Cannabis/Psychose-Angstmacherei in England neu aufgewärmt

Die britischen Medien haben sich, wie alternet.org berichtet, begeistert auf einen Artikel in der medizinischen Zeitschrift „The Lancet“ gestürzt, der einmal mehr das Thema Cannabis und Psychose aufgreift. Allerdings handelt es sich dabei nicht um eine neue Studie, sondern um eine Zusammenfassung mehrerer, teils jahrzehnte alter Studien. Obwohl der Lancet-Artikel selber nicht alarmistisch ist, machen die Medien daraus einmal mehr eine Angstmacherei, was offenbar der Linie des neuen englischen Premiers Gordon Brown entspricht, der wieder auf härtere Strafen gegen Cannabis-Konsumenten drängt. When will they ever learn…

Laut alternet.org weist der Lancet-Artikel zwar auf einen geringen statistischen Zusammenhang zwischen Cannabis-Konsum und Psychose hin, doch kann daraus nicht gefolgert werden, dass es Cannabis ist, das Psychosen auslöst. Vielmehr ist es häufig so, dass Menschen mit psychotischen Problemen bei Cannabis Linderung ihrer Symptome suchen und wahrscheinlich auch öfters finden. Vermutlich liegt die Wahrheit genau beim Gegenteil dessen, was uns die Drogen-Krieger einreden wollen: Cannabis kann ein effektives Heilmittel bei psychischen Problemen sein, das im Gegensatz zu chemischen Mitteln nur geringe Nebenwirkungen aufweist.

Damit soll nicht für einen hirn- und sinnlosen Konsum plädiert werden, wie er heute leider gerade bei jüngeren Leuten öfters zu beobachten ist. Probleme in der Schule oder an der Lehrstelle, lösen sich nicht, wenn hemmungslos Hanf konsumiert wird – im Gegenteil, sie werden meist noch verschärft, gerade auch wegen dem Unverständnis und der Ablehnung, die Hanf-Konsumenten entgegengebracht wird. Dies ist halt auch eine negative Folge der Cannabis-Repression: da über das Thema nicht offen geredet werden kann, kann sich auch keine vernünftige Konsumkultur entwickeln.

Hier der Text von alternet.org in voller Länge:

Smoking Pot Won’t Make You Crazy, But Dealing with the Lies about It Will
By Paul Armentano and Mitch Earlywine, HuffingtonPost.com. Posted August 13, 2007.

A new attempt to scare pot smokers in Britain alleges that smoking pot can increase the risk of becoming „psychotic.“ A quick glance at the data cited reveals no such correlation.

Smoking pot won’t make you crazy, but trying to find the truth behind the recent rash of headlines regarding a supposed link between cannabis and mental illness might.

According to the Associated Press and other news sources, a new study in the British medical journal The Lancet reports that smoking cannabis — even occasionally — can increase one’s risk of becoming psychotic. It sounds alarming at first, but a closer look at the evidence reveals that there’s less here than the headlines imply.

First, there is no new study. The paper published in The Lancet is a meta-analysis — a summary of seven studies that previously appeared in other journals, including some that were published decades ago. Second, the touted association between cannabis and mental illness is small — about the same size as the link between head injury and psychosis. Finally, despite what some new sources suggest, this association is hardly proof of a cause-and-effect relationship between cannabis and psychosis,

So why the sudden fuss?

Part of the answer is political. New British Prime Minister Gordon Brown longs to stiffen penalties against marijuana users. One way to justify this move involves convincing the public that The Lancet proved that puffing the weed will make you batty. Of course, that’s not what the article says at all.

In fact, investigators actually reported that cannabis use was associated with a slight increase in psychotic outcomes. However, the authors emphasized (even if many in the media did not) that this small association does not reflect a causal relationship. Folks with psychoses use all intoxicants more often than other people do, including alcohol and tobacco.

Cannabis use can correlate with mental illness for many reasons. People often turn to cannabis to alleviate the symptoms of distress. A recent study performed in Germany showed that cannabis offsets certain cognitive declines in schizophrenic patients. Another study shows that psychotic symptoms predict later use of cannabis, suggesting that people might turn to the plant for help rather than become ill after use.

Perhaps the most impressive evidence against the cause-and-effect relationship concerns the unvarying rate of psychoses across different eras and different countries. People are no more likely to be psychotic in Canada or the United States (two nations where large percentages of citizens use cannabis) than they are in Sweden or Japan (where self-reported marijuana use is extremely low). Even after the enormous popularity of cannabis in the 1960s and 1970s, rates of psychotic disorders haven’t increased.

Despite this evidence, we’d like to spread the word that cannabis is not for everybody. Teens should avoid the plant. Folks with a predisposition for mental illness should stay away, too. This potential for health risks in a few people, however, does not justify criminal prohibitions for everyone. (We wouldn’t pass blanket prohibitions against alcohol simply to protect pregnant women, for example.) The underground market does an extremely poor job of keeping marijuana out of the hands of teens and others who should stay away from it. A regulated market could better educate users to potential risks and prohibit sales to young people.

Consequently, the review in The Lancet suggests that if cannabis really does alter risk for mental illness, we can’t leave control of sales to folks who are willing to break the law. Instead, a taxed, regulated, age-restricted market is our best chance to keep any negative consequences of marijuana under control.

Schreibe einen Kommentar

Trage deine Daten unten ein oder klicke ein Icon um dich einzuloggen:

WordPress.com-Logo

Du kommentierst mit Deinem WordPress.com-Konto. Abmelden / Ändern )

Twitter-Bild

Du kommentierst mit Deinem Twitter-Konto. Abmelden / Ändern )

Facebook-Foto

Du kommentierst mit Deinem Facebook-Konto. Abmelden / Ändern )

Google+ Foto

Du kommentierst mit Deinem Google+-Konto. Abmelden / Ändern )

Verbinde mit %s