Psychiatry and Cannabis

There is an abundance of research literature highlighting the harmful effects of cannabis (marijuana), yet a large number of psychiatrists still advocate for additional research in the hope that they can find some beneficial use for it.

Some Cannabis History

The demonization of cannabis was an extension of the demonization of Mexican immigrants in the early 1900’s. The idea was to have an excuse to search, detain and deport Mexican immigrants. The Marijuana Tax Act of 1937 effectively banned its use and sales. While the Act was ruled unconstitutional in 1969, it was replaced with the Controlled Substances Act in 1970 which established Schedules for ranking substances according to their dangerousness and potential for addiction. Cannabis was placed in the most restrictive category (Schedule I.)

In 1967, a group of prominent psychiatrists and doctors met in Puerto Rico to discuss their objectives for psychotropic drug use on “normal humans” in the year 2000. In what could well be a sequel to Huxley’s novel — only it wasn’t fiction — their plan included manufactured “intoxicants” that would create the same appeal as alcohol, marijuana, opiates and amphetamines, producing “disassociation and euphoria.” The rise of such psychotropics was likely related to the illegality and relative unavailability of other psychedelic drugs.

Psychiatry Promoting Cannabis

Partly due to the questionable legality of marijuana, it was not generally available as a psychiatric treatment, although various psychiatrists have promoted it for such.

In the 1840’s French psychiatrist Jacques-Joseph Moreau promoted marijuana as a medicine. Psychedelic drugs were studied for mental health conditions in the 1950’s and 1960’s, and a renewed push for their research and use is currently underway. The Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), was founded in 1986 by Rick Doblin specifically to promote marijuana and psychedelics as “medicines.”

In 1992, Australian psychiatrists called for heroin, cocaine and marijuana to be sold legally in liquor stores.

Another example is the psychiatric research paper “Therapeutic Potential of Cannabinoids in Psychosis” from 2016.

This quote expresses the psychiatric hope for cannabis: “Australian psychiatrist Patrick McGorry, renowned for his debunked and dangerous theory that pre-drugging adolescents with antipsychotics can prevent psychosis, now plans to prescribe medical cannabis to treat ‘anxious’ 12 year olds.”

This quote expresses another point of view: “…medicinal marijuana research suggests a joint a day might keep your psychiatrist away,” said Dr. Jeremy Spiegel, a psychiatrist on the east coast.

Rachna J. Patel, a psychiatrist in California, treats patients with marijuana.

The Harm that Cannabis Does

However, in 2013 the American Psychiatric Association said, “There is no current scientific evidence that marijuana is in any way beneficial for the treatment of any psychiatric disorder.” The research was starting to show significant harm from cannabis use.

Here are some relevant quotes about the harmful effects of cannabis:

“There’s consistent evidence showing a relationship over time between heavy or repeated cannabis use (or those diagnosed with cannabis use disorder) and an experience of psychosis for the first time.”

“The heaviest users of cannabis are around four times as likely to develop schizophrenia (a psychotic disorder that affects a person’s ability to think, feel and behave clearly) than non-users. Even the ‘average cannabis user’ (for which the definition varies from study to study) is around twice as likely as a non-user to develop a psychotic disorder.”

Use of cannabis to treat depression appears to exacerbate depression over time.”

“Cannabis can activate latent psychiatric issues.”

Cannabis is not a safe drug. Depending on how often someone uses, the age of onset, the potency of the cannabis that is used and someone’s individual sensitivity, the recreational use of cannabis may cause permanent psychological disorders.”

Cannabis Addiction

Today, psychiatrists are embracing all things marijuana because they are getting so many patients with marijuana-related problems such as addiction and psychosis. “Marijuana-related problems fall well within the scope of psychiatric practice: many patients use marijuana, which is likely to affect their psychiatric symptoms and response to treatment.”

In fact, marijuana addiction is such a significant problem that there are 31 entries in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) related to this addiction:

Cannabis intoxication
Cannabis intoxication delirium
Cannabis intoxication delirium, With mild use disorder
Cannabis intoxication delirium, With moderate or severe use disorder
Cannabis intoxication delirium, Without use disorder
Cannabis intoxication, With perceptual disturbances
Cannabis intoxication, With perceptual disturbances, With mild use disorder
Cannabis intoxication, With perceptual disturbances, With moderate or severe use disorder
Cannabis intoxication, With perceptual disturbances, Without use disorder
Cannabis intoxication, Without perceptual disturbances
Cannabis intoxication, Without perceptual disturbances, With mild use disorder
Cannabis intoxication, Without perceptual disturbances, With moderate or severe use disorder
Cannabis intoxication, Without perceptual disturbances, Without use disorder
Cannabis use disorder
Cannabis use disorder, Mild
Cannabis use disorder, Moderate
Cannabis use disorder, Severe
Cannabis withdrawal
Cannabis-induced anxiety disorder
Cannabis-induced anxiety disorder, With mild use disorder
Cannabis-induced anxiety disorder, With moderate or severe use disorder
Cannabis-induced anxiety disorder, Without use disorder
Cannabis-induced psychotic disorder
Cannabis-induced psychotic disorder, With mild use disorder
Cannabis-induced psychotic disorder, With moderate or severe use disorder
Cannabis-induced psychotic disorder, Without use disorder
Cannabis-induced sleep disorder
Cannabis-induced sleep disorder, With mild use disorder
Cannabis-induced sleep disorder, With moderate or severe use disorder
Cannabis-induced sleep disorder, Without use disorder
Unspecified cannabis-related disorder

So there is a shift in psychiatry from treatment of mental health problems with cannabis to treatment of cannabis addiction. They go where the money is.

