back to article Try a 'shroom before ruling on chill pills, boffin tells gov

The government may never be able to “think rationally” about the therapeutic properties of hallucinogenic drugs, says Professor David Nutt. The top boffin was speaking on the publication of two new studies that show the anti-depressant qualities of magic mushrooms. Prof Nutt, who was sacked from his role as Blighty's top drug …

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  1. Olafthemighty
    Happy

    YAY!

    Fun AND good for you - not much else you can say that about these days!

    1. Richard Wharram

      In perspective.

      The actual shrooms taste foul and are liable to make you vomit.

      Allegedly.

      1. dotdavid
        Pint

        Re: In perspective.

        " The actual shrooms taste foul and are liable to make you vomit."

        Funny, when I started drinking I thought the same thing about alcohol.

        Thankfully I grew out of it.

        1. Aaron Em

          No, it's not a habituation thing

          Psilocybin mushrooms grow best on old cow shit. Guess what they taste like?

          1. Framitz

            From personal experience, they taste like nothing. Closest is unsalted popcorn flesh.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Its not really the taste..

              Its the texture and the fact that my throat clamps shut when i attempt to eat them.

              That and the fact that walls shouldn't breathe!!!!!

              Fun though in the right dose, too much and youre in for a rough ride, mopre so if you arent in safe comfortable surroundings....

        2. Unicornpiss Silver badge
          Angel

          They're good when you put them on a pizza...

          um... so I've heard...

      2. hplasm Silver badge
        Happy

        Just like most Govt proclamations, then.

        Which also leave a foul taste in the mouth, and induce the desire to vomit.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        WRONG, those are the toxic variety, leave them alone!

    2. g e

      Hah!

      Those two qualities alone will make the gubbernment keep the stuff banned

    3. nexsphil

      fun?

      The government will insist any 'fun' element is classified 'abuse potential' and eliminated from any approved version of the drug. Basically, if it's any fun and the fun can't be removed somehow it's banned by default, and the sufferers of the diseases it cures can go fuck themselves.

    4. Allison Park
      Angel

      I love mushrooms

      I eat the good ones and avoid the poisonous ones.

      are these poisonous?

      man made stuff is bad for you. these were made by God

      1. M Gale

        Psylocibin Mexicana

        Tastes like shit washed down with bitrex. Hits you like a sledgehammer and leaves you drooling on the sofa trying not to vomit for a good quarter hour. Was more fun after that.

        Legally obtained btw.

        1. Adam Nealis
          Black Helicopters

          Make tea. Hold your nose while drinking. Apparently.

          The psilocybin is not active until hydrolysed. Stomach acids do this. Hence the 30 - 60 minute delay before onset of "symptoms" and the feeling of having been ripped off if you didn't pick them yourself but bought them. Allegedly.

          Apparently if you boil them in water, this will hydrolyse the stuff for you, so when it is imbibed it gets to work right away.

          My friend tells me someone he knows would pinch his nose and drink the lot in one go. That way you only taste the last mouthful after you let go of your nose. Even Vimto doesn't render it palatable. Supposedly.

  2. Anonymous Coward 101
    Windows

    “What's fascinating is that you could think they wouldn't, and of course you're right.”

    I've read that 1000 times, and it still doesn't make any sense.

    1. johnnytruant

      try some of this lovely mushroom tea

      then read it again. all will become clear.

      1. TeeCee Gold badge
        WTF?

        Bloody hell! It's actually all about flatfish, motorcycles and pixies!

    2. El Presidente

      Makes perfect sense

      “What's fascinating is that you could think they wouldn't, and of course you're right.”

      Prof. Nutt is saying that such unequivocal certainty must be the result of unbalanced and unnatural thought processes.

      It's borderline demented gubmint indoctrination: Drugs=Bad which is, demonstrably, bollocks.

      1. Thomas 4

        We will not be seen as a government that endorse drug use!

        Now shut up and eat your Prozac.

        1. Miek
          Coat

          Don't forget to wash it down with some Cabernet Sauvignon.

          1. El Presidente

            Wash It Down ? Y'mean Wash Your Hands ?

            This is France we're talking about ... Everything medicinal goes up the bum.

            That includes sticking plasters, splints and spectacles in some Arrondissements.

            Method of delivery is possibly one reason the regulatory people are squeamish about registering the wonder drug mentioned by Voland's right hand for use in the UK.

            1. Voland's right hand Silver badge
              Devil

              @El Presidente

              No, it is not delivered the "french way".

              Standard oral suspension (phenomenally vile as taste so you usually have to force kids to take it).

              Name is Racecadotril.

              http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Racecadotril

            2. Joefish
              Joke

              Are you suggesting the British

              Don't like it up 'em?

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Alright Jones, settle down

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Natural drugs = bad

          But take all the Xanax, OxyContin, Hydrocodone, Adderall, Prozac, Desoxyn (prescription methamphetamine for ADD treatment), Ambien, Ritalin and Viagra your doctors prescribe. *That's* ok. Got it?

      2. Aaron Em

        Drugs=Bad

        Is that a) more bollocks, b) less bollocks, or c) about the same degree of bollocks as the "Drugs=Good" counter-propaganda beloved of so many in the so-called counter-culture?

        1. Someone Else Silver badge
          Alert

          @Aaron Em

          The answer is a).

          Next question?

        2. El Presidente

          All drugs are good

          And the more you take, the better they get.

    3. Voland's right hand Silver badge
      Devil

      It starts making sense when you see approval stats

      The best drug against diarrhea which is prescribed everywhere in Europe for cases of acute dehydration including ones from Norovirus (winter vomiting bug) was developed by the French by taking morphine and playing with it until all nasty bits are gone and only the "constipates" bit is left. It is non-addictive, it has been proven to be clinically safe from kids through adults to geriatrics worldwide to the point where in most of Europe it is available over the counter. It has saved hundreds of thousands of people worldwide.

      The only country in Europe which pretends that it does not exist is UK. French + morphine origin. UK approval? You _GOTTA_ _BE_ _KIDDING_...

      Sorry, do not have the time to go and peek in my travel kit for the name (I resupply regularly with it when I go to the continent and so do quite a few other people who have to travel to unpleasant places).

      1. Michael Dunn
        Holmes

        Cure for diarrhea

        What I used to swear by out east was paregoric: camphorated tincture of opium. When I returned to UK in 1972, I was actually able to persuade a pharmacist in the local Boots to make me up a 20 cc bottle of it. Sinc e you only use one drop in about 5 - 10 cc of water for each dose - and you'll only need the one - it lasted quite a long time. Doubt if I could get it now.

      2. Alex Rose

        @Voland's right hand

        How do you explain kaolin and morphine mixture being available over the counter in the UK? Is it only allowed because it's not French?

        1. Semihere
          Thumb Up

          Kaolin and Morphine

          Exactly - we used to be given this as kids to treat diarohea. I remember it used to settle off into the two constituent parts in the bottle and you had to shake it up to mix before taking. Tasted like chalk.

          http://www.netdoctor.co.uk/digestive-health/medicines/kaolin-and-morphine-mixture.html

      3. Loyal Commenter Silver badge
        Boffin

        @Voalnd's right hand

        In the UK, you can buy loperamide, for pennies from most supermarkets. This too acts upon the morphine receptors in the gut, is safe, non-addictive and has relatively few side effects. I'm not sure what drug you are talking about, but loperamide works fine, and is non-prescription.

