This is an emergency

One family writes about the impact of marijuana addiction in their family. (Skeptics – Stop focusing on the drug and think in terms of the response of the individual to the drug.)

Highlights here:

And for the last four years, this is how it’s been. Two steps forward, two steps back. We effectively remain where we have been since it started.

This is cannabis. It stops you, it rips out normal reactions, normal kindness, normal motivation. It draws a line and you stand patiently behind it. And this is why we have broken one of the most serious prohibitions facing any writer. You Do Not Write About Your Children. Yes, your kids might enter your work now and then in charming disguise but you do not ever lay out their genuine, raw problems on the page. You fictionalise them, you do not present it up-front and true. There is a glass-fronted box in the corner of every writer’s room, protecting the real lives of their children: Smash Only In Case Of Emergency.

Imagine if you could wave a wand and instantly all the spliffs and baggies were transformed into bottles of gin. You leave for work on Wednesday morning and suddenly you see kids on the way to school with a quarter of Gordon’s sticking out their rucksack; at Thursday lunchtime, you see them sharing a swig of Tanqueray at the bus stop. And if you saw that daily, all around you, you would say there’s a genuine problem. Except it’s worse than that.

Their arguments – some ill-informed, some plain vitriolic – have all rested on an implicit belief that “a bit of pot” simply does not cause this kind of aggression, this sort of abuse. Yes, they say, if this was a heroin addict, nicking your stereo, your jewellery and flogging it down the pub, that would be credible. And they’re right, you don’t need to flog a stereo for a spliff – it costs less than a pint. And anyway, cannabis makes you mellow – stoners are hippies, laid back, docile to a fault. We used to smoke it, they imply, and we just giggled.

That was then. Skunk is GM cannabis. Evidence from the Forensic Science Service suggests that skunk cannabis (otherwise known as sinsemilla) is remarkably stronger than ever before. It is unquestionably different, definitely stronger. In skunk, the active ingredient, THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), has been ramped up significantly. But perhaps more importantly, this has been achieved at the cost of another component of naturally occurring cannabis, CBD (cannabidiol). And some scientists are starting to think that CBD has antipsychotic properties – something to offset the THC in old-fashioned marijuana but absent in skunk.