BBC film to show effects of injecting cannabis
The BBC is to break one of the last broadcasting taboos by screening footage of a woman injecting drugs.
Nicky Taylor, a journalist, is filmed smoking cannabis in cafes in Amsterdam before injecting the main ingredient of the stronger “skunk” variety of the drug in a laboratory.
The programme, provisionally called How High Can I Get?, was commissioned from an independent producer.
It will be broadcast on BBC3 in the next few months and comes as the Government considers increasing the penalties for cannabis possession.
Marjorie Wallace, the chief executive of Sane, a mental health charity, said: “It is difficult to see what can be learnt from this experiment. Cannabis affects no two individuals in the same way.
“The majority of people may have little or no reaction, even to stronger forms of the drug.
“But for the 10-20 per cent of those who are considered to be vulnerable, taking it could lead to psychotic illness. “
David Davies, the shadow Home Secretary, said on Sunday night: “I very much hope that this programme will contain a strong anti-drugs message that will stop people experimenting rather than glamourising drugs use.”
Miss Taylor was injected with THC, the main component of “skunk” cannabis, last October at the Institute of Psychiatry at King’s College London.
The experiment is legal as it takes place in a laboratory licensed to carry out such tests.
The scientists are running tests to analyse claims that skunk cannabis, which accounts for 80 per cent of the drug sold on the street, causes psychosis.
Miss Taylor was then filmed as the effects of the drug took hold. Dr Paul Morrison, one of the scientists in charge of the programme, told The Daily Telegraph: “I can’t talk about the experiences of any of our participants without their say-so.”
The BBC also declined to provide a detailed account of what happened.
However, one source who has seen the effects on Miss Taylor said: “The effect was dramatic. It was unpleasant.”
The BBC is understood to be keen to show the film on the eve of a decision by Jacqui Smith, the Home Secretary, to recriminalise cannabis by upgrading it from C to B status. Her decision is expected in the spring.
A BBC spokesman said on Sunday that the programme would be screened after the 9pm watershed to discourage younger viewers.
She said: “Nicky fully researched the subject and undertook the trials under supervision, with medical advice. She has not suffered any ill effects since filming finished.
“The film unequivocally highlights the risks of consuming the drug and will be scheduled post-watershed.
“Nicky Taylor is a critically acclaimed journalist who becomes fully immersed in her subject, in order to highlight the risks of potentially dangerous activities.
“Her films have included investigations into plastic surgery, in which she undertook surgery, and binge drinking in which she drank large amounts of alcohol.
“Her approach has proved successful in highlighting important health risks with a younger audience.”
The programme breaks one of the last broadcasting taboos. An episode of Panorama that featured a reporter taking LSD in the 1950s was not broadcast for more than 30 years because of fears it may encourage drug taking.
BBC film to show effects of injecting cannabis The BBC is to break one of the last broadcasting taboos by screening footage of a woman injecting drugs. Nicky Taylor, a journalist, is filmed