cannabis could aid mental illness

Discussion in 'Marijuana News' started by gogo, Jun 10, 2005.

  1. it is alil old news from uk

    "Cannabis could aid mental illness
    Manchester Evening News via UKCIA

    SEVERE mental illnesses such as schizophrenia or bi-polar depression could
    be eased with cannabis, according to new research today.

    While some experts have warned about the long-term mental damage that
    cannabis smokers risk, scientists at Newcastle University believe in
    regulated doses it can ease manic attacks.

    Professor Heather Ashton, who led the study by the department of
    psychiatry, stressed the medicinal use of cannabis was quite separate from
    heavy, recreational use.

    She said: "There are certain things in cannabis which can be helpful in
    certain forms of mental disease.

    "People who take it for relief of these symptoms do not need the heavy
    doses that recreational users take."

    She did not advocate smoking the drug, but said there were certain
    chemicals known as cannabinoids in it which can be synthesised into a spray
    and administered under the tongue.

    In certain doses, it can have a sedative, anti-psychotic or anti-depressive
    effect, she said.

    One ingredient THC makes users feel "high", while another, known as CBD,
    can have a calming effect.

    Prof Ashton, a psycho-pharmacologist, wanted to study the effect of a
    mixture of those two specific chemicals.

    "It is a fact that people with bi-polar depression do take it and,
    anecdotally, they say it can relieve depression and mania."


    Prof Ashton said current anti-psychotic drugs, often a mixture of lithium,
    was not satisfactory as they can render patients emotionally "flat".

    "We thought it might be useful to patients to try, as an add-on not as a
    single drug, a known mixture of certain cannabinoids."

    The department was now looking for funding to begin a trial, which could be
    done in collaboration with North American scientists, who have access to
    the two cannabinoids as they have already been licensed in Canada.

    She added: "We all agree that smoking cannabis, especially when young, in
    large quantities is associated with mental illness.

    "That is quite different from using it medicinally. We are talking about
    known doses, lower doses, delivered by a spray."

    Fears about the harmful effects of cannabis on mental health, particularly
    psychosis, have caused the government to consider bringing it back from a
    class C to class B drug.

    During the election campaign Tony Blair said cannabis was not "quite as
    harmless as people make out".

    However, last month Britain's top policeman Sir Ian Blair asked for it not
    to be reclassified.

    The Metropolitan Police Commissioner said: "It's a waste of time, in terms
    of policing, to deal with small amounts (of cannabis) because the courts
    and the CPS have consistently failed to do anything about it."

    He would prefer fixed-penalty notices for possession of small amounts of
    the drug.

    Claims have been made recently that THC in cannabis can protect arteries
    against harmful changes which cause strokes and heart attacks.

    It is also used by Multiple Sclerosis sufferers who claim it helps them
    control spasms, while some cancer patients say it reduces side effects of
    chemotherapy, including nausea."

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