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Peter Reynolds

The life and times of Peter Reynolds

Posts Tagged ‘dangerous

Mr Cameron, It’s You Who Needs Education About Cannabis!

with 56 comments

See the interview here.  The relevant part starts at 10:45.

Al Jazeera: This was incidentally, the second most popular question because viewers would submit questions and then members of the public would vote.

Why is marijuana illegal when alcohol and tobacco are more addictive and dangerous to our health, but we manage to control them?  Wouldn’t education about drugs from a younger age be better?

Cameron: Well there’s one bit of that question I agree with which I think education about drugs is vital and we should make sure that education programmes are there in our schools and we should make sure that they work. But I don’t really accept the rest of the question. I think if you actually look at the sort of marijuana that is on sale today, it is actually incredibly damaging, very, very toxic and leads to, in many cases, huge mental health problems.  But I think the more fundamental reason for not making these drugs legal is that to make them legal would make them even more prevalent and would increase use levels even more than they are now. So I don’t think it is the right answer.  I think a combination of education, also treatment programmes for drug addicts, I think those are the two most important planks of a proper anti-drug policy.

Al Jazeera: What about the argument that it could be used as medicinal properties?  That was another question we actually had, a person saying it’s got proven medicinal properties.  If used properly and regulated properly it could actually be quite helpful.

Cameron: That is a matter for the science and medical authorities to determine and they are free to make independent determinations about that.  But the question here about whether illegal drugs should be made legal, my answer is no.

Dear Mr Cameron,

I am writing about your answer to the question about marijuana during the recent Al Jazeera World View YouTube interview.

I am the recently elected leader of the LCA.  I represent the interests of at least two million regular users of cannabis and perhaps as many as 10 million occasional users in Britain.  This is a huge proportion of the population and on their behalf I am requesting a meeting with you.

We were dismayed, shocked even, at your answer to the question.  With respect, clearly it is you who are in great need of education about cannabis. The information you gave was inaccurate and false.  While we must all respect different opinions, your answer was factually wrong and you must correct it.

Cannabis is not “incredibly damaging”, nor “very, very toxic”. It is a myth that there is anything significantly different about the cannabis on sale today and the idea that it causes “in many cases, huge mental health problems” has been comprehensively disproved many times over by scientists all over the world.

I can provide you with scientific information which proves that these ideas are false.  Recently we have been pursuing various newspapers through the Press Complaints Commission for publishing the same inaccuracies. I am seriously alarmed when I see the prime minster of my country distributing such untruths.

Two key facts:

The Therapeutic Ratio of cannabis (ED50:LD50) is 1:40000  (Alcohol = 1:10, Paracetamol = 1:30). Even potatoes are more toxic than cannabis.

Professor Glyn Lewis of the University of Bristol reviewed all published research on cannabis and psychosis in 2009 and concluded that 96% of people have no risk whatsoever and in the remaining 4% the risk is “statistically tiny”.

Your suggestion that legalising drugs increases use is also not supported by the evidence.  In both Holland and Portugal where cannabis use is not prosecuted, consumption is much lower than in Britain.

Finally, on medicinal use it is simply not true that the scientific and medical authorities are free to make independent determinations.  The Home Office stamps on any medicinal cannabis use even when prescribed by a doctor.  People from other European countries can bring medicinal cannabis to Britain and use it legally under the Schengen agreement but you can’t if you’re British.  Here, sick and disabled people are being prosecuted every day for use of a medicine which is scientifically and medically proven. Surely you cannot be unaware of this?  It is a cruel and evil policy which shames our nation.

So please, Mr Cameron, will you meet with me in order that I may show you the evidence and the facts about cannabis?   Remember, this was the second most popular question you were asked on Friday and I represent the interests of millions of British citizens.  Please make time for me in your diary.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours sincerely,

 

Peter Reynolds

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Cannabis Causes Tennis Elbow Which Could Lead To Cancer

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It Was In The Daily Mail. It Must Be True!

After all the brave and courageous work that the Daily Mail has done in demonising drugs, particularly in explaining how very, very dangerous cannabis is, tonight its editors and journalists gathered in an atmosphere of self-righteous gloom and sanctimonious misery.  The BBC has ruined it all.

The headline reads: “BBC Slammed For “How Drugs Work” Show Which Glamorises Illegal Substances”.  (Snappy, eh?) See here for the Mail’s valiant and noble defence against this wicked tide of reason and common sense.