      4. bexley

        Its called loperamide

        and is available over the counter is the UK, they sell it in petrol stations.

        Imodium is the brand name in the UK.

        Back to the mushrooms. The ban something that grows naturally is quite abusrb, nobody has ever been hurt by magic mushrooms. There are plenty of mushrooms out there that can kill you but they are not banned. The magic ones however are banned. This makes no sense at all.

        You cant get addicted to mushrooms, it is simply not possible as anyone who has taken the will confirm.

        Do reacreational concerns then it mattters not what the government ban and dont ban, people will continue to ignore them in any case. That war on drugs that they have been waging for sometime does not appear to have made much progress.

        The sad thing is that when a clinical reaosn is found to help people with a real problem, they wont hear of it. I dont think that goverments are qualified or approriate to make medical decisions.

  3. g e

    Careful with that dosage, Eugene

    I, for one, can attest to the recreational possibilities of 250 very fresh shrooms....

    Beware the dose size!

    1. Miek

      Would that be considered a "Heroic Dose" ?

      When can we get a Bill Hicks icon ?

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Personally I'd like to see the aftermath of parliament trying to discuss drugs objectively whilst whacked out on shrooms.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      No comment

      I once partook of some shrooms and watched a political rally. I knew I was fucked when some of what they said started making sense.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      It would probably make more sence then when they try to do it under the effect of alcool. Or worst, sober!

  5. Aaron Em

    I, for one, welcome

    our new tripping-balls-by-noontime overlords.

    Me, though, I'll stick to managing depression by methods that don't twist me so far out of my tits that I can no longer hold down a job. Boring, I know.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Not boring...

      ...depressing.

      1. Miek
        Coat

        I see what you did there

      2. Aaron Em

        Depressing?

        Less so, I think, than unemployment.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I voted you up ...

      For this: "twist me so far out of my tits"

      My new phrase for the rest of the week, I think.

  6. Ian Ferguson

    Addictiveness

    Question is, is psilocybin addictive?

    I bet it's not as addictive as Seroxat (paroxetine) - which my body has been dependent on for over a decade, on prescription.

    1. JimmyPage Silver badge
      Flame

      Tricky question

      "Addictive" is a moveable feast (which is one trick the prohibitionist lobby use to scare the public ...). There are different elements of "addiction", none of which the average man in the street knows about.

      Food is physically addictive. Without it, you die.

      Nicotine is physically and psychologically addictive. It's continued use can be shown to create physiological changes which cause the body to react to withdrawal. Same for alcohol.

      Cannabis is, if anything, psyychologically addictive. Users like it, but withdrawal causes no appreciable physiological effect.

      I'm not a pharmakineticist, but would hazard that psilocybin is not addictive in any meaningful sense of the word.

      Of course the real question which gets dodged, should be "what, if any, are the risks of addiction".

      Personally I am sick to the back teeth of the shite science peddled in the name of the "war on drugs", by a hypocritical government. My wife is addicted to benzodiazepienes, thanks to doctors (who would knock a spliff out of your hand) dishing them out like smarties. And when I say "addicted" I mean it. Sudden withdrawal runs a very real risk of death.

      There was a very good article in the Graniud a few years ago, posing the very good question: "Why is it so bad to get high ?". It asked why doctors are so scared to use medicines which get you high, when they are happy to prescribe medicines which can make your life hell (anyone on Chemo will know). Nauseau, drowsiness, digestion problems, headaches, hair loss, libido loss ....

      1. bonkers

        Why are doctors so afraid of prescribing pleasure?

        In my opinion, it's because, before WW1 they would, for a price, come round the house and exorcise the wife and rid her of excess anxieties etc. by causing her to release the pent-up vapours that are the result of not being able to ejaculate. These were released during "hysterical paroxysms", brought about by all manner of patented inventions that bear a striking resemblance to today's vibrators.

        They were a bit embarrassed about that, pissing on your shoes and telling you its raining.

        Anyway, the fundamental issue for me is one of liberty. I do not see a need nor a right to prohibit consenting adults in private from doing whatever they choose.

        1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

          A Passionate Prescription for Excited Contentment aka Satisfaction

          "Why are doctors so afraid of prescribing pleasure?" .... bonkers Posted Wednesday 25th January 2012 17:42 GMT

          Ever been to an orgy, bonkers ...... they're addictive.

      2. Miek
        Boffin

        @JimmyPage

        I completely agree with your point, but, isn't the Food/Air thing 'Physical Dependence' rather than a Physical Addiction as such?.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "isn't the Food/Air thing 'Physical Dependence' rather than a Physical Addiction as such?"

          Dunno, but I certainly get shocking withdrawal symptoms.

        2. JimmyPage Silver badge
          Boffin

          Indeed

          and such a (well warranted) correction highlights my point. "Dependence" *can* be a feature of addiction, but is in no means a *defining* feature.

          To return to my bugbear, of benzodiazepienes ... they create a truly frightening dependence. They lead the brain into supressing the production of a neurotransmitter, GABA. Sudden withdrawal leads the brain without this essential chemical, and can lead to siezures and (not unheard of) death. All medical advice is to NEVER STOP taking them, once you are hooked. But hey, must be better than getting high[1].

          One use of benzos is to control muscle spasms (which lead to intense pain) in MS. However, a quick spliff is 10x as effective, and much less damaging.

      3. boltar Silver badge
        Flame

        @JimmyPage

        "Why is it so bad to get high ?".

        Its not , so long as you getting high doesn't affect anyone else. Thats the issue. And plenty of drugs change someones personality and/or reactions enough that there's potential for an accident and/or violence in the persuit of more. And you can't legalise something on the basis that people are only permitted to use it at home and not drive their car or go out for a day afterwards - it won't happen. So drugs are mainly banned not because of what they do to the user - frankly who cares if some druggy drops dead - but what affect the users may have on society.

        And yes, before anyone mentions alcohol - if it was discovered tommorow it would be Class A within a week and with good reason.

        In fact the only drug which I see as fairly harmless is tobacco. So long as other people don't have to breath in the fumes it does no harm except to the smoker.

        1. Mephistro Silver badge

          You're shooting your own argument in the foot here

          "And yes, before anyone mentions alcohol - if it was discovered tommorow it would be Class A within a week and with good reason."

          Yes. And we would have another banned substance, inexpensive and easy to transport, which would cause another lost battle in the War Against Drugs, which would in turn harm the society much more than alcohol itself, by giving loads of money to criminal gangs and law enforcement agencies, and putting at risk the lives of consumers and the general public.

          It has happened before, you know. The Prohibition and the ban on cannabis are pretty good examples, but not, by far, the only ones.

          "And you can't legalise something on the basis that people are only permitted to use it at home and not drive their car or go out for a day afterwards - it won't happen"

          If breathalysers work, the same concept should work for ant other drug and any period of time. Set a maximum limit of drug in the bloodstream or in the breath, choose a testing method and use it. Not such a big deal.

    2. It'sa Mea... Mario

      Addictive? No

      Repeated use of psilocybin does not lead to physical dependence.

      Above quote is from Wikipedia but I happen to have known that to be true since before Wikipedia existed.

      I'm sorry to hear about your Seroxsat dependancy.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Seroxat

        I was prescribed this once, and it made me seriously contemplate suicide in the most macabre ways. I'd never even considered suicide prior to taking it.

