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"Cannabis or alcohol? Observations on their use in Jamaica"
M.D. Raymond PRINCE

Veroeffentlicht im "Bulletin on Narcotics' des UNDCP, 1972, Heft 1,
Seite 2.

Eine komplette Kopie der Studie finden Sie auf den Seiten der UNDCP (United Nations Office for Drug Controll):

Achtung: Für viele Details (im Kompletttext) bei denen die Wissenschaftler Forschungsbedarf attestieren gibt es heute Studien und Ergebnisse. Die meisten im Text erwähnten Phänomene sind heute erforscht. Viele Erkenntnisse über Cannabis wurden erst in den 90er Jahren gewonnen und standen so den damaligen Forschenden noch nicht zur Verfügung.

Die wichtigsten Zitate:

One of the striking features of the patient population of Bellevue, the large mental hospital in Kingston, Jamaica, is the infrequency of disturbances associated with alcohol. Of 600 admissions to one typical ward over a two-year period, less than 2 % suffered such problems; not a single case of chronic brain syndrome associated with alcoholism was seen and we encountered neither delirium tremens nor alcoholic hallucinosis. The few alcohol-linked disturbances that did occur were, moreover, in patients who contrasted sharply with the predominantly low-income ward population in that they were from higher income levels or were highly acculturated, having spent several years in England or the United States or Canada.

This picture is unexpected first because in Jamaica, a major sugar producing country, rum is relatively cheap; and second, because it is in marked contrast with what we know of most other Caribbean islands. For example, annual returns indicate some 47% of admissions to mental hospital in Nassau and 53% in Martinique are alcohol-linked [1] . Murphy and Sam-path [6] found 50% of admissions in St. Thomas (to general hospital psychiatric unit in an area without a mental hospital) were related to alcohol use. These figures may be compared to Chafetz's [3] estimate of 30% alcohol-linked admissions to American mental hospitals and 40 % to mental hospitals in Santiago, Chile [4] .

Although many of these statistics are approximate, such a gross contrast with Jamaica's 2 % of alcohol-linked admissions calls for some attempt at explanation. The hypothesis we wish to explore here is one that has already been hinted at by Beaubrun [2] . In his pioneer field survey of alcohol consumption in five Kingston suburbs, he found that heavy drinking was more prevalent in higher income groups. He suggested that for low-income groups "... ganja (marihuana) smoking is widespread ... and may play a role as an alcohol substitute."

Our hypothesis is that the use of ganja as a euphoriant by low-income Jamaicans is a benevolent alternative to alcohol and may protect them against the consequences of' alcohol consumption-alcohol addiction, delirium tremens, chronic brain syndromes, Korsakoff psychosis and physical sequelae such as cirrhosis of the liver.

To return to the comparison of hospitalized men with their neighbours in the community, it will be recalled that the percentage of heavy ganja users at large was, if anything, higher than the percentage of ganja users on the ward. This finding would support our opinion that ganja use is not a significant cause of psychosis. The so called "ganja psychosis" is schizophrenia occurring in a ganja-using population.

In general this study supports the view that ganja is used as an alternative to alcohol by low income Jamaicans. Whether it is a "benevolent" alternative is less clear: we found no evidence however that ganja was an important cause of mental hospitalization.