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January 2011
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Responding to David Frum

Ron Hill does a pretty good job of responding to David Frum’s piece over at FrumForum with this more thoughtful Even If Reefers Cause Madness, They Shouldn’t be Illegal

Hill makes it clear that he’s no fan of marijuana

David Frum’s post on marijuana and schizophrenia has inspired much debate and criticism, yet his statement that marijuana use is associated with an increased risk of developing schizophrenia is correct. It’s also true that continued marijuana use may help trigger future psychotic episodes among those suffering from this serious brain disease.

Frum makes some valid points about marijuana and government policy; and I don’t endorse its use.

If that’s all you read, you’d think that it’s a full-throated endorsement of Frum’s bizarre and untimely piece, but it’s not. Read the whole thing.

Here’s an important part of the difference between the two. Both Frum and Hill say that marijuana is “associated” with schizophrenia. Both Frum and Hill seem to understand that “associated with” is not the same as “causation.” (That’s already a quantum leap above most casual commentators.)

But where Frum disregards even the plain reading of the article to which he links, Hill goes a step further and really tries to understand the uncertainty of the science:

Keeping marijuana banned or toughening penalties for its use is not the solution for isolated acts of violence by alleged schizophrenics (due to the genetic factor in schizophrenia, these individuals appear to have been at high risk of experiencing a psychotic episode regardless of whether they smoked marijuana).

It’s also possible that a person who is developing schizophrenia may begin using marijuana to self medicate during the prodromal stage of schizophrenia – meaning, the earliest phase of a developing condition. In this instance, the developing schizophrenic mind may precede the marijuana use; with marijuana used to cope with the effects of internal changes in brain functioning prior to what many call a psychotic episode. This would make it appear that marijuana hastened or “caused” the psychotic episode as the disease is often not diagnosed until after the first such episode. In this scenario, marijuana use may be a warning sign that someone may be developing schizophrenia, rather than a contributing factor in the schizophrenia.

It’s also possible that marijuana use is one of many factors that mix with genetics to trigger schizophrenia in those already genetically predisposed to it. Yet even if this is the case, it doesn’t justify the need for a continued expensive war on drugs financed by the taxpayers and the resulting government intrusion into the private lives of citizens.

Even more important than the uncertainty of the role of marijuana in the tiny fraction of the population that has schizophrenia is the ridiculous notion of using that to validate marijuana laws.

But to suggest that marijuana should remain illegal because its use is contraindicated in some part of the population makes as much sense as arguing that alcohol should be illegal because its use is sometimes contraindicated as well. This is particularly true since deaths from marijuana are almost unheard of, yet alcohol misuse is directly blamed in the deaths of 79,646 Americans between 2001 and 2005, according to the CDC. I have also known bipolar patients to misuse caffeine and tobacco in an effort to bring on a manic state, at which point they may become a danger to themselves or others. Should tobacco and caffeine fall under tighter regulation also? Where does it end?

Keeping marijuana banned or toughening penalties for its use is not the solution for isolated acts of violence by alleged schizophrenics…

Final thought. We know next to nothing about the Tucson shooter. We don’t know the specifics of any mental illness he may or may not have (everything I’ve read is amateur conjecture). We know very little about his specific drug use or patterns. We know absolutely nothing about his drug use and its supposed connection to the act in question. And even if we knew all of those things with certainty, it would be absolute lunacy to craft public policy for everyone based on him.

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16 comments to Responding to David Frum

  • claygooding

    It is not just marijuana being used as a scapegoat but every politician and news reporter/actor is cleaning out their closet of skeletons.

    I have not heard of anyone claiming that Jello caused his
    schizo episode,,,,,yet.

  • DdC

    “They went to see a Mars Volta concert with friends, and Tierney was surprised when Loughner said he had quit partying “completely.” Loughner, according to Tierney, said, “I’m going to lead a more healthy lifestyle, not smoke cigarettes or pot anymore, and I’m going to start working out.” Tierney was happy for his friend: “I said, ‘Dude, that’s awesome.’ And the next time I saw him he was 10 pounds lighter.” Tierney never saw Loughner smoke marijuana again, and he was surprised at media reports that Loughner had been rejected from the military in 2009 for failing a drug test: “He was clean, clean. I saw him after that continuously. He would not do it.”

    After Loughner apparently gave up drugs and booze, “his theories got worse,” Tierney says. “After he quit, he was just off the wall.” And Loughner started to drift away from his group of friends about a year ago. By early 2010, dreaming had become Loughner’s “waking life, his reality,”

    Tierney tells Mother Jones in an exclusive interview that Loughner held a years-long grudge against Giffords and had repeatedly derided her as a “fake.” Loughner’s animus toward Giffords intensified after he attended one of her campaign events and she did not, in his view, sufficiently answer a question he had posed, Tierney says. He also describes Loughner as being obsessed with “lucid dreaming”—that is, the idea that conscious dreams are an alternative reality that a person can inhabit and control—and says Loughner became “more interested in this world than our reality.” Tierney adds, “I saw his dream journal once. That’s the golden piece of evidence. You want to know what goes on in Jared Loughner’s mind, there’s a dream journal that will tell you everything.”

