Peter Reynolds

The life and times of Peter Reynolds

Channel 4 Cannabis Programme. Irresponsible, Unethical, Misleading.

with 16 comments

Jon Snow Cannabis experiment sensationalismThe pre-publicity for next week’s programme ‘Drugs Live: Cannabis on Trial’ has been nothing but a repeat of 1930s ‘Reefer Madness’. See ‘Jon Snow gets the inside dope on skunk’ for his commentary and a video.

It is tragic that respected journalists, Jon Snow and Matthew Paris, both of whom have been intelligent opponents of the disastrous drugs war, have been duped and manipulated into being used as sensationalist propaganda by an unscrupulous production company, Renegade Pictures.  After Channel 4’s prejudicial and hate-mongering programme, Benefits Street, one would have hoped that its editors would have learned lessons and resolved to take a more responsible approach.

David Abraham, CEO, Channel 4

David Abraham, CEO, Channel 4

I have been in correspondence with Renegade Pictures, with UCL, which is responsible for ethical approval of the study and with Jon Snow.  Today I have written to the Chief Executive of Channel 4.

David Abraham
Chief Executive
Channel 4
124, Horseferry Road

Dear Mr Abraham,

Drugs Live: Cannabis on Trial. Due for broadcast 3rd March 2015

There are compelling reasons why you should halt the broadcast of this programme in its present form. It is grossly irresponsible, deeply unethical and highly misleading.

I write as the elected leader of more than 320,000 supporters of cannabis law reform. CLEAR represents more people than all other UK drugs policy groups combined. I have made repeated attempts to engage with the producers of this programme, Renegade Pictures, but apart from one acknowledgement my correspondence has been ignored. This is an open letter which will be published on the CLEAR website.

A comprehensive complaint will be made to OFCOM if the programme is broadcast in its present form and I am already in touch with UCL on the question of ethics. At this stage I want to draw to your attention to conclusive evidence of the unethical basis of this programme.

The study being conducted by Professors Curran and Nutt is important science. However, it is not original and the outcome is a foregone conclusion. It is well established in other research and widely understood that CBD moderates the psychoactive effects of THC.

The cannabis used in the programme is not ‘skunk’ as claimed, it is a ‘haze’ variety produced by Bedrocan BV, the Netherlands government official producer of medicinal cannabis. It is prescribed as medicine by doctors in Holland, Belgium, Italy, Germany and Canada.

I would refer you to the Netherlands Office for Medicinal Cannabis, which regulates Bedrocan products. It publishes guidelines for medical professionals which can be seen here: BEDROCAN GUIDELINES

On using a vapouriser these state:

“Inhale a few times until the desired effect is reached or until psychological side-effects occur. Wait 5-15 minutes after the first inhalation and wait between inhalations.”

If you now observe the ludicrous overdose that Jon Snow and Matthew Paris were subjected to, you will understand how gravely irresponsible is the conduct of the programme’s producers.

Aside from the impact on the individuals concerned, this programme will present a highly misleading and false impression of the use of cannabis which millions of British people participate in every day.

I urge you to take prompt action and stop the broadcast of this programme in its present form.

Kind regards,

yours sincerely,

Peter Reynolds


16 Responses

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  1. Thank you for your open letter Peter. I really hope this programme does not go ahead in its current form as it would be terribly misleading and stigmatise cannabis users all over the UK, many of whom seem to take more care with regards their cannabis use than from what I have seen from this programme so far.

    What this programme should be focusing on is how much safer the cannabis from Bedrocan is when compared to the moonshine weed the media likes to call “skunk”. Again a terribly misleading and totally unscientific term for which the media love to hype up.

    Highlifes (@jay_mm1)

    February 24, 2015 at 1:21 pm

    • Why do they call Marijuana a drug its a plant these are known drugs+ aspirin,cough syrup,vicodin,percocet,alcohol,OXY all FEDERALY REGULATED BUSINESS= GOVERMENT CONTROL !!! SPEAK THE FACTS NOT PROPOGANDA BULLSHIT !!!

      Nick Spears

      February 24, 2015 at 10:33 pm

      • Cannabis contains over 400 compounds at least 100 of which could accurately be termed drugs.

        Therefore cannabis is a drug, or many drugs in one.

        Please, I am so tired of this pointless issue. Cannabis affects the mind. It is a drug.

