HW: Various

Doug Pearson jasret at MINDSPRING.COM
Fri Jul 2 19:18:09 EDT 2004

Nice to see some input from someone with (unlike me) professional
knowledge ...

On Fri, 2 Jul 2004 14:47:13 -0400, Nick Medford <nickmedford at HOTMAIL.COM>

>On Fri, 2 Jul 2004 13:41:57 +0100, M Holmes <fofp at HOLYROOD.ED.AC.UK>
>>Sure.  As I said, about 3% of the population can be regarded as
>>pre-schizophrenic ...
>"Pre-schizophrenic" is a nebulous and difficult concept...
>>and LSD is one of the things that can tip those people
>>over the edge.
>This, interestingly enough, has never actually been proven, although I
>think you are right to presume that it must be true.

The anecdotal evidence would seem to favor that theory, yes.

I recall reading that one's mental state under the influence of LSD is
very similar to the mental state of a schizophrenic, but this is only for
the 12-some hours of the drug's effectiveness.

>Amphetamines, on the other hand, are well-known for producing a psychosis
>that is pretty much indistinguishable from schizophrenia.

'A Scanner Darkly', by (notorious speedfreak) Philip K. Dick provides an
incredibly disturbing fictionalized version of this phenomenon, which, as
I understand, does require long-term exposure to become a semi-permanent
condition.  (And is what I was talking about when I mentioned people who
had screwed up their lives from amphetamine abuse to the point where they
were unable to carry on human relationships.)  Later in his life, Dick
reported seeing visions of pink laser lights, and of being spoken to by
his sister who had died in infancy, both classic symptoms.

Perhaps it's the same sort of schizophrenia that makes one collect
military & nazi regalia while writing anti-war songs for his albums ... ;^)

>Of course, what has (to my knowledge) *never* been studied is the
>possibility that moderate use of cannabis may have *beneficial* effects on
>some people's mental health, which also strikes me as entirely plausible.

It's been shown that mental stress can aversely affect one's health, so if
it could be shown that cannabis relieves mental stress (definitely one of
its effects, at least anecdotally), that would be evidence of potential
benefits in that area.

Continuing with rockstar anecdotes, more than one person has said that the
only time in his life that John Lennon was a "nice guy" was the year (c.
66/67) that he was using LSD heavily.

>Going back to Syd Barrett, I read (admittedly in a Sunday newspaper rather
>than anywhere scientifically reputable) that he has never been given any
>formal psychiatric diagnosis, and never been sectioned. I got the
>impression that while he surely does have his problems, he is not
>quite the acid-fried casualty of popular myth.

He's been living with his mum for over 30 years (just like Roky
Erickson!), which, I would think, would keep him out of clinics &
hospitals as long as he's non-violent.  I have heard that he has
considerable physical health problems (diabetes, for starters) these
days.  It's clear that whatever it was that happened to him made it sadly
impossible for him to continue his promising musical career.

     jasret at mindspring.com

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