Send comments, tips,
and suggestions to:
DrugWarRant
Join us on Pete's couch.
couch

DrugWarRant.com, the longest running single-issue blog devoted to drug policy, is published by the Prohibition Isn't Free Foundation
facebooktwitterrss
February 2015
M T W T F S S
« Jan   Mar »
 1
2345678
9101112131415
16171819202122
232425262728  

Archives

Authors

Science by Press Release

Remember the NHTSA study from last week that showed no significant increase in crash risk from using marijuana? It didn’t fit their narrative, so, while they had to release it, they did it on a Friday afternoon (in government terms, that’s called “putting it out with the trash”) in the hopes of getting decreased coverage, and then they used such weasel-wording in the release, that useful idiots like Ashley Halsey III managed to completely screw it up.

Contrast that with this tweet from Kevin Sabet today:

There will be a BIG study released from embargo tomorrow about marijuana. Stay tuned!

Whatever it is, it’s likely to be something negative about marijuana (even if it’s a bad study of the kind that has been regularly debunked before). They already know what the study says, but are waiting until Monday to release it, in order to get as much publicity mileage on it as possible.

Whatever you call this, it’s certainly not science.

Update: Yawn….

It turns out it’s more of the same psychosis nonsense, acting like links are the same as causation. The pure truth of the matter is that they keep coming up with this kind of “data” without knowing enough about psychosis to have a clue as to what caused it in any individual.

Update 2: Good analysis by Suzi Gage at the Guardian: So smoking skunk causes psychosis, but milder cannabis doesn’t?. She makes the point that this research could be useful if it wasn’t getting manipulated, exaggerated, and misstated by prohibitionists to be some kind of smoking gun against the normalization of cannabis use.

And, as Transform and others have noted, if anything this study may give more reasons for having regulated and legal cannabis, rather than having the black market control the structure of cannabis products.

Post to Twitter Post to Facebook Post to Reddit Post to StumbleUpon

62 comments to Science by Press Release

  • n.t. greene

    I hope he knows that most of his twitter followers are from the couch.

    We await this “study” and will have it digested soon after release.

    BTW: I love you guys, happy belated heart day.

  • Servetus

    I can’t wait to see the next bit of NIDA trash.

    In the meantime this news item was released on a Saturday, “In a symposium organized by the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) as part of the 2015 American Association for the Advancement of Science Annual Meeting held this week in San Jose, California, world-renowned experts from North America and the U.K. share their perspectives on the therapeutic potential of medical cannabis and explore the emerging science behind it.” :

    San Jose, CA, February 14, 2015 — Neuropsychiatrist and Director of the Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research (CMCR) at the University of California, San Diego, Dr. Igor Grant is interested in the short and long-term neuropsychiatric effects of marijuana use. The CMCR has overseen some of the most extensive research on the therapeutic effects of medical marijuana in the U.S. “Despite a commonly held view that cannabis use results in brain damage, meta analyses of extensive neurocognitive studies fail to demonstrate meaningful cognitive declines among recreational users,” says Dr. Grant. “Bain imaging has produced variable results, with the best designed studies showing null findings.”[…]

    Dr. Grant adds that while it is plausible to hypothesize that cannabis exposure in children and adolescents could impair brain development or predispose to mental illness, data from properly designed prospective studies is lacking.

  • O.B.Server

    My guess it is the UK “SKUNK PSYCHOSIS!” tabloid fare – a last (?) hurrah from the government find-something-bad-about pot crew.

    While schizophrenia rates have remained flat (or have fallen) in places where high-potency(“skunk”) cannabis is used in North America and elsewhere, by cherry-picking the results from a lower-economic class London district, which enjoys a large Caribbean immigrant population, and by questionable schizo-affect questionnaires which confuse cultural religious beliefs with schizophrenia, the controlled media in the UK (Tavistock) and apparently in the US (Mockingbird) will go “all out”, on schedule (according to Sabet), to strengthen the pot-makes-you-psycho meme.

  • strayan

    Idea for study:

    Interview all the residents at a managed alcohol program (aka ‘wet house’) and make sweeping conclusions about the risk of alcohol use on the general population.

