In Reply to: Re: here's some NEW research posted by Yvonne on June 08, 2005 at 23:22:29:
You are talking about something very different. You're talking about the misuse and abuse of substances. For people who do that, regardless of the substance, there are usually underlying factors that were not caused by the substance itself.
It's a specious claim that because some people with mental health problems misuse or abuse cannabis that it is therefore the cause of their mental health problems or that it has no therapeutic value for other people with mental health problems who don't misuse or abuse it.
The arguments and false claims you are making about cannbis are all the same ones that prohibitionists have been making for years. For example, regarding the smoking of cannabis you say "because the smoke is held within the lungs for longer it has a higher incidence of lung disorders." First of all, it's not true that there is a higher incidence of lung disorders. What evidence do you have to support that claim. For about the last 4 decades, cannabis consumption has increased dramatically, yet there is no data to indicate that lung disorders have risen in relation to that increase. Second, perhaps 20 years ago it was the habit to keep cannabis smoke in your lungs as long as possible, but most people simply don't smoke it like that anymore. They also smoke far less than tobacco smokers. Also, there are many smoke delivery systems such as water pipes (bongs) and vaporizers that filter out most of the tars or, in the case of vaporizers, create completely clean cannabis vapors. Third, many people, especially those who consume it for medical reasons, don't smoke it at all, but rather ingest it in the form of baked goods or tinctures. There are many clean, safe ways to ingest cannabis.
You also claim that it "can become psychologically very addictive". Whiie a person can become dependant on cannabis, as with any drug, they can't become addicted. There is a fine, but important distinction between the two. Moreover, there are many drugs that doctors have no problem prescribing even though there is a risk that certain people can become dependant on or misuse them, but that doesn't stop them from prescribing them. Antidepressants and painkillers are a good example of that. They are just now beginning to understand some of the dangerous side effects of prescribing antidepressants to children and adolescents, such as the increased likelihood of suicide, yet doctors continue to prescribe them to that demographic by the buckets full. Again, just because some people misuse and abuse a substance that is beneficial to others is no reason to deny that substance to the beneficiaries.
You argue that "the emotional stress of obtaining something illegal, can add to the problem." This is a political issue and has nothing to do with the efficacy of cannabis. If people are stressed by the illegality of obtaining and using cannabis it is because of inhumane, unjust laws, not because of anything inherent in cannabis itself.
Finally, none of the studies that have been done so far (I subscribe to about 12 weekly/monthly news email lists from health organizations around the world on this issue) have made a causal connection between cannabis and mental illness. The studies that I'm aware of are inconclusive and point to other factors that may be at work, for example, genetic predisposition or environment.