Psychiatrists and other behavioral health professionals need to better understand the relationship between cannabis and mental disorders so that they can respond to increasing medical and recreational marijuana use among their patients.”

Unfortunately, the last thing any psychiatric treatment has achieved is rehabilitation from addiction.

Since the 1950’s, psychiatry has monopolized the field of drug rehabilitation research and treatments. Its long list of failed cures has included lobotomies, insulin shock, psychoanalysis and LSD.

Due to their drug rehabilitation failures, psychiatry redefined drug addiction as a “treatable brain disease,” making it conveniently “incurable” and requiring massive additional funds for “research” and to maintain treatment for the addiction. This has led to Medication-Assisted Treatment, where the drugs used to treat addiction are as addictive as the original ones.

The Latest Bandwagon, CBD

Since there is so much harm done by the THC in cannabis, many psychiatric researchers are putting their bets on cannabidiol (CBD), which is a cannabinoid lacking THC — such as psychiatrist José Alexandre S. Crippa of Brazil, who says “that cannabinoids may, in the future, become an important option in the treatment of psychiatric symptoms and disorders.”

Research findings in “Cannabidiol (CBD) as an Adjunctive Therapy in Schizophrenia: A Multicenter Randomized Controlled Trial” “suggest that CBD has beneficial effects in patients with schizophrenia.”

Diana Martinez, Columbia professor of psychiatry, said, “If cannabidiol is moved off of Schedule I, a lot more research will be able to happen.”

Robert D. McMullen, a psychiatrist in New York, “remains hopeful that we will be able to develop substances that are going to target types of anxiety and depression with these cannabinoids but we haven’t reached that point yet.”

“While there are trials that suggest potential benefit of cannabinoids for [various psychiatric conditions], insufficient conclusion could be made due to the low quality of evidence…” [November 30, 2017]

Again, expressing the psychiatric hope: “While it is still unclear exactly how CBD works, we know that it acts in a different way to antipsychotic medication, so it could represent a new class of treatment.”

The jury is still out about the science and any potential benefit (or harm) of CBD, but the competition to get there first is intense, due to the potential of billions of dollars in taxes, pharmaceuticals, research funds, and other economic and psychiatric vested interests.

Psychiatric Drug Pushers

The history of psychiatry makes it clear that over many, many years they have been pushing dangerous drugs as “medicines.”

LSD moved into psychiatric ranks in the 1950’s as a “cure” for everything from schizophrenia to criminal behavior, sexual perversions and alcoholism. Ecstasy was used in the 1950’s as an adjunct to psychotherapy. Benzodiazepine tranquilizers became known as “Mother’s Little Helper” in the 1960’s. The cocaine-like addictive stimulant Ritalin (known among children as “Vitamin R”) is still in use for childhood behavioral problems, and suicide is a major complication of withdrawal from this and similar amphetamine-like drugs.

Today at least 17 million people worldwide are prescribed minor tranquilizers. Coincidentally, the world today is suffering from massive social problems including drug abuse and violence. We don’t have enough data yet about CBD to know its long-term effects; but then, we didn’t originally know about the long-term destructive effects of LSD, Ecstasy, benzodiazepines, Ritalin, and so on when they were first pushed onto an unsuspecting society.

These drugs can only chemically mask problems and symptoms, they cannot and never will be able to solve problems. The true resolution of many mental difficulties begins, not with a checklist of symptoms, but with ensuring that a competent, non-psychiatric physician completes a thorough physical examination.

People in desperate circumstances must be provided proper and effective medical care. Medical, not psychiatric, attention, good nutrition, a healthy, safe environment and activity that promotes confidence will do far more than the brutality of psychiatry’s unproven drug treatments.

Cannabidiol (CBD) – Can We Be Sure It’s Safe?

Every time we say “CBD” out loud we think Bidi Bidi and picture Buck Rogers’ Twiki the Robot.

But really, what is CBD, and is it harmful or helpful?

Derived from Cannabis (marijuana), CBD is one of many cannabinoids which are chemical compounds capable of binding to specific biological receptors in the brain or other sites in the body.

The theory is that when CBD binds to these brain receptors it seems to suppress or limit the immune system’s inflammatory signals.

Another cannabinoid, THC (tetrahydrocannabinol, also called “The High Causer”), is the principal psychoactive component of marijuana, and when it binds to receptors in the brain it gets you high. We also know that THC damages the immune system, yet proponents of cannabis call it a “medicinal herb.” Click here for more information about the harmful effects of this “herb.”

CBD and THC are structural isomers, which means they share the same chemical composition but their atomic arrangements differ.

The claim is that CBD, unlike THC, is not hallucinogenic. Much of the research information so far available about CBD comes from animal studies.

Although it is a cannabinoid, CBD apparently does not directly interact with the principal receptors in the brain to which THC binds, and binds to many other non-cannabinoid receptors in the brain.

Basically, the research to date is unclear on exactly how CBD works, except that we know it affects the brain. We’d call these observations mostly anecdotal — that is, people have reported on their observations and feelings, but the double-blind human clinical trials are sparse.

Animal studies have demonstrated that CBD directly activates multiple serotonin receptors in the brain, and we know that in humans at least, psychiatric drugs which mess with serotonin levels in the brain are addictive and have some disastrous side effects. The manufacturers of every psychiatric drug so far which messes with serotonin in the brain say they don’t really know how it works.

