald on recreational drugs”

  1. RRM (9,933 comments) says:

    So New Zealand might become the first country in the world that evaluates whether to permit, or ban, new drug-type substances based on rational testing of their actual effects?

    Scary stuff! :-)

    I wonder if alcohol and caffeine will be included?

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  2. DylanReeve (166 comments) says:

    It’s interesting that the prohibition on cannabis, a fairly safe natural product, has resulted in a market for unregulated and highly questionable legal “alternatives”.

    I’ve never really understood how cannabis is illegal while tobacco and alcohol remain legal. It will be interesting to see what odd contortions the law ends up taking to allow synthetic cannabis products to be tested, while making sure that the real thing isn’t allowed the same.

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  3. Pete George (23,602 comments) says:

    Isn’t it very unlikely there will be any change to the legal status of cannabis under a National government?

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  4. Weihana (4,557 comments) says:

    DylanReeve,

    The law does not have to justify itself so no contortions are required. If it wants to be hypocritical it does so and we must observe it. :)

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  5. decanker (184 comments) says:

    It will be interesting to see the parameters that determine if a substance is safe – the balance of risk/reward.

    All sorts of things in the market pass safety standards but in the wrong hands are completely unsafe – cars, alcohol, nutmeg, chainsaws, cigarettes, skateboards, paracetamol, lego… which makes me think cannabis, with rational safety standards, should certainly be proven to be safe.

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  6. s.russell (1,642 comments) says:

    I am very dubious about the principle behind this because it requires negative proof. That is really hard, maybe too hard. How do you proove that Vegemite is safe? What about donuts? Coca-cola? There are lots of people who would like to ban these products for health reasons aren’t there. And what if you apply the same test to cigarettes or beer or coffee? I do not like the principle that we should stop people from harming their own health. That transgresses our right to freedom.

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  7. Colville (2,272 comments) says:

    Remember: Only users lose drugs!

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  8. Weihana (4,557 comments) says:

    DPF,

    Exactly. What not subject all drugs to the same regime?

    Because if the standard is that alcohol should be legal then most other drugs should be too if harm and safety are judged on objective terms.

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  9. berend (1,711 comments) says:

    I suppose local communities will get no say if they allow sale of such products….

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  10. Dennis Horne (2,403 comments) says:

    @s.russell. It’s not so much proof as bring cautious, testing and monitoring, surely. The reason alcohol was exempt from this process is its use pre-dates it, isn’t it?

    Where does the “right” to freedom spring from?

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  11. Weihana (4,557 comments) says:

    This law is idiotic precisely because it seeks to cure a problem that would not exist but for other equally idiotic legislation. What consumers want are the drugs these synthetic substitutes seek to emulate. The original drugs have been around for a while and relatively speaking there is a wealth of understanding of their effects and the risks involved. By making them illegal the government has, quite inevitably, encouraged the manufacture of new substances that by comparison are unknown and inherently more risky.

    If this law achieves anything it will be to divert recreational users back to the black market, however this still increases the risk to their health as there is no regulation of the drugs they are buying. The only way to maximize safety (other than personal abstention which, as we all know, is wishful thinking) is for a regulated market which focuses on drug use as a health problem rather than a criminal problem.

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  12. RightNow (6,994 comments) says:

    “Herald on recreational drugs”

    I knew it!

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  13. Thrash Cardiom (298 comments) says:

    Alcohol – the gateway drug:

    http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2012/07/05/study-the-gateway-drug-is-alcohol-not-marijuana/

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  14. RRM (9,933 comments) says:

    I suppose local communities will get no say if they allow sale of such products….

    :???: Because “the community” totally deserves to have a say in what products businesses decide to stock… right?

    (And why is it always “local communities”?? Why not just “communities”??)

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  15. Weihana (4,557 comments) says:

    Dennis Horne (1,236) Says:
    May 28th, 2013 at 10:29 am

    The reason alcohol was except from this process is its use pre-dates it.

    It is exempted because it would otherwise be prohibited due to the significant harm it causes in terms of addiction, family breakdown, violence etc.