    Wernicke Korsakoffs? IT COULD HAPPEN TO YOU*.

    *Yeah, I don’t think so doc.

  • “The Problem With Pot” -Newsweek -By Ben Smith
    http://tinyurl.com/mg344cp

    “… two critics of the drug said the science points to serious problems with pot.”

    “Speaking at a Heritage Foundation event Monday, former drug czar William J. Bennett and federal prosecutor Robert A. White outlined the evidence in their new book …”

    … “Bennett interjected, “This isn’t your grandfather’s pot.”

    – Where have I heard these old story lines before? Right after Bennett claims “Almost all evidence is on our side, the side of science and fact,”

    He then regurgitates scare stories about children, pot, and lower IQ, concerns about young brain development, mental disorders and higher use by children in legal states. All his “evidence” and no fact. Sounds like a copy of one of Kevin Sabet’s road lectures. These guys never get original. They just keep repeating the same lies and scare stories from the debunked study bin.

    What I can’t believe right now is how many “news” writers will agree to print this crap just on the basis of what? Credentials and authoritarianism? Richard Feynman would laugh at this as science. http://tinyurl.com/3qeqa
    http://youtu.be/wVU0uIPek9U

    When will news writers start to “doubt” these authoritarian mantra’s and stop printing their failed pronouncements without calling this information into question as they should? Does it ever occur to any of these writers and authors that they may look as ignorant and foolish as the lies they reprint without question or rebuttal? Boy, this stuff gets old.

    • Science that is bought and paid for by a government should ALWAYS be questioned as thoroughly as the founding fathers intended for the government itself. Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness cannot endure without it.

    • DdC

      “The chief opposition to the drug rests on a
      moral and political, and not toxicologic, foundation”.

      “Marijuana is ten times more dangerous than twenty years ago.”
      Presidential candidate Bill Clinton 1992

      Well Slick, except for the Colombian Gold and Red. Venezuelan. Mexican Highland Oaxaca and Gold, Guerrero and Michoacan Brown Spears. Panama Red. Not to mention Moroccan or Lebanese Red and Blonde Hash – Chicago Green. Black Magic African and Durban Poison. Nepalese temple balls. Afghanistan & Hindu Kush. Hawaiian, Jamaican Lion’s Herb, Philippine Thrilla from Manilla. Highland and Chocolate Thai, Indian Elephant & Buddha Stick. Vietnamese and Opium Soaked Herb and a heap of non commercial private grows in every state no doubt. This same shit as if it means something only persecutes American citizens. Anyone else would be screaming Hate Crimes against these tax paid liars and puppet press. Get Real Obama, Cannabis doesn’t fit as a controlled substance. Bypass the Pillagers, let us grow jobs and have true affordable health care.

      Black Nepalese, it’s got you weak in your knees…

      Pot Potency?
      Boomers’ blissfully unfazed by mere facts.

      “Parents are often unaware that today’s marijuana is different from that of a generation ago, with potency levels 10 to 20 times stronger than the marijuana with which they were familiar.”
      John P. Walters, US Drug Czar

      Strains of Yesteryear

      Drugwar Distortion 11:
      Marijuana Potency False. Source:
      Federal research shows that the average potency of cannabis in the US has increased very little. According to the federal Potency Monitoring Project, in 1985, the average THC content of commercial-grade marijuana was 2.84%, and the average for high-grade sinsemilla in 1985 was 7.17%. In 1995, the potency of commercial-grade marijuana averaged 3.73%, while the potency of sinsemilla in 1995 averaged 7.51%. In 2001, commercial-grade marijuana averaged 4.72% THC, and the potency of sinsemilla in 2001 averaged 9.03%.

  • claygooding

    How about we slap a fucking warning label on pot packages and move on.

  • Dante

    Pot does NOT impair your cognitive abilities. I smoke pot, and yet I can easily determine that Kevin is a lying shill.

    See? My brain works just fine.

  • Matthew Meyer

    Look at KS’s linked PDF of the study. The controls do not appear well matched at all, with what look like significant (and potentially confounding) differences in ethnicity and education level.