        Needless to say I gave it back and sorted myself out*

        *well, you know.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      addictive?

      Hell, no. It's pretty much the opposite, in fact. Psyloci(bi)n and LSD are pretty hard going, and the higher the dose you take, the more likely you are to have an unpleasant trip. It can be pleasant at low enough doses, but going overboard can make you feel like you're losing your mind, dying, or that the world is out to get you, trigger depressive or psychotic episodes, etc. (ie, "the bad trip"). For most people (particularly those that like to feel in control of themselves, or have borderline psychological problems that are just about in check), that's something that they'll never want to repeat. So in that sense, it's got the opposite profile of most other stimulant drugs which, once you've got a taste of them, you want more.

      There's also the issue of recovery time. Having your brain switched into a higher gear like this, with no way of turning it off except to ride it out can be very mentally tiring. Not so many people would want to take these drugs again the following day. Fewer still have the inclination (or the time; you're talking about "losing" 6--8 hours for each trip and comedown time, longer if it's LSD) to go on an extended binge, and even that (IME) tends to be self-limiting, as you need more recovery time. A week or two (when mushies are in season, natch) of taking something every second day seems like a practical limit, and even then you'll find people end up taking smaller doses so they can pace themselves and not get too out of it.

      Of course YMMV, and I wouldn't recommend anyone who's unsure of what they're doing or doesn't have supportive friends they can turn to in case anything should go wrong to seek these out. You might have a very bad experience you will regret. Or you might be the one person in 100,000 (completely made-up figure) with just the wrong sort of personality or brain chemistry that finds they can become addicted to shrooms. The latter is highly unlikely, IMO, but I'd never say never.

      Personally, getting back to the article itself, I think the main problem with psychedelic drugs of any kind isn't the drug itself, but society and societal contexts for drug-taking (the two feed into one another---making the drugs illegal makes it more likely that the context for drug-taking involves more criminality and abuse, which feeds society's condemntion and ostracisation, which feeds ...). I'm not going to go all hippy and say everyone should take drugs (they shouldn't), but I do think society needs more "grown up" attitudes to drug-taking. That means, among other things, treating people like adults and letting them make up their own minds instead of treating them like children, stop using hyperbolic scare stories and start giving proper, non-judgemental advice on drug safety rather than treating the user as a criminal, and admit that we've been using drugs for millennia and that prohibition has never worked and never will... Many cultures have managed to incorporate use of psychedelics into their societies in the same way that some of our cultures have managed to develop fairly sensible attitudes to alcohol (while others, and other individuals) have not. I just think that there is definitely a need and a possibility for a more enlightened stance regarding the use of all drugs in society. Treat shrooms as a "special medicine" and not as an "illegal chemical" (the same goes for lawmakers and users here).

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @"the higher the dose you take

        , the more likely you are to have an unpleasant trip" - I disagree. I always found the complete opposite. Lower doses leave you able to dwell on the relatively unpleasant physical sensations (notably during the first hour, say), which very hign doses transcend.

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "feel like you're losing your mind, dying, or that the world is out to get you"

        This is fairly typical everyday fare at work for me at the moment.

  7. peter 45
    Trollface

    'maybe that irrationality is so pervasive that they could never think rationally'

    But...but...but they are politicians. Their whole careers are built on the ability to hold several irrational thoughts simultaneously without noticing anything wrong.

  8. Giles Jones Gold badge

    It's like saying "have a pint" and you'll find it is quite relaxing and helps the conversation flow.

    Which is fine, but there's the people who would take loads of mushrooms and those who drink numerous pints almost all week.

    It's always about the excesses, having tobacco and alcohol legal is a problem. Having tobacco, drugs and alcohol legal is a bigger problem. The interactions between so many things that people will put inside them is the problem, the more options the more serious the problem.

    Those who call for legalisation are often those who want their little habit legalising so they don't have to feel so bad about it.

    We're a nation of terribly unhealthy unfit lazy people and the last thing we need is for more people to sit on the behinds tripping or getting high. How about the feel good factor of being fit and healthy or the adrenalin rush of doing sports?

    1. dogged

      alternatively

      we could continue to criminalize people and hurl literally billions of pounds into the shitter every year "fighting" drugs and losing.

      But no, your way is clearly far more rational...

      1. boltar Silver badge
        FAIL

        @dogged

        "we could continue to criminalize people and hurl literally billions of pounds into the shitter every year "fighting" drugs and losing.

        But no, your way is clearly far more rational..."

        You could say the same about any type of crime you moron. Hey - lets decriminalise burglary then we won't have any burglars! Genius!

        1. dogged
          Stop

          @boltar

          One definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and somehow expecting different results. The pretty much sums up drug policy in the UK since 1918. It's insane.

          Another nice quote on the subject is from Howard Marx, here it comes...

          "There are only three practical ways to distribute drugs; supermarkets, pharmacies or organized crime. Why every government insists on using organized crime is beyond me".

          So. Support the War on Drugs, support organized crime. Fairly straightforward, really. Regardless of your straw man argument.

          1. boltar Silver badge
            FAIL

            @dogged

            "Another nice quote on the subject is from Howard Marx"

            Who was full of shit.

            People like you naively assume that if drugs were legalised all the problems would go away. Yeah, sure. Alcohol is legal. Has that stopped the violence, the deaths, the illnesses, the car crashes, the drunks clogging up A&E? No. So what makes you think legalised drugs would be the slightest bit better? At least at the moment the drugs supply is limited and ergo the effect on the population is limited but don't for a minute assume that there wouldn't be more people using them if they were legalised with all the attendent extra problems that would cause.

            Remember - most drug problems are caused by drugs users, not drug dealers. Selling drugs in shops would change very little and druggies would still need money to pay for their fix wherever it came from so crime would NOT drop.

            "Regardless of your straw man argument"

            Yeah, the truth often gets called that by people in denial. Do yourself a favour and get a clue.

        2. Mephistro Silver badge
          Facepalm

          @ boltar

          "You could say the same about any type of crime you moron"

          Yes, but those other crimes aren't mostly 'victimless crimes', as is the case with drugs - or would be the case if you removed prohibition and its consequences from this equation.

          For me banning drugs falls in between banning masturbation' and 'banning suicide'. Total nonsense.

          1. boltar Silver badge

            @Mephistro

            "Yes, but those other crimes aren't mostly 'victimless crimes', "

            You might want to check out the number of robberies and muggings that are down to druggies trying to get money for a fix.

            1. Mephistro Silver badge

              @ boltar Thursday 26th January 2012 14:09 GMT

              "You might want to check out the number of robberies and muggings that are down to druggies trying to get money for a fix."

              From my original post:

              "Yes, but those other crimes aren't mostly 'victimless crimes', as is the case with drugs - or would be the case if you removed prohibition and its consequences from this equation."

              To make my point clear: most of said robberies and muggins -and accidental deaths and even murders- are not caused by the drugs, but are a side effect of prohibition laws.

    2. Miek
      Meh

      "Those who call for legalisation are often those who want their little habit legalising so they don't have to feel so bad about it." -- Not entirely, it's more about the ignorant people who believe that Drugs=Bad and therefore Drug Users = Criminals. I would contend that this amounts to persecution although it is not illegal to persecute someone for doing something that is considered illegal or holding a belief that is considered illegal.

