Skip to comments.UK 'too soft on cannabis dangers'
Posted on 06/27/2006 2:38:29 AM PDT by familyop
New strains of highly potent cannabis are as dangerous as heroin and cocaine and the drug can no longer be dismissed as "soft and relatively harmless", the United Nations said yesterday.
In an implied criticism of Britain's decision to downgrade cannabis, Antonio Maria Costa, the head of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, said that countries got the "drug problem they deserved" if they maintained inadequate policies.
His comments indicated deep unhappiness with the Government's decision to reclassify cannabis from a Class B drug to Class C. Heroin and cocaine are Class A substances, attracting the toughest penalties for possession and trafficking.
"Policy reversals leave young people confused as to just how dangerous cannabis is," said Mr Costa, introducing the Vienna-based organisation's annual report.
"With cannabis-related health damage increasing, it is fundamentally wrong for countries to make cannabis control dependent on which party is in government. The cannabis pandemic, like other challenges to public health, requires consensus, a consistent commitment across the political spectrum and by society at large."
Mr Costa said that cannabis was now "considerably more potent" than a few decades ago. It was "a mistake" to dismiss it as a soft drug.
"Today the harmful characteristics of cannabis are no longer that different from those of other plant-based drugs such as cocaine and heroin," he said.
The UN report estimates that 160 million people use the drug worldwide, with a growing market for stronger strains - known as skunk, among other names - which are far stronger than when most of today's policy-makers were young.
The study claimed that a ''significant'' number of cannabis users had experienced panic attacks, paranoia and "psychotic symptoms" during cannabis intoxication - dangers heightened by the growing availability of stronger varieties.
It said: ''Despite early claims to the contrary, cannabis dependence is a reality. Many people who use cannabis find it difficult to stop, even when it interferes with other aspects of their lives, and more than a million people from all over the world enter treatment for cannabis dependence each year.
''Research indicates that younger users, whose brains are still developing, may be especially vulnerable to the negative effects of cannabis. Despite its normalisation in some countries and its occasional celebration in popular culture, it should be noted that cannabis is a powerful drug that has recently become more powerful in many parts of the world.''
Britain downgraded cannabis two years ago in an effort to free police resources to concentrate on ''serious'' drugs, such as crack and heroin. A review of that decision in January this year retained the current classification.
David Davis, the shadow home secretary, said the UN report indicated that "the Government's seriously confused course of action on cannabis has led to chaos and confusion".
The Home Office emphasised that cannabis remained illegal even if its classification had been lowered. It claimed that its use had declined among young people.
A spokesman said: ''It is harmful and illegal and no one should take it."
The report also expressed concern about growing cocaine use, particularly in western Europe, where demand was reaching "alarming levels".
"I urge European Union governments not to ignore this peril,'' Mr Costa said. "Too many professional, educated Europeans use cocaine, often denying their addiction, and drug abuse by celebrities is often presented uncritically by the media leaving young people confused and vulnerable."
A report from the European Union's Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction said that drug deaths in Europe were at their highest ever.
Well as long as we are doing it for the children
this is not new with modern super cannabis, but I am sure it is intensified.
No more reefer for you. You're hallucinating.
See, all you fascist drug warriors have set a shining example for the UN. And, now that the UN agrees with you, doesn't that make you feel all warm and snuggly in your little (and I mean little, little) drug warrior minds - I mean, the worlds largest fascist organization has now adopted YOUR WORLDVIEW!!!
Should make y'all proud.
Then by implication, the old strains weren't? This is all just the latest excuse for repression.
First: I don't touch pot or anything else. Tried it in the 60's, liked it fine, got tired of it. So I am not one of those "Legalize Pot" advocates...I just don't care about it.
The UN stool sample above is utter rubbish, and more agenda driven Junk Science that will only further condemn the UN...A Good Thing, I suppose.
The Psychopharamcologies, the specific receptor mechanisms, the LD50's, the metabolic pathways, etc. are entirely different between cannabinoids, tropanes, and isoquinolines. To lump them all together in one blanket statement is ignorant and sloppy. It is like saying an NSAID is the same thing as prednisolone.
For a good article on alkaloids and their methods of action, see THIS.
First our guns and now, a relatively harmless plant. What's next?
Surrender your toads.