Surely something can be done to shut the BBC up?

Can’t James “Broken Britain” Brokenshire come up with some ministerial order or something to stop them telling the truth?

Let’s get the punters back on the booze. That’s where the tax revenue come from.  More importantly, that’s where so much of ministers’ jollies, perks and, you know, fun and excitement comes from.  I mean there’s Ascot, Glyndebourne, Henley, Twickers, Eton old boys day, Wembley.  I mean, all these events are founded on a good old piss up – and the brown envelopes from the big booze companies, well they do come in very handy you know!

That’s what we want to get the hoi polloi back to.  That’ll keep em happy and docile. (Don’t tell ’em about Charlie and his snifters.  Let’s keep that between ourselves, eh?)

I know the truth has been allowed to leak out.  More and more are realising how dangerous alcohol is.  You really mustn’t mention it, even alongside heroin and cocaine.  We can’t afford the scientific comparison. It doesn’t support our case.  We must not allow them to realise how bad it is.  All we need to do is come up with some good scare story.  The schizophrenia thing doesn’t seem to have worked.  What about…what about…what about?  Tennis elbow?  Yes, tennis elbow!

What do you think?  You know, all that picking the spliff up, putting it down.  Yes!  That’s it!  Cannabis causes tennis elbow.   Get it out now!

Cannabis causes tennis elbow – which could lead to cancer.  Call the press conference now!

Spectacular Spectator Drivel On Cannabis

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Melanie Phillips

A Zionist, Labour supporting, Daily Mail journalist – it’s hardly a good start is it? I should have known better than even to start reading her article in The Spectator.

This woman is a dangerous liar and propagandist.  Astonishingly, with breathtaking hypocrisy in promoting the most dangerous of drugs, The Spectator describes itself as “Champagne for the brain”.

Here is her article, reproduced without kind permission of The Spectator and my letter to the editor in response.

Yesterday morning, BBC Radio Four’s Today programme broadcast an interview with a professor of neuropharmacology, Roger Pertwee. Prof Pertwee was making an eyebrow-raising suggestion – that cannabis use should be licensed. His argument was as incoherent as it was irresponsible. He maintained, repeatedly, that all he wanted to do was to reduce the harm done by cannabis – from dangers which he appeared to define merely as smoking an adulterated form of the drug, or getting lung cancer from smoking it. So he wanted to restrict it to people whom it ‘wouldn’t harm’. They would use it in other ways than smoking it, so they wouldn’t get cancer. They would go along to their GP who would pronounce them fit enough to use it.

Hello?!?

What about the harm that we know is done by cannabis itself to the brain — to cognition, to memory, to motivation, to personality? What about the tremendous increase in psychosis caused by cannabis use? What about the harm it does to other people in the user’s ambit?

Yes, said Prof Pertwee, indeed, his scheme wouldn’t reduce the harm done by cannabis itself.

What about all those millions more young people who would start using the drug and become addicted and do themselves and other people all that harm?

Yes, stammered Prof Pertwee, that would indeed be an enormous problem with his scheme. But all he wanted to do was, er, to reduce the harm. And when he’d chased his own tail round that pointless circle a few times, he fell back on ‘all I want to do is stimulate discussion’.

In short, it was a stupid and dangerous idea which even in its own terms made no sense whatever. Why on earth was this professor of neuropharmacology spouting such self-evident drivel on the BBC that even he himself had to keep demurring at his own argument?

What the BBC didn’t tell us was that Prof Pertwee was not some dispassionate expert who just happened to breeze into the studio with a cockeyed idea about turning GPs into cannabis pushers.

Prof Pertwee is Director of Pharmacology of GW Pharmaceuticals – which has a special Home Office licence to market a cannabinoid medicine called Sativex which is used to treat certain medical conditions.

His embargoed press release even said of his proposal:

‘I think this might be the way forward, but it might not work…  It depends on a private company being willing to produce a branded product’.

But it’s his own company which is best placed to do just that! In other words, the Today programme – as a result of its own lazy and frivolous bias in favour of drug legalisation,  which presumably meant it didn’t do due diligence in researching its interviewee because he had the Correct Opinion on drug policy – was played for a sucker by Big Pharma. It was used to give prime air-time to a piece of commercial advocacy which was passed off as a neutral policy discussion. Except that the product being promoted here wasn’t soap powder, but a drug that enslaves.

