Hard News by Russell Brown

Read Post

Hard News: An unhelpful column about cannabis

44 Responses

First ←Older Page 1 2 Newer→ Last

  • Sacha,

    I do not trust a practitioner with a year’s experience in the field who feels the need to make claims like “the ONLY clinic that has actual medical specialists” – when many are familiar with genuine local trailblazers like Dr Graham Gulbransen: https://www.cannabiscare.nz/

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19707 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Sacha,

    Yeah, I was really uncomfortable with some of the text on that website.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22830 posts Report Reply

  • tussock,

    Was it not marked as an advertisement for his business, then?

    Since Nov 2006 • 610 posts Report Reply

  • Blair Anderson,

    Were I A Doctor with the social imperative of public health best practice at the heart of my clinical experience I would see the dispalcement of harms of alcohol (and other potential drugs of misuse potential) and their evidential mental health contribution to the public health burden. I would also see, as many health professionals do, that the mental health harms of cannabis are largely overstated.

    But more relevant to this Doctors 'fears where there should be none' is the open slather the liquor industry has to the at risk group 18 to 20, imbedded into the proposed bill, made supposedly (a) offering the pretence of 'protection' from harm (b) to encourage public support from more conservative voters.

    The problem is not a selective reading of the science, it is a lack of the lived experience within the culture of cannabis and denial of the collective wisdom within it.

    Christchurch, New Zealand… • Since Oct 2007 • 4 posts Report Reply

  • Brooke O,

    I'm hoping for some good, science and research based information from both sides. Both my brothers (decades apart in age, related to me but not to each other) developed episodes of psychosis through cannabis use. The effect on their life has been severe. One developed schizophrenia, the other is bipolar with regular episodes of psychosis. Both were intelligent young men full of spark. Now they bear the weight of the side effects of lithium, their brains altered for the long term.

    My knee jerk reaction is to make it is difficult as possible for young people to access cannabis. But also I appreciate that both my brothers accessed it freely while illegal. I suppose what I really want for cannabis is what I want for alcohol - a policy that is 100% focused on minimising harm. Intuitively, making it legal makes that goal easier to achieve. But I am also afraid that cannabis use will become normalised around young people the way alcohol has - especially with parents consuming at home (I could also tell some stories about growing up with a spaced out, increasingly paranoid mother!)

    I'm hopeful that between now and the election we are offered up better than that column, but also more than cannabis good/gangs bad from the other side.

    Since Aug 2020 • 1 posts Report Reply

  • Worik Stanton,

    There is some professional jealousy from the medical profession, IMO.

    "contrast, another patient, who previously sourced their own weed for health reasons, was spending $400 a week." That is a lot of cannabis every week.

    Otepoti • Since Nov 2007 • 41 posts Report Reply

  • Daniel Noreally,

    Typo: "himself himself"

    Please feel free to delete this comment.

    Auckland • Since Feb 2017 • 2 posts Report Reply

  • WH,

    You’ve quoted Dr Hotu as saying:

    I’m concerned that many voters have been led to believe a cannabis referendum ‘Yes vote’ equals a ‘Yes’ for medicinal cannabis. This is not the case; patients already have access to medicinal cannabis. It’s legal under the Medicinal Cannabis Scheme and currently available via prescription […]

    That seems like something voters should know. Dr Hotu also states:

    Speak to any health professional that works in this field and they’ll tell you the impact that marijuana has on psychosis.

    This seems like a fair point too.

    I know your work from your days in student radio. Around 20% of university students drop out in their first year of study. I don’t think the culture you’ve created is respectful of the long term interests of young New Zealanders.

    Since Nov 2006 • 797 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to WH,

    I know your work from your days in student radio. Around 20% of university students drop out in their first year of study. I don’t think the culture you’ve created is respectful of the long term interests of young New Zealanders.

    Oh, good grief. What a stupid, pompous thing to say.

