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  1. #1

    Marijuana doubles mental health risk

    Drug 'doubles mental health risk'
    Tuesday, 1 March, 2005
    BBC News

    Smoking cannabis virtually doubles the risk of developing mental illnesses such as schizophrenia, researchers say.

    The New Zealand scientists said their study suggested this was probably due to chemical changes in the brain which resulted from smoking the drug.

    The study, published in the journal Addiction, followed over 1,000 people born in 1977 for 25 years.

    UK mental health campaigners said it was more evidence of a "drug-induced mental health crisis".

    The researchers, from the University of Otago, interviewed people taking part in the Christchurch Health and Development Study about their cannabis use at the ages of 18, 21 and 25. They were also interviewed about various aspects of their mental health.

    The scientists found psychotic symptoms were more common among cannabis users.

    They analysed their findings to take into account the possibility illness encouraged people to use more cannabis, rather than the drug contributing to their condition.

    But the researchers said the link was not likely to be due to people with mental illness having a greater wish to smoke cannabis. Instead, they said cannabis may increase the chances of a person suffering psychosis by causing chemical changes to the brain.

    The researchers also took into account factors such as family history, current mental disorders, and illicit substance abuse.

    'Growing evidence'
    The scientists, led by Professor David Fergusson, said it was likely cannabis use increased the chances of a person suffering psychosis by causing chemical changes to the brain.

    Writing in Addiction, he added: "Even when all factors were taken into account, there was a clear increase in rates of psychotic symptoms after the start of regular use.

    "These findings add to the growing body of evidence from different sources, all of which suggest that heavy use of cannabis may lead to increased risk of psychotic symptoms and disease in susceptible individuals."

    Paul Corry, of the mental health charity Rethink, said: "This is the latest in long line of international research over the last 12 months that shows we are facing a drug-induced mental health crisis.

    "Rethink is renewing its call to the Health Select Committee to investigate the latest research into the link between cannabis use and severe mental illness.

    "We need action from the Department of Health and we need it now if we are to avoid the risk of tens of thousands of young people developing a severe mental illness in the future."

    Marjorie Wallace, of the mental health charity SANE, said: "At last there is a convincing study supporting what we have been saying for many years, that there is a direct link between cannabis and psychosis.

    "We urge the government to reconsider its decision on classification, backing that with a multi-million pound education and awareness campaign on the dangers of cannabis for young people whose brains are developing."

    The Department of Health has said it will review all academic and clinical studies linking cannabis use to mental health problems.

  2. Psychology as Homogenizer of Popular Conduct

    Conduct labeling -the naming of a certain person's, or perceived group of person's, deviation from accepted conduct- in Psychology responds directly to a nation-state's need to control it's populace. In comtemporary Western society, the concept of mental-health is too-deeply embeded within the logic of particular economic systems for one to take mental diagnosis with the least bit of seriousness.

    I challenge psychologists to investigate beyond the by-rote hyper-specialized education they receive at nation-state-regulated knowledge factories and to present rigorous research that unveils causes for human mental suffering from a standpoint more distantiated from the economical utility that characterizes its current general embodiment and rather closer to humanist values.

    A study of drug consumption from the standpoint of diagnostics has very little to no scientific value, unless one is a politician or invests much money on the pharmaceutical industry.


    http://metainformaciones.blogspot.co...mogeneity.html

  3. #3

    Marijuana doubles mental health risk

    In your opinion what should be done?

  4. #4

    Marijuana doubles mental health risk

    I'm sorry, BitsParaElSimedie, but that is simply nonsense. This is not about an attempt to control or label people. It's about giving people the information they need to make informed choices.

    In Canada, we are about to decriminalize marijuana. All in all, I think that's prtobably a good thing. But that's not the same as stamping the drug with a "safe and approved for consumption" label.

    There are clear and by now well-established risks associated with long-term or heavy cannabis use, especially in the young. Not to acknowledge this is simply irresponsible.

