are in Activism / British
government on drugs
Issued by the Talk to Frank campaign
leaflet claims to have quotes from real teenagers that just (by chance obviously)
echo the information and advice offered by Frank.
some ways, this leaflet is very good. It gets some important points over in a
clear way without resorting to the usual distortions we've come to expect, but
it's still compromised by the need to support the law and government drugs policy.
1: The front page
2 I don't really smoke
has long carried the warning that smoking anything is bad for your health - such
as here where we advise
"Smoking anything isn't good for you, smoke contains a lot of chemicals,
tars and oils. As a general rule of thumb, the less smoke you inhale the better".
whereas we support that advice, it is clearly and obviously sensible to encourage
people who are going to smoke to do so in the safest possible way. With regards
to cannabis this should include encouraging users to smoke without tobacco which
not only increases the risks of smoking, but also adds its own risks of addiction.
seems to rubbish the idea of smoking cannabis without tobacco, which seems a bad
idea to us. There is also no advice on using safer smoking methods such as water
pipes or even vapourisers. After all, it's by learning how to avoid risks that
we learn what those risks are.
UKCIA has heard of a lot of evidence that cannabis relieves the symptoms of asthma.
Although we accept smoking is something to keep to a minimum, Frank isn't being
totally honest - see here.
3: The law
is a warning about the dangers posed by the law, not about dangers posed by cannabis
itself. UKCIA has warned for some time that "a conviction for cannabis possession
or dealing can cause you big problems later in life - far bigger problems than
the plant could ever cause". For the vast majority, that's still true today.
4: I got paranoid:
is generally good advice, indeed we have also been saying this for some time now
on our effects
page: "Feelings of paranoia can happen from time to time to anyone and is
usually linked to using cannabis in the wrong sort of place, but a few people
find it dominates their feelings and if this happens, treat it as a warning -
cannabis isn't for you".
you are showing the symptoms of mental illness, cannabis might make them worse.
6: I couldn't remember
your own boundaries about if or when you use cannabis - and stick to them"
is very good advice and is a world away from the usual "don't do it".
UKCIA endorses this comment totally.
7: I put on weight
"munchy" warning is a bit daft really. Cannabis users aren't any more
obese than people at large, indeed by far the biggest cause of obesity is junk
food (often marketed at kids) and couch potato lifestyles. However, hidden in
this is something very interesting: "I hardly ever smoke now" - which
accepts that cannabis use can be managed.
8: I can go up or down:
this is trying to say is be careful where you use cannabis. Because of the type
of drug it is, where and when you get stoned is important. As we point out here
"Make sure the location is good - getting stoned in a threatening place
can also lead to the feelings of paranoia".
the most important bit of information is contained in the bit of advice at the
a spliff doesn't smell right, makes you feel funny or you don't know what's in
it, don't smoke it" Frank is really warning about another danger caused by
the law, that of contaminated supplies or possibly even different drugs being
passed off to unsuspecting people. It's not unknown for crack cocaine to be smoked
in joints, a danger caused by the law which Frank daren't tell you about.
9: Why I stopped
problem with this one. Again, giving up isn't that difficult and Frank is acknowledging
10: The last page with contact info.
summary, this leaflet isn't bad and gets the governments message over in a non-threatening
way which is mostly believable. But as always, it doesn't tell the full story
and hides the dangers created by the government supported prohibition. This is
a pity and this need to tell half-truths will always compromise information given
out by Frank.
the refusal to encourage safer (note safer) smoking techniques is difficult
effects of smoked marijuana and oral delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol on specific
airway conductance in asthmatic subjects
of Smoked Marijuana in Experimentally Induced Asthma
the IDMU website
Therapeutic research in the treatment of Asthma
6.8.1 Cannabis and cannabis
extracts have a long history in the treatment of asthma-related complaints, as
long ago as 1695, including an enquiry by the Ohio State Medical Committee in
1860 where oral dosage of one grain of tincture every three hours produced "almost
magical" relief from asthma symptoms. J. Russell Reynolds personal physician
to Queen Victoria, writing in 1890 stated that "in some cases it relieves
spasmodic asthma", and Mattison, in 1891, reported similar findings.
6.8.2 Modern research has tended to confirm traditional therapeutic use as an
anti-inflammatory and bronchodilator agent. Vachon et al, using volunteer asthma
patients, found that smoke from low-potency material (1.9% & 0.9% THC) showed
highly significant bronchodilator effects, which did not appear to be dose related,
lasting for up to 90 minutes after administration.
Tashkin et al in double-blind experiments using smoked cannabis with 2% or 0%
THC (0% - placebo - all cannabinoids extracted before administration), as well
as 15mg synthetic THC administered orally, found increases in specific airway
conductance (bronchodilation) with smoked and oral drug conditions, and concluded
that the 0% THC placebo may contain some as yet unidentified bronchodilator, as
there was no broncho-constriction, which might have been expected in asthmatics
following inhalation of particulate matter. They concluded that THC was effective
in relieving exercise-induced bronchospasm, with the duration of the bronchodilatory
action lasting from 2hr to 4hr after administration. Oral THC produced significant,
but less pronounced, effects. In 1977 the same team used aerosolised THC in 5mg
and 20mg doses, producing similar and significant bronchodilation after all doses,
with the lower dose producing fewer physical (tachycardia) or psychological (high)
side effects than the higher dose or smoked marijuana. The effect was slower in
onset but longer in duration than isoproterenol, a conventional bronchodilator
agent. Williams et al also concluded that THC and salbutamol (ventolin) were equally
effective in improving ventilatory function 1 hour after administration by aerosol,
with THC having the longer duration of action.
Abboud & Sanders found that bronchodilator effects were unreliable when 10mg
oral THC was used, some slight increase in airway conductance was noted although
one patient developed severe bronchoconstriction.
Reviewing the evidence in 1986, Graham concluded that THC is an active bronchodilator
with a different mode of action from the common preparations such as salbutamol
and terbutaline, and active when ingested orally or by inhalation. Oral use (2mg
to 20mg in a sesame oil capsule) was slower in onset than inhalation, which although
not ideal, due to the particulate matter in smoke, could produce swift relief
from symptoms. Higher amounts - i.e. 50-75mg of THC - showed a dose-related effect.
Tests of CBN (600mg) and CBD (1200mg) showed these cannabinoids not to have bronchodilator
activity. Prolonged administration produced no evidence of clinical tolerance
to any of the actions of THC. Speculated that the action of THC may involve suppression
of the release of endogenous substances causing asthma (e.g. SRS-A), rather than
inhibiting their activity.
we accept that breathing in smoke will aggrivate asthma, it is also true that
cannabis can make the symptoms less severe. Used without tobacco and with proper
smoking equipment (pipes / water pipes) or vapourizers, or even if eaten, cannabis
can indeed help asthma sufferers.
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