    The study divides users by “type” of cannabis: 1. none; 2. “hash-type” (which they say is “milder” in part because of higher levels of CBD); 3. “skunk-type”. This typology seems to me very strange, and I wonder about its validity.

    Someone else can analyze the use of statistics to determine the proportion of psychotics supposedly caused by cannabis…they say it’s 24%, which is where the headlines come from that say a quarter of new psychotic cases are caused by cannabis…even though the study says explicitly that this statistic procedure is not the same as assigning causality:

    “…causality does not have to be proven before the PAF can be
    estimated, and this causation is not usually established
    when PAFs are estimated (indeed no single study could
    ever prove causation).”

    What a turd-in-a-sack!

  • PhDScientist

    I’m a Scientist with a strong interest in Cancer research. The clinical evidence of the value of Marijuana as a life saving medicine is now so strong that the need to remove Marijuana from Schedule 1 has become a moral imperative. Google Medical Marijuana testimonials. Google Medical Marijuana Cancer Patient Testimonials.

    This weekend over 3,000 Americans died, in pain, of Cancer. Today, tomorrow and every day after that, 1,500 more Americans will die, after suffering horribly, from it. Every single minute another American dies of Cancer. Every American Cancer patient deserves the right to have safe, legal, and economical access to Medical Marijuana. Every single one.

    Americans who need Medical Marijuana shouldn’t be used as “Political Footballs” Please call the Whitehouse comment line at (202) 456-1111 and ask that the President take immediate action to remove Marijuana from Schedule 1 so American Physicians in all 50 states can prescribe it.

    Oncologists have know it for more than a quarter of a Century that Marijuana is a “wonder drug” for helping Cancer patients.

    The American Society of Clinical Oncologists wants Marijuana removed from Schedule 1. So does the American Medical Association, the professional society of all Physicians. A strong majority of Americans want Physicians in all 50 states to be able to prescribe Medical Marijuana. So do their Physicians., Cancer patients can’t wait.

    The need to immediately, completely, legalize Marijuana throughout the world is one of the most pressing moral issues of our time, because of its medical benefits and because of the damage prohibition causes to America and to the world.

    Complete legalization is critical — its vital that there aren’t “strings” or “hoops” that Cancer patients and others who need Medical Marijuana are forced to jump through.

    “Charlottes web” is NOT the solution. Cancer patients and people who suffer from chronic pain need THC, not just CBD. The “Berkeley study”, where 96% of stage 4 Cancer patients who had a wide variety of Cancers achieved remission, used high dose Medical Marijuana oil, 72% THC, 28% CBD, 1 gram/day (oral) over a 90 day course of treatment. It was a small study, and not placebo controlled, but those kinds of results are clearly remarkable, have been widely reported on in the press, and demand the need for immediate large scale clinical trials.

    More and more present and former members of law enforcement agree about the need to end prohibition, and have formed a rapidly expanding group of current and former undercover cops, FBI, DEA, prosecutors and Judges, from all over the world, called

    LEAP — Law Enforcement Against Prohibition

    because they’ve seen the damage prohibition causes to America and the world.

    See http://www.leap.cc/

    I’m a Scientist. Not a politician, not a cop.

    But as a Scientist with a strong interest in Cancer research, I feel even more strongly about the need to ensure that no Cancer patient is denied it, because I’m so impressed with its benefits for Cancer patients.

    I urge everyone reading this to PLEASE call and email the Attorney General, the press, Congress and the President today.

    Medical Marijuana helps with Alzheimer’s, Autism, Cancer, seizures, PTSD and chronic pain, and has helped many Americans, including many veterans, stop using Alcohol, and hard drugs, both legal and illegal ones.

    Every minute an American dies of Cancer.

    Every 19 minutes an American dies of a prescription drug overdose.

    Many vets become addicted to prescription opiates and die from them.

    NOBODY has ever died from smoking too much pot.

    Cancer patients are seeing remarkable results using high dose Medical Marijuana oil, in many cases achieving complete remission, even for stage 4 cancers — there are many excellent articles on the web, and videos on youtube with patient’s personal stories about their experiences with it — and every Cancer patient that uses Marijuana to ease their suffering benefits greatly from doing so.