CBD, LSD, mescaline, and other hallucinogenic drugs bind to the same serotonin receptors in the brain, so calling CBD totally non-intoxicating is a bit of a stretch. We think the insistence on calling CBD “non-intoxicating” or “non-hallucinogenic” is Public Relations for “Bidi bidi, gee, we can make a bundle with this.” While the anecdotal evidence claims no hallucinogenic effect for CBD, the fact that it affects serotonin in the brain makes it less attractive as a healthy alternative. Its long-term effects are simply unknown.

Some proponents promote taking THC and CBD together. We think this is a short path to becoming a bidi bidi robot.

At higher dosages, CBD will deactivate cytochrome P450 enzymes, making it harder to metabolize certain drugs and toxins, particularly psychiatric drugs.

What about CBD oil or cream (hemp extract) applied to the skin? Is there a difference between CBD derived from hemp and CBD derived from marijuana?

CBD is legally available in the United States, but it must be derived from imported high-CBD, low-THC hemp. CBD itself is not listed under the Controlled Substances Act, so it’s legal in all 50 states provided it’s not extracted from marijuana.

A huge amount of fiber hemp is required to extract a small amount of CBD, so researchers are focused on breeding plants with more CBD and less THC just for this purpose. It is important to note that all cannabidiol products are not approved by the FDA for the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of any disease.

CBD and THC both interact with the body through a vital nerve signaling system which regulates a wide array of functions, some of which include: pain, appetite, mood, memory, immune response, and sleep. There are still very little long-term safety data available. The proponents of CBD, whether for internal or external use, ignore the fact that it messes with serotonin when making claims for its safety and usefulness, so caution is advised. There is a lot of money riding on making these substances legal and ubiquitous; any bad effects are not going to be advertised or promoted.

At present, we’d prefer not to experiment with substances that tweak the brain in ways that are not fully understood, lest we become like bidi bidi Twiki. As always, your fully informed consent for any treatment is of paramount importance.

Is Marijuana Actually Medicinal?

Does cannabis offer a legitimate medical treatment, and do its risks outweigh its benefits?

As far as cancer goes, marijuana is definitely not a cancer cure. In fact, it is not even a palliative for cancer. What it is mostly used for is to dull the pain and nausea of chemotherapy.

Regarding its use as an opioid alternative, marijuana use is now being found to be associated with an increase in nonmedical opioid use.

Quoting from an article in Medscape, “Smoke and Mirrors: Is Marijuana Actually Medicinal?” — “Although there are undoubtedly a few indications in which various forms of cannabis have shown promise, recent research is more commonly characterized by a failure to observe a beneficial effect.”

And particularly, “Cannabis for Mental Health Issues May Cause More Harm.” In fact, “there is a robust and growing body of evidence that cannabis can cause otherwise preventable psychotic illness and worsen its prognosis.” So when people turn up in the emergency room with symptoms of schizophrenia, psychosis, depression or anxiety—-where do you think they are going to end up? That’s right, in the mental health care system and taking prescribed psychiatric drugs; and that is no accidental outcome! It’s been planned.

Marijuana smoke also has all of the detrimental effects previously attributed to tobacco. Marijuana is the second most smoked substance besides tobacco, and carries significant risks for compromised cardiopulmonary health. Consuming one joint gives as much exposure to cancer-producing chemicals as smoking five cigarettes.

Marijuana is a hallucinogen, a drug which distorts how the mind perceives the world. The THC (tetrahydrocannabinol, the principal psychoactive component) stays in the body for weeks, possibly months, depending on the length and intensity of usage. THC damages the immune system.

Next to alcohol, marijuana is the second most frequently found substance in the bodies of drivers involved in fatal automobile accidents.

Consider who is telling you that marijuana is not dangerous and that it will help you. Are these the same people who are trying to sell you some pot? The push for medical marijuana is not about helping the sick, but about profit.

Through a network of nonprofit groups, George Soros has spent at least $80 million on the marijuana legalization effort since 1994. The medical and legal recreational marijuana market is a huge business and projected to grow from $1.4 billion to $10.2 billion over the next five years. Are you sure you want to vote for this insanity?

Click here for more information about the harm that marijuana does.

The Continuing Cannabis Conundrum

We have previously written a number of blogs on cannabis, but it seems the problems won’t go away. So we’re writing about it again.

On January 4, 2018 Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded the long-standing “Cole Memorandum” issued in 2013 by Deputy Attorney General James M. Cole. These relate to the laws and enforcement policies of cannabis use by the federal government and the various state governments and their drug enforcement agencies. We won’t go into the details, as one expects these things to continue changing, and anyone can get that information off the current news reports.

In 2018 we expect three different ballot propositions about legalizing various aspects of marijuana in Missouri.

The group Missouri Medical Cannabis Trade Association is heavily pushing the legalization of cannabis and cannabidiol products in Missouri. They estimate additional state tax revenues between $10 million and $66 million per year depending on the degree of legalization; with a total economic impact in 2018 of about $30 billion, likely to double in the next three years.

Former Anheuser-Busch executive Mitch Meyers is the CEO of the first licensed cannabis grower in Missouri, The BeLeaf Company based in Earth City. She says, “There’s money to be made.”

GW Pharmaceuticals has revealed the expected consumer price for Epidiolex, the first cannabidiol-based drug to be approved by the FDA, as $32,500 per year.

