May 5, 2007

Treating Reefer Madness With Good Old Pot

A recent study suggests that THC can trigger psychotic symptoms. Researchers observed that experiment subjects sometimes experienced hallucinations and feelings of paranoia after being dosed with straight-up tetrahydrocannabinol. While this smoke me!effect has generally been verified by countless millions of individual pothead investigators worldwide, it remains unclear whether or not this is a big deal.

Nervous Nellie schizophrenia experts like Professor Robin Murray at the Institute of Psychiatry might tell you this news should be enough to convince you to add concrete mix to your bong water, sealing it permanently and thereby sparing your jittery synapses any more damage. But this action would be premature.

Nature, which abhors a vacuum, apparently loves balance. Though she has packed a walloping large amount of THC into modern marijuana- and let's not fool ourselves, it's strong stuff these days- she has also seen fit to add a substance called cannabidiol. In back-to-back studies with antipsychotics, cannabidiol has shown promise in alleviating psychotic symptoms.

Professor Murray speculates that, because today's street pot contains so much more THC than cannabidiol, the psychotic-potentiating effects of smoking it would swamp any mitigating effects. Granted, this guy has a lot of academic schizo cred, but pray tell, Professor, where are your legions of psychotic pot-heads? Because frankly, I'll see your speculation and raise you a stack of anecdotal evidence. A very high stack at that. [Schizophrenia afflicts around 0.5% of the population. I personally know more pot smokers than that.]

Nevertheless, let me be generous and give you that one, Professor. I don't need it to make my point. THC content of marijuana hasn't doubled over the last ten years because of random mutations, it's been the result of market-driven horticultural perseverance. After all, marijuana is a huge cash crop, and, in the absence of government regulation, is guided by the Invisible Hand to meet the demands of the market ever more closely. So, in some sense the market has been asking for stronger and stronger pot and this has equated to greater percentages of THC

I suggest we treat reefer madness with good old pot. Paradoxical? Think again. If contemporary pot has double the THC content of old-fashioned pot, we should try going back to the old stuff. But that's one of the major problems with criminalizing drugs: you never really know what's in them. Greater awareness of the mental health risks of high-THC pot could lead growers to hybridize varieties with increased cannabidiol levels. Does this sound patently absurd? Hey, if McDonald's can be compelled to make a trans-fat-free French fry, anything is possible.

ps- i am not high. if you require proof, furnish a SASE and i will forward a lock of hair for testing. sorry, no urine will be shipped.

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