Monday, 21 April 2014

Casual Pot Use Causes Brain Damage?

Casual Pot Use Causes Brain Damage? A response to

So Jodi Gilman, Ph.D ( as part of MGH-Harvard Center for Addiction Medicine (CAM) claims. The lead author's bread and butter is coming up with results that show drugs as being 'bad'. They would lose funding if they found out anything contrary to the agenda of the government.  As such, they are hardly independent. It's difficult to have confidence in this when Science and Politics are merged into one.

"Each sample had nine men and 11 women, and they each underwent a psychiatric interview to confirm they were not dependent on marijuana or any other illegal drugs."

So the assumption is these brain changes cause addiction - yet the first screening establishes they are not.

"The researchers were unable to measure the THC content of the pot smoked by study participants, but marijuana is much stronger today – at about 5 percent to 9 percent THC content – than in the 1960s and 1970s, when THC content was typically 1 percent to 3 percent."

There are at least 85 different cannabinoids isolated from cannabis, exhibiting varied effects.[5]
(source). THC is higher at the expense of the others in some strains. Medical strains are typically higher in CBD, for example. So saying current crops are 'stronger' is meaningless.

"Scientists examined the nucleus accumbens and the amygdala—key regions for emotion and motivation, and associated with addiction—in the brains of casual marijuana users and non-users. Researchers analyzed three measures: volume, shape and density of grey matter (i.e., where most cells are located in brain tissue) to obtain a comprehensive view of how each region was affected.

Both these regions in recreational pot users were abnormally altered for at least two of these structural measures. The degree of those alterations was directly related to how much marijuana the subjects used."

"The degree of those alterations" implies the brains were scanned before usage, which is false. We don't know which came first. What they could be establishing is that people with those structures are more likely to seek out cannabis in the first place.

The science here is incredibly tenuous and this is a big deal because life and death decisions are being made on an untested hypothesis.

Research using microdialysis has shown that the levels of dopamine in the extracellular fluid of the nucleus accumbens increase when rats are injected with addictive drugs such as cocaine, heroin, nicotine, or alcohol.[8]

 This increase in dopamine is believed to be responsible for the reinforcing effects that later stimulate drug-taking behavior.

Functional-imaging studies in humans have shown that environmental cues associated with addictive drugs releases dopamine in the nucleus accumbens.

However, when administered methylphenidate, drug addicted subjects had a much smaller release of dopamine in this area than non-addicted subjects.

These findings suggest the notion that the nucleus accumbens is associated with the beginnings of drug addiction and the dorsal striatum is responsible for the augmentation of the drug habit.[8]

The nucleus accumbens has been targeted by stereotactic surgery for ablation as a treatment in China for alcoholism.[9]"

So the key points here are that it merely *suggested* that maybe the nucleus accumbens is associated with the beginnings of drug addiction.

And on that basis, China is removing chunks of people's brains.

And on that basis, anti-cannabis organisations are calling for re-criminalisation of cannabis, and jail or death for people using and growing, with the subsequent ruin of their lives.

All on the thinnest of connections.

Something is very wrong here.

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