Psychotic Stereotypes

Mark Twain once wrote, “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.” We feel the “new” pot psychosis research is a reminder that 90% of research outcomes match the expectations of their source of finance!


“If cannabis caused schizophrenia there would be a strong statistical correlation with the rise of cannabis use since the 1960’s. Schizophrenia rates have remained steady while cannabis use has soared.” Recent English research of 6,000,000 patients…not a mistake, 6 million patients, backs this up.” This would contradict these so-called “new” findings. There are a lot of studies that have very different results available in the media and on the internet. It is difficult to sort fact from fiction, so most opinions are based on instinct or predisposition.

Embassy President, Michael Balderstone reflects, “Considering that under prohibition cannabis users live with the fear of losing their job and maybe their family, and getting a lifetime criminal record or even a jail term, it’s a wonder there isn’t a higher incidence of psychosis in society.”

“Added to this, there is no effective regulation and no quality control of the product, just a black market where anyone of any age and mental state can easily purchase cannabis, often more easily than they could purchase alcohol or tobacco.”

“Regulation of cannabis, perhaps in a medical context,  and realistic education would deglamourise use and take away the rebel cachet and forbidden fruit syndrome that encourages teenage use.”

“Even if pot were the cause of these overstated problems, wouldn’t it be better to regulate the supply and have some quality control, rather than this black-market system? Take the fear out of the equation?”

Vice-President  Alan Salt said, “I feel that in many cases those classed as suffering from ‘drug-induced psychosis’ are using other drugs besides cannabis, usually stimulants, but claim they were ‘only’ using cannabis. People are often reluctant to admit the full extent of their drug use to family or authorities. This is facilitated by the readiness of many to accept such responses uncritically. People coming before the courts for drug associated crime do the same. They minimise their admissions. The outcome is that cannabis gets the blame for situations and outcomes not of its making. As well, I am very skeptical of research that panders to popular prejudice or political prejudice, particularly when I get the impression that only negative outcomes get funding and favour. This distorts the results. Organisations like the NCPIC depend on these kinds of ‘outcomes’ for funding. If you can deliver these findings you will get funding from these bodies who in turn are funded by the government. It is standard practice to look for something, a whipping post or scapegoat, to blame for our shortcomings or for the tragedies that can befall us. Historically this has lead to events like the Salem witch trials and the persecution of numerous minorities both racial and religious. It is a tendency that occasionally gets out of control and brings considerable injustice. ”

Even if one accepted the “2.7 years earlier for schizophrenia in those susceptible” argument as suggested by the “new” cannabis study, what percentage of the population are susceptible?” According to researcher Irving Gottesman, the figure is 1% of the population. That figure has not changed with the escalation of cannabis use in the western world. What other events can “trigger” schizophrenia? Usually stress, and particularly the stress of adolescence. Even a  traumatic birth event can increase your chances as much as these “findings” say cannabis does.

(See image below: Reprinted from Gottesman, I.I., Schizophrenia Genesis: The Origins of Madness, New York: W.H. Freeman, 1991, p.96 (c) 1991 Irving I. Gottesman.”


“Not many of us are very conscious of the well documented links between alcohol and psychosis. Alcohol-related psychosis spontaneously clears with discontinuation of alcohol use and may resume during repeated alcohol exposure. Although distinguishing alcohol-related psychosis from schizophrenia through clinical presentation often is difficult, it is generally accepted that alcohol-related psychosis remits with abstinence, unlike schizophrenia. If persistent psychosis develops, diagnostic confusion can result. Comorbid psychotic disorders, eg, schizophrenia and bipolar affective disorder, may exist, resulting in the psychosis being attributed to the wrong etiology.” This is a situation not receiving the kind of repetitive publicity that cannabis does. It is accepted and pretty much ignored.

More information on Alcohol and psychosis may be found at: and many other sources.

“Psychosis associated with stimulant use is an increasing problem, but there is little research evidence about the nature of the problem and its management. Stimulants have been used for many centuries but only latterly have there been reports of associated psychosis (Guttmann & Sargant, 1937), culminating in Connell’s monograph (Connell, 1958), which reviewed cases of ‘stimulant’ psychosis that resolved rapidly. In Japan, where there was an epidemic of injected amphetamine use, the duration of psychosis appeared to be prolonged and chronic (Koyama et al, 1991). The theory was proposed that repeated low doses of a stimulant lead to changes in the central nervous system (CNS) (Ellingwood & Kilbey, 1980), a form of ‘kindling’, which produces a psychotic illness similar to schizophrenia. Animal experiments seem to support such an effect (Post & Kopanda, 1976). Others dispute this theory of sensitisation (e.g. Brabbins & Poole, 1996). If sensitisation is occurring, then early treatment and retention of stimulant users in mental healthcare services would appear to be desirable to prevent chronic psychoses developing. There is a lack of good-quality evidence as to the effectiveness of this: a recent Cochrane review found no relevant trials (Srisurapanont et al, 2004).” “Compliance with antipsychotic medication by someone with schizophrenia will not prevent a relapse or worsening of psychotic symptoms if stimulants are used. Low-dose antipsychotic treatment may be beneficial in stimulant users, to prevent sensitisation.” This too is a situation not receiving the kind of repetitive publicity that cannabis does, despite there being more evidence for it.

“We believe the continuation of reefer madness propaganda in Australia should be challenged by the Greens,” said Michael Balderstone President of HEMP (Help End Marijuana Prohibition). “They have a clear policy of treating cannabis use as a health issue and this is the sort of misleading nonsense they need to challenge.”

HEMP Embassy 02-66891842 and 66890326


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