    There are of course also clear and well-established risks in the use of alcohol and tobacco but one is not usually criminalized by using those substances. As a society, we try to make people aware of the risks and then ask them to make informed decisions. that's what the warnings about cannabis are about, in my opinion.

  5. Marijuana doubles mental health risk

    Quote Originally Posted by David Baxter
    I'm sorry, BitsParaElSimedie, but that is simply nonsense. This is not about an attempt to control or label people. It's about giving people the information they need to make informed choices.

    In Canada, we are about to decriminalize marijuana. All in all, I think that's prtobably a good thing. But that's not the same as stamping the drug with a "safe and approved for consumption" label.

    There are clear and by now well-established risks associated with long-term or heavy cannabis use, especially in the young. Not to acknowledge this is simply irresponsible.

    There are of course also clear and well-established risks in the use of alcohol and tobacco but one is not usually criminalized by using those substances. As a society, we try to make people aware of the risks and then ask them to make informed decisions. that's what the warnings about cannabis are about, in my opinion.
    Thank you cm and Dr. Baxter for taking the time to read, digest and post a reply to my comment. I address your replies as follows:

    cm: One way of diverting energies currently invested by state-sanctioned contemporary psychological research in the classification and arbitrary valuation of conducts that deviate from state-sanctioned social-norm is to avoid the further dissemination of information resulting from such mode of research without accompanying due critical analysis. A more active approach could draw information from other disciplines to create a body of knowledge regarding coincidences between the wants of the state and the valuation given by psychology to its classification of "deviate" conducts. As one may understand, there is more than one way to address this problem.

    Dr. Baxter: To accept the validity of the information this place has chosen to help disseminate, one would also have to accept "reality" as universal in nature. The classification of a person as ill due to a perceived difference in said person's perception of reality can hardly possess any scientific value.

    From this standpoint, any correlation between illness and deviation from a certain set of conducts -or departure from socially-accepted reality- could frankly be perceived as nonsensical in nature. I deeply question the coincidences between the valuation of conducts psychological research classifies, and values fostered by the nation-state within which they are conducted.

    Regarding "well-established risks", one could certainly agree that illicit drugs are a risk to the licit drug economy as well some nation-state's sets of values. In the light of current world events, one could also suggest that larger departures from state-sanctioned reality, or thinking, are needed -dare one also say, healthy- especially in the young.

    N.b. There is no need to be "sorry". I am sure I can presume nothing of personal nature is under discussion here.

  6. #6

    Marijuana doubles mental health risk

    If you are trying to make the claim that cannabis is a safe recreational drug and that any statements to the contrary are based on some sort of political agenda rather than genuine evidence, all I can say is that you are grossly mistaken, if not deliberately trying to mislead people based on your own sociopolitical agenda.

    The only way one could support such a position as you seem to be promoting would be to completely close one's eyes to the evidence accumulated over the past 40 years plus.

  7. Marijuana doubles mental health risk

    After re-reading this thread several times, I cannot find evidence of suggestion of such claim from my part. I merely denounce that the classification of deviations from state-sanctioned conduct and departures from "reality" fostered by contemporary psychological research as illness (e.g. clinical depression, psychosis) respond to the values fostered by the nation-state within which it is conducted rather than an absolute measure of the individual under study's well-being.

    One may ask oneself for instance: Why is the same set of conducts classified by psychology as clinical depression in western nation-states -and regarded as an illness to be eradicated- viewed as a natural period of enlightenment by some Eastern cultures? How does the predominating economic system influence Psychology's valuation (i.e. ill or healthy) of deviations from socially-accepted sets of conduct?

    The article in question supports the idea that prolonged deviations from socially-accepted conduct or departures from socially-constructed "reality", purportedly attributed to cannabis consumption by humans, constitute a risk for the subject in question. One could question to which degree the possible negative effects of this "risk" are self-contained rather than a circular result of societal rejection of the affected individual due to predominantly published layman literature regarding the subject.