Kids fraudulently diagnosed with ADHD are being prescribed “medical” marijuana, and the psychiatric mental health care industry is literally salivating over the prospect of expanding their reach into society with this abusive practice.

Synthetic marijuana, also known as K2 or Spice, is even worse. Get the facts about this devastating drug here.

Here’s what we said before about marijuana:

The conundrum is this:
§ On the one hand, we think that in an ideal society the government should not be interfering in the personal lives of individual citizens. We don’t like the government saying you can’t smoke pot and this is for your own good. It enforces a moral code by fiat without actually making the individual ethical and responsible.
§ On the other hand, we think that the rampant use of marijuana, whether “medical” or “recreational”, is harmful to society and not just harmful to individuals. It puts at risk everyone in contact with drug users, since some of the side effects can be violence, loss of coordination, perception distortions, slower reflexes, reduced mental functions, and so on — which cause trouble for others in the environment of the user.

So how do we reconcile these two different points of view? Especially since this is not, in any way, an ideal society.

Talking about marijuana means we are talking about tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) which is the principal psychoactive constituent of marijuana. Psychoactive means that the drug changes brain function and results in alterations in perception, mood, consciousness or behavior.

Because a tolerance builds up, marijuana can lead users to consume stronger drugs to achieve the same high. Marijuana itself does not lead the person to other drugs; people take drugs to get rid of unwanted situations or feelings. The drug masks the problem for a time. When the high fades, the problem, unwanted condition or situation returns more intensely than before.

We reject outright the point of view that marijuana is not harmful in any way. The anecdotal evidence as well as formal research on this is pretty clear, regardless of the public relations protestations to the contrary by people poised to make a lot of money from selling it. About 73 percent of some 4,000 drivers in Colorado charged with driving under the influence in 2016 tested positive for marijuana, and about half of those had more than the legal limit of THC in their blood.

We do understand that for some people, some uncomfortable mental and physical symptoms seem to lessen with marijuana use; but one has to understand the why and the consequences of this.

How Do Drugs Work?
Drugs are essentially poisons. The amount taken determines the effect. A small amount acts as a stimulant. A greater amount acts as a sedative. A still larger amount poisons and can kill. This is true of any drug. Only the amount needed to achieve the effect differs.

Drugs block off all sensations, the desirable ones along with the unwanted ones. While drugs might be of short-term value in the handling of pain, they wipe out ability, alertness, and muddy one’s thinking. One always has a choice between being dead with drugs or alive without them.

Drugs affect the mind and destroy creativity. Drug residues lodge in the fatty tissues of the body and stay there, continuing to adversely affect the individual long after the effect of the drug has apparently worn off.

What Can We Do?
How can we resolve this conundrum and come up with some compromise that maintains individual choice and responsibility while at the same time protecting society from the accidents and mistakes and damaging or destructive behaviors that will inevitably occur by legions of pot heads on a high?

It’s no small decision. We do have a suggestion. We’re not sure anyone is listening. The psychiatrists and psychologists can’t wait to have more clients with drug-induced psychoses and their insurance; the pot growers, pot sellers, and tax men are already salivating over the expected profits; the police, attorneys and courts are lined up to take cases; and the users are too stoned to care.

We’d like to hear, first, how you might consider resolving this conundrum. As a society we need to reach an agreement about this, before every state in the union goes off making a conflicting bunch of new laws. It is their constitutional right, after all; but just because they can, should they? And just because you can smoke pot, should you?

For more information, read through the blogs referenced above. Get the Truth About Marijuana here. Then let us know what you think.

Psychs Poo-Poo Intelligence

deja poo

A study published 8 October 2017 by three psychologists and a neuroscientist surveyed 3,715 members of American Mensa (persons whose IQ score is ostensibly within the upper 2% of the general population), who were asked to self-report diagnosed and/or suspected mood and anxiety disorders, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and autism spectrum disorder. There was no actual control group; instead they manipulated statistical data to simulate a control group.

[High intelligence: A risk factor for psychological and physiological overexcitabilities, Ruth I. Karpinski (Pitzer College) et al. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.intell.2017.09.001]

Diagnostic criteria were taken from DSM-IV, a fraudulent list of so-called “mental disorders.” The main thrust of the survey was to try to link intelligence in some way with something they called the theory of “psychological overexcitability,” which has no basis in actual fact. Then they massaged the data with extensive statistical analyses in order to come up with the conclusion they favored, which was, “Those with high IQ had higher risk for psychological disorders.”

The basic flawed assumption of this piece of poo-poo is their statement that, “those with a high intellectual capacity (hyper brain) possess overexcitabilities in various domains that may predispose them to certain psychological disorders.” The implication being that a “treatment” for psychological disorders might be something that lowers a person’s IQ.

Then they quoted 160 references in order to overwhelm any readers of the study with its bona fides — it must be right because look how many references can be quoted.

Naturally, due to the inherent flakiness of the research, they concluded that further research was needed; and because of the particular methodology of this study, the results conveniently cannot be compared with any other studies about intelligence and health. The authors also recommended further studies with mice instead of people, as if those results could yield any useful information about human intelligence.

There are a number of limitations which cast doubt on the study results. The raw data was self-reported, so it is subject to interpretation, bad memory and bias. There are over 200 different IQ tests which applicants can use to apply for membership in Mensa, so IQ itself is subject to interpretation. All of the participants were American, which may or may not be a limitation depending on other demographic or environmental factors. The simulated control group statistics made exact comparisons challenging, to say the least.