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  16. Redbaiter (9,123 comments) says:

    (And why is it always “local communities”?? Why not just “communities”??)

    If you actually had the intelligence you so frequently presume to possess RRM, you would know what he was getting at.

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  17. kowtow (8,524 comments) says:

    The left control the language and therefor the debate.

    Recreational drugs!

    There is nothing recreational about drugs.

    Cannabis is not safe,it fucks up your brain ,your life and your employablity.

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  18. Griff (7,819 comments) says:

    Alcohol
    Ld50 is around 30 drinks
    pot has no ld50.
    Alcohol safe?no its a deadly poison
    Our hospitals and jails are full of the resulting carnage it perpetuates on society
    yet because it is “your” drug of choice its legal
    the only ones in jails over pot are there not because of the effects of pot only because its illegal.

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  19. david (2,557 comments) says:

    s.russell 10:14 – I would have thought it was obvious that no-one in their right mind would want to smoke vegemite

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  20. Weihana (4,557 comments) says:

    kowtow (4,467) Says:
    May 28th, 2013 at 10:40 am

    The left control the language and therefor the debate.

    The left? Drug law reform isn’t “left”. Do you see Shearer proposing drug law reform? Of course not because the issue has support and opposition from across the political spectrum. And there is no “control” over the debate. If there were we wouldn’t have the Misuse of Drugs Act. Clearly it is not the pro-reform lobby in control here.

    Recreational drugs!

    There is nothing recreational about drugs.

    Recreation means for enjoyment.

    Cannabis is not safe,it fucks up your brain ,your life and your employablity.

    Define “safe”. Are automobiles safe? Is anything absolutely safe?

    Usage certainly entails risk and one is better off not consuming it (unless for the numerous medical reasons it has proved useful for). But the risks would certainly appear to be within the bounds of what is acceptable for an individual adult to decide upon.

    Hyperbole is counterproductive in trying to educate the public about the dangers of drugs. When hyperbole inevitably proves to be false it leads to a false sense of security that all warnings of danger are false.

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  21. Nick R (507 comments) says:

    The new Psychoactives Bill will not change the legal status of cannabis or any other substance currently controlled/prohibited under the Misuse of Drugs Act or the Medicines Act. In practical terms, this means it won’t be possible to put cannabis or THC though the new testing regime. Even if they were tested and found to be safe, they would still be prohibited as Class C and Class B substances respectively. So (as I understand it) only substances which are not currently illegal, and those which are only regulated by means of temporary bans which expire on or after 1 August 2013, will be capable of being licensed under the new Act – provided they are tested and found to be safe enough.

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  22. Ryan Sproull (7,205 comments) says:

    The left control the language and therefor the debate.

    Recreational drugs!

    There is nothing recreational about drugs.

    Cannabis is not safe,it fucks up your brain ,your life and your employablity.

    So don’t take it, Mr Nanny State. But don’t force other people how to live their lives.

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  23. Redbaiter (9,123 comments) says:

    “But don’t force other people how to live their lives.”

    What a dumb statement. You are forever trying to force your ideas on others through parliament- take redefining marriage as an example.

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  24. Dennis Horne (2,403 comments) says:

    Weihana (3,191) Says: May 28th, 2013 at 10:37 am. It is exempted because it would otherwise be prohibited due to the significant harm it causes in terms of addiction, family breakdown, violence etc.

    Of course. But the fact remains we have “always” used alcohol, that is why we accept it. Prohibition is not acceptable, that is why it doesn’t work. We accept prohibition of handguns; that works.

    I’m not trying to contradict you, by the way, your reasoning is clear. We suffer from “answerism”: we think there is always an answer, we must just find it and implement it. There may not be an answer. Just control as best we can. That is my preferred option.

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  25. RRM (9,933 comments) says:

    What a dumb statement. You are forever trying to force your ideas on others through parliament- take redefining marriage as an example.

    Has gay marriage made you gay Redbaiter?

    No?

    Then it’s not really forcing anything on you, is it?

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  26. Weihana (4,557 comments) says:

    Redbaiter (3,095) Says:
    May 28th, 2013 at 11:01 am

    “But don’t force other people how to live their lives.”

