ScienceDaily (May 15, 2008) — A variety of middle-class people are making a conscious but careful choice to use marijuana to enhance their leisure activities, a University of Alberta study shows.
A qualitative study of 41 Canadians surveyed in 2005-06 by U of A researchers showed that there is no such thing as a ‘typical’ marijuana user, but that people of all ages are selectively lighting up the drug as a
way to enhance activities ranging from watching television and playing sports to having sex, painting or writing.
“For some of the participants, marijuana enhanced their ability to relax by taking their minds off daily stresses and pressures. Others found it helpful in focusing on the activity at hand,” said Geraint Osborne, a professor of sociology at the University of Alberta’s Augustana Campus in Camrose, and one of the study’s authors.
The focus was on adult users who were employed, ranging in age from 21 to 61, including 25 men and 16 women from Alberta, Quebec, Ontario and Newfoundland whose use of the drug ranged from daily to once or twice a year. They were predominantly middle class and worked in the retail and service industries, in communications, as white-collar employees, or as health-care and social workers. As well, 68 per cent of the users held post-secondary degrees, while another 11 survey participants had earned their high school diplomas.
The study also found that the participants considered themselves responsible users of the drug, defined by moderate use in an appropriate social setting and not allowing it to cause harm to others.
The findings should open the way for further scientific exploration into widespread use of marijuana, and government policies should move towards decriminalization and eventual legalization of the drug, the study
“The Canadian government has never provided a valid reason for the criminalization of marijuana,” said Osborne. “This study indicates that people who use marijuana are no more a criminal threat to society than are alcohol and cigarette users. Legalization and government regulation of the drug would free up resources that could be devoted to tackling other crime, and could undermine organized crime networks that depend on marijuana, while generating taxes to fund drug education programs, which are more effective in reducing substance abuse,” Osborne added.
The study was published recently in the journal Substance Use and Misuse.
University of Alberta. “Middle Class Relaxing With Marijuana.” ScienceDaily 15 May 2008. 18 September 2008 <http://www.sciencedaily.com /releases/2008/05/080514111721.htm>.
1. Gov. Romney wants to arrest medical marijuana patients
Last week, we encountered former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R) for the third time. During our two previous encounters, Gov. Romney used our questions regarding medical marijuana as opportunities to discuss his overall opposition to drug legalization and to explain his plan for educating American youth about drug use. However, in regard to medical marijuana, he only said, “I will look at the issue … I will inform myself.”
Last week, during a July 25 town hall meeting in Bedford, when asked by an audience member about his thoughts on the war on drugs, he touched briefly on medical marijuana, saying, “People talk about medicinal marijuana. And you know, you hear that story that people who are sick need medicinal marijuana. But marijuana is the entry drug for people trying to get kids hooked on drugs. I don’t want medicinal marijuana; there are synthetic forms of marijuana that are available for people who need it for prescription. Don’t open the doorway to medicinal marijuana.”
After the event, GSMM volunteers, including a seriously ill patient in a wheelchair and a medical professional, approached Gov. Romney after the event to ask a follow-up question. After Gov. Romney ignored the patient’s repeated attempts to ask him a question, I asked him, “I was wondering why you don’t respect states’ rights when it concerns seriously ill patients who use medical marijuana in the 12 states that have approved its use. Why don’t you respect states’ rights in that situation, a life and death situation?” He responded, “Because synthetic marijuana is available by prescription. It’s very simple, very simple, very simple.”
When the medical professional with us introduced herself and explained to the governor that synthetic forms of marijuana are not effective for many patients, he disagreed, saying, “I have spoken with doctors and researchers, and the medical marijuana effort is an effort to try and legalize marijuana in this country, and it’s a mistake in my opinion to go in the direction of opening up the nation to medical marijuana … I am not in favor of medical marijuana. Other pain relievers are available in this country, and I support the use of those other pain relievers. And synthetic marijuana, with the elements that are essential, is available.”