    It is immoral to leave Marijuana illegal, for anyone, for even a second longer.

    For Cancer patients, its a matter of life and death.

    Cancer patients can’t wait.

    Medical Marijuana has an unmatched safety profile, and for people who suffer from so many diseases, of so many kinds, its a medical miracle — and the scientific evidence behind it is rock solid.

    For Cancer patients, Medical Marijuana encourages apoptosis and autophagy of Cancer cells, while leaving normal cells untouched, is anti-angigogenic, anti-proliferative, and is anti-angiogenic.

    Its also synergistic with chemotherapy and radiation therapy, making both more effective.

    For many Cancer patients its meant the difference between life and death.

    For everyone else, its a far safer alternative to Alcohol, and infinitely safer than Cigarettes.

    Either take them off the market too, or legalize Marijuana right now.

    2016 is too far away, Its too long to wait. Every year we lose more Americans to Cancer than died in WWII.

    Between now and the 2016 elections, roughly 1 MILLION Americans will die of Cancer.

    And Its a horrible way to die!

    • Frank W.

      “I’m a Scientist.” I may agree in general with your sentiments but, as I’d like to tell Art Robinson. “If you have to say you’re a lady…”

      • primus

        Not all women are ladies, but all ladies are women–except in Thailand.

        • Alan P.

          Did you rent “Bangkok Lady-Boys” by mistake too?

        • Random

          Is there something you should tell us?

          Old Chinese proverb says:

          Man who walks through doorway sideways with erection is always going to Bangkok!

        • primus

          No, I merely observed the ‘lady-boys’ when I was there a few years ago. Travelling with my son and his wife, he said ‘Dad, just remember, the best looking women are men.’…They were. No, I did not sample.

      • claygooding

        Every person is a little bit scientist at some point in their life and some of the greatest never saw a university.

      • Duncan20903

        .
        .

        I very much doubt the veracity of the guy who is posting that boilerplate in comments columns world wide. That screed is beginning to make me nauseous.

  • Servetus

    Reading the linked study, it’s difficult to know where to begin. What a mess. A group of researchers sought out schizophrenics in South London (a place where schizophrenics appear to enjoy hanging out, since schizophrenia in the area has allegedly been on the rise since 1965). Then the researchers attributed “an increased risk of developing schizophrenia-like psychosis” based on “first-experiences” with some mythical “skunk” marijuana that’s supposed to be more potent than “hash” (hashish?), according to what the British researchers believe.

    The test subjects were people who likely suffered from one of the eight different genetic variants of schizophrenia. In other words, they were likely to eventually develop schizophrenic symptoms that can be clinically recognized, which often happens around the age of 20. Because the test subjects are schizophrenics, it is unlikely their experiences with cannabinoids will be identical to those whose brain has not been damaged by the disease. I would expect to see a different reaction to any psychotropic drug that affects the same brain centers damaged by schizophrenia. Altered brain structures and chemistries create different brain chemistries for the biochemical and neurotropic reactions to different drugs, and therefore give a different social response that can thereby be interpreted by researchers as “psychotic”.

    The researchers present no cause-and-effect that links marijuana to creating schizophrenia. Schizophrenics will react differently from healthy people to marijuana consumption when they might not otherwise be showing any symptoms of full blown schizophrenia. In that case, marijuana would not induce a non-schizophrenic to become a schizophrenic (or psychotic). It would just expose the underlying disease, which in some cases can be detected in early childhood by special techniques, such as genetics.

    I would like to see a similar study done on how schizophrenics react to chocolate, or any other normally benign substance that might affect the subject’s pre-existent, altered brain chemistry. We could end up with a Rocky Road® moral panic like that seen for cannabis.

  • B. Snow

    *Cover your ears, I gotta yell at Kev-Kev real quick*

    Hey… Dumb-Ass, (Yes You)
    FYI, CORRELATION DOESN’T EQUAL CAUSATION!

    Sorry guys = Had to be done, it was a moral imperative – Please, carry on…

    • Duncan20903

      .
      .

