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BBC Horizon: Cannabis: the evil weed?

I’m currently unwell, and disinclined to write anything of substance. All I can manage is to draw your attention to a documentary broadcast last night on BBC2.

In Cannabis: the evil weed?, psychologist and addiction specialist John Marsden looked at the world’s most popular drug, and the result is a balanced and highly informative popular science presentation. Dr Marsden is a member of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, whose expert advice is solicited by the British government and often completely ignored.

The programme can be viewed online until Tuesday 21 April.

Cannabis, which has been used for thousands of years, is a powerful psychoactive drug, and like all such substances is far from harmless. That said, the vast majority of recreational users of cannabis will suffer no ill effects as long as they don’t start smoking it while their brains are still developing. And cannabis has great potential in the treatment of a number of medical conditions.

Scientific evidence is, however, only a small part of the story, and it is culture, politics and PR that rule in the public debate surrounding cannabis. We could now do with a follow-up documentary that addresses these issues in more depth.