23 Jan Putting Cannabis “Research” Into Perspective

Originally published 2nd March 2011

The furore around last year’s BMJ article on cannabis and psychosis is still reverberating around the world. It shouldn’t be any surprise really that a psychoactive substance has psychoactive effects but it provides opportunity for good sensationalist copy. The prohibitionists love this one and they repeat its very misleading results with glee.

In the course of analysing what the study actually shows, two incisive and illuminating facts emerged:

Firstly, it includes a statement that says:

“Furthermore, we used a rather broad outcome measure, defined as a minimum of one positive rating on a G section item, representing psychotic experiences rather than clinically relevant psychotic disorder.”

The study asked people to say if they used cannabis and if they had experienced one of a series of “subclinical” symptoms of psychosis, like an hallucination. If they had just one yes in 10 years they counted towards the study’s findings.

Secondly, I was reviewing the number of cannabis related hospital admissions – approximately 750 per annum. As a comparison, I checked on the number of emergency peanut allergy cases – approximately 3000 per annum.

Just say no to peanuts?