      "Just because that's the way it is doesn't make it right?".

      The fact that the Home Office and other MPs will not discuss this issue in an adult manner, won't listen to arguments other than their own, ignores scientific recommendations and evidence; indicates an alternative agenda. The politicians keep saying that they don't want to "send a message" that drug use is acceptable, instead they are perfectly happy to fire-fight the black markets and cartels in order to maintain this policy.

    3. Alfie
      Flame

      So what you are saying is that sport is a cure for depression? Seriously, have you ever met anyone suffering from depression?

      Life isn't that simple, which is why simply making things illegal doesn't work. People (or more accurately politicians and the media) like pigeon holes to put things in which is why you end up with broad stroke laws that aren't effective.

      Life is complicated, that is why its so interesting. It also means that we need more intelligent answers than knee jerk reactions to trigger words like "shrooms".

      /rant over

      1. Graham Dawson

        Actually sport is a cure for some people. The natural production of endorphins during physical exertion can have a very positive emotional effect... it's just that the people most likely to benefit are usually suffering the sort of depression that destroys their ability to motivate themselves to act on such things.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @Giles

      After getting addicted to to prescribed painkillers, I started ingesting cannabis as the 'safer' option. Doctor admitted it will have reduced withdrawals substantially, warned me of the dangers and left me to it.

      I stopped because I applied for a job that required a drugs test, but as a consequence get to spend each day in agony whilst I wait to hear back (and I've pretty much reached the conclusion that I don't think I can sustain this, so probably won't be taking the job/test anyway).

      Personally I'd like to see the medicinal uses of cannabis investigated by the UK, on a evidence based policy basis (as opposed to the policy based evidence system we have now).

      I've never felt bad about my 'little habit' and frankly never will. The law is the law, but I can quite safely state that based on the depression I went through before getting good pain relief and the hell I went through when addicted (which led to more depression), had I not started self-medicating there's a good chance I'd not be here to post this.

      Try going through the hell of addiction to 'safe' and legal prescription painkillers, they use cannabis non-stop for 8 months and go cold turkey. _Then_ perhaps you might want to think about what's being asked for here.

      I think you're talking about recreational use (the article is about medicinal use though), so;

      People do go to extremes but that can be said for anything. Boy racers can do a hell of a lot of harm, do you want to take cars away from everyone?

      Have a proper look at the history of the 'war on drugs'. Towards the end of the 1800's Britain undertook a study to see if there was an issue with cannabis and decided that there was very little needed to be done. In the 1920's substances began to be banned and have largely stayed that way.

      It's also probably worth noting that the Home Office (in essence a police agency) have been given a role normally given to the equivalents of the Department of Health in other countries. The HO staunchly refuse to enter into any discussion (as Prof. Nutt found out the hard way) and often give differing views on simple questions (Search Home Office, Schengen Agreement Cannabis Use). They also got a mild warning from the EU when they tried to misrepresent the meaning of the Schengen Treaty with regard to the carriage of controlled substances across borders for _medicinal_ purposes.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Likewise

        I've been a CFS ("yuppie flu" as it used be called) sufferer for 7 years now, together with a serious back injury (sustained at work) - the pain is substantial. 100mg Tramadol and 60mg Codeine every 4 hours didn't even allow me to work most days. I use a wheelchair for distances over 100 metres.

        Initially, when diagnosed with CFS I was "prescribed" a holiday by my GP - anywhere would do he said. The wife chose Morocco, so off we went, taxis everywhere, mid-upmarket hotels etc (I wasn't very mobile so had to flash the cash to move around)

        Suffering from a infected tooth nerve, I had to make use of a local dentist, being 6 hours from a city. Before he gave me a rather expert Root Canal Operation, he weighed me and gave me a few lumps of sticky chocolate balls to consume before and afterwards, one every 8 hours, but take none of my other prescription painkillers. They killed ALL my pain. It turns out they were "Majuun" balls, sticky cannabis and chocolate made into sweets. I was amazed at the analgesic effect. I felt no high, woozy or drunk feeling,

        Returning home, (after taking my last "dose" on the airport road) had around 2 days of pain relief from my back injury (spinal fusion 1999 and 2000) and my CFS waned in severity for around a fortnight. I felt great again. My GP was amused and pleased, but not surprised. Subsequent holidays to Portugal and Spain have produced similar effects from oral cannabis. It's much less of a problem buying it and possessing it than in Morocco).

        The dry desert air of Morocco, however, does wonders form the CFS in itself and I spent my rest of my injury compensation money on a 6-month stay in South Morocco two years ago.

        The problem is, there's drug testing at my work, so I had to resign, admitting my use in advance and now I'm on sick benefits. Great eh? Since the reclassification of cannabis I haven't dared to consume any more. That would require my carers to obtain it for me more often than not.

        Ironically in the last 3 months I've become suicidal with the constant pain and hassle of the new benefits regime - so it's probably going to become an old problem soon.

        Thank you, UK Goverments various and recent

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Two things

      "Which is fine, but there's the people who would take loads of mushrooms and those who drink numerous pints almost all week."

      I hate to disappoint those people, but mushrooms generate tolerance more quickly than any other psychedelic. It is biochemically impossible to trip day after day.

      I've taken shrooms once or twice a year for most of my adult life, and they helped me snap out of a crippling depression, so call me Patient Zero. That's all I want to do. They're intense and sometimes scary, just like any other psychedelic. And just like any other psychedelic, a lot of people have one bad experience and never want to touch them again.

      I've been addicted to cigarettes. No one can be addicted to shrooms, especially not depressed people who are prone to bad trips in the first place. If you don't know this then you've obviously never used them and your opinion just doesn't count for much, sorry.

    6. Someone Else Silver badge
      Coat

      Alternatively...

      ...we could just grow the fuck up a bit.

      Naah. That'd make waaaaay to much sense, and besides, where's the profit in that?

      1. Framitz

        Ideally, you will just take your stupid coat and GO.

    7. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      So, you must be a lazy lard ass based on your statements.

      Thanks for the clarification on that.

    8. boltar Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      @Giles Jones

      "Those who call for legalisation are often those who want their little habit legalising so they don't have to feel so bad about it."

      Spot on. The truth hurts which is why all the dopehead losers on here have modded you down so badly. They can't admit to themselves that they're addicts and don't like anyone who suggests they are.

      1. CD001

        @boltar

        Thus speaks the man who has never tried anything more "exciting" than what he's allowed to; alcohol, but probably not cigarettes... your life must be a roller-coaster ride of thrills and excitement.

        "Dopehead losers" are probably responsible for more science, art, music and literature than you'd like to imagine, from Samual Taylor Coleridge to Jim Morrison (though many died young because of the drugs, you have to kind of wonder whether their contributions would have been as pronounced without them). Seriously, have you idea how many people you've written off as "dopehead losers"?

        However, what's being talked about is medical legalisation not shroom shops on every corner for people to get mullered...

        ... and weirdly I am an addict and have no qualms about admitting it, nicotine. Frankly I'd be quite happy if tobacco was banned tomorrow; once I'd gotten over the withdrawal I'd save myself a packet - and laugh my arse off when the government discovers a(nother) £10 billion shortfall in its budget and all you sanctimonious prigs suddenly find you're paying more tax.