    What a dumb statement. You are forever trying to force your ideas on others through parliament- take redefining marriage as an example.

    How does that qualify as forcing an idea upon you? The legalization of gay marriage does not impose anything upon you, it imposes a standard on government. You are not government. You are an individual. You are free to believe homosexuals are the devils work.

    (BTW, does there need to be a Godwin equivalent in terms of gay marriage? Perhaps “as discussion grows longer, the probability that an obsession with gay marriage will subsume all other discussion approaches 1.”)

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  27. Fentex (986 comments) says:

    I can’t say I have a problem with a regime that drugs need to be proven safe before being allowed to be sold.

    That is a problematic position to take. Do you think people need to prove to others that anything they want to do is safe before they should be permitted to do it?

    Are the numerous foods and supplements sold in NZ today safe? What of things like St. Johns Wort, homeopathic pills, unleavened bread or anything at all?

    Why stop at food once the principle is established? It seems to me to be an embracing of the position often derided as ‘Nanny Statism’ to demand that people prove to others that their pleasures are safe by others standards.

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  28. Weihana (4,557 comments) says:

    Dennis Horne (1,238) Says:
    May 28th, 2013 at 11:02 am

    But the fact remains we have “always” used alcohol, that is why we accept it. Prohibition is not acceptable, that is why it doesn’t work. We accept prohibition of handguns; that works.

    I think that is essentially true. I would say that the difference with alcohol is that its usage is so widespread that prohibition quickly leads to corruption and other forms of harm fairly quickly whereas with other drugs used by a minority of people it leads to such things more slowly and so the failure of such prohibition is not viewed in terms of its inherent impracticality but rather the moral failings of that minority which does not conform.

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  29. Ryan Sproull (7,205 comments) says:

    What a dumb statement. You are forever trying to force your ideas on others through parliament- take redefining marriage as an example.

    Redbaiter, if you call Parliament taking a step back from imposing judgement calls on people’s personal lives as “forcing” that on everyone, you might as well say that deregulation is forced on business, that freedom of speech is forced on journalists, that “one person, one vote” is forced on everyone.

    Letting people decide whether or not they want to take drugs is not “forcing” that freedom on them.

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  30. The Scorned (719 comments) says:

    Redbaiter’s idea of “freedom” is anything that Redbaiter personally agrees with…..

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  31. Dennis Horne (2,403 comments) says:

    The underlying problem is we are inadequate. We use recreational drugs to make life better: happier, easier. No evidence of intelligent design here.

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  32. UglyTruth (4,551 comments) says:

    Extensive information on cannabis:
    http://www.erowid.org/plants/cannabis/cannabis.shtml

    Recent medicinal use:

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  33. Longknives (4,767 comments) says:

    We get it Potheads-
    Alcohol=The root of all evil
    Cannabis= Fabulous ‘Sacred Herb’ that we must all ingest breakfast,lunch and dinner to make the world a magical wonderland

    What’s that you say? Cannabis Induced Psychosis??…But Nandor and the Gweens said it was safe….

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  34. mikenmild (11,247 comments) says:

    On any objective scale, alcohol is a much more harmful drug than cannabis. It is high(!) time that adults were free to choose what psychoactive substances they ingest free from legal prohibitions.

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  35. Longknives (4,767 comments) says:

    “alcohol is a much more harmful drug than cannabis.”

    Bollocks.

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  36. mikenmild (11,247 comments) says:

    Would you like some links that demonstrate the relative harm of cannabis vs alcohol?

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  37. Longknives (4,767 comments) says:

    Would you like some helpful information about Cannabis Induced Psychosis?

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  38. Longknives (4,767 comments) says:

    Or how about you speak to the families of those who burned or fell to their death in the Carterton Balloon Tragedy? Maybe implore to them how wonderful the benefits are of your precious ‘Sacred Herb’…

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  39. mikenmild (11,247 comments) says:

    I’m certainly not denying that cannabis is a harmful susbtance; it is just much less harmful than alcohol. The only rational approach is to treat all psychoactive drugs in a similar fashion.

