Wednesday saw the Lib Dem manifesto published at the Oval Space in Hackney. Eager BBC reporters took off to Cambridge, where no doubt they thought they’d find among students some supporters for this 1970s retro party’s hippy drugs policy.
The sensible kids were far more exercised about student loans – yes some maintenance grants would be welcome – but that was not on offer. Perhaps none volunteered support for drugs legalisation and that is why the usually legalisation-fascinated BBC Home Editor Mark Easton laid off – from what I saw on TV, the Lib Dems’ favourite policy didn’t feature in any of the student vox pops. I may have missed it, but did the BBC also waste chasing up this perfect opportunity to get sitting Lib Dem MP, Cambridge scientist Dr Julian Huppert, who specialises in the structure and function of DNA, to press his case for cannabis to be legally available to the young ones?
A pity because I would have loved to have seen him challenged on the numerous scientific papers he must be aware of that link tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) with a range of harms – like the one Mary Brett (the former biology teacher who runs the Charity Cannabis Skunk Sense) notified me of after I questioned the sanity of the Lib Dems’ policies last week.
Wouldn’t Dr Huppert have read the recent Australian paper, she queried, which links cannabis with chromothripsis (chromosome fragmentation) during cell division and cancers, other than those caused by smoking dope, and which should be compulsory reading for anyone advocating the stuff?
Unfortunately, the comments thread had closed by the time Mary’s missive arrived.
But after watching the ludicrous Tim Farron justifying legalisation on the grounds the it would eliminate skunk from the market in the UK, I thought Mary’s postscript needed publishing – and tweeting, directly to him as he seems to have no idea of how ignorant he is. Is UK plc going to grow its own government brand of low THC weed – rather like low alcohol beer – to compete with the illicit market already dominated by skunk, I wondered, so his kids can smoke ’safe’ cannabis? Who would police that? For as Mary points out:
“Cannabis today is almost entirely skunk (High in psychoactive THC, Low in antipsychotic CBD). It is much stronger than the cannabis of the 1960s and 1970s. (Spice, by the way has nothing to do with cannabis, it’s a New Psychoactive Substance – a chemical). The only connection they have is occupying the same receptor sites in the brain.
“THC (fat-soluble) stays in the brain cells for weeks, depressing and slowing down ALL the chemical signalling and normal brain functioning. One joint per week or even month will ensure its permanent presence and constant activity.
“Learning, concentration and memory all suffer, IQ points are lost, grades fall and many children drop out of education altogether. Psychosis has been linked with cannabis since 1845. Mr Farron should know that skunk-induced schizophrenia costs this country around £2 billion/year. And that’s when it’s still illegal – how much more if it’s legalised? That would pay for an awful lot of doctors, nurses, teachers and policemen. There are problems with the respiratory, cardiac, reproductive and immune systems. And addiction (the hardest addiction to treat in adolescents) will occur in 1 in 6 children who start early. Treatment is very costly. Depression, violence, homicides (e.g. Lee Rigby) and suicides have also been reported.
“A look at Colorado where it is legal, provides some salutary lessons. Crime is flourishing. Usage among youth is the highest in America, emergency admissions to hospitals have soared, including very young children and toddlers consuming ‘edibles’, vehicle accidents have increased, and far from drug dealers disappearing, the black market is flourishing.
“Lastly – a question about medical marijuana for scientist Dr Huppert: Would he be prepared to eat mouldy bread to get his penicillin, chew willow bark for aspirin or start smoking cigarettes to get his weight down (nicotine suppresses the appetite)?”
The Cannabis Skunk Sense website (www.cannabisskunksense.co.uk) can be accessed for all the scientific information, articles and reports about cannabis needed to verify all these points. Maybe Dr Huppert and Mr Farron would like to pay it a visit. Any concerned parent or friend should.