Is cannabis addictive ??? was Re: Poitical abuses...

Nigel Foden n.foden at ic.ac.uk
Thu Nov 7 18:29:03 EST 1996

Dr E. Buxbaum wrote:
> Matt Jones <jonesmat at ohsu.edu> wrote:
> >At any rate, I did exactly as you suggested. I looked up "cannabis" AND
> >"addiction" on Ovid-Medline 1992-1996. I then read the abstracts of these
> >papers (not the whole paper, so of course my interpretations are sketchy.
> >I have assumed that the abstract accurately reflects the content of the
> >paper itself). Here is a summary of what I found. You may or may not be
> >interested in this:
> >Here's my analysis of this (admittedly cursory and partial) reading of
> >the last four years of research into "cannabis" AND "addiction":
> >1)      There is hardly any research into "cannabis" AND "addiction".
> >2)      By far, most studies don't even directly address whether cannabis
> >is addictive or not.
> >3)      No obvious or unambiguous definition of addiction exists.
> >4)      Studies that explicitly discuss addiction assume from the start
> >that cannabis has this property, but do not test this hypothesis.
> >5)      If cannabis is addictive (which has not been demonstrated or
> >experimentally supported in the last four years), it is less addictive
> >and harmful than alcohol, cocaine, or heroin.
> >
> >This is not my main field of expertise, so undoubtedly I'm sure to
> >irritate a lot of people by posting this. I hope that it doesn't escalate
> >into a flame war. But according to *your* suggested medline sources, Dr.
> >Buxbaum, there appears to be insufficient modern experimental evidence to
> >conclude that cannabis is addictive (whatever that word means).
> Well, now get those papers, and read them carefully. Get the literature
> cited in those papers, and read those too. If a paper works on a
> assumption, that assumtion will be documented by relevant literature, but
> in the reference section, not the abstract. Scientific work is 90%
> perspiration and 10% inspiration. There are no shortcuts.

Just a thought, this, but cannabis is officially illegal, and so it is 
difficult to produce quality research on its addictive properties in humans 
without crossing ethical barriers.  Therefore any studies you find (there 
probably were some in the sixties) will be anecdotal and retrospective rather 
than prospective, as in the kind of addictive properties trials that might be 
done with, say, a new antidepressant.  Also remember that sometimes, a paper 
may be biased in its outlook to reflect the political mood of the time.


n.foden at ic.ac.uk

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