    “He said, ‘Can you believe it, they wouldn’t answer my question.’ Ever since that, he thought she was fake, he had something against her.” The question was, ‘What is government if words have no meaning?'”

    Tierney, who first met Loughner in middle school, recalls that Loughner started to act strange around his junior or senior year of high school. Before that, Loughner was just a “normal kid,”

    “He wanted the media to freak out about this whole thing. He wanted exactly what’s happening.”
    Nick Baumann
    In a MoJo interview, the friend shares a message sent hours before the massacre.

    Jared Lee Loughner’s mug shot. (Pima County Sheriff’s Office)

    “intelligence gathered by the Department of Homeland Security and shared with state officials across the United States” had revealed “a strong suspicion” that the shooter was influenced by a conservative publication called American Renaissance (AR).
    ~ Jennifer Griffin of Fox News

    Soros-funded Dope Lobby in Damage Control Over Shootings
    By Cliff Kincaid | January 11, 2011

    The Washington Post confirmed that he “was rejected from enlistment in the U.S. Army because of issues related to his history of drug use…”

    “Illegal drugs have been traditionally viewed by the radical left as a weapon of war against the capitalist system, and the movement for drug legalization is mostly a project of the liberal-left.”

    “It appears that Loughner’s arrest for possessing drug paraphernalia in 2007 was dropped from his record after he completed a court diversion program.
    ~ Cliff Kincaid,
    Director of the AIM Center for Investigative Journalism
    cliff.kincaid@aim.org

    Jared Lee Loughner Was? rejected from enlistment in the U.S. Army because of issues related to his history of drug use, military officials said Sunday.

    Army officials confirmed Saturday that Loughner was not accepted and was never in the Army, but did not disclose the reason or reasons for his rejection.

    Typically, applicants for…Military officials said failing the drug tests or lying about prior drug use or convictions are among the most common disqualifiers for service.

    A military official who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to disclose the information said Loughner failed an aspect of the drug inquiry, though it was unclear if it was the urinalysis or other questioning that blocked his entrance. It is unlikely that someone who failed the drug portion of the examinations would have gone on to have more extensive testing, such as a psychological evaluation.

    it appears that his drug use was the problem.
    washingtonpost.com

    “Marijuana is an addictive drug which produces in its users insanity, criminality, and death. How many murders, suicides, robberies, criminal assaults, holdups, burglaries and deeds of maniacal insanity it causes each year, especially among the young, can only be conjectured… No one knows, when he places a marijuana cigarette to his lips, whether he will become a joyous reveller in a musical heaven, a mad insensate, a calm philosopher, or a murderer. The primary reason to outlaw marijuana is its effect on the degenerate races. I wish I could show you what a small marihuana cigarette can do to one of our degenerate Spanish-speaking residents. You smoke a joint and you’re likely to kill your brother. Marijuana is the most violence-causing drug in the history of mankind. Reefer makes darkies think they’re as good as white men. That’s why our problem is so great; the greatest percentage of our population is composed of Spanish-speaking persons, most of who are low mentally, because of social and racial conditions. Marihuana leads to pacifism and communist brainwashing. Marijuana is taken by musicians. And I’m not speaking about good musicians, but the jazz type. There are 100,000 total marijuana smokers in the US, and most are Negroes, Hispanics, Filipinos, and entertainers. Their Satanic music, jazz, and swing, result from marijuana use. This marijuana causes white women to seek sexual relations with Negroes, entertainers, and any others.”
    Cliff Kincaid
    Director of the AIM Center for Investigative Journalism
    cliff.kincaid@aim.org

    Drugwar Lies Linked to Schizophrenia

  • indijo

    The entire war on drugs is nothing less than antidemocratic collective punishment of all human society.

  • strayan

    I’m relieved someone finally gets it.

    There is a very strong association with tobacco and mental illness and only the lunatic fringe would call for tobacco prohibition when use is steadily falling (in the developed world).

    People with a mental illness consume 44% of all cigarettes in the US (that’s approx. 8 billion packs) and mental illness affects about 24% of the U.S. population.

    References:

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1201375/?tool=pmcentrez

    http://www.annualreviews.org/doi/abs/10.1146/annurev.publhealth.012809.103701

  • Bruce

    Babbling traitor GWB speechwriter Frum zero credibility war criminal. Period.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X5jG4GWxhzs

  • darkcycle

    I think the link between schizophrenia and coffee should be explored.

  • strayan

    Caffeine is most certainly linked with mental illness; psychosis even. Here’s some reading:

    Reissig, C.J., Strain, E.C., Griffiths, R.R. (2009). Caffeinated energy drinks–a growing problem. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 99(1-3), 1-10.

    Broderick, P. & Benjamin, A.B. (2004). Caffeine and psychiatric symptoms: a review. Journal of the Oklahoma State Medical Association, 97(12), 538-542.