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  40. Griff (7,819 comments) says:

    Longknifes
    that’s a long bow
    as the present openly pot smoking commentator on kb i acknowledge it is not harmless
    however any trip to a watchhouse or a&e clinic on a Saturday nite will leave no doubt about the impact of alcohol.
    Most customers in both cases will be pissed ask any cop or nurse how many stoners compared to pissheads they deal with
    stoners don’t get a skinfull and cause mayhem
    unless its eating loads of strange food with the munches :lol:

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  41. Redbaiter (9,123 comments) says:

    You self professed progressives who used big government to force a change in the traditional definition of marriage are fucked, because you can never ever ever use the argument that Ryan tried to use here today.

    “Nanny state- don’t force other people how to live their lives”

    Deep down inside Progressives are always, no matter what disguise they adorn, on the side of the left and when they want big government to work for them, they will call for it just as stridently as the admitted left will do.

    Liberals push the silly propaganda lie that this was about equality or freedom. It wasn’t about any of these things, it was about fascism.

    And you will never live it down, It will not be forgotten. It will not fade away.

    What the damn fool John Key and his slimy National Party curs did in redefining marriage against the will of so many Conservative NZers will never be forgiven, and neither will the support they received by those fakes and poseurs who portray themselves as liberals or worse libertarians.

    You are all as bad as any slimy socialist totalitarian. You proved it when you used big government to get what you wanted.

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  42. nasska (11,582 comments) says:

    Cannabis is illegal, yet the first drafts of the US Constitution were written on hemp paper.

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  43. mikenmild (11,247 comments) says:

    I agreed with Ryan actually. The state should not regulate personal relationships between consenting adutls. The state should not regulate the use of psychoative substances by adults.

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  44. Johnboy (16,716 comments) says:

    Tattoos are frowned upon but the first drafts of the US Constitution were written with ink! :)

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  45. Redbaiter (9,123 comments) says:

    Nice piss take Johnboy, that bald headed old queer loving fascist doper wouldn’t have a fucking clue about logic.

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  46. Griff (7,819 comments) says:

    Reddy
    if you run we will make you smoke pot then analy penetrate you
    you have been warned
    the oppressive freedom of the progressives will be forced opon you

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  47. nasska (11,582 comments) says:

    Just trying to widen your general knowledge Reddy….you seem to have got into an intellectual rut over the past ten years or so. :)

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  48. mikenmild (11,247 comments) says:

    When Reddy grows up he should be free to smoke or drink whatever he wants and marry the man or woman of his dreams with no interference from the gummint.

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  49. Redbaiter (9,123 comments) says:

    That some dope smoking broken down old gorse farmer from Upper Waikikamookow presumes to be capable of widening anyone’s general knowledge Narsekissa would have to be one of the most stark examples of self deceit one would ever witness.

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  50. nasska (11,582 comments) says:

    Only trying to help. :)

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  51. Ancient Dan (47 comments) says:

    In 1978 i proposed the current Portuguese solution to a labour party conference – thwarted by that fool jonathan hunt.
    I am off to Portugal tomorrow
    Dunne’s solution is maybe an answer to substance argument
    Washington and Colorado have taken the words of the voters that they want the law changed in their states.
    but then they have a democracy where the people can make the rules.

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  52. Nostalgia-NZ (5,221 comments) says:

    How old are you actually Dan?

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  53. Reid (16,520 comments) says:

    The problem with pot is most people who object to it have no idea what they’re objecting to. They have no idea that smoking a doobie is precisely exactly the same as having a beer or two, from a psychoactive perspective. Instead they hallucinate that a mere sniff of weed is enough to start those spiral hypno wheels spinning and all sorts of pretty swirly bright coloured things start moving around the poor “victim,” who wakes up several hours later none the wiser for what just happened or what he did while he was “under.”

    I reckon that if any legislator wishes to do anything except abstain on the question of weed decriminalisation, they should be made to go on a week-long course of medical-strength THC tablets before they’re allowed to vote. Otherwise they’re simply not qualified, they just have no idea what they’re talking about or what they’re really voting on.

