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Pot Psychosis Claims Overturned

Author: Jonty Skrufff
Saturday, March 12, 2005
Civil liberties experts from the Marijuana Policy Alliance have comprehensively trashed a widely reported study linking cannabis smoking with psychosis, pointing out that levels of the mental illness are broadly similar to the 60s when vastly fewer young people used marijuana.

Psychology professor Mitch Earleywine and Bruce Mirken, communications director for the Marijuana Policy Project, also discovered serious flaws in the study carried out by New Zealand researcher David Ferguson, including both the criteria used to judge psychosis and the question of whether the symptoms were simply the "normal, passing effects of marijuana intoxication'.

"It is entirely possible that the entire case for marijuana "causing' psychosis is based on marijuana smokers having the completely reasonable feelings that they have beliefs different from mainstream society and thus should be a tad suspicious of others," said the Professor in an article published by

"'Proof' that marijuana makes you psychotic- No. Not even close. But don't expect the mainstream media to figure this out."

In fact, British newspapers including the Standard and Daily Mail immediately embraced the suspect study with The Mail using it to call for cannabis laws to be toughened up even further.

"Disturbing new research by eminent medical specialists - reported for the first time in the Mail today - reveals just how much damage cannabis can do to young people," the tabloid snarled, following the publication of Ferguson's report.

"Cannabis can have devastating long-term effects. It is widely blamed for leading to the use of other stronger narcotics," they added.

Labour heavyweight Jack Straw also hinted this week that the British government may recriminalise marijuana soon, matching the Conservative opposition's attempts to win votes by being "tough' on drugs.