By Professor Jean Costentin 8 September 2020
Jean Costentin is a member of the French National Academies of Medicine and Pharmacy. Professor of Pharmacology at the Faculty of Rouen (France), he headed a Neuropsychopharmacology Research Unit associated with the CNRS.
He is President of the National Centre for Prevention, Studies and Research in Drug Addiction.
Addictologists are concerned about the introduction, on September 1st, of the fine (€200) which will henceforth punish the use of cannabis and other drugs.
First of all, we must reiterate our regret that this fine, which is in full balance, has not been entered in a computer file that can be consulted extemporaneously by the person issuing the fine, allowing him or her to adjust the amount of the fine according to the number of repeated offences. This fine, more than a “money pump”, would then become a prevention tool to limit the extent of the “cannabic tsunami” that is flooding our nation.
These protesting “addictologists” are again demanding the legalisation of cannabis. While they are unarmed to detach from this drug those it has monopolised, their psittacism is expressed: “Legalisation! Legalisation! Legalisation! ” By jumping like cabrisons. Yet they cannot ignore the fact that it would increase the number of its victims, thus becoming their own victims.
Their responsibility is aggravated by their hermeticity to the worrying scientific information that is accumulating on this cannabis; either this information does not interest them, or they do not grasp its scope. The best scientific journals in the world would teach them:
That the high incidence of drug addiction among adolescents whose parents were cannabis users is the result not only of educational deficiencies but also of epigenetic effects (changes in the expression of certain genes). Individuals of child-bearing age who expose their gametes to the THC of cannabis cause the child resulting from their union to inherit an under-expression of dopaminergic D2 receptors in the cerebral accumbens nucleus (receptors on which the perception of pleasure depends). In adolescence, their child experiences hedonic disturbances which make them turn to any drug to intensify the release of dopamine and thus compensate for the depletion of D2 receptors. The same is true if cannabis is consumed by pregnant women (cf. the various publications of Y. Hurd’s group in the USA).
That the biological substrate of asocial behaviour induced by cannabis consumption has just been linked to a disturbance in the cerebral metabolism of glucose, reducing the energy production of neurons (Marsicano et al. 2020, in the prestigious journal Nature).
That cannabis leads to escalation to other drugs, as epidemiology shows; polydrug use tends to become the rule. Neurobiological bases had already documented morphine craving (epigenetic mechanism). They have just been documented for cocaine (Sherma M. et al. Proceedings of the US National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) 2020, 117, 9991-10002). Exposure to a cannabinoid prior to cocaine use alters the epigenetic and molecular responses to cocaine; susceptibility to cocaine differs markedly from that of non-exposed cannabinoids.
As an apostille, to close the mouths of these “addictologists”, the OK fathers of legalisation, stuck in the cannombilical stage of a 1968 chichon [hashish] model:
– In Colorado, which legalised cannabis, the teratogenic effects (abnormalities presented by foetuses and babies) exploded with the increase in the number of pregnant women using it (Reece and Hulse, Clinical Pediatrics 2019, 58, 1085-1123).
To treat their psittacism, these misguided “addictologists” should take the time to read and try to understand a dense, coherent and scientifically sound literature. They would become ashamed of having uttered so much nonsense and, in view of the function that should be theirs, of having confused the prevention they neglect with the incitement they profess.
Boulevard Voltaire, on 8 September 2020. More data and articles (in French) on: www.bvoltaire.fr/author/jeancostentin