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Home > Culture and Society

Professor Robin Murray: weed makes you potty

"In schizophrenia, the hallucinations and delusions result from an excess of a brain chemical called dopamine. All the drugs which are known to cause psychosis - amphetamine, cocaine and cannabis - increase the release of dopamine in the brain."

- Professor Murray

3 July 2003

According to Robin Murray, professor of psychiatry at the Institute of Psychiatry and so on and so forth, we as a society should think carefully about the potential consequences of our increasing cannabis use. He points to a recent Dutch study which showed that heavy users of cannabis were almost seven times more likely to have psychotic symptoms and the like.

Same goes of course, for 'heavy users' of anything, so that's enough of that balderdash. Itís not as if matters anyway. You can study as many stoners and schizos as you like, Robin, you're not going to stop people smoking dope. Now chill out, for fuck sake.

And while Professor Murray fills his bong, let's turn our attention to 55-year-old Biz Ivol. After being diagnosed with MS in the early 90s, Ms Ivol started using cannabis to ease the pain that prescription palliatives could not reach. Then she began making cannabis chocolates for other MS sufferers. Then, after police paid her a visit in August 2001, she was charged with possessing, supplying and cultivating the drug..

During the case Ms Ivol announced that she would commit suicide when it was over. Her death she said, would stand as a final protest against the governementís obscene and frankly indefensible refusal to decriminalise cannabis for medical use. This week, due to her increasing ill health and inability to attend court, the charges against her were dropped. Which seems a bit weak-wristed really. If you're going to prosecute an old woman with a painful disease, if you're going to indict her for easing her pain with the extract of a common plant, then you should at least have the gumption and the strength of conviction for conviction when the going gets tough. They should have dragged her into the courtroom, put her in the stocks to keep her still and put that dope-pushing bitch on ice. But they backed down because it looked bad. And it looked bad because it was bad. And it still is.

Hours after learning that the charges against her were dropped, Ms Ivol was taken to hospital after being found unconscious by friends. It may have been a suicide bid, but an unnamed government spokesman told us 'she was probably just stoned'.

How primitive are we? What are we playing at? Make it legal for everyone, tax it, educate people, keep an eye on your broody mate who has a touch of nascent psychosis about him and don't be a hard-headed buffoon. But no. Instead, at this week's British Medical Association conference in Torquay, a majority of hard-headed buffoons decided legalisation would send the wrong message to other drug users. Like if it's OK for cancer patients, itís OK for anyone. And apparently it's not. It drives you mad, you know. And yet an unaccompanied child can still walk into any supermarket and buy a carton of Sunny Delight without anyone batting an eyelid.

Now that's madness.

More Reefer Madness:


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