      Ya know, most prohibitionists just can’t handle words that are more than 3 syllables. Poor Kev-Kev has no idea of what the coral reef around an island in the tropics has to do with cannabis law reform issues.

  • n.t. greene

    If pot causes psychosis, someone should have let my therapist know when I was a teenager!

    …before I smoked.

    …wait

    Is SAM just dedicated to self serving logical fallacies or something?

  • NorCalNative

    @Frank W.

    Just FYI, the thumbs down is from me and not the scientist.

    I can count on one hand how many times someone commenting here has included the FOUR MAGIC WORDS ON CANNABIS AND CANCER.

    Cannabis can treat and cure cancers because it’s:

    ANTI-PROLIFERATIVE
    ANTI-ANGIOGENIC
    ANTI-METASTATIC
    APOPTOTIC

    • Frank W.

      SORRY. I STAND CORRECTED. ALL APOLOGIES.

    • Duncan20903

      .
      .

      For me one of the most telling indicators that prohibition is ripping a hole in the very fabric of reality is the list of words that I’ve learned because of my observations. I didn’t have to look up even one of those four words you listed and that just ain’t right.

      Regardless, it doesn’t mean that the person posting is the person that wrote those words. Then there’s the part where I’m certain that I recognize the writing style of the poster. If I’m not mistaken then he must have just gotten that PhD.

  • darkcycle

    Yawn. Where was the increase in the rates of psychosis when marijuana underwent a thousand fold increase in use?
    Nowhere, that is where.
    And it looks like some of their test subjects were of Caribbean origin, an area that has a higher rate of psychosis than the rest of the world generally, to begin with.
    I’m also confused by their employment of the term “skunk”. Skunk is a strain I haven’t seen in fifteen years, and it was nothing compared to the M39 that eventually replaced it.

    • Will

      “I’m also confused by their employment of the term “skunk”. Skunk is a strain I haven’t seen in fifteen years, and it was nothing compared to the M39 that eventually replaced it.”

      The British are conflating the word “skunk” with an old strain known as Skunk #1. Although Skunk #1 became a dominant starting point to breed other strains of cannabis in the ’70’s and into the 80’s, it’s supposedly primarily made up of quality Mexican and Colombian varieties from way back (and arguably some Thai and Panamanian depending on who you ask). And not all high THC strains are Skunk #1 based. For a loooong explanation;

      http://www.dutch-passion.nl/en/grow-info/what-is-skunk/

      The British press really needs to lose the word “skunk” for every single reference to high THC cannabis. But that’s unlikely since they are simply stuck on the word.

      By the way, here’s how this study is already debunked: According to the study, hash doesn’t cause psychosis, only “skunk” cannabis does? Good quality hash has higher levels of THC than do most/all cannabis because of its resin concentration (although there is lousy hash out there with less THC than high quality cannabis).

      Even if the debate focuses on high THC/low CBD strains, the correlation/causation link is still unproven. But that doesn’t mean we won’t be free of Reefer “Skunk” Madness any time soon.

  • Proportion of patients in south London with first-episode psychosis attributable to use of high potency cannabis: a case-control study
    http://tinyurl.com/oxl5pqh

    Interpretation:

    “The ready availability of high potency cannabis in south London MIGHT HAVE (my emphasis added) resulted in a greater proportion of first onset psychosis cases being attributed to cannabis use than in previous studies.”

    “… we noted that skunk-like types of
    cannabis, which contain very high concentrations of
    ∆-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), seemed to have a
    greater psychotogenic effect than did hash (resin),
    which is known to contain much less THC.”

    MY QUESTION: When does skunk weed contain more THC than hash?

    I’ve not yet heard of a pot plant that has more THC than the hash that is made from it. If that’s how much these researchers understand what they are dealing with, this paper is a whitewash. Am I reading this wrong, or do these researchers not know what they are talking about?

    • n.t. greene

      It seems like they’re describing the residue left over after smoking the dried flower.

      …which isn’t really hash. Hash is going to be stronger than the flower in most cases (control here for strain).