Who needs cannabis when the Beeb is so dopey already?

—– Original Message —–
From: Peter Reynolds
To: letters@spectator.co.uk
Sent: Thursday, September 16, 2010 11:20 AM
Subject: Melanie Phillips, The Dopey Beeb, 15th September 2010

Dear Sir,

The disgraceful display of ignorance and propaganda about cannabis by Melanie Phillips cannot be allowed to stand unchallenged.

Her biogtry plumbs new depths of scandalous nonsense.

In the 1930s they used to say that cannabis makes white women promiscuous with black men. Ms Phillips continues on this shameful path of crass misinformation. She needs to do some research before inflicting her ignorance on readers any further.

I agree that Professor Pertwee was incoherent but he is an academic, not a professional communicator.  At least he was dispensing facts. Ms Phillips’ diatribe was, to say the very least, economical with the truth.

Cannabis does not harm the brain or damage cognition, memory, motivation or personality – at least no more than breathing oxygen does and a whole lot less than any other recreational drug.  The phrase “tremendous increase in psychosis” is just a bare-faced lie and that it harms “other people in the user’s ambit” is the very worst sort of journalistic hogwash.

By all means, Ms Phillips, wallow in your own deluded opinion but don’t use your position to spead such wicked, dangerous nonsense.  You should be ashamed of yourself!

Authoritarian scaremongers, political cowards and cheap scandal-seeking journalists have been urging scientists to prove that cannabis is harmful for well over 100 years.  They haven’t succeeded yet.  On the contrary, all the latest research proves that cannabis is a remarkably benign substance yet with some extraordinary medicinal properties. The endocannabinoid system, which was only discovered in 1998 is now known to be fundamental to life and good health.  The only source of cannabinoids outside the body is the cannabis plant.

I used to have time for Melanie Phillips and some degree of respect for her opinion.  I see now that she is just the same as any tabloid hack who cares not one jot for the truth, merely for cheap sensation and worthless rhetoric.

Yours sincerely,

Peter Reynolds

Home Office Backtracks On Cannabis – Part 2

with 12 comments

See the original article here.

The Home Office has been denying to me all week that it had changed its story.  It claimed that it had said “Drugs such as heroin, cocaine and cannabis are extremely harmful and can cause misery to communities across the country.”  It claimed that cannabis was never included in this statement.

Today it finally owned up.  It issued this statement at 5.18pm this evening:

A Home Office spokesperson said:

“There is clear evidence that drugs such as heroin and cocaine are extremely harmful substances.

“There is also clear evidence that cannabis is a harmful drug which can cause both physical and psychological problems. Even the occasional use of cannabis can be dangerous for people with diseases of the circulatory system, and it can contribute to heart disease and lung cancer.

“In this instance there was a drafting error with the original version of this statement, which was subsequently rectified.”

Does It Look Dangerous To You?

Now, I understand and respect the professional efforts of the Home Office PRs to damp down this story.  It just doesn’t wash though does it?

Why did it take nearly two weeks to correct this error?

Why did they try to cover up the error in the first place?

All this from a government department that emphasises how important are its “health and education messages” and that it must not send “the wrong message – to young people in particular.”

Of course, the truth is that the Home Office sends inaccurate and misleading messages about drugs all the time.  Everyone, except the Home Office ministers and mandarins, agrees that the present drug classification system is nonsense, that it amounts to nothing less than misinformation.  In fact, the Home Office is currently less than seven days away from a judicial review of its political manipulation of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.  The Drug Equality Alliance co-founder, Casey Hardison, has taken it upon himself to challenge the Home Secretary and the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) in the Administrative Court for its irrational, unfair, and possibly illegal exclusion of alcohol and tobacco from control under the Act.

Even David Cameron agrees that ecstasy should not be a class A drug – see here.  The debacle and embarrassing nonsense about the ever-changing classification of cannabis destroyed Alan Johnson’s integrity for good.  Young people have been watching the government’s “messages” for years, comparing them to their own experiences and realising  that the government talks rot when it comes to drugs.  The Home Office is inconsistent, unreliable, contradictory and nothing short of dangerous when it comes to messages about drugs – as they’ve just proved, yet again.

As for the revised statement, there is evidence to show that smoking cannabis can cause the same damage to the cardiovascular system as smoking tobacco, but no one smokes anywhere near the same amount of cannabis as they do tobacco – they’d be asleep!  In fact, the very latest research shows that cannabis has an extraordinary protective effect for tobacco smokers and may actually reduce the likelihood of lung cancer.   Other recent research has also shown cannabinoids to have remarkable effects in shrinking brain, head, neck and breast cancers.

