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Posted Mon Oct 17th, 2011 12:19pm Post subject: Alan Davies on cannabis.... wrong as usual!


My first time posting here. I feel obliged to come along and share my thoughts with a group who love and respect the most wonderful Stephen Fry.

Last night I found myself watching an episode of Qi XL. The Christmas special (I believe) featuring David Tenant. Brilliant as usual! Apart from some bad information given as fact from the wonderful, yet usually incorrect, Alan Davies. The information was that cannabis is "very carcinogenic" and "smoking three joints is the equivalent of smoking (I believe he said) twenty cigarettes". These statements are simply not true and I was really hoping that Stephen might have corrected him but unfortunately this did not happen. I of course do not blame Stephen one iota as he simply can not know everything (though one suspects he knows 'almost' everything) and that he quite rightly has not had experience of getting to know cannabis due to his medical condition (bipolar) as it should already be known that any kind of intoxicant will have a negative effect on the condition.

The truth of the matter is, backed up by a large and ever increasing body of scientific evidence, that cannabis is far less carcinogenic than tobacco which is undoubtedly the main reason why the cafes of Amsterdam and the number of cannabis organisations (see CLEAR advise to smoke pure (or possibly use a vaporiser) as the more harmful and extremely addictive tobacco usually mixed with the cannabis is and shall forever be far more destructive.

Of course it would be naive to believe that there is absolute zero negative effects associated with cannabis and there is a very small link between cannabis, it being a psychoactive substance, and mental illness (being predisposed of such an illness such as being bipolar or any other mental illness smoking cannabis, especially at a younger age will possibly exacerbate the illness. There is NO evidence to suggest that it actually CAUSES mental illness). Which is greatly over exaggerated by our government in an effort to continue perpetuating the myth that prohibition is the only course of action when dealing with illegal substances.

As I'm sure you are aware the prohibition did nothing more, in the case of alcohol in the early part of the twentieth century, than drive the production and distribution into the hands of the burgeoning criminal underworld and gave rise to mobsters such as Al Capone. Who once alcohol was made legal moved into the production and distribution of narcotics.

This is of course the situation we find ourselves in today but for one reason or another fail to make the association between the two creating a very nasty world where millions of peoples lives have been ruined or tragically ended early every year because our ruling classes are failing to correctly regulate and control these substances as they do with the worlds most deadly drug ALCOHOL!

I don't mean this to turn in to a lecture, but it is a subject I feel very passionate about due to the rank hypocrisy of our government towards the issue, but also felt it necessary to correct another 'Alan-quiam' (words of gibberish usually spoken by politicians and curly haired comedians).

I hope Stephen might possibly read this and pass on the truth (possibly give Alan a smack on the bottom) as the truth is very hard to come by nowadays thanks to a very large campaign of propaganda by the worlds governments (see Reefer Madness 1936) in regards to a drug which is now 'proven' to be of medicinal benefit (see Sativex) and has been used for many thousands of years and is known to be far less harmful (nobody has EVER died from cannabis) then the legal intoxicants thousands of people die from yearly as sanctioned by our governments.

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Posted Mon Oct 17th, 2011 2:06pm Post subject: Alan Davies on cannabis.... wrong as usual!

A very good post. Another point worth noting is Dr Donald Tashkin did a study on the link between smoking marijuana smoke and lung cancer, expecting to find a strong correlation; he did not, in fact he found the opposite in that marijuana actually seemed to offer protection against lung cancer.

You can watch Dr Tashkin talk about his findings on youtube here -

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Posted Tue Oct 18th, 2011 7:51pm Post subject: Alan Davies on cannabis.... wrong as usual!

HI would like to add to this discussion. I think that there is more drugs available on our streets then ever.maybe we need more time and money spent on border control,if we really want to protected our young people,families
governments also needs to educate other poor countries and give them better choices then growing drugs for trade.

you only need to look at the problems that america has,in there brick cities hustling with drugs,I was disguised with what I saw on the that program and I would not like my children growing up there with no future

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Posted Thu Oct 20th, 2011 11:25am Post subject: Alan Davies on cannabis.... wrong as usual!

april101 I agree with you to a point. There are more drugs then ever readily available for ANYBODY with the funds to partake. I however disagree that trying to stop the problem at the border is the solution or indeed increasing penalties for their use. Certainly with cannabis this is not the answer as it is easier now more than ever to simply grow it yourself even in less temperate countries such as the UK.