        1. boltar Silver badge

          @CD001

          "Thus speaks the man who has never tried anything more "exciting" than what he's allowed to"

          You have no idea what I've done in my life. I've probably been to more places and done more exiting things that someone like you who's idea of "fun" is probably sitting on his sofa in a bedsit getting stoned.

          "Samual Taylor Coleridge to Jim Morrison"

          Seriously, is that lot the best you can come up with? Get back to me with some serious candidates, not a fscking poet and a druggy muso.

          1. CD001

            @boltar

            -----

            Seriously, is that lot the best you can come up with? Get back to me with some serious candidates, not a fscking poet and a druggy muso.

            -----

            Why? You're obviously less cultured than the yoghurt in my fridge; they were just a couple of easy examples, do your own research or remain ignorant; the problem is yours, not mine.

            Nice to know you actually bothered to read my post though - or rather not - I stated my addiction was nicotine. I did far more when I was younger but hey - that's the only fecker that's stuck me with an addiction.

            So sitting around my flat getting stoned... not so much. Still, if it came to cannabis, which used to just make me laugh, hug people and eat Mars bars... or alcohol, which makes me withdrawn, maudlin and in excess violently sick with a hangover and upset stomach that can last for a couple of days ... I know which I'd rather be able to buy in the pub.

            -----

            You have no idea what I've done in my life.

            -----

            No, but probably only things other people have told you it's OK to do... I doubt you've ever done anything I'd consider even remotely outré to be honest.

            1. boltar Silver badge

              "ou're obviously less cultured than the yoghurt in my fridge; they were just a couple of easy examples"

              There arn't many examples. Not of people who've made a real difference such as Einstein or Hawking. Arty farty types are irrelevant.

              "No, but probably only things other people have told you it's OK to do"

              I do what I want , and one thing I don't do is follow the bleating sheep. "Baa, try this weed man , its great. Yeah , baa baa , give me a smoke baa baa baa". Now those sorts of people are tragic.

              1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

                Sir

                Hey Boltar, have a read of this..

                Does Decriminalisation Work?

                You seem to be performing a lot of sweeping generalisations in your posts regarding people who partake of the female hemp plant, it makes you sound a little childish.

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  @Boltar

                  Personally I've yet to meet someone who's actually become physically dependant on MJ. You can become habitually dependant, but then people become habitually dependant on watching TV in the evenings.

                  I think if you actually read up, you might find you are spouting bollocks. Runcible Spoons link is a good place to start, note that the number of users _DROPPED_ when the laws were relaxed.

                  Similar reports have been made in some states of the US.

                  Try googling for casualties of the war on drugs. Have a look at the havoc wreaked by the mexican army when pursuing cartels - hint it's not those involved with the cartels having their lives pulled apart.

                  Prohibition simply does not work, the irony is the government calls them "controlled substances" when in reality they've given _all_ control to the black market.

                  I don't doubt you're right that some will continue to commit crimes to fund their habits, others won't. At the moment, anyone taking any of these substances is branded a criminal, no matter the reason why (medicinal is no longer a defence).

                  But then, alcoholics commit crimes too. Hell people commit crimes so they can get the latest phone, car, PC or whatever. Blaming the bad deeds of someone on a substance is ignorant and largely futile.

                  Why not do some proper researching for yourself, have a look at what numerous studies have shown and then compare and contrast with the governments view.

              2. mark jacobs
                Alien

                How's about...

                Steve Jobs - he's made an impact on society and he did drugs for inspiration (by his own admission). Your arguments sound like vexed irrationality, frantically trying to back up a government policy that is both illogical and harmful to the public's health. Making alcohol and nicotine the only legal recreational drugs, is definitely a policy worth revising. Is anybody listening? It's the 21st century and aliens are p*ssing themselves laughing at us (the advanced species of this planet?) because of the way we make natural pleasures "illegal".

      2. Archimedes_Circle
        WTF?

        Thank God we still have homosexuality on the books too. Wouldn't want those queers feeling normal. Why can't they handle the truth too.

        Course, I'm still waiting for when the pedophiles march into the schools like the pied piper because we let the gays marry. Seems like MAYBE just because something is illegal doesn't necessarily imply it's immoral.

  9. b166er

    Does anybody actually know why this chemical was classified as a controlled substance in the first place?

    For thousands of years, man was allowed to go about his business, partaking of the uplifting and often beneficial substances that mother earth provides, but for some reason, recently (last 50 years), there seems to have been restrictions placed on these activities.

    They tried it with alcohol and failed, but suceeded with many others for reasons unbeknownst to the majority of us :(, whilst at the same time allowing the smoking of demonstrably lethal substances in the same space as children.

  10. Cartman

    causing mental illness to "cure" depression

    Psilocybin and LSD both cause schizotypy, which occasionally progresses to schizophrenia. Schizotypy wil typically show itself as new-age religious thinking or paranoia and conspiracies. Just look at the Green/Lefties produced over that last 40 years.

    1. scarshapedstar
      WTF?

      Bullshit

      I assume you're unfamiliar with the studies that showed psilocybin to be more effective at treating OCD than any SSRI, with a *single dose*. Sorry for your ignorance, but that's a condition that can be easily treated...

    2. TakeTheSkyRoad
      Thumb Down

      Just look at the Green/Lefties produced over that last 40 years.

      So the vast majority of all "Greens/Lefties" have taken class A drugs like LSD etc ?

      Generalising AND far fetched !

    3. hplasm Silver badge
      FAIL

      I do not respect

      your lack of authoritaaative drug knowledge.

      1. moiety

        It can't be paranoia when they demonstrably are out to get you. Class A 'shrooms. Pfft!

  11. ElReg!comments!Pierre Silver badge

    How?

    How you managed to avoid naming the followers of this nice fellow "Nutters" is beyond me.

    But tell me, at least, that when calling him, telemarketers ask to speak to the head of the Nutts.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      ... and ...

      ... please tell me his father was a Colonel.

  12. YTXT
    FAIL

    Journalism FAIL

    I expect sensational coverage of medical research in the mainstream rags, along with the attendant “illegal drugs good, legal drugs bad” bilge in the comments. I did not expect to find that The Register’s finest minds are just as piss-poor at interpreting medical research as any other hack.

    "Crucially, this exploratory study was not a clinical trial or an examination of the effect psilocybin has on people with depression. Therefore, it is not possible to say from this research whether psilocybin could have benefits for people with depression. Also, importantly, the possible harms of using this drug, either in the short or long term have not been studied here.”

    http://www.nhs.uk/news/2012/01January/Pages/psilocybin-mushroom-brain-scans.aspx

    How to Read a Research Paper:

    http://www.bmj.com/about-bmj/resources-readers/publications/how-read-paper

    1. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Re: Journalism FAIL

      The ad hominem attacks aside, thanks for bringing the NHS article to our attention - although I can't think why the government-run public health system is trying to spin away the studies.

      However having read the NHS blog piece and then gone back to the scientist who led the work and Prof Nutt's views, their quotes tell a different story to the one you're punting.

      You sound a bit anxious - in fact, I may be able to suggest just the thing for you...

      C.

    2. Miek

      @YTXT

      Trolling FAIL

      "Crucially, this exploratory study was not a clinical trial or an examination of the effect psilocybin has on people with depression. Therefore, it is not possible to say from this research whether psilocybin could have benefits for people with depression. Also, importantly, the possible harms of using this drug, either in the short or long term have not been studied here.”