Without an actual, clear-cut definition of intelligence, this kind of research is hopelessly convoluted and clueless; but nevertheless representative of what many psychologists think about the rest of us intelligent beings.

Consider this interesting quote from another source: “We would do well to recollect the early days of applied clinical psychology when culturally biased IQ testing of immigrants, African Americans and Native Americans was used to bolster conclusions regarding the genetic inheritance of ‘feeble-mindedness’ on behalf of the American eugenics social movement.”

Not to be outdone by psychologists, the psychiatric industry has a history of deliberately reducing their patient’s intelligence, evidenced by this 1942 quote from psychiatrist Abraham Myerson: “The reduction of intelligence is an important factor in the curative process. … The fact is that some of the very best cures that one gets are in those individuals whom one reduces almost to amentia [feeble-mindedness].”

Evidence that electroshock lowers IQ is certainly available. Also, psychiatrists have notoriously and falsely “diagnosed” the creative mind as a “mental disorder,” invalidating an artist’s abilities as “neurosis.” There is certainly evidence that marijuana lowers IQ (no flames from the 420 crowd, please) — and marijuana is currently being promoted by the psychiatric industry to treat so-called PTSD.

Psychotropic drugs may also be implicated in the reduction of IQ; what do you think? These side effects from various psychotropic drugs sure sound like they could influence the results when someone takes an IQ test while on these drugs: agitation, depression, hallucinations, irritability, insomnia, mania, mood changes, suicidal thoughts, confusion, forgetfulness, difficulty thinking, hyperactivity, poor concentration, tiredness, disorientation, sluggishness.

If you Google “Can IQ change?” you’ll find about 265 million results; so this topic has its conflicting opinions. And as in any subject where there are so many conflicting opinions, there is a lot of false information. Unfortunately the “research” cited above just adds more poo-poo to the pile.

More About Marijuana and PTSD

More About Marijuana and PTSD

 Recent news is full of articles about making marijuana legally available for those diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

While marijuana’s popularity may be based on the perception that it is safer than other methods as a treatment for so-called PTSD, a new study just published March 23 in the journal Clinical Psychological Science finds that regular marijuana smokers experience more work, social and economic issues at midlife in comparison to the ones who use pot just occasionally or not at all.

Backing up for a moment, we should mention that PTSD is not a real medical illness. It has become blurred as a catch-all diagnosis for some 175 combinations of symptoms, becoming the label for identifying the impact of adverse events on ordinary people. This means that normal responses to catastrophic events have often been interpreted as mental disorders when they are not.

Indeed, people can experience mental trauma; unfortunately, the “treatments” being used — psychiatric drugs and marijuana — have their own issues.

People take drugs to get rid of unwanted situations or feelings. Marijuana masks the problem for a time; but when the high fades, the problem, unwanted condition or situation returns more intensely than before.

The University of California, Davis researchers in this newly published study tracked roughly 1,000 young people for decades and found that the ones who smoked cannabis four or more days in a week over many years suffer lower-paying, less-skilled jobs in comparison to those who didn’t smoke pot on a regular basis. Quoting from the study, “Persistent cannabis users experienced more financial difficulties, engaged in more antisocial  behavior in the workplace, and reported more relationship conflict.”

“Against the backdrop of increasing legalization of cannabis around the world, and decreasing social perception of risk associated with cannabis use … this study provides evidence that many persistent cannabis users experience downward socioeconomic mobility and a wide range of associated problems. Individuals with a longer history of cannabis dependence (or of regular cannabis use) were more likely to experience financial difficulties, including having troubles with debt and cash flow, … food insecurity, being on welfare, and having a lower consumer credit rating. Persistent cannabis dependence (and regular cannabis use) was also associated with antisocial behavior in the workplace and higher rates of intimate relationship conflict, including physical violence and controlling abuse.”

The study concludes with, “Our data indicate that persistent cannabis users constitute a burden on families, communities, and national social-welfare systems. Moreover, heavy cannabis use and dependence was not associated with fewer harmful economic and social problems than was alcohol dependence. Our study underscores the need for prevention and early treatment of individuals dependent on cannabis. In light of the decreasing public perceptions of risk associated with cannabis use, and the movement to legalize cannabis use, we hope that our findings can inform discussions about the potential implications of greater availability and use of cannabis.”

We urge everyone embarking on some course of treatment to do their due diligence and undertake full informed consent.

Is Marijuana a Treatment for PTSD?

Is Marijuana a Treatment for PTSD?

Marijuana’s popularity may be based on the perception that it is safer than other methods as a treatment for PTSD, but multiple studies show that marijuana is not the harmless drug many believe it is. It can have a negative impact on your mental health, which may already be compromised if you have been diagnosed, rightly or wrongly, with PTSD.

PTSD, or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, has become blurred as a catch-all diagnosis for some 175 combinations of symptoms, becoming the label for identifying the impact of adverse events on ordinary people. This means that normal responses to catastrophic events have often been interpreted as mental disorders when they are not.

As is usual in a business involving large sums of money, controversy and misinformation are rampant. There are, however, enough facts to allow one to work out the connections and reach unbiased conclusions.

Myth: marijuana can cause PTSD; or alternatively marijuana is a treatment for PTSD. There are as many conjectures about one as about the other.

Fact: Neither view is totally accurate.

Marijuana is the word (thought to be Mexican-Spanish in origin) used to describe the dried flowers, seeds and leaves of the Indian hemp plant (genus Cannabis.) Etymologists think the name cannabis is from an ancient word for hemp (the name of the fiber made from the plant.)