      • darkcycle

        The English suffer from low quality hash referred commonly as “soap bar”. It isn’t really even hash, it is a mixture of resin, plant parts and dirt, bound together often with wax or even shoe polish. It is a shame to call that stuff hash, but that is what they call it. Comes mostly from Morocco.

        • O.B.Server

          “soap bar”

          Bingo … the prohibition propagandists are playing How to Lie with Statistics again, because the black-market “hash” to which they refer, had only trace amounts of THC by the time it reached consumers in England.

          This is like taking old samples of ditch weed with males, stems, seeds, non-buds, everything, and then comparing that with carefully grown hydro samples that haven’t been stored in a Dallas police evidence locker for a decade.

          I think this must be part of the prohibitionist “Honest Weights and Measures” program, so famously truthful are they…

  • The Great Wide World of Cannabis Oil and Concentrates
    http://tinyurl.com/obkmtcx

    Hash resin is considered a concentrate, therefore it is always stronger than the plant that it comes from. You won’t find it weaker. Saying skunk is stronger than hash resin is like saying coca leaves are stronger than powdered cocaine.

    Maybe these guys from England just talk funny?

  • Servetus

    The rebuttal by Suzi Gage describes what the British mean by hash:

    Skunk commonly has higher levels of THC than hash (government reports suggest 15% in skunk and 5% in hash), but skunk often only contains traces of CBD, while hash tends to have roughly equivalent CBD and THC.

    • Thanks Servetus. My fault for not reading it all before running off at the mouth.

      What I think we run into here is the whole concept about hallucinogens mimicking psychosis when an individual is “high” on it. So the key looks like it should fit (hallucinogens=psychosis). Marijuana being a mild hallucinogen therefore fits into this line of thinking. I think Suzi Gage has a good point in her rebuttal.

      “This new research is an important step on the road to understanding the nature of the association between cannabis and psychosis, but once again media exaggeration or misrepresentation of the findings could risk the message being ignored by the people most likely to benefit from it.”

      The value of this new study should point (and does point) to the potential theraputic value of CBD in the treatment of psychosis and possibly other “disorders” of the mental variety.

      Lots of things can potentially trigger a psychotic episode in individuals so predisposed. Could possible immunity to crossing that threshhold be found in CBD?

      As Pete says “She makes the point that this research could be useful if it wasn’t getting manipulated, exaggerated, and misstated by prohibitionists to be some kind of smoking gun against the normalization of cannabis use.”

  • thelbert

    do prohibitches have psychosis because they abstain from cannabis? maybe so: http://www.alternet.org/drugs/pot-could-save-your-life-4-ways-cannabis-good-your-brain

  • […] Science by Press ReleaseDrug WarRantThe “Berkeley study”, where 96% of stage 4 Cancer patients who had a wide variety of Cancers achieved remission, used high dose Medical Marijuana oil, 72% THC, 28% CBD, …read more   […]

  • DdC

    New study discovers why cannabis may be causing psychosis.
    https://pbs.twimg.com/media/B-BiCNKCEAAIoV-.jpg

    Judge finds construction workers not responsible,
    after King’s College “skunk bud” story.
    https://pbs.twimg.com/media/B-BkLNYCYAASD4q.jpg

    Warning signs for the Psychosis of Prohibitionism
    http://i61.tinypic.com/dcsktv.jpg

    Yank Drugwarts seek aid from England. Brits sending an invasion of invisible Schizophrenics armed with Psychotic Skunks or something…
    http://www.factzoo.com/sites/all/img/mammals/marsupials/angry-tasmanian.jpg

    You must obey the law, always,
    not only when they grab you by your special place.”
    ~ Vladimir Putin

  • hope

    Mistap. Of course.

  • jean valjean

    For a while in the 1980s street dealers in places like the Front Line in Brixton and Ladbroke Grove in London used to buy quality hash and microwave it, scraping off the resin for personal use. The resulting, brittle, dry hash was then sold on to the next punter. Needless to say the result was cannabis with a very low THC content. Perhaps this is the type of “hash resin” used in the study. Not that it matters as the whole article is wrong on so many levels.