For countries like Afghanistan their main, and generally only, export is opium. Now we all now that opium is the raw material for making heroin but it is also a substance greatly needed for making legal medicines. During the crackdown on the poppy fields the world realised that due to the lack of production of this raw material there was a shortage of medicines it helps to make as like it or not a large percentage of the make-up comes from that illegal crop.

Again this just shows the rank hypocrisy we find ourselves in today. We are now fully aware that the WAR on drugs, launched by Nixon in the 1960's, has been nothing more than a sham to win votes through propaganda. But that WAR, some would argue is aimed more at the people rather than the drug producers, still rages on at the cost of Trillions to the worlds economy and more over millions of peoples lives.

In a perfect world we would all abstain from taking any form of intoxication. From caffeine (people often forget or simply do not believe caffeine a drug but it is and quite a dangerous one if abused) to crack and heroin. But we all like to indulge ourselves now and then even when we are aware of the risks and dangers involved.

We are sentient beings who like to open our perceptions and explore our consciousness and we have been doing so for many thousands of years. It has recently been revealed that Steve Jobs came up with some of his ideas while using LSD. We are all aware of many artists (The Beatles, Bob Marley, Andy Warhol etc etc etc) doing the same and I'm sure there are many more examples of creative individuals throughout history. Of course that is not to say that this is the norm and I would imagine these people only make up a small percentage overall. But in our current society we would label such people as 'druggies' 'deadbeats' 'drop-outs' so on and so forth. I would hardly apply any of those labels to Mr Jobs!

Drugs are easily abused. More so while under the cover of prohibition. Due to you being more vulnerable to the criminals selling you the substances and are also fearful of seeking help when you develop a problem due to fear of persecution and prosecution. Nobody wants to think that their children are going to be put at risk by being offered drugs and there is a common misconception that those opposed to prohibition (such as myself) want some kind of drug free-for-all which simply is not the case. If anything we want tighter controls and more restrictions as what we currently have can best be described as a free-for-all (if you have the cash the dealers care very little what age you are or if the substances are likely to cause you more harm than others).

Tax, regulate and control as with alcohol and tobacco is the best solution. It is a lot easier to control the substances if you control the restrictions of their production and sale. Of course there will always be somewhat of a black-market as there is with nearly all products. But this is an area where our law enforces should focus their energies as opposed to seeking out those who simply use the substances.

It was recently calculated that if cannabis alone was sold legally the amount the country (just the UK) would make would be around £6.5 BILLION! Currently this goes into the pockets of criminals while the government spend many millions trying to stop it! Unfortunately our, as many other governments, fail to see this ludicrous state of affairs even when they are being advised by the bodies they have set up to advise them on such matters (???) and independent investigations such as the U.N advisory council who are all stating that the path we are on is incorrect and we need to change course.

I fully believe that a change, undoubtedly for the better (see the situation in Portugal, a complete success in many regards), is coming. But due to fear, selfishness, religious beliefs and greed (ruthless financial and political gain) we have to wait until some brave people/organisations are willing to stand up to the people who don't want it to happen. Also once the public is made fully aware, educated in the matter, I would believe many others would also agree even if they do not agree with the use of drugs themselves. Which is of course one of the luxuries of living in a supposed free society. Freedom of choice!

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Posted Sun Oct 30th, 2011 9:42am Post subject: Alan Davies on cannabis.... wrong as usual!

Big wall of text, I've read it yet, not completely absorbed it, would the revenue from legal canabis cover the cost to the NHS of managing people suffering side effects (paranoia and others).

I'd say legalise it, but control it closely, take the money off the pushers and dealers.

Does the revenue from alcohol cover the cost of managing the people who abuse it?

God, who would want to be a politician!