The Home Office is so far out of date it’s difficult to believe.   It still talks sensationally about the dangers of “new stronger strains of cannabis known as skunk”.   The truth is that skunk has been the predominant type of cannabis available in the UK for more than 20 years.  That’s how up to date the Home Office is.   Finally, the “psychological problems” story.  Sure, any psychoactive substance has the potential for harm but increasingly there’s evidence to show cannabinoids actually have an anti-psychotic effect.  One of the most useful applications of medicinal cannabis is in the treatment of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

To those who don’t already know the facts, I say simply google your questions.  Even the Home Office, much as it might try, has not yet found a way of silencing the truth.

“Outrageous Scaremongering” Over Cannabis

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Last October,  36-year old Julie Ryan was found dead in bed by her three children, now aged 14, 13 and 8.  At a coroner’s inquest in Oldham last week, pathologist Dr Sami Titi said “The direct cause of her death was cardiac arrest because of a history of smoking cannabis”.

Dr Sami Titi

Julie’s family claims that this is not true, that Julie’s cannabis use has been blamed because the Royal Oldham hospital failed to treat her properly. In Britain, there has only been one previous occasion when a death has been attributed to cannabis. In 2004, Lee Maisey, 36 of Pembrokeshire, who smoked half a dozen “joints” a day, was found dead on his living room floor after complaining of a headache.

At the inquest in Oldham, the coroner, Simon Nelson, was said to be surprised at the pathologist’s story and questioned him closely. Dr Titi insisted that “smoking of cannabis is well known to have a negative impact on the heart and can cause heart attacks in young people”. The coroner said that in 15 years he had never heard a pathologist so confident that cannabis could be fatal. He recorded a narrative verdict of “death from cardiovascular complications induced by cannabis smoking”.

Coroner Simon Nelson

Julie’s brother, Kevin Ryan, says that the pathologist’s remarks are “outrageous scaremongering”. Her mother, Linda, is bewildered by events. As planned, Julie’s children had stayed with her while the inquest was taking place. Now they have returned home to the furore of this extraordinary verdict and are extremely distressed.

Julie had visited the Royal Oldham hospital several times complaining of chest pains but been sent away with a diagnosis of heartburn. The post mortem examination revealed she had a severely enlarged heart and had suffered a previous heart attack which had not been diagnosed. Family sources said “It’s a cover up. Cannabis doesn’t kill. They made a big mistake.” Mary Burrows, Julie’s cousin, who was very close to her, said she preferred to smoke cannabis rather than have a drink and that “she was a wonderful mother and her kids miss her so much”.

Dr Mark Eckersley, a local Manchester doctor, said “More and more pressure is being piled on medical professionals to propagate this type of untruth by the powers that be.” He said doctors need to maintain credibility with the community and that “this type of nonsense makes my blood boil”.

A spokesman for the Royal Oldham hospital said “Miss Ryan died from a heart attack and cardiovascular problems. Our thoughts and sympathy go to her family.”

On 2nd November in California, Proposition 19 is expected to permit the personal use of cannabis for the state’s 28 million adults. As a result, new tax revenues of $1.4 billion are anticipated, up to 110,000 new jobs and a boost of up to $18 billion to the state’s economy from spin-offs such as coffee shops and tourism.

In America, any health concerns about the plant are far outweighed by health benefits. Medical cannabis is already regulated in 14 states with another 12 in the planning stage. In Britain, Sativex, a whole plant extract of cannabis, was recently authorised as a treatment for MS. It costs about eight times what medical cannabis costs in America, Holland, Spain, Israel and very shortly Germany, where there is a fully regulated supply chain. In Britain, despite a House Of Lords Scientific Committee recommendation, the government refuses to consider such a move. Many patients whose doctors have prescribed Sativex have been denied funding from their health authority. In some of these cases, criminal prosecutions have been brought against them for cultivating their own plants.

A spokesman for GW Pharmaceuticals, developers of Sativex, said “The therapeutic ratio for cannabis is so high that it is virtually impossible to ingest a fatal dose”.

Prof. David Nutt

Professor David Nutt was sacked as chairman of the Home Office’s Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs last year after claiming that cannabis was less harmful than alcohol and tobacco. His successor, Professor Les Iversen, also maintains that cannabis has been “incorrectly” called dangerous and says it is one of the “safer recreational drugs”.