    And Dunne is the first one to be required to undertake such a course. Imagine what his stupid hairdo is going to look like after that.

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  54. SPC (5,643 comments) says:

    If the standard is safer than alcohol, then ecstasy will be legal within 2 years.

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  55. SPC (5,643 comments) says:

    With marijuana, would they find that the grass grown is lower in THC and thus safe enough to allow legal public sale but not the higher THC level hydroponic crop?

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  56. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    Tattoos are frowned upon but the first drafts of the US Constitution were written with ink

    Comment of the day JB.

    Theres a few taking themselves very seriously at the moment

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  57. Griff (7,819 comments) says:

    Dunne admitted smoking pot
    the hypocrite should turn himself into the police and except the legal consequence of his action
    No job as an mp if you have broken the law
    I recently had a young lad working for me who was exclude from school for aledgly smoking pot
    way to go destroy his future prospects because he may have smoked a joint
    ffs why. there is no logic for such stupid policy

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  58. Johnboy (16,716 comments) says:

    I take it we are popping round to the watering hole on Sunday to share a joint then Reid? :)

    As a fool I always try to see the funny side of serious PEB. :)

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  59. Ryan Sproull (7,205 comments) says:

    Or how about you speak to the families of those who burned or fell to their death in the Carterton Balloon Tragedy? Maybe implore to them how wonderful the benefits are of your precious ‘Sacred Herb’…

    Longknives, you can’t be serious. 11 New Zealanders died in that crash. On average, the same number are killed every month by alcohol-related driving accidents in New Zealand. I mean, if people dying because of intoxication means you’re against people being intoxicated, fine. But don’t pick and choose which death-causing intoxications you prefer.

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  60. Griff (7,819 comments) says:

    Its bullshit
    He had pot in his system
    pot has a very long life in your blood
    the measurable effects of it wear of in around three hours
    the opposite happens with alcohol if you drink a lot you are still measurable impaired when it is no longer detectable
    Its called a hangover most would have personal experience of one
    :lol:

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  61. UglyTruth (4,551 comments) says:

    What’s that you say? Cannabis Induced Psychosis??…But Nandor and the Gweens said it was safe….

    http://www.erowid.org/plants/cannabis/cannabis_health3.shtml

    The first thing to know about this topic is that it is indisputable that there is a correlation between the repeated use of cannabis and a variety of mental health issues.

    This bears repeating: correlation does not imply, and should not be assumed to mean, causation.

    Does Cannabis Cause Psychosis?
    There are several distinct types of “causes”: necessary, sufficient, and component. A necessary cause is one that must be present before the result can occur. A sufficient cause is one that is, by itself, enough to cause the result. A component cause is one that is part of a “constellation” of causes that work together to bring about a result.

    All of the recent research into this issue has found that cannabis is neither necessary nor sufficient to cause schizophrenia by itself.5 Rather, it is most likely a component factor when combined with a variety of other potential issues such as genetic pre-disposition or difficult childhood. Cannabis use, along with its attendant lifestyle and subculture, probably worsens symptoms in some of those vulnerable to psychotic disorders. The same is commonly said of the psychedelics such as LSD or psilocybin. As we don’t know what causes schizophrenia, determining how important a factor cannabis use is cannot be determined.

    Cannabis use could be a precipitating component in several ways. Heavy cannabis use may worsen certain coping mechanisms and weaken familial or social support through social disapproval. Fear of legal problems could cause anxiety and paranoid feelings; actual legal problems could damage self-esteem, damage hopes for life goals, or cause serious life problems. Cannabis intoxication can lower inhibitions and self control, worsen some symptoms to the point of dysfunction, or be part of a lifestyle that involves irregular sleep or other instability. It is easy to imagine that the effects of frequent or high dose cannabis intoxication could exacerbate these underlying instabilities and lead to increased paranoia and delusions.

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  62. Griff (7,819 comments) says:

    Ut
    Google health issues.around alcohol
    A significant number of mental health problems are directly attributed to alcohol
    from memory around 50% of acute admissions are due to.alcohol addiction
    Conversely pot is not physical addictive
    .

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