Thu, Jul 08, 2004 - Page 7 News List

Smoking cannabis could help night vision: study

THE GUARDIAN , London

We knew it gave people the munchies and made them giggle. Now researchers claim to have found a new property in cannabis -- it helps us see in the dark.

Scientists made their discovery after becoming intrigued by Moroccan fishermen, who not only failed to lose their sense of direction after smoking generous amounts of local kif, a mixture of cannabis and tobacco, but seemed to navigate better on dark nights.

"They attribute their ability to see to the consumption of kif that they spend entire hours smoking before getting into their barques," one of the research team, drawn from the US, Spain and Morocco, reported.

Jamaican fishermen have reportedly shown a similar reaction, suggesting there might be something medically useful in cannabis apart from the pain-deadening properties already spotted by doctors treating cancer patients.

Equipped with a machine for measuring night vision, the researchers headed for the Rif valley, the center of Morocco's flourishing cannabis trade.

Three "kif-experienced" Moroccan volunteers were then invited to make "numerous inhalations."

The volunteers demonstrated "consistent improvements" in tests, leading the researchers to suggest that further studies be conducted.

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