The Case For Cannabis: Cannabis Does Not Cause Paranoia

A common piece of received wisdom about cannabis is that it causes paranoia. This paranoia is part of a wider suite of psychiatric problems that cannabis is erroneously blamed for – problems that justify putting people in cages to protect them from themselves. As this article will examine, the argument that cannabis should be prohibited because it causes paranoia is invalid.

The truth is that it’s prohibition that causes paranoia. Cannabis itself is medicinal, and has never caused paranoia in and of itself.

Proof for this is unnecessary for anyone who has used cannabis in the Netherlands or, more recently, in places like Colorado, Uruguay, Washington or California. Anyone who has done this can tell you that the same kind of paranoia that people sometimes get when using cannabis in New Zealand does not occur.

There are clear reasons why using cannabis creates paranoia in places like New Zealand.

The first group of reasons relate to the Police. The fact is that the Police do not make moral judgments about the laws they are enforcing. To the sort of person who becomes a Police officer, there’s no difference between arresting a murderer, arresting a cannabis user or arresting someone for being a member of a race that the Government has targeted for extermination. The Police just enforce the law.

Therefore, anyone using cannabis in a place where it is illegal has every reason to be paranoid, because there’s a chance that if their activity was discovered by the Police they could end up locked in a cage. It’s possible to get seven years’ imprisonment for growing a medicinal cannabis plant in New Zealand, and even though a custodial sentence is unlikely for simple possession the fear is reasonable.

All of the reasons within this group have been created directly by cannabis prohibition itself. If cannabis was legal, there would be no reason to fear the Police or the “Justice” system whenever one used it or had it in one’s possession.

The second group of reasons relate to society. When a person uses cannabis and realises that it is nothing like what it is said to be like, it’s natural to ask some very deep and dark questions about the nature of society. In particular, one comes to ask how it is that cannabis could have become illegal in the first place, given that it’s clearly a medicine that has beneficial effects.

Eventually this leads to people asking some extremely difficult questions. If it was only possible to make cannabis illegal by virtue of telling an enormous amount of lies about it, what nefarious forces controlled the resources necessary to propagate all these lies? Who is really in control of this system, if they can make lies into a truth that is parrotted by Police, politicians, teachers and doctors?

And if doctors didn’t even know that cannabis is medicinal despite the stacks and stacks of evidence in favour of the idea, what else don’t they know? Or, even worse, if they did know that cannabis was medicinal but lied about it for sake of greater profit or for fear of Government disapproval, what else could they be lying about?

Naturally, all this sort of thinking is capable of creating intense anxiety – but it’s cannabis prohibition that makes this possible. Without cannabis prohibition, none of this reasoning makes any sense, and is unlikely to be entertained. A pleasant cannabis experience will not cause a person to question the structure of society, unless that society has not already told him that cannabis was the boogeyman.

In any case, many drugs can be anxiogenic if a person does not use them correctly. Caffeine can easily cause paranoia and anxiety if a person who isn’t used to it takes too much, and this is considered humourous by most people, not a reason to ban coffee. If cannabis causes a person anxiety, they should either use a different strain (preferably one with more CBD) or abstain from using it altogether. Weed is not necessarily for everyone!

It is possible that cannabis can cause a kind of existential paranoia. Many people are conditioned to never think about deeper philosophical questions, and some of these people discover that the cannabis high induces them to do so. Cannabis can have a massively deconditioning effect, why is why artists use it, but this can lead to the user entertaining lines of thought that have otherwise long been suppressed.

The way to deal with this, however, is either to fix it by philosophy or to avoid using cannabis (or to try a form of cannabis with less THC in it). Life is anxiogenic in a myriad of ways, and therefore it’s unreasonable to expect that the deeply contemplative mindset brought about by cannabis use should leave a person immune to paranoia. It is a similar case with most other cannabis-related anxiety.

The argument that cannabis ought to be illegal because it causes paranoia is false. The majority of paranoia brought on by cannabis use is a function of prohibition. If cannabis prohibition went away, most of the paranoia associated with it would also go away, therefore we’re better off if it were legal.

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This article is an excerpt from The Case For Cannabis Law Reform, compiled by Vince McLeod and due for release by VJM Publishing in the summer of 2018/19.

The Case For Four Specialist Seamers in the Black Caps

A recent article argued that this is the best ever Black Caps Test side. Even so, there’s scope for the Black Caps to get even better. There is plenty of talent on the sideline as well, and finding a way to find some of it in the run-on XI might make the team stronger – as this article will examine.

The Black Caps have never had a batting foursome as good as Williamson-Taylor-Nicholls-Watling. The first two stand alongside Martin Crowe as the best the country has ever produced. Watling has been world-class as a wicketkeeper-bat and Nicholls has already broken into the top 10 Test batting rankings. Moreover, our two openers in Latham and Raval are as good as any since John Wright and Bruce Edgar.