    I’ve linked in the post above to the Mental Health and Addictions report, which repeatedly highlights the problems caused by criminalisation. I’ve read and linked to the recent research on the relationship between legalisation and Cannabis Use Disorder – the results which might seem counterintuitive, but less so alongside the knowledge that youth use of cannabis has fallen faster in Colorado than it has in non-legal states.

    I know very well what the bill says and I’ve explained and analysed it in a series of posts since the original Cabinet paper. I’ve also written about two formal surveys of medicinal cannabis users in the past year and interviewed key people in the green fairy community. I think I understand this area quite well, and I firmly believe that a “Yes” vote will reduce harm within that community.

    Dr Hotu has made some wild claims in his column and the idea that I’ve done something wrong by addressing those claims is absurd.

    Finally, your implication that cannabis is the reason first-year students drop out needs a citation, to put it mildly.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22830 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    I might also add that Dr Hotu’s claim to be a GP doesn’t seem to be true. And neither is his claim that his is “the ONLY [cannabis] clinic that has actual medical specialists” (Dr Craig also works with The Cannabis Clinic, for one thing). No one I’ve spoken to can work out his assertion that he’s able to prescribe CBD for $20 a week either.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22830 posts Report Reply

  • WH,

    As far as I know, you have no credentials or experience in medicine or in public health of any kind. You’re a music industry and radio guy who is on record as supporting the social supply of methamphetamine.

    You have a longstanding tendency to insult people who don’t agree with you. I don’t believe that that you’re always entirely fair and I’m concerned about the way you present matters of importance to the public.

    I think I understand your take on the Colorado data. We’ll see if the substance of your views about overall harm reduction hold up in the medium term.

    Since Nov 2006 • 797 posts Report Reply

  • WH,

    There's something else going on today - maybe you're watching it on television. Maybe you've been caught in the crossfire.

    Don't vote for Donald Trump.

    Since Nov 2006 • 797 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to WH,

    As far as I know, you have no credentials or experience in medicine or in public health of any kind. You’re a music industry and radio guy who is on record as supporting the social supply of methamphetamine.

    What you’re referring to is part of a podcast series where I interviewed an Auckland police officer who was using his discretion not to drag meth addicts through the courts when they were selling a little to support their habit – and focusing on getting them help and treatment instead.

    That is nothing like “supporting the social supply of methamphetamine”, it’s not re-victimising people who are already victims, and helping them get well instead.

    And no, I’m not a doctor, I’m a journalist. I’ve been writing about drug policy from a public health perspective for years, and that often means talking to doctors, addiction practitioners and researchers, along with people on the other side, who are actually humans too. I’m proud of the work I’ve done and I think some of it (notably on the scientifically baseless “meth contamination” moral panic) has really made a difference.

    Frankly, you’ve got a nerve idly smearing me like this then whining about me being “not always entirely fair”. I’ve been happy enough to debate these issues with you before, as frustrating as it usually is, but this is bullshit and you can feel free to go away.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22830 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to WH,

    There’s something else going on today – maybe you’re watching it on television. Maybe you’ve been caught in the crossfire.

    Could you possibly go and be a patronising twat somewhere else?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22830 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Armstrong,

    I might also add that Dr Hotu’s claim to be a GP doesn’t seem to be true.

    huh?

    It does seem a bit odd to not have a practice, he only makes house calls.

    New Zealand • Since Jan 2015 • 68 posts Report Reply

  • Neil,

    Another well written piece on harm reduction.

    One thing I’d like to add re mental health is there needs to be more action rather than words from the government on funding for acute mental health.

    For a small number of people marijuana will cause a transient psychotic episode that will resolve over a period of time. For another group of people who have a preexisting psychosis marijuana will either cause a relapse or make symptoms worse.

    The numbers a small relative to overall use but for those affected it’s a significant risk that can lead to the need for acute inpatient care and treatment.