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Posted Thu Nov 10th, 2011 1:35pm Post subject: Alan Davies on cannabis.... wrong as usual!

An excellant post, leeprew

The hypocrisy of our "elected" politicians in claiming to be concerned with our health when it is unarguably prohibition which causes the vast majority of danger and harm in drug use... it shows they are unfit for office. Although I wish Labour had won the election, I knew Gordon Brown was not fit to lead when he announced that he was planning to disregard the recommendations of his Drugs Advisory commission even before they had reported. Here was the leader of a supposed democracy spending public money on a Commission which he was intending to ignore!

This moralistic status quo is a completely irrational abuse of power which victimises people with enough imagination to be interested in their own minds! The tragedy of the prohibition and demonisation of LSD is a crime against humanity. The fact that a psychedelic underground continues to exist is a tribute to the spirit and the heart of the human species.

The prohibition of mind-expanding drugs has disenfranchised millions of people... no wonder the boring twats in suits get away with it... they've jailed and otherwise ruined the viability of so many lives through what is essentially an attack on a culture that threatened the illogical and brutal processes of the political and cultural status quo we inherited from the architects of the 20th Century's legacy of antagonistic time bombs (the Middle East, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, all driven towards eventual disaster through machinations of our self-interested narrowly focused "leaders"). Sorry to drift off topic, but the threads do lead me to see it all as a piece. A cultural tragedy still playing out, due to the hypocrisy and cowardice of our politicians.

A real man is a kind man.

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Posted Tue Jan 17th, 2012 5:39am Post subject: Alan Davies on cannabis.... wrong as usual!

Oh, a drug debate! I love it!

Hmm...where to start?

With sugar, maybe? Or just corn syrup? Well, there's always FAT and Carbs, both which make us dreadfully sluggish, obese, addicted, have heart disease, kidney disease, liver disease. How boring an angle though. I mean, we all know this but pass me a cookie, would ya? Thanks!

Life is short folks and often it comes down to a 'quantity vs quality' issue for people and for sometimes very different reasons behind both. 'quality' for some is being able to buy two pairs of jeans a day versus one pair in a year. Poverty, iow, creates a lot more misery than drugs themselves and I can't fault anyone who wants to escape their daily stress by getting high.

And, if not in poverty, getting high is fun. We should be able to be honest about that. We do things because -gasp- they're FUN. That's it. That's all. Why did I get a dog? He makes me happy. There's nothing deep behind it, I wasn't out to save him nor trying to change the world around me. Well, except my own. I'm sure many of you do things every single day that are just for pleasure's sake. BTW, if you construe what I'm saying as being 'pro-addiction', well, I'll only remind you that you don't know me well enough to assume that. Besides, it would be absurd.

If you listen to an oldster talk about their days in NYC going to the Crisco Disco or Studio54 or CBGB's, inevitably they reference, along with and in support of, all the great fun they had being wild youths drinking and, yep, drugging till all hours of the morning. BEFORE the absurd and ineffective 'war on drugs'. BEFORE life sentences for having some cocaine or marijuana in their pockets. BEFORE being nearly crucified for smoking cigarettes. When adults could be adults and not be ashamed of being adults.

The illusion, to me, is that while people will say there are more drugs than ever, there's this really strong pomposity that comes in reaction to hearing about people using them. Well, if there really are more drugs than ever, wouldn't be more people be using them?

People have to and want to cut loose and not everyone wants to do that by jogging six miles every day. Or doing push ups.

Again, I'm not talking about being irresponsible or nieve about your choices. Every Pleasure has its Price. But you can't sanitize Life like we all should be living in a sterile environment nor that because Joe likes to weight lift that Jane should too, you know? Maybe Jane likes to tie one on periodically without being made to feel guilty or that she should live like a nun.

