14866196912 f418cbed27 z Academically successful children smoke more cannabis as teenagers: is it time to rethink drug education programmes?

Academically successful children are more likely to drink alcohol and smoke cannabis in their teenage years than their less academic peers. That’s according to a study of over 6000 young people in England published recently in BMJ Open by researchers at UCL. While the results may sound surprising, they shouldn’t be. The finding is in fact consistent with earlier research that showed a relationship between higher childhood IQ and the use in adolescence of a wide range of illegal drugs.

Read the rest of this article at: BPS Research Digest Image Credit: Van Grimm Photography

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sativa vs indica Sativa Vs. Indica: Fact or Fiction?

According to cannabis folklore, there are two separate strains of cannabis with wildly different effects. Dispensaries and stoners alike will tell you that “sativas” give a heady, cerebral, stimulating rush, while “indicas” have more sedative properties, leaving users with more of a “body high” that sometimes puts them in a state of “couch-lock….

Read the rest of this article at PrimeMind.

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A letter from Prof. David Nutt, former leading scientific advisor on drugs to the UK government, sacked for providing unbiased evidence based advice on drugs.

Prof David Nutt Metro Cannabis Letter The best evidence based advice to help cannabis smokers look after their lungs would be to abandon the peculiar British habit of mixing cannabis with tobacco

Printed in today's Metro

The wise advice above is in response to a controversial report (note a report – not a scientific study) by the British Lung Foundation. The UKCIA have further torn apart the Independent and BBC’s coverage of the report by demonstrating the flagrant errors in the “reefer madness” reporting.

Update 11/06/2012: Prof. Nutt has published a thorough debunking of the report on his blog.


British Lung Foundation (2012). The impact of cannabis on your lungs British Lung Foundation Reports (PDF)

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 Obamas Personal Cannabis Policies: Interception and Total AbsorptionNews broke yesterday that while smoking cannabis himself, Barack Obama observed somewhat different rules to the ones that the US population suffer. According to the leaked pages of a soon to be published biography, members of Obama’s “Choom Gang” would hold in smoke for as long as possible to ensure “total absorption”. Under Obama’s rules “anyone who exhaled prematurely lost his next turn at the joint”. Obama was apparently known for working under a different modus operandi to the traditional “pass to the left hand side”, according to the LA Times, “when a joint was making the rounds, he often elbowed his way in, out of turn, shouted ‘Intercepted!’ and took an extra hit.

Obama is not the only current champion of prohibition to have completed an abrupt 180° U-turn in their views on drug use, British PM David Cameron famously stated:

David Cameron Obamas Personal Cannabis Policies: Interception and Total Absorption “I ask the Government not to return to retribution and war on drugs. That has been tried, and we all know that it does not work”  (Image credit: Sharrock)
David Cameron, House of Commons, 5th December 2002

The soul crushing ease with which politicians change their views on drugs upon gaining office is mind boggling. It is equally mind numbing to learn of the reams of drug war champions whom upon leaving office swiftly reverse their view point. Perhaps one day we’ll manage to elect a leader who is able to survive the democratic process without losing sight of their values.

The Science:
The evidence regarding THC absorption and duration of breath holding is surprisingly limited, the consensus appears to be that the majority of active components in cannabis are absorbed relatively instantly and any negligible effects from extended breath holding are simply a result of excessive carbon monoxide exposure. This is good news, there is no reason to hold cannabis smoke down for much longer than a couple of seconds, in fact doing so actually results in wholly unnecessary additional exposure to smoke and tar. There is more good news, it seems clear that heavy cannabis smoking is not particularly good for lung function but surprisingly perhaps, it seems occasional use may actually have beneficial effects. A twenty year study found that users who smoked up to one joint a day actually had increased lung function and this effect stood the test of time even for long term occasional smokers:

“With up to 7 joint-years of lifetime exposure (eg, 1 joint/d for 7 years or 1 joint/wk for 49 years), we found no evidence that increasing exposure to marijuana adversely affects pulmonary function”

The moral of the story? If you choose to smoke, you don’t need to do a Clinton and not inhale at all, but you certainly don’t need to do an Obama either – failing to exhale will do you more harm than good. More importantly, keep your smoke an occasional habit and you may just end up with stronger lungs than you started with.



Pletcher MJ, Vittinghoff E, Kalhan R, Richman J, Safford M, Sidney S, Lin F, & Kertesz S (2012). Association between marijuana exposure and pulmonary function over 20 years. JAMA : the journal of the American Medical Association, 307 (2), 173-81 PMID: 22235088

Zacny JP, & Chait LD (1991). Response to marijuana as a function of potency and breathhold duration. Psychopharmacology, 103 (2), 223-6 PMID: 2027922

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Two years ago Oxford University neuroscientist Prof. Dorothy Bishop established the Orwellian Prize for Journalistic Misrepresentation for the worst misrepresentation of a scientific article in a national newspaper, judged according to the number of factual errors in the piece.

Paul Dacre Daily Mail Winner of the Orwellian Award for Journalistic Misrepresentation1 Daily Mail Editor Paul Dacre Wins Orwellian Prize for Journalistic Misrepresentation over Just One Cannabis Joint Can Bring On Scizophrenia

This year, my nomination of the Daily Mail’s article “Just ONE cannabis joint ‘can bring on schizophrenia’ as well as damaging memory” won the award! The prize, normally reserved for the journalist authoring the piece, was awarded to Paul Dacre, editor of the Daily Mail, because of the number of errors in the headline which is the responsibility of the editor and is normally not written by the journalist writing the piece.

This allows the Daily Fail to continue to spew out complete nonsense without risk of reprisals, only last week publishing a piece misappropriating a death to cannabis, that the coroner explicitly stated was not due to cannabis.

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