The Drugs Don't Work, They Just Make You Worse


Trevor Butterworth does some excellent hype-busting of a "reefer madness" campaign in the Brit tabloids. Quoting a reseacher from the Guardian:

"There is exceptionally strong cannabis to be found in some parts of the UK market today: but there always has been. The UN Drug Control Programme has detailed vintage data for the UK online. In 1975 the LGC analysed 50 seized samples of herbal cannabis: 10 were from Thailand, with an average potency of 7.8%, the highest 17%. In 1975 they analysed 11 samples of seized resin, six from Morocco, average strength 9%, with a range from 4% to 16%.

To get their scare figure, the Independent compared the worst cannabis from the past with the best cannabis of today. But you could have cooked the books the same way 30 years ago: in 1975 the weakest herbal cannabis analysed was 0.2%; in 1978 the strongest was 12%. Oh my god: in just three years herbal cannabis has become 60 times stronger."

Butterworth links to some excellent headlines about "killer skunk," too."

NEXT: It's a March Madness Madhouse! A Madhouse[*]

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  1. Great headline Weigel.

  2. Mr Weigel,
    You are very good at getting songs stuck in my head. It’s insidious.

  3. What is that, Ben Harper?

  4. It’s The Verve.

  5. Great song.

    Can someone explain what the lyric, “Like a cat in a bag, waiting to drown,” means?

  6. This is how I know how much of a long hard fight we have ahead of us. When the drug warriors claim that pot today is more dangerous because it is so much stronger, and they get away with it. At least someone in the media (albeit British media) is challenging this bullshit. But by challenging the facts, they are implicitly conceding the bullshit premise.


    In every conversation about illegal drugs, no matter what aspect is being discussed, the example of alcohol always wins the day. Saying super one-hit hydro is worse than the fun playful pot of yore (this is not your fathers grass), is like saying whiskey is worse than beer. With one important difference, it is impossible to overdose on marijuana. Now, the ‘hard liquor bad, beer/wine good’ actually does have it’s adherents. I can remember when it had wide acceptance. But then people started figuring out that if you drink 72 beers out tiny little glasses, you still get completely snoggered.

    That’s why this is so maddening. If pot is getting stronger, then that is a good thing. It means you don’t have to smoke so much. People won’t get higher, they’ll smoke less. And again let me point out that you can’t OD on pot. It is possible to get “too high” in the sense that you are uncomfortable. I’ve been there a few times. You’re paranoid and you can’t keep a train of thought. So you just find someplace to sit down and wait for the feeling to pass, usually in under a half hour. Of course this is a result of prohibition too. If pot were legal, manufactures would control the strength of their product and you’d know a lot more about what you were smoking.


  7. Chris | March 29, 2007, 9:16am | #
    What is that, Ben Harper?

    It’s The Verve from Urban Hymns. Ben Harper did a cover on his Live from Mars CD.

  8. Brian C Bennett has a couple of nice pages on potency claims over the years.

  9. “PUA | March 29, 2007, 9:31am | #
    Great song.

    Can someone explain what the lyric, “Like a cat in a bag, waiting to drown,” means?”

    yeah – in the olden days you’d put the kittens in a burlap sack and threw ’em in the river.

    You’ve dated yourself – you never read the awesome series, “The Great Brain” 🙂

    (zoinks! I’ve dated myself. Aw hell. Pull up a chair and Warren will pour the drinks!)

    Perhaps this Nursery Rhyme will help out!

    I like little Pussy,
    Her coat is so warm,
    And if I don’t hurt her
    She’ll do me no harm;
    So I’ll not pull her tail,
    Nor drive her away,
    But Pussy and I
    Very gently will play.

  10. As an ex user, I probably don’t have the most up to date perspective but from watching friends that smoke, it seems that the mechanics have changed.

    As teens, friends and I would roll up big, fat joints and smoke them one after another. I see people now putting tiny amounts of weed in one hitters to get their buzz. The cost is so much higher that they are probably motivated by that as anything. But it seems to me that people have moderated their intake as the strength of marijuana has increased.

  11. eb,

    Perhaps their usage has changed as a reflections of their current lives as well. When you were teens, you were probably trying to get just as absolutely high as possible. Now, they just use one hitters to maintain a certain level. Much like drinking. People tend to binge drink when younger. It’s new, it’s fun, it’s cool. “I wanna be the drunkest, so that everyone knows that I know how to party.” Same thing with mj. “Man, I was soooo stoned last night. We must’ve smoke like 10 j’s.” Now it’s have a hit or a drink just to relax.

    I could also be way off here, been a while.


  12. You’d think this would be seen as a good thing. With less chaff to smoke, uses take in less tar and other undesirable elements. Of course, this is irrelevant, since obviously drugsRbad …mmmKay? over in England too.

    Let me also correct Warren – they did a study in 1972 that gave hash to rats. They were able to kill the rat by giving it an overdose of 700 times a normal dose. This means that there is some danger to marijuana, but it’s less than say, water, which can kill you at less than ten times the recommended daily dose.

  13. I learned about drowning cats in bags from watching cartoons.
    Is twisted, no?

  14. My post above was meant to help re-invigorate the movement to ban di-hydrogen monoxide.

    And highnumber, it’s not really all that twisted unless you put what you learned into practice.

  15. BakedPenguin,
    I suspect you’re referring to one of the studies by a certain Gabriel Nahas ( he did studies where he gave rats smoke so dense it displaced the oxygen and they died of suffocation. Stuff like that. Even 700 joints won’t kill you.

  16. I do miss the commercial columbian for 40$/oz from days gone by. I remember vividly a grand piano with two ladies in puritan dress dancing across the road after way to many shotguns. They say it aint hallucinogenic. I would have to argue that it is. But I digress. I have a terrible bad lower back and take vicodin 4 times daily to sorta function. I do wonder if a little herbage would be a more satisfactory and less addictive and destructive alternative.

    and there was very strong dope in 1979. It was a little strain from Alaska called “thunderfuck.” At a time when I was smokin 2 ounces a week of 40 dollar weed, 2 bumps off a joint would last all day long of the Alaskan. It was very tasty as well I sorta remember. Praise God for his earthly bounty

  17. Warren – could be, my memory (long term, I read this years ago) isn’t that great. In fact, the study I read may have said they gave rats 700 doses and they survived. I’ve looked for the book I read it in, but I think it’s in storage.

    Even if the 700x = death figure is accurate, it still makes marijuana less toxic than Play-Doh, bananas, or milk.

  18. As an ex user, I probably don’t have the most up to date perspective but from watching friends that smoke, it seems that the mechanics have changed.

    Consider this; when you were a kid did Aberlour or Balvenie cross your radar? Or were you more interested in drinking as much buckhorn as it took? High quality weed was around when I was a youth, but I bought what I could afford and appreciate. You’ve just watched your friends develop a mature appreciation for the stuff, that’s all.

  19. There is a recommended daily dose of Play-Doh?

  20. hi# – it’s hard to nail down exactly, the Doh content is three to five times what it was in the 80’s.

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