  • n.t. greene

    …so every major news outlet picks this blshit up, but the study that contradicted it… Yeah. Out with the trash.

  • Servetus

    February 13, 2015 — Congressional Representatives Sam Farr, Dana Rohrabacher, and Barbara Lee sent a REACTION/RESPONSE(pdf) regarding the Harborside Health Center Court Case that continues to be prosecuted by prohibitch Melinda Haag:

    We believe DOJ has overstepped its bounds in the Harborside case. The action against Harborside would appear to violate the 2013 Guidance issued by the Department. It also is in conflict with the limitation on DOJ resources for prosecuting such cases under Pub. Law 113-235. As Members of Congress who have been involved in passage of the Rohrabacher-Farr language and in other efforts to reform Federal marijuana laws, we believe DOJ is not acting within the spirit or the letter of the law nor in the best interests of the people who depend on Harborside for reliable, safe medical marijuana.

    Yes, three Congresspersons just cited U.S. Attorney Melinda Lee Haag for breaking the law by continuing her pointless crusade against medical marijuana dispensaries that include the Berkeley Patients Group. It will be interesting to see how far San Francisco’s federal prosecutor can go before she gets sacked or disbarred.

    Melinda Lee Haag (b. 1961)—Criminal at Large. Last known address: US Attorneys Office, Federal Courthouse, 450 Golden Gate Ave, San Francisco, CA 94102.

  • Matthew Meyer

    I’m not sure Suzi Gage read the study very closely. She says “However, the authors noted some difference between the cases and controls, in particular those with psychosis were more likely to be male, more likely to be white Caucasian, and more likely to be heavy smokers.”

    Looking at the study, it says 32% of the psychosis cases were white, while 57% of the control group were white.

    By contrast, 57% of the psychosis group were either Black Caribbean or Black African, while these groups comprised only 30% of the controls.

    That’s the opposite of what Suzi reported.

    And she didn’t even mention education factors: 49% of the control group had university degrees, while only 20% of the psychosis group did so.

    These don’t seem to me to be well-matched controls.

    • darkcycle

      People of Carribean origin suffer from elevated rates of psychosis as well.

      • Duncan20903

        .
        .

        Isn’t a diagnosis of schizophrenia a bit on the subjective side? Does the diagnostician allow his own personal biases to color his judgement? I mean come on, would any sane person voluntarily choose to wear that dreaded hairdo? So now that we’ve established the diagnostic criteria to categorically prove that a Jamaican is a schizophrenic wouldn’t you know further inquiry tells us that all those guys smoke the devil’s lettuce?

        Say, shouldn’t we start differentiating between persons thought to have gone stark raving mad because they consumed cannabis and those persons driven stark raving mad because of other people’s consumption? It isn’t exactly true to say that merrywanna doesn’t make some people start foaming at the mouth then suffer delusions.

        The World Health Organization says that 74 other countries suffer more negative consequences from their population of schizophrenics than Jamaica suffers. Jamaica is #75 of 192

        The incidence of first contact schizophrenia in Jamaica
        Br J Psychiatry. 1995 Aug;167(2):193-6.

        Abstract
        BACKGROUND:
        Afro-Caribbean immigrants are reported to have a high rate of schizophrenia compared with other population groups.

        METHOD:
        In a prospective first contact study of schizophrenia in Jamaica in 1992, 335 patients were examined using the Present State Examination.

        RESULTS:
        285 patients were evaluated as having a PSE ‘restrictive’ S+ diagnosis of schizophrenia, and 32 as having a ‘broad’ S?, P, or O diagnosis of schizophrenia. With a population of 2.46 million, this represents a first-contact incidence rate for ‘restrictive’ schizophrenia of 1.16 per 10,000 population, and an age-corrected (15-54) incidence rate of 2.09 per 10,000.

        CONCLUSION:
        Incidence rates for schizophrenia in Jamaica are lower than those reported in Afro-Caribbean immigrants in the UK and Holland, and within the reported range for other population groups worldwide.

        Geez, who’da thunk it? A prohibitionist being wrong? Call in the National Guard and declare martial law!