On Friday, Professor Nutt said cannabis “seems to cause much less harm than alcohol and that banning the plant is “unjust and therefore undemocratic”. He added: “The previous government’s policy to deter cannabis use by forceful policing increased convictions for cannabis possession from 88,000 in 2004 to 160,000 in 2008. As well as ruining many lives through getting a criminal record, this added massive costs to taxpayers in extra policing and prison costs.”

Prof. Les Iversen

Dr Sami Titi, the pathologist, was unavailable for comment and did not respond to emails. It has not been possible to identify any scientific support for his conclusions.

Julie Ryan’s family is left bemused and uncertain by this verdict. Three children are without a mother and confused about contradictory messages. The 13 year old has been posting on websites about her concerns. Meanwhile, the Public Accounts Committee and the National Audit Office have criticised the government for basing drugs policy on opinion rather than evidence. James Brokenshire, the Home Office Minister, in direct contradiction to his own advisers, continues with the story that cannabis is “extremely harmful”.

James Brokenshire

Both David Cameron and Nick Clegg are on record over the last 10 years as consistently calling for reform in drug policy. The Your Freedom website has been overwhelmed with requests for evidence based regulation of drugs and the legalisation of cannabis but the government is riding roughshod over this public outcry. A consultation document on a new drugs strategy was issued just over a week ago but it seems meaningless and dishonest as all the big decisions have already been taken. Cannabis campaigners, working on behalf of six million regular users in the UK, are outraged at what they see as hypocrisy, misinformation and regressive government action.

Dr Mark Eckersley, exasperated and concerned at the pathologist’s evidence said “This is simply not true. Hearing this story is more likely to cause a heart attack than the ingestion of any cannabinoid”.

Written by Peter Reynolds

August 31, 2010 at 2:17 pm

Posted in Health, Politics

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Broken Society. Broken Britain. Brokenshire.

with 10 comments

A Gift To The Opposition

Given his increasingly authoritarian, “big government” stance, his misrepresentation of science and the deeply flawed, dishonest Home Office Drugs Strategy consultation,  James Brokenshire is proving himself to be a very dangerous young man.

If any coalition minister is pursuing policies that will lead to a broken society and a broken Britain, it is Brokenshire.   He is so far out of step with the progressive, liberal and intelligent direction of the government that one wonders has he been put out for sacrifice?   His attitude and ideas are those of a previous generation which had not yet made all the mistakes or suffered all the consequences that we already have.  He needs to study some history.

From Propostion 19 to the changing views of Latin America’s leaders, Brokenshire is way, way behind.  He is also in direct contradiction to the progressive policies which both Cameron and Clegg have supported in the past.

It is vital for the future of millions of British citizens, their health, liberty, freedom from crime and oppression that Brokenshire is stopped.  As a Tory I am also dismayed at the huge damage he is doing to the party.  He is making the coalition government look short sighted, regressive and stupid.   He has got to go.

See here for the story on Nominative Determinism.  What does a man’s name mean?

I Agree With Nick But I’m Voting For Dave

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In the last general election I wrote “no suitable candidate” across my ballot paper.  In the European elections I voted UKIP.

Fundamentally I’m a Tory but if I became prime minister tomorrow, I’d implement the following policies on Friday:

  1. Withdraw our troops from Afghanistan
  2. Nationalise electricity, gas, water, telephone and broadband provision
  3. Introduce the Lib Dem’s £10,000 tax policy
  4. Introduce the Lib Dem’s policy on the separation of retail and investment banks
  5. Start a phased withdrawal from the EU retaining a free trade policy.
  6. Legalise all drugs.  Introduce strict regulation and taxation
  7. Break off diplomatic relations with Israel until it ends the Gaza blockade and stops new settlements.

It is sad but true that a Lib Dem vote is a wasted vote.  Not only that but it is extremely dangerous.  It could result in the very worst possible outcome to this election if there is no overall majority but Labour has the most seats and Gordon Brown remains prime minister.  This would be an unmitigated disaster of horrendous proportions.  If this happens then I predict at least as much chaos as is happening in Greece.  In fact we could well be in for riots in the streets whoever wins.

The only hope for the future, far from perfect that it will be, is a Conservative government.

Written by Peter Reynolds

May 5, 2010 at 6:50 pm