Regardless of the name, this drug is a hallucinogen — a substance which distorts how the mind perceives the world. The chemical in cannabis that creates this distortion is tetrahydrocannabinol, commonly called THC. The amount of THC found in any given batch of marijuana may vary substantially, but overall the percentage of THC has increased in recent years due to selective breeding. Average THC levels in cannabis have grown from 1% in 1974 to up to 24% presently.

It has been found that consuming one joint gives as much exposure to cancer-producing chemicals as smoking five cigarettes. The mental consequences are equally severe; marijuana smokers have poorer memories and mental aptitude than do non-users. THC disrupts nerve cells in the brain affecting memory. THC also damages the immune system.

Nationwide, 40% of adult males test positive for marijuana at the time of their arrest for criminal conduct.

Short term effects can include panic and anxiety. Long term effects can include personality and mood changes. Sounds somewhat like the symptoms of PTSD, does it not?

People take drugs to get rid of unwanted situations or feelings. Marijuana masks the problem for a time; but when the high fades, the problem, unwanted condition or situation returns more intensely than before. One study found that marijuana users had 55% more accidents, 85% more injuries, and a 75% increase in being absent from work.

Drugs are essentially poisons. The amount taken determines the effect. A small amount acts as a stimulant; a greater amount acts as a sedative; an even larger amount can be fatal. This is true of any drug. But many drugs, like THC, can directly affect the mind by distorting the user’s perception, so that a person’s actions may be odd, irrational, inappropriate, and even destructive. Drugs block off all sensations, the desirable ones with the unwanted. So, while providing short-term help in the relief of pain, they also wipe out ability and alertness and muddy one’s thinking. Users think drugs are a solution; but eventually the drugs become the problem.

There are so many non-drug alternatives to mental issues that it makes one wonder why this drug is so popular. Actually, we said it earlier — it is a business involving large sums of money. And if a person has mental trauma, whether a result of the joint or a precursor to the joint — there is your neighborhood doctor or psychiatrist ready to prescribe drugs.

Is Marijuana a Treatment for Depression?

Is Marijuana a Treatment for Depression?

Marijuana’s popularity may be based on the perception that it is safer than cigarettes and alcohol as a treatment for depression, but multiple studies show that marijuana is not the harmless drug many believe it is. It can have a negative impact on your mental health.

As is usual in a business involving large sums of money, controversy and misinformation are rampant. There are, however, enough facts to allow an unaddled brain to work out the connections and reach unbiased conclusions.

Myth: marijuana causes depression; or alternatively marijuana is a treatment for depression. There are as many studies, articles and arguments about one as about the other.

Fact: Neither view is totally accurate.

Marijuana is the word (thought to be Mexican-Spanish in origin) used to describe the dried flowers, seeds and leaves of the Indian hemp plant (genus Cannabis.) Etymologists think the name cannabis is from an ancient word for hemp (the name of the fiber made from the plant.)

Regardless of the name, this drug is a hallucinogen — a substance which distorts how the mind perceives the world. The chemical in cannabis that creates this distortion is tetrahydrocannabinol, commonly called THC. The amount of THC found in any given batch of marijuana may vary substantially, but overall the percentage of THC has increased in recent years due to selective breeding. Average THC levels in cannabis have grown from 1% in 1974 to up to 24% presently.

It has been found that consuming one joint gives as much exposure to cancer-producing chemicals as smoking five cigarettes. The mental consequences are equally severe; marijuana smokers have poorer memories and mental aptitude than do non-users. THC disrupts nerve cells in the brain affecting memory.

While alcohol consists of one active substance, ethanol, marijuana contains more than 400 known chemicals, including the same cancer-causing substances found in tobacco smoke. THC damages the immune system; alcohol does not. Nationwide, 40% of adult males test positive for marijuana at the time of their arrest for criminal conduct. Next to alcohol, marijuana is the second most frequently found substance in the bodies of drivers involved in fatal automobile accidents.

Short term effects can include panic and anxiety. Long term effects can include personality and mood changes. People take such drugs to get rid of unwanted situations or feelings. Marijuana masks the problem for a time; but when the high fades, the problem, unwanted condition or situation returns more intensely than before. One study found that marijuana users had 55% more accidents, 85% more injuries, and a 75% increase in being absent from work.

Drugs are essentially poisons. The amount taken determines the effect. A small amount acts as a stimulant; a greater amount acts as a sedative; an even larger amount can be fatal. This is true of any drug. But many drugs, like THC, can directly affect the mind by distorting the user’s perception, so that a person’s actions may be odd, irrational, inappropriate, and even destructive. Drugs block off all sensations, the desirable ones with the unwanted. So, while providing short-term help in the relief of pain, they also wipe out ability and alertness and muddy one’s thinking. Users think drugs are a solution; but eventually the drugs become the problem.

There are so many non-drug alternatives to mental issues that it makes one wonder why the drugs are so popular. Actually, we said it earlier — it is a business involving large sums of money. And if a person is depressed, whether a result of the joint or a precursor to the joint — there is your neighborhood doctor or psychiatrist ready to prescribe an anti-depressant.

Stress

Stress

Our research leading to the recent newsletter on Marijuana turned up many references to “stress” — the relief of stress by smoking pot; the stress caused by not having access to pot; the tension caused by opposing points of view on the use of pot; myriad stress-relief programs; the stress caused by adverse reactions, side effects and withdrawal symptoms of pot-smoking.

