It seems bizarre and somewhat incomprehensible that any prominent 21st century public forum would have such a derisory attitude towards something that appears to be helping millions of people worldwide. However, the Daily Mail’s unrelenting wave of anti-cannabis propaganda has, in recent times, reached peak condemnation.
At the risk of sounding like a rant-filled Russell Brand YouTube video, the danger of said condemnation lies in the number of people who engage with the Mail on a daily basis.
In 2012, statistics revealed that the MailOnline was the world’s largest newspaper website, a title that they still hold in 2015. Up to 50 million unique users can visit the MailOnline every month to engage with articles that condemn cannabis so vehemently.
Below are a selection of the anti-cannabis Daily Mail headlines of 2014-2015; some focus on a general disapproval of cannabis as medicine, while others seem to have a more insidious agenda, deceptively transforming otherwise unrelated news into a cannabis hate campaign:
Published on the 24th June 2015, this article references a scientific study by the University of Bristol.
Notice that while the initial headline discounts medical cannabis use, the bullet points below seem to show that evidence was found in the study, indicating the potential therapeutic use for cannabinoids in all of the listed ailments, even if it is ‘moderate-quality’ evidence.
Perhaps the Mail should have looked at the thousands of research papers published that indicate medical cannabis can certainly help with pain, nausea, vomiting, MS, sleep disorders and Tourette’s. A very select few are listed below. You can find hundreds more ailment specific research papers available at MedicalMarijuana.co.uk.
Amelioration of cancer chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting by delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol. (Ekert H, Waters KD, Jurk IH, Mobilia J, Loughnan P, 1979)
Delta 9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is effective in the treatment of tics in Tourette syndrome: a 6-week randomized trial. (Müller-Vahl KR, Schneider U, Prevedel H, Theloe K, Kolbe H, Daldrup T, Emrich HM, 2003)
Smoked cannabis for spasticity in multiple sclerosis: a randomized, placebo-controlled trial. (Corey-Bloom J, Wolfson T, Gamst A, Jin S, Marcotte TD, Bentley H, Gouaux B., 2012)
Apparently, its official!
Published on the 24th June 2015, the above headline reports on a study by the National Institute of Drug Abuse indicating that cannabis ‘impairs’ driving just as much as alcohol. The use of the word “impaired” may be an issue here. Medical users have a level of metabolite in their systems from regular cannabis use that puts them in the “impaired” category without necessarily being so.
A landmark study released in February 2015 by the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) indicated that there is “no correlation between car accidents and cannabis use”. This was the largest study of its kind ever conducted, with a far greater focus group than any other similar research before or since.
This headline, published on July 3rd 2015, could perhaps be more accurately rephrased, “Woman with severe M.S uses her disability allowance for cannabis, her only source of pain relief”.
While there is no question that ‘Michelle X’ had to be arrested because of the laws in the United Kingdom, the headline above typifies the Mail and their agenda to discount medical cannabis as a valid solution for many sick people.
There is no mention of Michelle’s disability in the headline and no mention of her using cannabis for medicinal purposes. Her job status is a fleeting piece of information, not relevant to her cannabis use but facilitates the inaccurate belief by some that every cannabis user is a lazy, jobless citizen on benefits.
Cannabis use for Multiple Sclerosis has been validated by countless research reports over the last decade. Even the National MS Society list many recent research trials which indicate that cannabis can help the debilitating illness.
The damaging effects of articles such as those above inhibit the general public from educating themselves on a genuine alternative medicine. Public knowledge of cannabis and its therapeutic benefits is vital for any future changes to drug laws in this country.
The Daily Mail publish headlines on a daily basis to ensure that many completely unrelated atrocities are rather vulgarly blamed on cannabis. This type of propaganda is damaging, not just to the recreational cannabis market but for medical users who, in the opinion of the authour’s of these articles, are tantamount to addicts. Those that thought the Mail may not be agenda driven, you may want to look at some of the headlines below and think again.
It is worth noting, that recently, MailOnline have started to increase their coverage of pro-cannabis news. While this is a minuscule bright star in an endless night sky abyss of anti-cannabis coverage, and clearly a nod to their online gargantuan American audience (according to Alexa.com, MailOnline is the 72nd most popular website in the USA), it is proof that even the most agenda-driven public forums can be influenced by consensus of the people.