When it comes to cannabis, England is a funny place. It’s quite possibly the only location on the planet that has ever reported a death from cannabis poisoning, a statistical impossibility. It’s also responsible for conducting questionable studies on weed, the latest of which (PDF doc) is inviting a lot of attention and scrutiny.
“Scientists show cannabis TRIPLES psychosis risk,” screams a headline for the Daily Mail, the UK equivalent of the New York Post. That of course is NOT what the study said. The findings suggest that pot high in THC, which is referred to by the longtime popular strain “Skunk,” has a higher propensity to cause psychosis than cannabis with less of the psychoactive ingredient. However there was no discernible difference between users of mild cannabis and nonsmokers.
The Guardian was highly critical of the study and noted some of the many discrepancies with its methodology, but claims it’s still important and that it may also prove that certain strains of cannabis could actually help prevent psychosis:
“For all the caveats though, this study is really important. It’s the first of its kind to try and separate out different cannabis potencies in this way. Past cannabis research has mainly focused on the effects of THC – which has been shown in randomized trials to induce transient psychotic experiences. However, recent evidence has hinted that cannabidiol (CBD), another cannabinoid, might be protective against psychosis. Skunk commonly has higher levels of THC than hash (government reports suggest 15% in skunk and 5% in hash), but skunk often only contains traces of CBD, while hash tends to have roughly equivalent CBD and THC.”
The takeaway: Smoke hash and you’ll be fine.
(Photo: Don Goofy)