Well, OK

Fair enough, cannabis does have physical effects:

Smoking cannabis for long periods of time may shrink parts of the brain that govern memory, emotion and aggression, according to researchers in Australia. Scientists used magnetic resonance imaging to scan the brains of people who admitted to smoking more than five joints a day for at least 10 years and compared them with brain images taken from non-drug users.

Those who smoked cannabis regularly had on average a 12% smaller hippocampus, the part of the brain which is thought to be involved with emotion and memory, and a 7% smaller amygdala, which plays a role in regulating fear and aggression.

Now I\’m certainly no expert on dosages but 5 joints a day for a decade….that\’s pretty heavy usage isn\’t it? What would we say it is in comparison to alcohol? A bottle of spirits a day? More?

And at that sort of level we\’d expect to find some physical effects of alcohol consumption, wouldn\’t we?

Do we use the incidence of cirrhosis to ban alcohol? No, but I\’m sure someone will try to use this paper on cannabis to continue the ban on that.

Last month, a team at New York University scanned the brains of a group of 17- to 30-year-olds who had smoked cannabis two to three times a week for at least a year. In that study, the brains of drug users looked no different from those who had never taken cannabis.

As we\’ve known sinice Paracelsus, the poison is the dise.


11 thoughts on “Well, OK”

  1. “Do we use the incidence of cirrhosis to ban alcohol?”

    Oh, but there are. The Guardian is full of lefty whiners trying to close pubs, restrict supermarket opening hours, raise the drinking age. The Telegraph is full of rightist whiners trying to restrict opening hours, raise age limits, restrict supermarkets.

    I suspect that the lefty whiners don’t give a tinker’s cuss about people’s health, but just love to shut down pubs and supermarkets (after all, if they cared they’d be after Alan Johnson and Gordon Brown for letting cancer patients die from ‘equality’; they aren’t so they aren’t).

    I suspect that the rightist whiners are merely old social authoritarian Tories who want to stick it to the lower orders for having the temerity to spend money on booze.

    It won’t be long before it’s jail for giving your kids wine at dinner and for shopkeepers who put alcohol on display.

  2. Letters from a Tory,

    Everything is dangerous.

    You can die from bad shellfish, you can die from drinking too much water, you can die from choking on or being allergic to a peanut you eat.

    I’ll set aside the libertarian argument that my body is my own, and deal with things from a utilitarian harm approach. What is the scientific mechanism you would use for determining which things should be made illegal, and which should not?

  3. Letters From A Tory

    The evidence on this topic has been around for years. Individual studies don’t prove anything, but the consensus is clear from the overall weight of the evidence – cannabis is dangerous and legalising it would be a disaster for the health of the population.


  4. LFAT, Cannabis undoubtedly does some harm, name something which you enjoy which doesn’t harm you in some way. Cannabis is undoubtedly less dangerous than Alcohol, if you think otherwise then you are really not worth discussing the issue with – do you have any idea how much the damage done by alcohol costs this country? Compared to the cost of the harm done by Cannabis? I suspect not somehow.

    Following your logic, anything harmful must be banned – that’s kitchen knives, cream, frying pans, in fact anything made of metal more than an inch long, plastic bags, fat, hell just ban everything, people should be cosseted in a big ball of cotton wool when they are born and not allowed out of it. Fed government approved fungal protein mix through a tube.

    You sir are an authoritarian twat, no different from the current government. And if I honestly thought DC had the same attitude as you I would just leave the country now, it would be all over for England.

    Tim, don’t set aside that argument – my body IS my own and it’s none of anyone elses cocking business what I put in it.

  5. I would also be interested to know what sort of people smoke more than 5 joints a day for over 10 years! I am thinking they are unlikely to be productive personalities, so maybe never bothering to stretch your cognitive capacities lets them go to waste. Much like if you never use your muscles they get smaller and weaker. If that were the case then cannabis may be as much effect as cause.

  6. “cannabis is dangerous and legalising it would be a disaster for the health of the population.”

    How so? I think most people that want to smoke it do so regardless of the law. Legalising it wouldn’t mean that those who had no interest in it suddenly developed an interest in it. It would just mean that several million UK citizens are not being criminalised for something which they are doing anyway, and which causes no harm to anyone else.

  7. “I would also be interested to know what sort of people smoke more than 5 joints a day for over 10 years! ”

    Well I know someone who has probably averaged 2-4 a day for 17 years and pays top rate of tax (just) working in the IT sector. So someone thinks they are productive at least (yes it is the private sector this person works in).

  8. “Smoking cannabis for long periods of time may shrink…”

    … or it may not — aka: ‘We don’t know’. People who do know write: ‘does shrink’.

    Also, the samples are woefully small, and what kind of cannabis did they smoke anyway? It may be that they bought oregano mixed with vinyl and henna with a smidgen of cannabis in it — who knows?

    Remedial reading for Tim is here: http://numberwatch.co.uk/book.htm#Sorry
    and here:

    Both are enjoyable reads and will immunise you against being bamboozled by handwaving clowns.

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