    Natale, F., Cirillo, C., Di Marco, G.M., di Vetta L.S., Aronne, L., Siciliano, A., Mocerino, R., Tedesco, M.A., Golino, P. & Calabrò, R. (2009). When chewing gum is more than just a bad habit. Lancet, 373, 1918.

    Hedges, D.W., Woon, F.L. & Hoopes S.P. (2009). Caffeine-induced psychosis. CNS Spectrums, 14(3),127-129.

  • Sick........!

    Im just sickened. Sickened by the shooting. Sickened by the blame game they are all playing. Sicknened by the memeorial that sound more like a pep rally or college football game than a memorial. Sickened by all the pats on the backs they do,the lack of guts to admit why people are angry. Its a sick game all of them have joined in….and the cheering goes on as the introduce eachother…oh the patriotism, oh heroism.

    I lack anyother words for what Im watching. Its sick.

    Blame cannabis, blame each other. In the end…go home and watch your pep rally and pat your self on the back. Nothing will change…accept for the worse as we make laws that remove our freedoms, laws that criminals laugh at as they pull a gun with that 1000 ft distance.

    Yes pat your selves on the back …America dies alittle more today.

  • DdC

    Are some idiots trying to blame Pot on The Arizona Shooting? U2b

    Idiot Blames Marijuana for the Tucson Shootings

    Seems to me there is a definite link between schizophrenia and living in the world of myth. Religion or drug war lies start creeping into the consciousness and before you know it they don’t know what is real and what is myth. Especially when we speed up the process posting reality. I’m sure they weren’t diagnosed as much when TV censorship brought most of the info. Now with the net and buyers clubs and hemp stores they’re going full tilt bozo. As with the clown shrink from MTV killing kids. Many schizophrenics find relief with Ganja. Those who don’t, stop using it. No one does what they don’t want to do if they have a choice. Forcing suicidal kids finding relief with Ganja to abstain. Without removing the cause of the suicidal thoughts. Leave them hanging on the edge with no room to spare. Ganja can slow down the rage in speed users or road rage or soccer fans rage. It reduces stress.

    If its a temporary oasis for suicides then good for it. The key is to deal with the red flags not remove whatever works for each individual to boost ratings or rhetoric. Ganja doesn’t cause schizophrenia or it would have been observed in the thousands of years of use. Ganja doesn’t lead to rock and roll either but it sounds good to me mon. Manic behavior would be affected by coffee. It’s also a factor with seizures. Just a hunch, but I think adding flame retardants to tobacco might have a roll in the damage done. Rayguns saved the mentally ill by closing down the asylums. He forgot as bad as these warehouses were, that making them homeless with a handful of Thorozine might not have been the most prudent step at that juncture. Not hard to find though. Look at the bus stops with the person shuffling and dangling a cigarette with a 1½” ash.

    K-9 False Alerts

    They’re heeeeeeeeere

    Bhutan Police Raid Homes to Stub out Tobacco Habit
    Bhutan police can raid homes of smokers in a search for contraband tobacco and are training a special tobacco sniffer dog in a crackdown to honor a promise to become the world’s first smoke-free nation.

  • claygooding

    “No government in the world can compete with the black market in financial compensation for police officers.”
    Pete Guither

    Los Angeles gang police quit over financial rules

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/01/10/AR2011011006954.html

    “”LOS ANGELES — Dozens of anti-gang police officers across the city are quitting their assignments over a requirement to reveal personal financial information under strict anti-corruption rules, The Associated Press has learned. “”

    “”The rules require gang and narcotics officers to reveal portions of their personal financial records to the department and are supposed to snare corrupt officers in units frequently handling cash or drugs.””

    “”Paysinger said gang officers who chose to quit rather than fill in the forms did not have a full understanding of the policy, and said the financial disclosure forms were less intrusive than credit card applications “”

    Onward,thru the fog!!!!

  • TrebleBass

    As long as there is speculation that marijuana caused this, why not speculate that marijuana prohibition caused it. He probably would have had less of an anti-government attitude if his [once?] drug of choice had been legal, and an anti-government attitude might ultimately have been his single biggest motive.

    Or maybe it had more to do with him than with any law, or maybe it had more to do with him than with marijuana?

  • experts know best (not really)

    Frum and Hill are mental health professionals? Linking to an article makes them experts? I have a link to an article about Bozo the clown therefore I am an expert on clowns.

    • No. If you are a villager, and you link to an article about Bozo the clown, then you are an expert on clowns. Otherwise you’re just a nobody with an opinion and a link (even if you are an expert on clowns).

      • kaptinemo

        Every time I see that term ‘villager’ in print, I can’t help but think of Patrick McGoohan’s Series The Prisoner.

        The groupthink portrayed by his ‘Villagers’ is being echoed in real life in the American MSM. As a result, I rarely watch ‘TeeVee Nooz’ anymore. ‘Life imitating Art’ again…

      • Love that series, kaptin! Have the whole thing on DVD.

  • kaptinemo

    Frum’s off-the-wall jeremiad is being soundly trounced over at Raw Story. It’s a wonder you can’t hear Frum squealing like a stuck pig…