    However the current government has continued the defunding of acute mental health by stealth that has occurred over the psst 30 years. Bed and staff numbers have not kept pace with population growth and increasing acuity.

    It’s expensive and does not play well with the anti-psychiatry lobby but it’s an essential part of making harm reduction work.

    Since Nov 2016 • 374 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Neil,

    It’s expensive and does not play well with the anti-psychiatry lobby but it’s an essential part of making harm reduction work.

    Can't disagree with any of that!

    One irony, of course, is that the local "No" campaign is bolstered by Scientology front operations who are very anti-psychiatry ...

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22830 posts Report Reply

  • Alfie, in reply to Russell Brown,

    If there was any way to block this WH person, I would. While today he's being an obnoxious prick his main role over years seems to be hijacking threads for his own extended rants. I’d rather just never hear from him ever again. Can we have a vote? Chur!

    Dunedin • Since May 2014 • 1436 posts Report Reply

  • linger, in reply to Alfie,

    If there is one consistent theme in WH’s collected postings, it is witch-hunting. (Maybe even the basis for their screen name.) Possibly best, then, to dismiss their misdirected sally upthread as just another witch-hunt; note the self-defeating futility of embarking on a pissing contest about credentials from behind a pseudonym; and move on…

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1929 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Thanks guys. I felt uneasy about blocking someone for disagreeing with me, but you’re right.

    Thing is, I do know who WH is – I actually helped him change his handle from full name to initials some years ago – and he doesn’t have any standing to question my credentials.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22830 posts Report Reply

  • linger,

    Have to hope they're getting the help they so clearly need.
    Separating the substantive point from the invective, to demonstrate that disagreement per se is not a banning offense, and thus to negate WH's assertion:
    I think WH was commenting that Hotu is on a register of GPs;
    though see also Simon's comment that Hotu does not currently have a practice.

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1929 posts Report Reply

  • Worik, in reply to Russell Brown,

    https://www.mcnz.org.nz/registration/register-of-doctors/doctor/hotu-mark-teahu/

    He is a registered medical practitioner.

    Does not mean he knows what he is talking about, or is not threatened by legalising cannabis....

    Waitati • Since Jan 2017 • 11 posts Report Reply

  • Nick Harris,

    Russell, FWIW: I just want to acknowledge the serious journalism you've done on the issue of cannabis law reform over the years, and the equally serious advocacy for same. IMO the high calibre of your contribution has raised the bar and forced the argument into a better place. So, thanks and keep it up.

    There is one argument in favour of legalisation which I'd like to hear more widely made. It seems to me that a whole new industry would emerge involving new investment in productive businesses, new jobs (rural and urban), new tax revenues, R&D into value-add products and applications (including non-psychoactive hemp). It just seems like a huge economic benefit is there for NZ in legalising. In other contexts economic benefit is normally enough to convince 40%-50% of the population without even trying.

    I don't prioritise economic benefit over the harm reduction arguments, just feel that it is an argument with potential to appeal to many.

    Auckland • Since Sep 2020 • 1 posts Report Reply

  • Waseem Alzaher,

    Dear Russell,

    Dr Waseem here from Cannabis Clinic. I just wanted to clarify an error in your article. Dr Craig works solely for Cannabis Clinic and not Green Doctors. She has requested her name be removed for 2 months now. I will leave you to work out why that has not occurred based on your comments in the article.

    Since Sep 2020 • 1 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Armstrong, in reply to Waseem Alzaher,

    Is that last sentence really necessary?

    NZMA code of ethics states:

    42. Doctors should avoid impugning the reputations of colleagues.

    Sorry for being pedantic, I have just been reading up on the latest code of ethics in relation to another referendum which could be argued seeks to undermine the medical association and the ethical standards which they hold themselves to.

    New Zealand • Since Jan 2015 • 68 posts Report Reply

First ←Older Page 1 2 Newer→ Last

Post your response…

Please sign in using your Public Address credentials…

Login

You may also create an account or retrieve your password.