Day: 4 August 2020

3 posts

Everything you know about drug addiction is wrong – Johann Hari

Everything you know about drug addiction is wrong – Johann Hari

“Get a rat and put it in a cage and give it two water bottles. One is just water, and one is water laced with either heroin or cocaine. If you do that, the rat will almost always prefer the drugged water and almost always kill itself very quickly, right, within a couple of weeks. So there you go. It’s our theory of addiction.

Bruce comes along in the ’70s and said, “Well, hang on a minute. We’re putting the rat in an empty cage. It’s got nothing to do. Let’s try this a little bit differently.” So Bruce built Rat Park, and Rat Park is like heaven for rats. Everything your rat about town could want, it’s got in Rat Park. It’s got lovely food. It’s got sex. It’s got loads of other rats to be friends with. It’s got loads of colored balls. Everything your rat could want. And they’ve got both the water bottles. They’ve got the drugged water and the normal water. But here’s the fascinating thing. In Rat Park, they don’t like the drugged water. They hardly use any of it. None of them ever overdose. None of them ever use in a way that looks like compulsion or addiction. There’s a really interesting human example I’ll tell you about in a minute, but what Bruce says shows that both the right-wing and left-wing theories of addiction are wrong. So the right-wing theory is it’s a moral failing, you’re a hedonist, you party too hard. The left-wing theory is it takes you over, your brain is hijacked. Bruce says it’s not your morality, it’s not your brain; it’s your cage. Addiction is largely an adaptation to your environment.

We’ve created a society where significant numbers of our fellow citizens cannot bear to be present in their lives without being drugged, right? We’ve created a hyperconsumerist, hyperindividualist, isolated world that is, for a lot of people, much more like that first cage than it is like the bonded, connected cages that we need.

The opposite of addiction is not sobriety. The opposite of addiction is connection. And our whole society, the engine of our society, is geared towards making us connect with things not people. If you are not a good consumer capitalist citizen, if you’re spending your time bonding with the people around you and not buying stuff—in fact, we are trained from a very young age to focus our hopes and our dreams and our ambitions on things we can buy and consume. And drug addiction is really a subset of that.”
~ Johann Hari

For more ……/johann_hari_everything_you_think_you_… –
** About the work of Bruce K. Alexander

Guest Blog: Does cannabis use cause parents to neglect their children?

Guest Blog: Does cannabis use cause parents to neglect their children?

Unfortunately here in Aotearoa, we have a serious problem with child abuse. According to a a 2012 report prepared for the Ministry of Health, approximately one child a day was admitted to hospital with injuries relating to assault, neglect or maltreatment. Sadly these figures appear to have increased over recent years.

With this in mind it is understandable many people are worried about the effects legalising cannabis may have on child abuse, particularly neglect. Though there have been many child homicides linked to the use of alcohol or drugs such as methamphetamine and synthetics, there has been no link between the use of cannabis by itself, and child abuse. When cannabis has been involved in these cases it is almost always secondary to other substances like alcohol.

 Legalising cannabis will mean that those who do want to use it on a recreational basis will have a safe and accessible way to get it. It will also people will no longer be prosecuted for using a substance that is relatively harmless. It’s pretty hard not to neglect your children from jail!

 Samantha, 32 told us about her experience growing up with heavy alcohol users as compared to cannabis smokers:

 As a child my parents separated when I was young. I grew up with my mother who developed a heavy dependency on alcohol, and became a daily drinker along with her partner. I regularly visited my father and eventually moved in with him. He was a regular cannabis user and had a joint most days with dinner, and only drank occasionally.

Living with alcoholic parents was extremely volatile and unpredictable. I never knew what mood they would be when I came home. Whether they would be in a happy drunk mood, or angry, smashing dishes and yelling at each other. If they had too much alcohol, sometimes they would pass out in the afternoon or evening and leave us kids to our own devices. A lot of money went on booze, and they were often too drunk to cook or anything else, so we mainly lived off sandwiches, noodles and fried food and we didn’t do any extra curricular activities.

When I lived with my dad it was a much calmer environment. Although he used cannabis almost daily, it didn’t interfere with what he had to do during the day, including taking care of his children. He would often be a bit spaced out in the evenings, and that’s it. I remember him having legal troubles due to growing plants for his personal use.

As an adult I smoke rarely but I support the legalisation of cannabis, because I don’t think people like my father should be prosecuted for something that is usually pretty harmless.

Guest Blog by Angelina Stanton

Cannabis is a plant

Cannabis is a plant

A gentle reminder that Cannabis is a plant.

On September 19 we are voting on something that occurs completely on it’s own in nature.  The plant has been used for centuries for herbal and medicinal uses across continents and cultures.

The use of cannabis as a mind-altering drug has been documented by archaeological finds in prehistoric societies in Eurasia and Africa. The oldest written record of cannabis usage is the Greek historian Herodotus‘s reference to the central Eurasian Scythians taking cannabis steam baths. His (c. 440 BCE) Histories records, “The Scythians, as I said, take some of this hemp-seed [presumably, flowers], and, creeping under the felt coverings, throw it upon the red-hot stones; immediately it smokes, and gives out such a vapour as no Greek vapour-bath can exceed; the Scyths, delighted, shout for joy.”

In China, the psychoactive properties of cannabis are described in the Shennong Bencaojing (3rd century AD).[86] Cannabis smoke was inhaled by Daoists, who burned them in incense burners.[86]

In the Middle East, use spread throughout the Islamic empire to North Africa. In 1545, cannabis spread to the western hemisphere where Spaniards imported it to Chile for its use as fiber. In North America, cannabis, in the form of hemp, was grown for use in rope, clothing and paper.