BTW, I swear I wish I could remember the name of the report but a massive one was just done about the aerobic affects of marijuna. Evidence points to amount. One joint a day resulted in IMPROVED lung performance OVER TIME. Not the same, not worse. IMPROVED. That said, it also shows that 'one joint' seems to be the magic number and maximum. Any more than that can begin degradation but not near as bad as my old friend the cigarette. Who, sadly, just can't get a break lol

But, I like him ( do i need to insert a disclaimer here again? )

I just worry if we get too far into the realm of policing other peoples body habits, we'll start justifying imprisoning or sending to fitness 'camps' those who are addicted to sugar and fats ( a weight limit law or something ) in the name of 'austerity measures'. I don't know what the answer is, but I don't think it's THAT!!

Really? Wow.

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Posted Thu Jan 26th, 2012 11:41am Post subject: Alan Davies on cannabis.... wrong as usual!

This is all quite interesting, despite a fair amount of sycophancy to Stephen.
Just to add that my remark on the show was not the work of an idle fantasist.
It's my job on the show to be "usually incorrect" and to be unafraid to pipe up despite the legions of patronising bloggers lining up to declare me a moron

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Posted Tue May 28th, 2013 12:50am Post subject: Alan Davies on cannabis.... wrong as usual!

Dear Alan.

Even though i think MR. Fry is great, as well as the show. QI would not be as great without you. I am glad you said what you said because those that smoke it, well most not all, are blinded to the truth of it. They live in a little dream world where 'Weed' is the best and most awesome thing in the world for you. It is far better for you then Crack, but still is far from safe to smoke.
Always a fan. Me.

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Posted Fri Jun 21st, 2013 11:19pm Post subject: Alan Davies on cannabis.... wrong as usual!

drhemp, contrary to what you say, Dr. Tashkin's study did not find marijuana offers protection against lung cancer. In the video you linked to he says:

"I don't think there really is protection because if there were one would see a dose response relationship."

Now granted he did say that if anything the risks were a little bit less than 1 (presumably in reference to the marijuana rather than the tobacco) however not significantly. As any scientist will tell you (and while I am not a medical researcher, I am a scientist), that means the difference between the measured risks and 1 (the value which corresponds to no harm but no benefit either) is not great enough such that it could not be attributed to one of the sources of error in the experiment. Therefore the result of the study is inconclusive.

Furthermore, that video actually contradicts leeprew (who I notice has not provided any scientific evidence to support his points) as Dr. Tashkin's results agree with the study which Alan references (i.e. about 4x as much tar is deposited in the lungs from smoking marijuana compared to smoking the same weight of tobacco, leading to rates of chronic bronchitis which corresponds to the approximate 7:1 ratio which Alan mentioned: 20 cigarettes = 3 joints).

If anything, Alan's only fault is in saying that marijuana is more CARCINOGENIC than tobacco. I can see this may have mislead you into thinking it definitely causes more cancers than tobacco, however it does not take much research into the subject for it to be clear that he simply means it contains more carcinogens (as evidenced by the pre-cancerous abnormalities observed by Dr. Tashkin and also mentioned by the British Lung Foundation -see Alan's link- and members of the Cancer Biomarkers and Prevention Group/Department of Cancer Studies and Molecular Medicine/Karolinska Institute in Sweden whose experimental results from 2009 agree with those from the British Lung Foundation - ).

You will find in any set of medical studies that not all experiments give the same result. This is due to the fact that they select only small samples of the population and are often reliant on people telling them the whole truth. As such, even if you look at the conclusions produced by groups who have investigated the carcinogenic effects of tobacco for example, you will not find that 100% of the studies claim a negative effect. For whatever reasons, some will have been inconclusive and it is quite likely that a minority exist displaying positive effects, despite the fact that we now accept tobacco smoke is harmful.

In the end, you need to look at a number of experiments (not just one), see whether or not they agree and draw your results from that. At the moment, there is not really any overall opinion as to how harmful marijuana can be (Cancer Research UK gives a nice summary though: ) and so what Alan said is far from not being true. Indeed this post mentions 3 investigations (Dr. Tashkin's, the British Lung Foundation's and the Swede's) which agree completely with what he said (disregarding any ambiguity in the wording).

Now, having learnt some new and Quite Interesting, thanks to Alan, I'm off to watch the rest of that QI Christmas Special.

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