      Can't wait for the clinical trials to start so we can see ... oh wait, the underlying point is that the Government isn't listening and is unlikely to /*allow*/ such a trial, hence the theme of the comments.

      Another point is that the excerpt of your rant that I have highlighted seems to say "Nah nah, you've not really proved anything in your experiments" whereas any tenuous link to alcohol possibly being good for you or trials on mice* that show how damaging cannabis is to humans and such is accepted and proffered by the government as if it were an absolute truth. I will hunt down examples if you require it.

      * I know that some mammals have immune systems and other life systems that give a good indication of what effects may occur in humans and that as they have vastly shorter life spans; it is easier to get an impression of what long term effects may be.

      1. YTXT

        miek: "the underlying point is that the Government isn't listening and is unlikely to /*allow*/ such a trial, hence the theme of the comments."

        Well, the government allowed dozens of people to take psilocybin in these two trials. I agree with Prof Nutt that full clinical trials should be done, because that's how we find out whether psilocybin is useful or perhaps harmful in the long term. It's possible that psilocybin experiences could further damage the mental health of people who already have enough problems.

        miek: "...any tenuous link to alcohol possibly being good for you...is accepted and proffered by the government as if it were an absolute truth."

        Whataboutery is a poor way to argue. I don't know about cannabis but I think you might be confusing media reporting on alcohol consumption with government advice.

        http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/alcohol/Pages/Effectsofalcohol.aspx

        "...drinking alcohol is never completely safe."

        The NHS has published a comprehensive guide to what's currently known about the health effects of alcohol. It's very different to what the papers say:

        http://www.nhs.uk/news/2011/10October/Documents/whats_your_poison_1.0.pdf

    3. scarshapedstar
      Thumb Down

      Ahem

      Mushrooms, marijuana, and LSD have been more thoroughly "studied" than any heart/boner/happy drug released in the past few decades.

  13. Uncle Slacky Silver badge
    Stop

    Bill Hicks' contributions...

    "I think it's interesting the two drugs that are legal, alcohol and cigarettes, two drugs that do absolutely nothing for you at all; and the drugs that might open your mind up to realize how badly you're being fucked every day of your life? … Those drugs are against the law. He-heh, coincidence?"

    "I'm glad mushrooms are against the law, because I took them one time, and you know what happened to me? I laid in a field of green grass for four hours going, "My God! I love everything." Yeah. Now, if that isn't a hazard to our country … how are we gonna keep building nuclear weapons, you know what I mean? What's gonna happen to the arms industry when we realize that we're all one?!"

    1. Uncle Slacky Silver badge

      Also: “If you want to understand a society, take a good look at the drugs it uses. Except for pharmaceutical poison, there are essentially only two drugs that Western civilization tolerates: Caffeine from Monday to Friday to energize you enough to make you a productive member of society, and alcohol from Friday to Monday to keep you too stupid to figure out the prison that you are living in.”

    2. Miek

      You know what? For once I would love to see a positive drugs news story ...

  14. Dr. Ellen
    Pint

    Addictive? Useless?

    Never had mushrooms, but for me, marijuana was therapeutic. About forty years ago, I quit smoking tobacco. And the only thing that held me together through all that was smoking mj.

    Then one day I realized I hadn't smoked anything for several weeks. Hadn't even noticed. Try *that* for addictive.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No reason to be depressed...

    ...if you're stoned out of your mind.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Under current laws

    No pharmaceutical company can justify investing in developing safe ways of delivering mood enhancement. That will continue so long as puritan attitudes overrule rationality - ie forever.

    1. El Presidente

      Under current laws ....

      Many of the most interesting compounds are schedule one which means that you need to apply for a license to conduct research on them and the compliance regime is extremely expensive, highly restrictive and (some might say) designed from the outset to inhibit research rather than support research.

  17. Scott 2
    Unhappy

    I think we all know the real reasons behind the 'War on Drugs'

    It's because the vast majority of 'illegal' drugs are, in fact, natural substances that only need to be refined to be used. The drugs you actually buy from your friendly neighborhood chemist, or prescribed by your happy-go-lucky GP are all manufactured using decades of safely tested chemical compounds, mixed in with some of those aforementioned plants.

    Of course, those in the pharmaceutical industry know much more than we do about safe medicines and doses, and have all been vigorously tested and trialed for even longer to ensure yours and my safety.

    Of course, all these wonderful drugs are checked and approved by those who know more about drugs than anyone else could possibly know - the FDA and other similar. They ensure that we all take only what they know is perfectly fine and will definitely help us - because they said so.

    I'm sure the Shamans of the world, and witchdoctors of centuries past would have loved to have been under the happy blanket of Governments and FDA's, and they would have had no problem being told that the stuff they are using is actually dangerous and you will suffer. Even while the opiates and suchlike they are happily smoking is easing they headaches and other aches and pains. Smiling happily though a slight haze of joy after chewing a shroom, they are blissfully unaware of the dangers of using such substances, that have not been deemed fit-for-use by the powers that be.

    Or...

    It's because these banned substances are... well.. homegrown and therefore bypass the ability of governments and FDA's to make money from them because well, if you can just grow it in your back garden, why would you need well trained lab staff and FDA's in the first place?

    It has, is, and forever will be, about money. The good of humankind is secondary.

    1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

      Sir

      "The good of humankind is secondary."

      This is the only superfluous statement in your post. I would argue that as far the gubbermint and pharmaceuticals are concerned it is entirely irrelevant.

      1. Scott 2

        I did actually chuckle to myself and nod at that!

        And will the anonymous coward who actually downvoted my post please make their way to the nearest suicide booth. Thank you.

    2. david wilson

      @Scott2

      >>"It has, is, and forever will be, about money. The good of humankind is secondary."

      I thought that at least the origins of various drugs being illegal were rooted more in early 20th century moral panics than in money.

      Even now, there's a good section of the media and public (at least in the UK) which seems to take a pretty moralising stance on the issue and/or who often follow the circular logic of "...it's wrong-because it's illegal because it's wrong...' who aren't necessarily being funded by Big Pharma.

      I also do wonder if some people subconsciously worry that if they supported legalisation, they'd feel more responsible for one or other addict dying after legalisation than they might currently feel.

      I know that's not logical, but I think it's an area where there's a lot of emotion and not necessarily a huge amount of logic.

      Personally, even though I very much lean towards a utilitarian approach to many issues, and I'd support at least experimental decriminalisation of use of most drugs in ways which took minimising harm to users and undermining illicit trade as priorities, I suspect *I'd* feel a post-decriminalisation death of a stereotyped young drug user as being somehow /more/ my fault than a similar death currently is, even though I know that makes no real sense since inaction or supporting the status quo is as much of a choice as supporting a change.

      I dare say it would be something I could rationalise my way around without too much difficulty, especially if there was an overall harm reduction, but it would take at least a little bit of effort.

      There may be shades of the 'trolley problem' at work here.

  18. This post has been deleted by its author

  19. Miek

    Last one before I go ...

    Wow, just read the Telegraph's Demonisation of Richard Branson ...

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/9036404/Sketch-Sir-Richard-Bransons-war-on-drug-laws.html

    Comparing Decriminalising Cannabis to Decriminalising Murder.

