Maurizio Taglialatela's Testimony (English)

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Summary of Maurizio Taglialatela's Testimony

  • A doctor and surgeon with a Ph.D. in molecular and cell biology and pathology. At the time was a professor of pharmacology and toxicology at the University of Molise. In addition he was also the chair of a small faculty at the University of Molise called Science of Well-Being.
  • Asked to consult on the pharmacological aspects of marijuana and hashish with particular reference to cognitive and behavioral effects of these drugs.
  • Announces his testimony will be about the general effects as he did not do a specific assessment of Raffaele Sollecito or Amanda Knox. In addition Taglialatela warns that individual genetic conditions have an impact on how you metabolize and eliminate the substance.
  • Cannabis is a plant which can be used as a drug three ways.
    • Hashish an extract of the resin of the inflorescences of the plant
    • Marijuana which includes both inflorescences and the leaf of the plant.
    • The stem of the plant is dried and then the seeds are used but this is a unusual method.
  • THC (tetrahydrocannabinol and delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol) are considered as the main psychoactive substances.
  • Hashish is the resin from the part of the plant richest in cannabinoids so is stronger than marijuana that also contains other parts of the plant that is less rich.
  • Cannabinoids have an effect on memory for around four hours from initiation the subjects will have trouble remembering the knowledge learned during that period.
  • Cannabinoids also lead to slower reaction time, a reddening of the conjunctiva, and a reduction in blood pressure. In some individuals it can increase blood pressure but generally it lowers it. It leads to a reduction in educational goals and is correlated with an increase in truancy. There is also a tendency to laugh at even minor happenings even if they are not very funny.
  • Cannabinoids interfere with sleep-wake rhythm. The intake of cannabinoids helps you sleep but tends to disturb REM sleep.
  • People using cannabis are not particularly aggressive or violent.
    • A New York study that found a correlation between cannabis use and crime is discussed. Tagliatatela dismisses it on the grounds that it is the only study to find the correlation. Tagliatatela explains that the result was likely related to a correlation between cannabis use and low socio-economic status which is itself correlated with increased criminal activity.
  • There is scientific support between the increased possibility of psychotic reactions and an association between schizophrenia and cannabinoids use but Taglialatela attributes this to peak consumption of cannabinoids coincidentally occurring at the peak age of incidence of schizophrenia.
  • The content of tetrahydrocannabinol in drugs has increased significantly over the years and is much higher than the quanity used in the studies. In addition variations depending on the region of origin of the plant is a factor. This is a reason for concern.
  • Although cannabinoids are not considered hallucinogenic drugs they do cause alterations in perception. This is more common at high doses. Cannabinoid intake can lead to seeing things that are not there and to hearing people who did not speak.
  • Perception of the passage of time is also impacted by cannabinoid intake. Typically subjects report a perception of time that seems to run much slower.
  • Studies of risk appetite so do not show a particular strong correlation compared to other drugs like alcohol and cocaine. It depends on the individual but generally there is a peaceful state so a decrease in risk.

Maurizio Taglialatela's Testimony

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