Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Cannabis should be legal BECAUSE it is harmful

Some people have been pointing to this article by Patrick Cockburn as something that should be read before uncritically accepting the HASC recommendations.

This is the letter I wrote in response to a previous article by Patrick and another by John Rentoul that were published in the IoS last year. I thought it would be worth publishing it again. An edited version was published the week after in the IoS but I can't find it online. I'm very happy the Independent has printed an editorial this week that has called for decriminalisation of drugs despite Patrick Cockburn's articles on the subject. Please understand that I do not criticise Patrick Cockburn in any way and only have sympathy for what he and his family have had to endure.

Dear Editor,

(in reply to the articles of John Rentoul and Patrick Cockburn of the
5th of June 2011)

I last had a letter published in the Independent on Sunday on the 15th
of September 2002. It was a desperate plea for increased education on
mental health issues informed by my deeply distressing experience of
my brother's worsening psychosis. Within that letter I said "We don't
need it to be easier to lock up the mentally ill. We need a society in
which everyone knows how to look after their mental health and can
look out for the health of others." Some 9 years later, and with a
brother sadly still severely limited by his condition, I am now a
passionate campaigner for the strict control and regulation of a legal
cannabis market. I have taken this position because I recognise the
potential within a strictly regulated legal market for that education
on mental illness to be delivered directly to people who have around a
doubled risk of developing schizophrenia. If cannabis was sold from
pharmacists and there was a requirement to undergo education on the
early warning signs of psychosis before people are permitted to use,
then I do hope that John and Patrick can recognise that "legalising"
cannabis can present a marvellous opportunity to intervene early in
psychosis and reduce its impact upon young lives, families and
society. Permitting use by adults should also reduce the viability of
criminal enterprises that deal to children, and increase the ability
of the police to rightly target such enterprises. Prohibition did not
stop Henry Cockburn using cannabis from the age of 14. I desperately hope that
controlling and regulating the market, alongside improved education in
schools, can reduce the level of use in the next generation and reduce
the incidence and severity of the terrible condition that Patrick and
I have had the misfortune to witness first hand.


Ewan Hoyle.


Anonymous said...


CLEAR is running a mega PCC complaint on this one because the 'Cannabis causes schizophrenia' series was outrageous in its inaccuracies and distortion. It's all on the website.

However, I think the biggest single issue here are the dangerous and false words by Professor Sir Robin Murray which he must correct for the sake of his professional reputation.

This provides an insight into the misinformation and propaganda battle that is the reality of this campaign.

Anonymous said...

Professor Sir Robin Murray and the 'skunk' studies that don't exist

Ewan Hoyle said...

Skunk + Murray + Pubmed = the above paper.

Don't embarrass yourselves further.

Ewan Hoyle said...

And another

Ewan Hoyle said...

Or you could read the book...

Anonymous said...

Ewan Hoyle:

This study doesn't have controlled group, it doesn't take into account other drugs like alcohol, cocaine.
Also how users know they smoked "skunk" or it was strong or if it even was cannabis not hemp sprayed with synthetic cannabinoids? Worthless.

Anonymous said...

I'm not embarrassed to tell the truth Ewan. Why you take such a combative attitude? We may disagree on the degree of harm that can be caused by cannabis but we agree that it should be strictly controlled and regulated.

The studies you cite are of high THC cannabis. 'Skunk'is a propaganda term and it shames any scientist to use it. I see no definition of the cannabis in these studies except that it is high THC.

The studies also fail entirely to consider the other components of the cannabis used and are therefore fundamentally flawed. I thought you understood enough about the subject to know how crucial the THC:CBD ratio is, not to say the 100 odd other cannabinoids and 300 odd other components. More careful studies reveal that cannabinoid ratios can make differences of up to 330% in measurable data.

If you don't want to conduct a polite dialogue then why bother inviting comments?

Professor Sir Robin Murray's claims about 'skunk' are false and such faux science helps no one.

Anonymous said...

If you want some intelligent discussion on cannabis and mental health then you need to try harder to disentangle your (understandable) emotional reaction.