    Regarding "evidence accumulated over the past 40 years plus", even after disregarding the immense sets of incompatible data still present in such studies, the sub lying view that deviations from given sets of conduct, or departures from socially-constructed reality equal illness is fundamentally flawed. One could think damage to the lungs and other organs due to smoking cannabis or tobacco, as discovered by scientifically-sound research, could be a less noxious reason to deter either drug's consumption.

  8. #8

    Marijuana doubles mental health risk

    I confess I am having some difficulty understanding what your point is in this thread. It seems to me that it is partly to suggest that the accumulating evidence indicating that cannabis is dangerous to one's physical and psychological health is wrong. It also seems to me that you are trying to argue against medical-psychiatric diagnosis as nothing more than an attempt to label people who differ from the norm and/or to exert sociopolitical control over people who are different.

    Assuming that either of those is your point, I will disagree vehemently with you. To be honest, I have heard both of those arguments before many times. They are not based on reality or on any sort of evidence whatsoever but on naivete and/or fanaticism. In my experience, the people who promote those views have no interest in research or evidence or actually examining the reality of mental illness. At this point in my life, I am weary of hearing those debates and I long ago gave up participating in them as pointless.

    The article in questions states

    the researchers said the link was not likely to be due to people with mental illness having a greater wish to smoke cannabis. Instead, they said cannabis may increase the chances of a person suffering psychosis by causing chemical changes to the brain.
    That's pretty clear, I think. Heavy cannabis users are not users because they are ill (differ from the norm, in your words) to start with. Nor is there anything in that article that indicates an attempt to reject or control cannabis users because they are different. Rather, the accumulating evidence is that prolonged or heavy use of cannabis increases the likelihood of a particular class of mental illness known as psychotic disorders (there are several other negative consequences as welol, by the way, especially in still-developing brains and bodies as is the case with adolescents). I don't know if you have ever met or seen or known someone suffering from a psychotic disorder but believe me this has absolutely nothing to do with "a period enlightenment" -- rather, this is for the individual a period of extreme distress, anxiety, and fear.

    Please also note the following, which I have stated previously in other threads of this forum: The reason I created and maintain this forum was to provide information, feedback, advice and guidance, answers to questions about mental health, and a safe place for peer support. I was not and am not interested in drawn-out academic or philosophical debates about anti-psychiatry views or anything similar -- there are other forums where you can do that if you are interested and there are many members here whose lives have been turned upside down as a result of their own struggles with mental illness or similar struggles by a loved one. My priority is to support and protect those members.

    So if that is your purpose here, I would ask you to please take the debate somewhere else.

  9. Marijuana doubles mental health risk

    Trying to be as clear as possible and not any clearer than that:

    1. The accumulated evidence you speak of currently exhibits an enormous amount of data incompatible with the statement you cite from the article.

    2. To classify sets of conduct that deviate from what is socially-accepted as illness has historically been and still is a form of social control. Contemporary Psychology plays a principal role in this.

    Have you studied how your patients' periods of "extreme distress, anxiety, and fear" correlate with society's perception of "something being wrong with them" (i.e. being "mentally ill")? Have you explored the possibility that there is nothing intrinsically wrong with your patients, that they should be encouraged to aid in changing their environment rather that conforming to it?

    Most psychologist's inability to perceive this second point as a truth stems from Western education's obsession with hyper-specialization. How to perceive what one has been trained to ignore?

    So far a potential mutually-enriching discussion has been thwarted by the dismissal of arguments presented as "nonsense" or "naiveté" through repetition of dogmatic assumptions rather than providing the slightest modicum of argumentation, sound or else. I thank you for your time.

  10. #10

    Marijuana doubles mental health risk

    We have been down this road before on this forum.

    As I said earlier, I did not create this forum to be a medium for anti-psychiatry debates. Please take them elsewhere.

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