As part of an experimental Channel 4 programme on the effects of cannabis television presenter Jon Snow was filmed inhaling skunk, the most potent form of the drug.
Snow has been open about his “regular” use of cannabis in his younger years but even that experience didn’t prepare him for what he described as “the darkest mental place” he had ever been.
After he inhaled the drug from a plastic container Snow was taken to have his brain activity monitored inside an MRI machine. He became agitated inside the machine saying, “I don’t think I want to do this, it’s horrible. Can you let me out?” When he was released from the machine he appeared to be in some distress and said, “If you can stick it out in Gaza, you should be able to stick it out in a bloody scanner.”
Video credit: Channel 4
On his Channel 4 website blog, Snow said the effects of the skunk were so strong he forgot he was being filmed:
“By the time I was completely stoned I felt utterly bereft. I felt as if my soul had been wrenched from my body. There was no one in my world. I felt I had lost all control and had only the vaguest awareness of who I was and what on earth I was doing. I cascaded into a very, very, dark place, the darkest mental place I have ever been. I was frightened, paranoid, and felt physically and mentally wrapped in a dense blanket of fog. I lost all sense that I was being filmed by Channel 4.
“I’ve worked in war zones but I’ve never been as overwhelmingly frightened as I was right then,” he continued. “And as I emerge from the scanner you see me blearily sitting up and hugging young Dr. Rebecca for my dear life, as if she was my mother.”
A recent study by researchers from the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience at King’s College London found that 25 percent of new psychotic episodes are linked to strong strains of cannabis.
Drugs Live: Cannabis on Trial will be shown on March 3 on Channel 4 and feature other volunteers as well as Snow.
If you’re worried about someone in your life who’s using drugs, or want to find out more about the effects of drugs, visit FRANK for advice, information and support.