    1. ElReg!comments!Pierre Silver badge

      Forget murder

      They could be Comparing Decriminalising Cannabis to Decriminalising Copyright Infringement... now THAT would be nasty!

      1. Miek
        Pint

        Good point Sir!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Well the Preedy brothers

      "Comparing Decriminalising Cannabis to Decriminalising Murder"

      Got about the same sentence for the murder of Daminolla as most drug dealers get

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A better option than LSD

    is DMT. Just happened to be watching some documentaries about these recently and DMT seems to offer all that LSD can offer to and much more.

  21. Andus McCoatover
    Windows

    Professor WHAT????

    El. Reg, stop it!

  22. YTXT

    diodesign: "...I can't think why the government-run public health system is trying to spin away the studies."

    The NHS Behind the Headlines blog is an effort by clinicians and researchers to counter shoddy reporting of medical research, like that of The Register in this instance. It's written by these people: if there's evidence that they have some underhand agenda, publish it.

    http://www.nhs.uk/aboutnhschoices/aboutnhschoices/partners/bazian/pages/introduction.aspx

    diodesign: "However having read the NHS blog piece and then gone back to the scientist who led the work and Prof Nutt's views, their quotes tell a different story to the one you're punting."

    The PNAS paper, and the quotes from the researchers in this week's media coverage, do not show that psilocybin is a "depression-busting hallucinogen". That idea is a product of your author's imagination. It seems that at least some of the researchers believe psilocybin has strong *potential* as a treatment for some mental health problems. They may well be wrong, and sensational media coverage may raise false hope for people who are suffering. The story I'm punting is that your reporting on this issue is as poorly researched and irresponsible as that of most media reporting on medical stories.

    1. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Re:

      "depression-busting hallucinogen" is the sub-headline rather than a scientific finding, I make no apologies for that. No where does this article say that a wonder cure has been found - it reports on the possibilities and on the findings. Look at this quote:

      "Previous studies have suggested that psilocybin can improve people's sense of emotional wellbeing and even reduce depression in people with anxiety. This is consistent with our finding that psilocybin decreases mPFC activity, as many effective depression treatments do.

      "The effects need to be investigated further, and ours was only a small study, but we are interested in exploring psilocybin's potential as a therapeutic tool."

      Riddle me that.

    2. moiety

      Psilocybin has never failed to cheer me right up.

    3. Miek
      Trollface

      @ YTXT again

      Do you have any sources other than the NHS website that you base your opinions on ?

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I myself suffer from chronic pain in my hands. Working in IT, I tend to bang on keys most of my day, so I will let you imagine how fun that is.

    What was tried for it.

    Codein and Codein derivatives. Yea, if you want to know what the hell of addiction is, try those for a month.

    Morphine: I refused to take it, except in very exceptional circumstances. See Codein above.

    6 different kinds of anti-depresents: Anti-depresent for people with depression can be life savers. Anti-depresent for people with an actual physical cause to the pain (not one in the brain I mean) it can be hell. I spent a week under the very real impression I was completly drunk, with things getting worst, not better, as the week went by, before I started refusing to take one of them. One of them made me not trust myself enough to be around people of the oposite sex without ending up in jail. And those aren't the worst ones.

    Against my doctor's advise, I tried Canabis.

    All the sudden, with just a litle smoked each night, the pain in my hands is back to a level where I can use my hands for extended periods of time without having the impression of a thousand fire ants biting them while getting random electric shocks. Side effects include being relaxed and not being willing to get out of the house for a few hours.

    Compared to the rest, yea, it looks a lot more dangerous.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Having been through similar, can I just add a few side-effects for Codein (spelling looks wrong);

      - Constipation like you wouldn't believe

      - Being stoned all day, every day (I was on max dose)

      and as you mentioned, huge risk of addiction.

      The most dangerous side-effect of your chosen medicine has been left out though (and it happens to a proportion of users);

      - A criminal record.

      It's a manmade issue, but it can be hugely debilitating. Depending on how you use (you should be using a vapouriser really!) there may be other risks.

      1. CD001

        ... there may be other risks.

        Possibly a large expenditure on Mars bars and the resulting weight gain that may ensue ...

  24. FunkyEric
    Holmes

    Well it does seem from the views here.....

    That the vast majority of people on here, who one would assume are reasonable intelligent articulate members of society given the nature of the site, who have partaken of "illegal drugs" for either medical or recreational purposes are reporting positive experiences. I count myself in this category :-).

    So why on earth we have to put up with all this sanctimonious bullshit from politicians telling us how bad they are is beyond me. It can't *just* be about money (which let's face it most things boil down to), 'cos there would be a fortune to be made out of the regulated sale of recreational substances, most people wouldn't be bothered to grow there own if you could go down the road and be presented with a selection of goodies to choose from.

    And think of the benefits of making a whole criminal underclass unemployed, or possibly raising some of them out of a life of crime by legitimising their work. (Or is expecting crims to pay taxes a step too far? lol) But it is stupid the way the current system forces the millions of drug users to deal with "criminals". Grrrrrrrr.

    i do love my occasional weekends in Amseterdam, and it is such a sham ethat they seem to be getting fed up of being used as a drug takers paradise, if only the rest of the world followed their example, then their problem would go away and only people who wanted to look at windmills, tulips and van goghs would go there.

    EOR

    (Time for a nice pipe I think)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      From memory, ISTR something about the original criminilisation being heavily lobbied for by Oil companies and Paper makers in particular. Whether or not I managed to find something to support this I don't remember, but it is a possibility.

      Nowadays though, it's about winning votes. No politician wants to face the wrath of the Daily Mail because they are decriminalising something.

      As an interesting aside: As I understand it, cannabis use is listed as a 'relevant disability' with regards to driving. So if you are caught, they can (not saying they would) take your license on 'medical' grounds.

      Again could be wrong, I'm half asleep this morning

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    AC, Why i WONDER

    I had depression years ago, at the time it was just down in the dumps, but just wasn't happy or felt anything was good. Just day to day living.

    Mate gave me some acid one day, had a blast, what a night, lasted for 12 hours laughed, joked, cried, hysterics, back to laugh, joke, cry. Can say best night of my life

    Whether it was because it allowed me to be emotional everyone just took it thats the effects and think nothing judgemental, but the next day as well the chirpy feeling pervaded everything, the world was different brighter.

    In my mind the drug altered my brain to be more positive (yes it could have gone the other way, but thats why we need controlled use) and that lasted years, until my divorce when I went spiraling down again (what is now called depression), but one dose saved thousands of treatment and psych bills to the NHS.

  26. b166er

    Link to a study hoping to explain the criminalization of psilocybin:

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19744846

    Which just goes to show how fucked up and ridiculous authoritarian government is.

    1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

      Sir

      That's worth a thumbs up and a repost..

      www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19744846

  27. Oliver 7
    Holmes

    Ah, the memories!

    I don't mind admitting that I experimented with hallucinogens when I was younger, it may explain a lot! However, jokes aside, Nutt is not wrong when he describes the irrationality of the government stance on drugs, it's born of ignorance and fear. Ignorance of the therapeutic effects of drugs (why do millions of Britons self-medicate otherwise?) and fear of the electorate/red-top media. Societal issues arising from drug use/abuse will never be solved by a 'war on drugs', it's a war with no end and merely antagonises the issues involved.

