HW: Various

M Holmes fofp at HOLYROOD.ED.AC.UK
Fri Jul 2 08:41:57 EDT 2004

HawkFan writes:

> I know people who took LSD regularly and seem to have survived with
> relatively untwisted personalities. I suspect Syd Barrett was always a bit
> strange. Maybe the LSD pushed him off the edge and maybe he would have
> fallen off anyway.

Sure.  As I said, about 3% of the population can be regarded as
pre-schizophrenic and LSD is one of the things that can tip those people
over the edge.  While personal and family history, and to an extent
psychological testing, can give a little insight into whether one is in
the 3% or the 97%, it's not an edge anyone would actually want to fall
over.  A lifetime on antipsychotic drugs, or sliding down the social
sxale due to mental illness, is a huge price to pay for a little mental
recreation.  OTOH, if I broke my neck skiing, pretty much the same would

What's been interesting recently is that there's been a moral panic due to
some research claims that regular use of strong cannabis can induce
similar effects. It's appeared in the press as "Cannabis Psychosis"
stories involving "super skunk" and "marijuana ten times as strong as
their parents used in the 60's". It doesn't seem to be hard to find
doctors who'll say that the incidence of admission for this reason is up,
and it wouldn't be exactly easy to compare the strength of cannabis now
to 40 years ago. I expect there'll be a few more moral panics on this one
until the research jury comes in.

Then again, it turned out that the "Ecstasy swiss-cheeses your brain"
researchers had been unknowingly testing speed all along. We'll probably
just have to wait a decade to see whether the 20 year olds using ecstasy
in the 90's turn out to be miserable 40 year olds.

To be fair to researchers though, the 50 year study into doctors and
smoking is one hell of a piece of work. I doubt even FOREST could argue
with a straight face that it's not bad for you, and passive smoking
looks to be worse than previously thought too. I'm geting optimistic
that a public ban on smoking is close to arrival in Scotland. It'd be
good to get my favourite drug without breathing other people's poisons.


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