We thought it would be appropriate, therefore, to write about the subject of stress. It is obviously a term of great interest to psychiatry as well. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), the billing bible of the mental health care industry, names it explicitly as a billable diagnosis.

  • Acute Stress Disorder (308.3, DSM-IV)
  • Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (309.81, DSM-IV)
  • Trauma- and Stressor-Related Disorders (an entire chapter in DSM-5); including various manifestations of PTSD, acute stress disorder, adjustment disorders, and reactive attachment disorder.

There are even “DSM-5 Self-Exam Questions” with which you can diagnose yourself for stress-related symptoms.

Then there is ICD-10, the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems 10th Revision. This is a coding of diseases and signs, symptoms, abnormal findings, complaints, social circumstances and external causes of injury or diseases, as classified by the World Health Organization. ICD-10 has its own classification of various stressors such as phobias, anxieties, adjustment disorders, and so on. The deadline for the United States to begin using Clinical Modification ICD-10-CM for diagnosis coding is currently October 1, 2014.

Let’s go over the basics, the dictionary definitions of the word “stress.” There are many; here are some:

  • a state of mental tension and worry caused by problems in life or work
  • something that causes strong feelings of worry or anxiety
  • physical force or pressure
  • a constraining force or influence
  • the burden on one’s emotional or mental well-being created by demands or difficulties

[from Middle English stresse stress, distress, hardship, short for destresse which is from Anglo-French destresce, from Latin districtus, past participle of distringere to grip with force, to draw tight]

“Acute stress response” was first described by Walter Cannon in the 1920s as a theory that animals react to threats with a general discharge of the sympathetic nervous system. The response was later recognized as the first stage of a general adaptation syndrome that regulates stress responses among vertebrates and other organisms (from Wikipedia.)

Here are some additional terms and phrases associated with the concept of stress that one might consider as either causes or symptoms:

  • suppression on one or more parts of one’s life
  • boredom
  • lack of a goal or purpose in life
  • exhaustion
  • overwhelm
  • physical or mental shock
  • exposure to someone antagonistic to oneself or one’s efforts
  • an accumulation in life of turmoil, distress, failure, pain, loss or injury

For comparison, here are some of the concepts encompassing opposites of stress (which we might generally just consider as an absence of stress):

  • survival
  • success
  • health
  • vitality
  • comfort
  • relaxation

We would like to make it very clear that STRESS IS NOT A MENTAL ILLNESS! It is the reaction to a stressor. It is not a deficiency of cannabis or Prozac, and cannot be fixed with a drug. It can only be fixed by finding and eliminating the causes of the stress. Notice we said “causes” plural; if you knew the one thing that was causing your stress, you would have already fixed it. Of course, there are many, many single things that, when found and fixed, could significantly reduce or eliminate those particular stressors.

Bodies also have their own forms of stress, for example chronic age-related diseases are linked to inflammation in the body; and oxidative stress occurs when the body is exposed to an excessive number of free radicals.

What’s keeping people from handling their stress?

Well, there are vested interests who want the general populace immobilized by stress. The psychopharmaceutical industry, for example.

Psychiatrists will not tell you that there are many safe and effective, non-psychiatric options for mental and emotional turmoil.

While life is full of problems, and those problems can sometimes be overwhelming, it is important to know that psychiatry, with its unscientific diagnoses and harmful treatments, are the wrong way to go. Their most common treatment, psychiatric drugs, only chemically mask problems and symptoms; they cannot and never will be able to solve life’s problems. Once the drug has worn off, the original problem remains, or may even deteriorate. Though psychiatrists classify their drugs as a solution to life’s problems, in the long run, they only make things worse.

According to top experts, the majority of people having mental problems are actually suffering from non-psychiatric disorders, which can cause emotional stress.

You can get a thorough physical examination from a competent medical—not a psychiatric—doctor to check for any underlying injury or illness that may be causing emotional distress.

It’s up to every individual to insist on it, and to insist on fully informed consent to any treatment.

Mary Jane comes to psychiatry

Mary Jane comes to psychiatry

There has been a lot in the news recently about marijuana — “medical” marijuana, synthetic marijuana, legalizing marijuana, human interest stories about someone smoking marijuana, rants about the horrors of marijuana smoking — in short, every possible human reaction and little to none of the facts, especially how this brouhaha ties in to psychiatry.

Listening to a radio talk show today, we heard many cogent arguments both for and against legalizing marijuana with or without “medical use.” It was obvious there were not going to be any agreements made among those discussing the issues. However, this is not the real issue, which is hidden behind the psychiatric influence — or should we say, the issue IS the hidden psychiatric influence. Suddenly we have an entirely new crop of potential psychiatric patients, ripe for “stress relief” programs, “substance abuse” programs, psychiatric drugs to “treat” the side effects of smoking pot, and mental health “research” projects about how pot smoking affects mental health or vice versa.

A Google search for “marijuana” produced nearly 62 million results. The NFL is debating marijuana use. About 20 states and the District of Columbia allow the use of marijuana for medical purposes. Various factions within Oregon, Colorado, Nevada and Washington are either extolling or condemning its virtues. Around 25 million people in the U.S. are active marijuana users. The U.S. marijuana business is worth $113 billion. Marijuana is a Schedule I drug according to the FDA, meaning the drug has “no currently accepted medical use” and a “high potential for abuse.” The heat is on to change the FDA’s mind. Even Saturday Night Live has jumped into the fray.

