More proof: "harmless pot" a fantasy

Marijuana may help MS pain, but could hurt brain
Multiple sclerosis patients who regularly smoke pot to relieve pain and spastic muscles could be putting their brain function in peril, say researchers, who found that marijuana can further reduce cognitive abilities often already impaired by the disease.

In a study in this week's issue of the journal Neurology, researchers found that MS patients who had engaged in long-term pot-smoking were twice as likely as non-weed users to have diminished cognitive abilities overall.

“Prolonged inhaled or ingested (street) cannabis use is shown to significantly worsen one's attention span, speed of thinking and processing information, working memory, executive functions and visuospatial skills,” said lead investigator Anthony Feinstein, a neuropsychiatrist at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto.


"Medical marijuana" may well be just "placebo effect"

How a simple sugar pill from the doctor may not be a thing of the past
The placebo effect is so powerful that doctors want to make more use of our ability to 'trick ourselves better’, says Liz Bestic
By Liz Bestic 7:00AM GMT 14 Mar 2011

Not so long ago, it wasn’t unusual for your friendly GP to have at hand a bottle of sugar pills for patients’ minor aches and pains. While sugar pills are no longer on offer, a report out last week revealed that half of all German doctors are happily dishing out placebos to their patients for ailments such as stomach upset and low mood.

The study, published by the German Medical Association, said that placebos – here defined as sham treatments without any active constituents – from vitamin pills to homeopathic remedies and even surgery, can prove effective as treatments for minor problems and are completely without side effects.


Legal / illegal pot attracts crimes like corpses attract flies

Mayors want end to medical marijuana growing
By Matthew Claxton, Vancouver Sun, March 12, 2011
The mayors of Langley Township and the City of Langley are calling on the federal government to cancel licences for medical marijuana growing operations.

Legal marijuana is proving a major crime headache for the Langleys, which saw another violent attack on a legal growing operation last weekend. On Sunday morning, a medicinal marijuana growing operation in Brookswood was raided by armed thieves, the RCMP say.

"We believe that the time for consultation is over and that action needs to be taken," a letter sent to the federal government by City Mayor Peter Fassbender and Township Mayor Rick Green said.


Marijuana 'inextricably tied' to violence, says Mounties

By Sam Cooper, The Province March 8, 2011
A man is found in a vehicle bound hand and foot with a bag over his head. His brain is bleeding and his left eye is crushed beyond repair.

The gory aftermath of a brutal grow rip should prove to B.C. marijuana aficionados that pot is a blood-soaked commodity rather than a harmless product, North Vancouver RCMP say.

Cpl. Peter DeVries made the point while announcing recommendations of four charges against two men in an alleged attack on a 67-year-old Surrey man.

The man was found in a vehicle by Vancouver police in Sept. 2009, with lacerations to his scalp and face, severe trauma to both of his eyes, multiple broken ribs, a collapsed lung and bleeding in the brain.

“He’s very lucky he didn’t die,” DeVries said.

Police say the alleged assault happened in Norgate, a residential area of North Vancouver. An investigation showed the incident “surrounded a syndicate of marijuana grow operators, and that the assault was related to the drug trade,” DeVries said.

Crown counsel is reviewing charge recommendations, including aggravated assault and forcible confinement against 49-year-old Squamish resident Paul Defaveri, and forcible confinement and attempted murder against 40-year-old Robin Pryce from Surrey.

Both men have prior drug crime convictions. Neither have known gang affiliations, DeVries said.

DeVries said the alleged assault is a “stark example” that “because of its monetary value as a commodity, marijuana is inextricably tied to serious acts of violence.”

“When you smoke a joint there is a strong likelihood that aside from it being grown illegally, it is connected to crimes like assaults, frauds, thefts and burglaries,” DeVries said.

Defaveri and Pryce were arrested on March 4 and both have been remanded in custody until their next court appearance on March 15.


Legal medical marijuana operations are candy stores to criminals

Thieves targeting legal medical marijuana operations
By Cassidy Olivier, The Province, March 9, 2011
Some Langley residents who are legally licensed to grow marijuana for medicinal purposes are being ripped off by thieves.

Three medicinal marijuana grow ops have been robbed within the past six months, although RCMP say there is no way to tell if the facilities are being specifically targeted because they are a medicinal operation, or just because they have pot.

The latest incident happened Sunday at 3:30 a.m. when two men, armed with a rifle and a knife, forced their way into a home in the Brookswood neighbourhood.

They overpowered the victim and tied him up, covering his eyes. They ransacked the house and made off with the pot plants the victim was licensed to grow.


Marijuana Use Linked to Psychotic Disorders

By Neha Prakash, Mar 2nd 2011 2:18PM
A new study has found that the use of marijuana at a young age will dramatically increase the chance of psychotic disorders later in life, Reuters reports.

Continued use of marijuana doubles the risk of psychotic episodes, hallucinations or delusions, researchers said.

"This study adds a further brick to the wall of evidence showing that use of traditional cannabis is a contributory cause of psychoses like schizophrenia," said Robin Murray of the Institute of Psychiatry at Kings College London, who was not involved in the research.

The findings may have a dramatic effect on the ongoing pursuit for legalization of marijuana both for medical and recreational use in various states.

Authorities should take "a cautious and thoughtful approach to cannabis legislation," said Peter Kinderman, a professor of clinical psychology at the University of Liverpool.

"It's important to remember that psychosis is a very complex bio-psycho-social phenomenon...but this important paper certainly reminds us that there's a strong link to the use of cannabis," he said.

In previous studies, a causation between marijuana and psychosis could not be established as it was difficult to establish which came first -- marijuana use or mental illness. Over the course of this most recent study, however, researchers say they were able to show that the marijuana use did precede the incidence of psychotic disorders in users. The study lasted for 10 years and looked at 1,923 adolescents and young adults aged 14 to 24 years old.

The study was published in the British Medical Journal.

More related news:
Long-Time Marijuana Use Linked to Psychosis in Young Adults