        Peter Reynolds

        February 24, 2015 at 10:39 pm

    • its not canabis that ***** people up due to canabis being the same as coffee or tea skunk is sprayed with chemicals like pesticides pcps used to kill greenfly thats want ***** people up


      March 4, 2015 at 11:24 pm

    • skunk is a hybryd not a true plant sprayed with weedkiller to keep greenfly off that causes mental health problems loss the sprays and the plant will be pure and cause no trouble to its user


      March 4, 2015 at 11:28 pm

  2. do not show it we dont want to see it

    olga johansen

    February 24, 2015 at 9:43 pm

  3. If you go into a mental hospital you will see first hand what cannabis can do !!! When parents visit you can see the hurt in their eyes, as they visit their son/daughter who just tried it to experiment ,

    Jed Haycock

    February 24, 2015 at 9:51 pm

    • Jed,

      There are about 1,000 hospital admissions each year relating to cannabinoids and mental or behavioural problems. Most are trivial cases of being ‘over stoned’, discharged within 24 hours. You can’t die from an overdose of cannabis

      There are about 47,000 hospital hospital admissions each year relating to alcohol and mental or behavioural problems. Some die, many end up with serious liver disease. So even accounting for the fact that 10 times as many people use alcohol as cannabis, your son/daughter is five times more likely to end up in a mental hospital after drinking alcohol.

      I’m sorry for your personal experience but it is a fact that if more people used more cannabis and less alcohol, we’d have fewer people with mental health problems and fewer people dead.

      Peter Reynolds

      February 24, 2015 at 10:24 pm

      • and even fewer if people drank sensibly and didn’t use cannabis at all. Still, at least when you are admitted to hospital you won’t mind the Doctor being stoned will you ? Or the ambulance driver ? Or the receptionist.


        February 25, 2015 at 11:13 am

      • Are you seriously, genuinely, trying to suggest cannabis is more harmful than alcohol? If so, you should maybe read some science?

        I don’t think doctors, ambulance drivers or receptionists should be impaired in any way while they’re on duty.

        Peter Reynolds

        February 25, 2015 at 11:41 am

      • Oh so think cannabis does impair people ? Perhaps you could answer the specific question, not a different question you chosen yourself.


        February 25, 2015 at 2:03 pm

      • If you mean, would I mind the doctors ambulance driver or receptionist being stoned then the answer is yes, I would. I hope that’s a sufficiently unequivocal answer to your specific question.

        Peter Reynolds

        February 25, 2015 at 2:27 pm

      • marijuana is a natural plant ,and a 1000 times safer than pills manufactured by companys,anybody that don’t think so is an a*****e,and stupid!

        William VanRooy

        February 25, 2015 at 11:49 pm

    • actually, after been working more than 5 years in a A&E department, I have not come across any patient admitted due to cannabis use. I have seen almost every day and and increasingly in weekend patients attending hospital with problems and injuries related to alcohol, heroin, cocaine, and ” legal highs”. but none to cannabis. I am not saying that some people with potential mental problems or mental health related illness can not have an increased risk of worsening their conditions due to cannabis, but so far most studies failed to show causation. from my experience working with this patients, and my knowledge of this mental illness is more likely that patients with some psychiatric problems as schizophrenia tend to use cannabis to alleviate their symptoms. unfortunately because cannabis is illegal they may end using the wrong strain of cannabis with too much thc and too little cbd and not get the expected result. If cannabis could be legalized people at least could find good advice on the right kind of cannabis more suitable to their needs and the characteristic of it, just like now you can do when you buy alcohol, or over the counter medication.


      February 25, 2015 at 3:57 am

  4. I emailed Channel 4 about this show and got a typically evasive response. I’m pleased to see that in the 50+ years since “reefer madness” Nixon’s stooges are still rolling out that tired old bs. I enjoyed watching John Snow a journalist who I used to respect overplay the immediate effects of “Skunk”. What a looser. The notion that “skunk is somehow more powerful than hash is laughable in the extreme. Anybody who actually knows anything about the plant will inform you that hash is a concentrate of the crushed skunk buds. I haven’t seen anything this un-scientific since the chuckle brothers to me to you. Jokers.


    March 3, 2015 at 11:55 pm

  5. None of these shows even considered the nocebo effect, which means a predisposed negative recation can occur if one is psychologically primed or inclined to that reaction.

    Liz Reynolds

    July 6, 2015 at 8:50 pm

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