Skunk and THC nonsense in the media again
By Chris Bovey
Lies and unscientific nonsense are nothing new from Mary Brett, Chair of the cannabis misinformation group Cannabis Skunk Sense; however, she has surpassed herself in an article in the Telegraph, claiming that cannabis now has a strength of up to 46 per cent THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol), whereas in the 60s and 70s it was around 1-2 per cent.
No evidence was offered for this statistic. Why? Because it’s simply not true; she pulled the figure out of her arse. I’m personally not old enough to have smoked cannabis in the 60s or even the 70s, but I know enough people older than me who can confirm that there was strong cannabis (or skunk) around back then. I have a good friend in Totnes who is in his early seventies who maintains that the stuff he was smoking in the 1960s was stronger than the cannabis he gets today.
Is Mary Brett seriously suggesting that Howard Marks was smuggling tons of low grade cannabis with 1-2% THC, because there was such an insatiable demand back then for low grade cannabis that barely touched the sides? Why did the Beatles, Pink Floyd, the Rolling Stones smoke cannabis? Because they wanted to get high. Yes, I’m sure the Beatles wouldn’t have touched weed if it actually got you stoned, and their music would have been crap had they actually got high from smoking pot.
Our own Prime Minister, David Cameron, must surely be forgiven for smoking cannabis while he was a pupil at the exclusive public school Eton, since there was probably so little THC in the skunk he was caught with, and he definitely wouldn’t have experimented with skunk in his school days if it actually got you high. I think not!
The term skunk is in itself meaningless, it’s originally a name given to a Sensi Seeds strain. Of course, as well as skunk, there are many other strains, such as Jack Herer, White Widow, Kush, Northern Lights and many more. The media like to use ‘skunk’, because it is catchy.
Only this week, NORML UK published research from The Netherlands, which showed THC levels in Dutch cannabis have actually declined in recent years and looked at the complex relationship between THC and Cannabidiol (CBD), another cannabinoid found in the cannabis plant. The paper showed that strength is not down to THC content alone, nor is there a satisfactory standard measurement system as to the THC content of a sample of cannabis. Richard Shrubb has written on the NORML UK blog about the therapeutic effects of CBD, which can be used as an anti-psychotic and to treat depression among other things.
To our understanding the strongest weed available is no more than 25% THC, and this is rare; yet strength is being increasingly shown to be not simply down to the amount of THC, but the interrelationship between CBD and THC. Until this is established, such wild claims as to cannabis strength cannot be justified.
The article also claims a link between cannabis and mental illness, yet the chief issue is the difference between long term psychotic illnesses and short term psychosis. There is no firm link between cannabis and schizophrenia. There is a link between cannabis and psychosis, though only in a tiny minority of users.
This is yet another example of poor reporting and the media once again giving a platform to Mary Brett and her hysterical scaremongering about skunk cannabis. NORML UK is committed to promoting the truth about cannabis, utilising the newest scientific research to enable adults to make an informed choice.