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Super Strength Skunk Myth Shot Down ::

Reported by Olly @ Trackitdown on March 30, 2007

Guardian science expert Ben Goldacre ridiculed the Independent On Sunday’s new anti-cannabis campaign this week after they justified their reversal on the basis that 25 times stronger skunk is causing an epidemic of mental illness.

“There is exceptionally strong cannabis to be found in some parts of the UK market today but there has always been,” he wrote in his weekly column ‘Bad science’.

“To get their scare figures, the Independent compared the worst cannabis from the past with the best of today. But you could have cooked the books the same way 30 years ago.”

The Independent, meanwhile, continued their new crusadeinterviewing the UN’s top zero tolerance warrior Antonio Maria Costa, who unsurprisingly backed their campaign and repeated their assertions without qualification.

“The cannabis now in circulation is many times more powerful than the weed which today’s ageing baby-boomers smoked in college,” the drugs control boss claimed, “Evidence of the damage to mental health caused by cannabis use- from loss of concentration to paranoia, aggressiveness and outright psychosis- is mounting and cannot be ignored.”

US civil liberties campaigner Allen St. Pierre, executive director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) was unimpressed, telling DRC.Net "This is one of the most ridiculous and flaccid attempts to justify prohibition I have ever seen.”

"Empirically, this is one of the easiest marijuana myths to shoot down," he added.

"From London, you can practically see the Netherlands, a country where cannabis is readily available and fairly potent. If one one-hundredth of what they claim were true, you would be walking over bodies in Amsterdam."

Dr. Mitchell Earleywine, professor of psychology at the State University of New York at Albany, also questioned super-strength skunk claims , telling DRC.Net any increase would be between two and three times, if not less.

"The best argument against this idea comes from work showing that schizophrenia affects 1% of the population in every country and across every era, regardless of how much cannabis was used at the time or up to ten years before," he added. (DRC.Net)

Jonty Skrufff (