The Black Caps aren’t lacking the ability to build big innings, and they already have Nicholls and Watling as batsmen capable enough to rebuild after a top order failure. There is therefore no need for an insurance batsman at 7, especially if this means that a good chunk of overs have to be bowled by a non-specialist.

With batting that good, we can afford to lose a bit of extra batting at 7 for the sake of strengthening the bowling. In other words, we could consider not playing an all-rounder in that role, but rather a bowling all-rounder like Mitchell Santner or Matt Henry.

The Black Caps could field a team of:

1. Raval
2. Latham
3. Williamson
4. Taylor
5. Nicholls
6. Watling
7. Santner
8. Henry
9. Southee
10. Wagner
11. Boult

This would allow us to field an outstanding pace battery without having a weak batting unit. Probably we would open with Boult and Henry in such a situation, with Wagner playing his usual role as third seamer. Southee’s bowling would be much more dangerous than the alternatives for fourth seamer.

Such a composition would make for an exceptionally pure Black Caps side. There would be five specialist batsmen, one wicketkeeper, and five specialist bowlers.

A critic might argue that choosing such a side will increase the chances of being bowled out cheaply. The counter argument to that is to say that a pace battery of Boult, Henry, Wagner and Southee would wreck opposition teams so regularly that we would get away with a tiny extra chance of a batting collapse if it meant more overs from a truly dangerous bowler.

In any case, all four of them can bat a bit. Henry (19), Southee (17), Boult (14) and Wagner (12) all average in the double figures. A tail with Mitchell Santner at 7, who averages 25 and has the promise to average 30, would be just as good batting-wise as one with an all-rounder at 7, Santner at 8 and one fewer specialist seamer. Bowling-wise, four seamers would be superpowered.

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Dan McGlashan is the man with his finger on the statistical pulse of New Zealand. His magnum opus, Understanding New Zealand, is the complete demographic analysis of the Kiwi people.

VJMP Reads: Ted Kaczynski’s Unabomber Manifesto VI

This reading carries on from here.

The next chapter in Industrial Society and Its Future, beginning from paragraph 171, is ‘The Future’. Here, Kaczynski discusses the likely outcomes of the perpetuation of the techno-industrial system.

One potential outcome is that increasing technology and automation means that the vast majority of human labour becomes performed by machines instead. At this point, one must consider whether this machine workforce is to remain working under direct human supervision or if it is to work autonomously. It could be that our increasing dependence on the decisions made by these machines make us dependent on them, in the same way that we have become dependent on other technology.

The horror scenario, as Kaczynski sees it, is that automation will incentivise the extermination of the masses on the grounds that they are no longer needed for their labour. A more humane scenario is that the elite uses propaganda to reduce the birth rate of the masses so that natural deaths cause the population to decline. This may become necessary because of ecological considerations. The only alternative is to essentially domesticate humans like pets.

Kaczynski flat-out rejects the idea that work for the sake of the work is the solution to the problem. Makework will not lead to any kind of fulfillment. Even more of a worry is the fact that these problems will continue to get worse. The bourgeois sort of person who runs the machine will only become more and more a part of it, and the machine will grow to absorb all, barring the odd pocket of nature kept as reserve.

He concludes, “It would be better to dump the whole stinking system and take the consequences.”

The next section is titled ‘Strategy’. Here Kaczynski talks about what specifically can be done to oppose the techno-industrial system. Most people believe that the forwards march of the system is inevitable; Kaczynski disagrees. It can be meaningfully opposed in two ways: by increasing the stresses within it to hasten its collapse, and by developing an alternative ideology so that people can learn to live without it.

The French and Russian Revolutions provide an example of how this could be achieved. Ideologies must have both a positive and a negative ideal. Kaczynski proposes valuing wild, raw Nature as something that should prosper freely. This includes human nature. If the techno-industrial system collapses, people will come to live close to Nature again, on account of that they will be forced to.

Most people don’t like psychological conflict, and as a consequence they do like black-and-white thinking. Despite that, it’s important to target the ideology at intelligent and thoughtful people, because they will be most capable of influencing others. Even so, it’s necessary to have a simpler version of the ideology that even simple people can understand. Care must be taken so that propagandising towards this simpler version doesn’t put the more thoughtful people off.

The most important thing is building a committed core of good people. For this reason one needs to take care who one attacks and who one befriends. The general public should never be blamed, but focus should be placed on the ruling class. Care must be taken not to encourage conflict in the wrong places, because that will lead to more technology. It’s also a mistake for minorities to put members into high positions in government and business, because that will just hasten the absorption of that culture by the system.

For this reason, it’s better for revolutionaries to not try to win power in the democratic system. There is no way to change the system from within without getting co-opted. The collapse of the techno-industrial system will induce short-term suffering, and the politicians will get blamed for it, so best to stay out of the way until such a time as this suffering gets blamed on the shortcomings of the system.

