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Tag: thc

Parker: UK Study Shows High Potency Pot Users Have Triple the Rate of Psychosis

Ross Parker

Ross Parker was chief of the criminal division in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Detroit for 8 years and worked as an AUSA for 28 in that office.
By Ross Parker
ticklethewire.com

A British study found recently that the risk of first time psychosis among users of high THC cannabis was three times greater than for non-users, regardless of the age of the user or the frequency of use. Frequent users were found to have more than five times the risk.

The study was conducted by a group of physicians and scientists at Kings College London, and the results were published in this week’s Lancet, one of the most highly regarded medical journals in the world. The study was funded by the UK National Institute of Health Research.

No psychosis risk increase was found comparing low potency users with non-users. However, recent studies show that the legalization trend has resulted in a steady increase in the THC content of marijuana available for use and sale in the US.

The study results add to the increasing body of medical research pointing out the increasing dangers of marijuana use, particularly among children and young adults. Ironically these studies are bucking the trend toward legalization of medical and recreational use in roughly half the states. This occurs at the same time that use, distribution, and cultivation continue to be federal crimes. This anomaly is nowhere more blatant than in the District of Columbia which legalized use and cultivation this week.

Nor does there appear to be any resolution in the offing of this conflict. The federal executive and Congressional branches seem to offer no leadership on the dilemma.

Meanwhile many state government leaders considering the issue seem to be focused on short term financial projections than on the health issues. And whatever medical research is made part of the debate is often from an earlier time when THC levels were a small fraction of today’s high potency pot being cultivated by enterprising agronomists.

The psychosis study seems symbolic of this entire issue from a macro-examination perspective as well.

Parker: Medical Societies Weigh in on Dangers of Marijuana to Children

Ross Parker

Ross Parker was chief of the criminal division in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Detroit for 8 years and worked as an AUSA for 28 in that office. 
 
By Ross Parker
ticklethewire.com

As the war of words heats up on the trend toward legalization of marijuana, two medical societies have issued their positions on the subject, particularly as it relates to the effect of the drug on teen agers.

As reported earlier, some medical studies have shown negative neurological effects of regular marijuana use on developing brains, particularly the high THC potency available in today’s market. A recent University of Michigan survey found a moderate increase of marijuana use by kids in the nation’s schools, as well as a strong downward trend in their perception that marijuana can be dangerous. The study also reported that one of the sources for one-third of the 12th graders who use pot was from adults who had a medical marijuana prescription.

Among the medical groups that are expressing concern over these developments and others are the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) and the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP).

Using NIDA studies ASAM indicated that the addiction rate for youth who use pot is 17%, almost triple that of adults. It also puts the number at 25-50% for those who use the drug on a daily basis. The Society opposes both the “medicalization” of marijuana and the legalization for recreational use.

The ASAM plans to discuss these and other related issues at a Medical and Scientific Conference, April 10-13 in Orlando.

The ACEP issued a recent report that states which have decriminalized marijuana have had a dramatic increase in the need for medical intervention for children. Likewise the call rate to poison centers has increased 30% in those states compared to no increase in states where there are no legalization laws.

The College is especially concerned about the dangers posed to children by marijuana edible products such as cookies and chocolates. Such products are attractive to children and can be eaten with no regard to the effects, especially of high dose products. ACEP has called for child-resistant packaging, warning labels and public education.

 

Parker: Congress and DEA Should Legalize Hemp

Ross Parker

Ross Parker was chief of the criminal division in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Detroit for 8 years and worked as an AUSA for 28 in that office.
 
By Ross Parker
ticklethewire.com
Among the many varieties of weeds on my father’s Southwest Iowa farm in the 1950s and 60s was the hemp weed. Dad called it “ditch weed’ because that was where it mainly grew, along with in fence rows and sometimes in our cornfields. My brothers and I hated ditch weed because the plants grew to a considerable height if you didn’t keep it mowed or cut down, and they had extensive root systems which made it difficult to pull out of the ground.