    The establishment isn't always a loaded die though. When I was at school and studying Higher English I was behind the English teacher's pets who were head boy and girl and respectively captains of the rugby and hockey teams (of course!). They were straight and so was their subject matter, I was extrovert and my subject matter was alternative. For my portfolio thesis I submitted an analysis of narrative technique in Mervyn Peake's Titus Groan and my essay piece was about a trip on 'shrooms. At prelims I scored lower than them (marked by our English teacher) but when our Higher results came in I got an A-star (90%+), they got As but 80%-90%. I remember thinking 'stick that in yer pipe and smoke it!' ;-)

  28. teknopaul Bronze badge

    stupid nanny state saying no is not a problem

    when they grow all over the golf course.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Seeing as we are looking at the recreational side now..

    Shrooms go well in Pot Noodles........

    Anyway, smoked dope for years.. Dependency? No, I can go without and do, like now I have a cold and it doesn't mix well! One in the evening after dinner with a coffee on the patio makes the world a better place and I see it as no worse that anyone who has a beer in the evening!

    Legality is a touchy subject, and for those mistaking the Dutch for having "legalised it" you are wrong.. Its decriminalised (something to do with the EU if memory serves) to the point where it carries no charge, however there are still tight rules and regs in regards of its sale and use, no advertising, must not be visible from the street etc. The fines for breaking the rules are hefty, really hefty and so the Dutch respect it. It can be embarrassing to visit the place and see brits and yanks tripping off their tits making complete pricks of themselves, frankly no wonder the Dutch are getting fed up with it!

    I have tried many recreational drugs, some of them are pants, some of them are that good you can see how people become addicted and sucked in. I haven't touched anything other than weed for many years now and have no desire to either, they were fun but I'm over it. Incidentally both times I have been arrested (never charged) it was for drunk and disorderly (broke into the local fair to steal a bumper car!) no drugs other than booze involved.

    I have been hooked on Codeine after a serious back injury and it was terrifying! Getting clear of it was by far the best thing I have ever done...

    The Streets - The irony of it all.. Funny tune that raises some interesting points on the debate..

    I also like what Eddie Izzard has to say on the subject..

  30. b166er

    Dope in Amsterdam

    'must not be visible from the street'

    Since when?

    I remember (vividly) sitting outside the Bluebird on Sint Antoniesbreestraat on a Sunday morning, smoking a doobie with my mate with the pleasant sound of Led Zeppelin IV coming from the coffee shop, when along come 2 Dutch police officers.

    Obviously, we shat ourselves :)

    They just laughed and walked on.

    1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

      Sir

      Bluebird was a place for locals and well away from God's Chillum. Not surprised you weren't hassled.

      Used to love playing the pinball machine in there :)

  31. Bif

    Very interesting lecture from David Nutt here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ZGqOBOfr08

  32. Loyal Commenter Silver badge
    Holmes

    “[The government's] attitude to these drugs is so utterly irrational that you kind of think, 'maybe that irrationality is so pervasive that they could never think rationally'.”

    Bingo! Give that man a biscuit.

  33. perlcat
    Pint

    From a conservative perspective

    I have no idea WTF a government is trying to accomplish by preventing people from enjoying themselves. It has nothing to do with morality, and definitely nothing to do with conservatism per se. Maybe they want us to be more productive slaves of the State, but it certainly carries a horrible price tag in increased criminality and human misery. If people could buy a J or whatever for a buck or two at their local supermarket, next to the booze and ciggies, then normal jobs (where it doesn't interfere with their safety) could certainly suffice.

    So a few people want to smoke a little pot so the world doesn't seem so bad? I'd think that this should be the absolute least of the problems a rational government should be attempting to deal with. Then again, I don't refer to it as the "War On Drugs" -- I call it "The War on Cancer Patients, Confused Kids, And People Who Just Want To Be Left Alone To Enjoy Themselves."

    If you're gonna do it, do it with my blessings. Just don't go driving or operating heavy machinery.

    Full disclaimer -- I've never partaken of it. I stick to Bushmill's 10 Year Single Malt. It's just like drinking stars. I stop when I can't figure out how to operate the cork.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      RE: From a conservative perspective

      Someone find this man a position in government!

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    control

    I hve often thought about why they ban drugs. The damage that is done worldwide by the drugs trade is staggering, entire countries ruined, hundreds of thousads of people killed by the organised criminal who distribute them. The ecological damage done in cocaine growing countries is truely awful.

    Mexico for example has been converted into a motorway for supplying coke to the US. The south american rain forest are being destroyed not just by logging and farming, but by clearing to grow coca and by tipping battey acid into the rivers nce they have finished using it to process the coca leaves.

    Once the drugs actually reach the end user, the stuff has been mixed up an cut with so much other crap that it is more dangerous than it is pure. The dealers do this to increase their margins. Heroin for example is not what kills people, it is the crap that is mixed in with it to bulk it out that does the damage.

    On the other hand, if drugs were available in licesned legal outlets and the production regulated, there would be no drug cartels destroying countries, no billions up on billion being spent to fight the cartels and the end product would be clean and less likely to cause any harm.

    Doing nothing would be a better soltuion than the war oon drugs.

    I digress, why are governments so against people taking drugs? They know that canibis has never killed anyone so why ban it?

    A lot of drugs, not all but a lot have a very positive effect on us when taken in moderation. Mushroms for example can change your life and make you question society, open your eyes to the wrong doing and elitists who have all of the wealth while we all go to work beliving that we are free when in reality we are not free at all.

    I think that it's because a nation of people on drugs are a lot harder to control than we are in our current state. They want people to go to work, pay taxes and do as they are told. If people suddenly reaised that they could do whatever they wanted with their lives and not be forced to work a job that the hate just to pay the mortgage off for the rest of their lives while giving more than half of their money to the government then perhaps the government woudl have a much harder time trying to hold this shoddy system of control together.

    Anyway, for anyone who is interested, magc mushrooms grow naturally all over britain, our ones are called the 'liberty cap'. A fitting name. Look them up and next time your out pick some and make an informed desicion rather than swallowing the rubbish that the government spout.

    1. perlcat
      Holmes

      re: "...people on drugs are a lot harder to control..."

      I don't think so. I think that people on pot are just happy people, and most people know that. (except some of the newer pot seems to make the people that take it angry -- I suspect there's herbicide contamination in it -- I'd be angry about that, too)

      I think the problem has more to do with the explosive growth of government in this cycle:

      while (gullible public){

      Politicians run for office saying they will arrest the criminals;

      Laws passed;

      Government grows;

      Politicians get rich either legally through government growth or through paybacks;

      Drug profits skyrocket, criminals undeterred;

      Sham scientists/unethical journos scream for ratings;

      Everyone screams "but what about the children!!";

      }

      I could do for a break; know what I mean?

      Back when Coca Cola had cocaine in it, it wasn't an enforcement problem. Some people took it, others didn't, just like how some abused laudanum and others didn't. It was only when it was criminalised that it became a crime problem. Now we have EPA agents with automatic weapons -- I guess Arlo Guthrie was right when he said that littering was a serious crime.

      I choose Sherlock. *He* had a (seven per cent) solution.

  35. mark jacobs
    Happy

    Let Terence McKenna explain why mushies are illegal...

    Have a listen to this 40 second mp3 (486K) at jacobsm.com/twhy.mp3

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