The revolution will have to happen in all nations at the same time. For this reason, it’s better for the world to become interconnected – the hope is that if, for example, America collapses, it will take the rest of the world down with it.

People will not be aided by becoming more passive in the face of the system. Humans have a will to power; this is a fact. This will to power can be better satisfied in primitive conditions, because people will satisfy it by meeting their survival needs.

Technology can be freely employed by revolutionaries, but only if it is directly employed in the destruction of the techno-industrial system. Humans cannot be trusted with technology any more than any alcoholic can be trusted to babysit a bottle of wine. In any case, revolutionaries should have as many children as they can, because anti-technological attitudes will be in some way inherited.

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If you enjoyed reading this essay, you can get a compilation of the Best VJMP Essays and Articles of 2017 from Amazon for Kindle or Amazon for CreateSpace (for international readers), or TradeMe (for Kiwis).

The Case For Cannabis: The Criminal Justice System is Not A Treatment Pathway

Of all the terrible arguments made in favour of cannabis prohibition – and there are many – one of the worst is the argument that contends that cannabis prohibition is a good thing because some of the people that get involved in the criminal justice system are incentivised to stop using cannabis. This article will examine the flaws in this logic.

One of the saddest peasant attitudes remaining in our society is the idea that certain people just need a “good kick up the arse” to encourage them to function properly again. The idea seems to be that a “short, sharp shock” of physical abuse can be beneficial to drive dullness from a person’s mind. It’s an abusive attitude that is a remnant of a less enlightened time and, fortunately for the rest of us, it’s dying off.

This attitude finds expression in the idea that getting arrested on account of a cannabis offence could be a good thing, if that led to a person suddenly appreciating the consequences of cannabis use and changing their habits for the better.

There is an element of logic to this line of reasoning. After all, it’s common for young petty criminals to become afraid the first time they encounter some genuine heat from the Police, or the first time they do a custodial sentence and realise that prison isn’t a great deal of fun after all. This fear can, indeed, change behaviour.

But what this approach leaves out is two things.

The first is that many people simply don’t want to stop smoking cannabis, any more than they want to stop playing rugby or buying magazines with Harry and Meghan on the cover. You could instruct the Police to arrest people for playing rugby in the park, on the grounds that their behaviour was recklessly dangerous, but it wouldn’t make it the right thing to do or a good idea. Neither would it stop people from doing it.

Psychologically speaking, it’s hard to declare that you know how another adult should live their lives, and so much better than them, that you can fairly justify setting the Police on them if they don’t do what you say they should do. In another time and place, that degree of coercion would be recognised as slavery, and it’s no wonder that people naturally disobey the cannabis laws today.

So this means that deploying the Police to force people into getting medical treatment for using cannabis (as if that even made sense) will not be effective in the long term. People feel like they have the right to use cannabis, and they will continue to feel as if they have the right, because it’s natural to think it ridiculous that a medicinal plant could be illegal.

It’s possible that Police involvement in a person’s life might reduce their level of cannabis use, but so what? Punching someone in the face for eating a Big Mac might also inspire them to make healthier lifestyle decisions, but that doesn’t mean that the overall benefit of the action outweighs the overall harm.

The second is that there are cases of legitimate medicinal need, and encounters with the criminal justice system are not helpful in cases of medicinal need. Police officers are not qualified doctors and neither can they be. Having them as the first line of dealing with cannabis users makes as much sense as making the Army responsible for it.

The argument refuted in this article is usually made by people who are entirely unaware of the medicinal properties of cannabis. When they become aware of the medicinal properties of cannabis they tend to stop making it. Of course, if a substance really is medicinal then it ought to be something supplied by doctors and pharmacies; the Police should not be needed at any stage.

There may, indeed, be cases where there is a cannabis user who needs psychiatric intervention. After all, there are many instances in which certain strains of cannabis will not be helpful. A person who is acutely psychotic from sleep deprivation doesn’t need a honking high-THC strain that will wire them even tighter.

But even in cases like this, it’s not Police intervention that would be helpful, unless it comes as part of the Mental Health Act or similar and not as part of enforcing the law against the “crime” of cannabis. A person who has mentally disintegrated so far that they need psychiatric intervention is already in a kind of hell. The last thing they need is to encounter law enforcement.

The argument that cannabis users can be persuaded to get treatment for “cannabis abuse” by getting arrested, and then threatened with further attacks from the Justice system, is neither fair for rational. It would be better for cannabis to be made legal and destigmatised, so that people who did need treatment would be more likely to get it. Police involvement is unnecessary.

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This article is an excerpt from The Case For Cannabis Law Reform, compiled by Vince McLeod and due for release by VJM Publishing in the summer of 2018/19.