Little did we know that these Cannabis Sativa L plants were cousins to a variety that would swamp the country, defy law enforcement for the next half century, and become the root cause of countless murders and violent crimes and the most widely used illegal drug in the world.

Awhile back, this column weighed the pros and cons of legalizing marijuana. The conclusion was that the unknown medical effects and health dangers of continued usage of today’s marijuana with its greatly increased THC content as well as the potential for escalated use particularly by America’s youth made legalization a bad idea. Some readers probably doubted the conclusion’s objectivity coming from a career drug prosecutor but that’s what I continue to think.

The continued prohibition of hemp cultivation and manufacturing, however, poses an entirely different set of questions.

The hemp plant has a long and storied history. It was used in the Neolithic Age in China to make paper more than 10,000 years ago. Its hardy nature and versatility spread its cultivation until it became one of the most produced agricultural plants in the world.

Its uses ranged widely from ropes on ships, clothing, food, and dozens of other products. It is claimed that Columbus’s ships’ riggings, the Gutenberg Bible, the paper on which the Declaration of Independence was written, and the first American flag were all made of hemp products. George Washington and Thomas Jefferson were hemp farmers.

During World War II hemp was used to make uniforms and for other military products. The government considered it so important to the war effort that it produced a film entitled “Hemp for Victory” in 1942. Some irony there.

Hemp’s industrial future crashed in 1970 by its inclusion with marijuana as a Schedule I controlled substance which was illegal to grow, sell or possess. Its close relationship to marijuana plants and the possibility of its use as a recreational drug perhaps made that a not unreasonable policy decision at the time.

There was limited scientific understanding of the psychoactivity of Cannabis varieties in 1970 and, even if that had been known, the difference of THC content between the two was not as dramatic as it is today. Ann Arbor pot dealers, when confronted with a dearth of product to sell to University of Michigan students were known to travel to Iowa, cut up some ditch weed, bag it up and sell it to eager consumers. Considering the low THC content, they would have had to share some monster joints for many hours on the Quad to get high. But they still bought it.

Today hemp weed still averages about ½% THC, not enough to produce a psychoactive effect. Although marijuana plants averaged about 1% in the 1970s, they can easily exceed 20% today. Plus hemp contains cannabidiol which some scientists believe has an opposing effect both pharmacologically and behaviorally to THC. But these were unknowns in 1970.

Whether it was a reasonable policy at the time to prohibit the production of hemp I will leave to others to debate. Perhaps today’s retrospective analysis of hemp’s aborted future is exaggerated. Maybe hemp’s day was essentially done, and it would have had limited impact in a more complex world of synthetics and agri-business.

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Column: Ex-Fed Prosecutor Weighs Pros and Cons of Legalizing Marijuana

Ross Parker was chief of the criminal division in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Detroit for 8 years and worked as an AUSA for 28 in that office. Sixteen of those years were in the drug unit. He is the author of the book “Carving Out the Rule of Law: The History of the United States Attorney’s Office in Eastern Michigan 1815–2008″.

Ross Parker

By Ross Parker
ticklethewire.com

The case for and against marijuana legalization continues to be a hotly debated issue. Weighing in, even in a subjective and limited way, is tempting after working on a history project about smugglers in the 1970s and the agents who pursued them.

Here’s the pros and cons as I see it.

There is good reason to conclude that many of the trends favor some kind of decriminalization or legalization in the United States. Many point to the growing number of states that have authorized Medical Marijuana as a key sign that we’re moving in that direction.

A dozen or so states have legislatively instituted some form of decriminalization or “harm reduction” program for use or possession of small amounts. Drug policies in several European countries such as the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, and Switzerland, have established such a system.

Millions of dollars are being invested in a wide variety of public relations and lobbying activities, especially in states where referendums are pending. The arguments in favor of this development seem easier to grasp and calculate, and the well-financed campaigns have achieved some success in promoting this agenda.

On the other hand, proponents of the status quo seem less focused and their arguments more speculative. At times, the assumption of the hippie dealers of a half-century ago, who predicted the drug would eventually be legally available, seems a strong possibility.

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