Over 60% of Americans in drug treatment programs (of which 19% are aged 12 to 17) need treatment for marijuana. According to a National Household Survey on Drug Abuse, kids who frequently use marijuana are almost four times more likely to act violently or damage property. They are five times more likely to steal than those who do not use the drug.

Marijuana is often more potent today than it used to be, due to growing techniques and selective breeding. The THC (tetrahydrocannabinol, the active ingredient in marijuana) concentration has increased by as much as 12% over the past 30 years. Correspondingly, there has been a sharp increase in the number of marijuana-related emergency room visits by young pot smokers. Even pets are showing up in veterinary emergency rooms with marijuana intoxication.

Because a tolerance builds up, marijuana can lead users to consume stronger drugs to achieve the same high. When the effects start to wear off, the person may turn to more potent drugs to rid himself of the unwanted conditions that prompted him to take marijuana in the first place. Marijuana itself does not lead the person to other drugs; people take drugs to get rid of unwanted situations or feelings. The drug masks the problem for a time. When the high fades, the problem, unwanted condition or situation returns more intensely than before. The user may then turn to stronger drugs since marijuana no longer “works.”

Short-term Effects
Loss of coordination and distortions in the sense of time, vision and hearing
Sleepiness, reddening of the eyes, increased appetite, relaxed muscles
Sped up heart rate, up to five-fold in the first hour after smoking
Reduced performance through impaired memory and lessened ability to solve problems
Long-term Effects
Psychotic symptoms
Damage to heart and lungs, worsening the symptoms of bronchitis and causing coughing and wheezing
Reduction of the body’s ability to fight lung infections and illness
Addiction

How Do Drugs Work?

Drugs are essentially poisons. The amount taken determines the effect. A small amount acts as a stimulant. A greater amount acts as a sedative. A still larger amount poisons and can kill. This is true of any drug. Only the amount needed to achieve the effect differs.

Drugs block off all sensations, the desirable ones along with the unwanted ones. While drugs might be of short-term value in the handling of pain, they wipe out ability, alertness, and muddy one’s thinking. One always has a choice between being dead with drugs or alive without them.

Drugs affect the mind and destroy creativity. Drug residues lodge in the fatty tissues of the body and stay there, continuing to affect the individual adversely long after the effect of the drug has apparently worn off.

How is psychiatry involved?

Stephen Hinshaw, professor of psychology at the University of California at Berkeley, said marijuana is a “cognitive disorganizer” that produces roughly the same effect in users as those associated with ADHD. However, psychiatrists are now starting to prescribe medical marijuana for children and adults diagnosed with ADHD.

Heavy marijuana users are more likely than non-users to be diagnosed with schizophrenia later in life, placing them squarely into the mental health care system. A recent study found that people who had used marijuana more than 50 times before the age of 18, had a threefold increased risk of developing symptoms diagnosed as schizophrenia later in life. Once diagnosed with schizophrenia, they are prescribed anti-psychotic drugs. Never mind that schizophrenia is a fake disease; the symptoms are decidedly uncomfortable.

Smokeable herbal products, so-called synthetic marijuana, have been marketed as being “legal” and as providing a marijuana-like high. These products consist of plant material that has been coated with research chemicals that claim to mimic THC. Brands such as “Spice,” “K2,” “Blaze,” and “Red X Dawn” are labeled as herbal incense or bath salts to mask their intended purpose. Emergency room physicians report that individuals that use these types of products experience serious side effects such as anxiety attacks and other psychotic behavior. Psychiatrists may fraudulently diagnose these symptoms as a mental illness and prescribe psychotropic drugs.

Psychiatrists already have a name for marijuana addiction, “Cannabis Use Disorder.” A recent British study published in Schizophrenia Bulletin claims that mental illnesses are triggered six years earlier in patients who have smoked high-strength cannabis every day. Dr. Marti Di Forti, who led the study, wrote: “Daily use, especially of high-potency cannabis, drives the earlier onset of psychosis in cannabis users.”

Let’s not forget the withdrawal symptoms, which are similar to those of withdrawal from smoking and include irritability, sleep difficulties and anxiety, all of which can be mistaken for psychiatric symptoms leading to the prescription of psychotropic drugs.

We are already seeing many more articles discussing the chicken or egg question — that is, which came first, the mental illness or the marijuana? Of course, this wrong target ignores the real reason for drug use, described above as an unwanted condition, situation or feeling.

We are already seeing massive wasted research dollars going to psychiatrists to investigate the connections between marijuana and schizophrenia, or between marijuana and bipolar, or between marijuana and PTSD, or between…you get the idea.

The psychopharmaceutical industry is already salivating over the new crop of “Cannabis Use Disorder” patients who will be needing “substance abuse treatment.”

What do we do?

Rather, what do YOU do? What CAN you do? Something can ALWAYS be done about it!

Find Out! Fight Back!

That’s right. Educate yourself, your family, your friends, your associates, your school board, your church, your Chamber of Commerce, your Lions Club. Spread the word. Forward this newsletter. Challenge the proliferation of false information. Distribute the CCHR booklets and DVDs on the dangers of psychotropic drugs. Have a CCHR DVD party and show a DVD to your peers. Donate to CCHR so that we can continue to distribute the true information — CCHR St. Louis needs donations to give Missouri legislators CCHR documentary DVDs. Write letters to your local, state and federal officials. Write Letters to the Editor of your local radio, TV, and newspapers. Come to the CCHR St. Louis Public Seminars and bring your friends.

Or, you could always just do nothing, and watch this nation’s children grow up smoking pot and becoming patients for life in the mental health care system.