More Reefer Madness!

Cannabis will make you a psycho killer according to a new study! Or, um, not so much if you bother to look beyond the headline or the first paragraph. Among the tidbits that you find:

“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.”

So in other words they can establish correlation but not causation. In other words this is in the same category as Richard Dawkins’ dry sarcasm about Hitler and Stalin and the mustache correlation explaining their behaviour. Say it with me kids, correlation does not prove causation. Is it too bold to speculate as to whether some of the psychotics taking pot were in fact self-medicating? People with ADHD are more likely to self-medicate with, among other things, cocaine, a drug very much akin to Ritalin, so it’s not like this would be an implausible theory.

The report goes on to say that there may or may not be some biological reason for marijuana to do this or that to one’s system. But no one knows for sure.

Wait a sec? Who wrote this whole thing anyway?

“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.”

So they weren’t exactly disinterested parties, eh? The Star’s headline for this article (and it seems to representative) was Pot can make you psychotic: Study but it might have more accurately stated According to some people with vested interests in this sort of thing there appears to be a correlation between marijuana and psychosis that still needs further study to be understood. But then that wouldn’t sell newspapers would it?

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