2. Gov. Richardson won’t let federal raids continue on his watch!
New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson (D) has been spending a lot of time campaigning in New Hampshire, and we always take the opportunity to thank him for his repeated pledges to end the federal raids on medical marijuana patients and for his support of medical marijuana legislation in his home state.
During our most recent encounter at a meet-and-greet in Concord, I him what he thought about the six Republican candidates who have said they would raid and arrest the sick and dying in medical marijuana states like New Mexico. Gov. Richardson responded with shock that anyone would want to arrest seriously ill people and said, “Don’t worry, if I’m elected that won’t happen. You know, there are people that are dying that just want their pain eased, and so they came to me in New Mexico, 199 human beings that said, look we just want it for medicinal reasons, to be able to use medical marijuana to ease our pain. And I said, ‘Okay, let’s find a way that there’s proper Department of Health safeguards that … we don’t have running rampant a bunch of gardens with you-know-what. Let’s do it right.’ And it’s working, it’s working. So we’ve got to do the right thing. That is the right thing.”
Granite Staters for Medical Marijuana
New findings link the smoking of cannabis with psychotic illness
Campaigners pressed the Government to reclassify cannabis as new evidence emerged that the drug could more than double the risk of psychotic illnesses such as schizophrenia.
Research found any use of cannabis – which means even taking the drug just once – was associated with a 41% greater risk.
People who smoked the most cannabis were the most likely to suffer a psychotic breakdown marked by delusions, hallucinations or disordered thoughts. For frequent users, the risk rose to between 50% and 200%.
In the wake of the research, published today in The Lancet medical journal, there were calls for the Government to reverse its decision to downgrade cannabis to a class C drug.
Marjorie Wallace, chief executive of the mental health charity Sane, said: “The Lancet report justifies Sane’s campaign that downgrading a substance with such known dangers masked the mounting evidence of direct links between the use of cannabis and later psychotic illness.
“This analysis of 35 studies should act as a serious warning of the dangers of regular or heavy cannabis use, doubling the risk of developing later schizophrenia, a condition in which a person may hear voices and experience strange thoughts and paranoid delusions.”
Shadow home secretary David Davis said: “On the basis of the scientific and medical evidence available alone, the Government should reverse their disastrous policy of declassifying this harmful drug.”
The study is likely to have a big impact on the Government’s deliberations about cannabis. Prime Minister Gordon Brown is now considering whether cannabis should be returned to its previous status as a class B drug. Under Tony Blair’s premiership, the drug was downgraded from class B to class C, so possession ceased to be an arrestable offence.
Alternatively, a class B rating could be reserved just for the extra-potent form of cannabis known as “skunk”.
But Paul Corry, director of public affairs at mental health charity Rethink, said education about the dangers of cannabis was more important than reclassification.
Monday, July 23, 2007
HEMP OIL AND PAINTING
Dutch masters used hemp oil in their paintings, but since then linseed oil has become much more common. When I heard this I tried using hemp oil in my own artwork, and brushed on a patch of each on to an oil primed canvas. (Which, as the name implies, was made of hemp – Cannabis sativa – but is now usually made from flax). After some months the linseed oil yellowed, but the hemp oil was clear.
Observing this, I turned to The Artist’s Handbook by Ralph Meyer, and this is what he had to say on the drying of oils:
“The drying properties of most oils are due to the presence of glycerides of linoleic and linolenic acids, which have the properties of combining spontaneously with atmospheric oxygen to start a chain of reactions which end in the conversion of the oil to the tough, durable film known as linoxyn. The action of the moisture on certain of the glycerides of linoleic acid, particuarly in the absence of daylight, is also one of the chief causes of the yellowing of oil films. Linseed oil has a larger percentage of linolenic acid and its glycerides than any other drying oil except perilla oil…compared with linseed oil, poppy oil containes a smaller total amount of these glylcerides, and little or no linolenic acid, and this minimizes one of the causes of yellowing of its films”.
p. 355, The Artist’s Handbook by Ralph Meyer, 1945 edition.
[related information on this blog can be found by clicking on labels or a word search. Percentages of linoleic and linolenic acids can be found for a number of different hemp varieties on a previous post]