Aug 01 2007

More Dross From The Media… (Or ‘Reefer Madness’)

Category: In The Media,PersonalChrisM @ 12:54 am

regarding the smoking of cannabis and mental illness. Or rather the lack of any kind of analysis, before publishing dumbed down summaries of of not-quite indepdent studies on this matter.
Check out here for an example of the lack of work done by some of the press. What they fail to mention is that
a) The scientists involved in this meta-analysis (that is to say they did not do any research of their own, merely picked up different test results from all over the world) were wined and dined several times at conferences put together by pharmaceutical companies specializing in mental disorder treatments. (The concept that the varying margins of error employed by the different experiments, and their subsequent ignoring by group analysis of the stats does not appear in any mainstream article I have found yet.)


b) Causation does NOT automatically follow on from correlation. That is to say because two things occur at the same time or place, one does not have to cause another. If I see a dozen red cars run a set of traffic lights over a month, does this go anywhere near to proving that driving a red car makes you break the law more often? It is just as possible that people with psychotic tendencies self-medicate until their problems are no longer manageable, and so they are more likely to come to the notice of medical authorities. Did smoking pot cause their illness is this hypothetical example, or was it just used by someone who had issues already?

Other studies have previously been more up front, and stated that IF people have a tendency to suffer from mental illnesses (genetics, or traumatic experiences in their life), that cannabis can speed up and exacerbate their problems.

Anyway, I’ll get off my soap box now; I don’t usually bring up the subject of smoking anything other than cigarettes on this blog – Kazakhstan is a country where one must be careful, but this particular report and its portrayal / dumbing down by the popular press has really fired me up.

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