Drugs Re: Reefer Madness
posted by July 27 at 14:02 PMon
Check out the headlines for the story about a British report linking pot smoking and psychosis, which the AP blasted around the globe and Jonah derided this morning.
From the Seattle PI: “Marijuana may increase risk of becoming psychotic, study finds”
From the Washington Post: “Pot Ups Risk for Mental Illness”
From Fox News: “Study: Even Infrequent Use of Marijuana Increases Risk of Psychosis by 40 Percent”
By reading these headlines, you would believe recent findings show conclusive evidence that marijuana use leads to increased risk of psychoses. You would be wrong. The report is actually based on a meta-analysis of previously debunked studies, and the findings, as the article’s text immediately volunteers, are completely ambiguous:
The researchers said they couldn’t prove that marijuana use itself increases the risk of psychosis, a category of several disorders with schizophrenia being the most commonly known.
There could be something else about marijuana users, “like their tendency to use other drugs or certain personality traits, that could be causing the psychoses,” Zammit said.
Enter an American scientist from the federal government’s don’t-do-drugs-or-we’ll-send-you-to-the-slammer campaign:
Dr. Wilson Compton, a senior scientist at the National Institute on Drug Abuse in Washington, called the study persuasive.
“The strongest case is that there are consistencies across all of the studies,” and that the link was seen only with psychoses — not anxiety, depression or other mental health problems, he said.
That’s a tepid warning from a man paid to scream about the dangers of drugs. He’s willing to admit that previous studies have only one thing in common—that more hardcore stoners are psychotic than non-stoners—but they don’t know why they share that commonality.
Is this not obvious? If this study shows anything, it’s that psychotics are smoking pot to chill the fuck out. They’re self medicating. But now the study is being trotted out to convince parents their children will go nutso if they fire up a spliff… Why?
In the U.K., the government will soon reconsider how marijuana should be classified in its hierarchy of drugs. In 2004, it was downgraded and penalties for possession were reduced. Many expect marijuana will be bumped up to a class “B” category, with offenses likely to lead to arrests or longer jail sentences.
Two of the authors of the study were invited experts on the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs Cannabis Review in 2005. Several authors reported being paid to attend drug company-sponsored meetings related to marijuana, and one received consulting fees from companies that make antipsychotic medications.