      • Windy

        I’m curious, dc, is the reason for that known or even theorized?

    • N.T. Greene

      Let’s not even begin to parse the fact that Caucasian males in their twenties are more likely than some other groups to present psychiatric symptoms.

      For perspective: In high school, I saw a therapist for a few months. Didn’t do great in school after my parents got divorced, but I wasn’t… self-destructive.

      When I was 22 I almost hung myself with a heavy cable and ended up in a ward for a few days.

      Smoking wasn’t the problem, the problem was already there. If anything, the smoking I did engage in lessened symptoms rather than increase them.

  • Frank W.

    But, but “Psychosis five times more likely for cannabis users: study”! Yahoo’s favorite clickbait story.
    And here’s little bit of Holder for lunch:
    http://reason.com/blog/2015/02/17/eric-holder-ducks-question-about-reclass?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+reason%2FHitandRun+%28Reason+Online+-+Hit+%26+Run+Blog%29&utm_content=FeedBurner

  • DdC

    The author of the study contradicted the rag headlines, Robert Power, lead psychiatrist for the study said: “it suggests that there is likely to be an association in the other direction as well – that a pre-disposition to schizophrenia also increases your likelihood of cannabis use.”

    Then must have been scolded to rebut with false conclusions “knowing it increases risk” followed by “certainly does not rule this out” Except the headlines sell papers or advertisements or propaganda. Not that the authors don’t have the same agenda as NIDA studies. Grants are only issued for funding non medicinal research.

    Tabloids should not be treated as the Press. It is entertainment for lack of a better word. The Press should have a responsibility to at least try to be non-bias and factual or be held accountable for inciting bigotry towards a targeted group. Especially when reporting studies.

    Ain’t no maybe’s in Science law, they are called theories and hypothesis’. Policy needs all of the human consequences, not just the end result using any means necessary. Didn’t work for the Nazi’s and shouldn’t have gone on this long here.

    When leaders act contrary to conscience
    “We must act contrary to leaders.”
    ~ Veterans Fast for Life

    So schizophrenics who find it helps might continue using it eh? The danger already unleashed by this lie is now some Schizophrenics think they have a cure by simple abstinence, and something to blame. Amanda Bynes and others now coerced and recruited and exploited to spread the gossip about the heathenry devil weed with roots in hell. New study, Ganja saves people from Shrinks!

    ‘After two puffs, I was turned into a bat’
    Expert witness, the pharmacologist Dr James Munch, who claimed that “after two puffs on a marijuana cigarette, I was turned into a bat”. Sentences were commuted from death to imprisonment on Munch’s evidence, and Anslinger had to ask him to stop testifying.

  • Will

    “Policy needs all of the human consequences, not just the end result using any means necessary.” [DdC]

    ————————————-

    With respect to cannabis laws, the following quote has been attributed to Paul Armentano, although I suspect it has been said by others in various ways;

    “Public policy should not be governed exclusively by trying to prevent the potential worst-case scenario.”

    Yet, wrt cannabis and other drugs as well, prohibitionists demand policy makers to react exactly in the opposite direction regarding the quote above.

    One of the co-authors of “Marijuana Legalization: What Everyone Needs to Know”, Jonathan P. Caulkins echoes a similar notion when he states;

    “Certain products and activities fool a sizable minority of us. For those special cases, I think the majority who use responsibly ought to be willing to give up their fun to protect the minority who would not.” [p.239]

    ————————————

    No, no, no. Assist the “fooled” minority with their problems and issues. Do not continue to trample the freedoms of the majority of people in the forever doomed-to-fail attempts to protect the “special cases”.

    By the way, Jonathan’s expertise is in “public policy”. There seems to be a pathological wrong headedness (cough, Kevin Sabet, cough) with almost everyone involved in that arena.

    • Duncan20903

      “People need to quit being so selfish all the time. Why don’t they ever worry about my needs and desires?” ~~ Jonathan Caulkins(?)

  • cabdriver

    I just read the Lancet study.

    First, there’s a definition problem. I’m not sure what criterion the researchers are using to define the term “psychosis”. I’m also not sure whether they’re referring to acute incidents (often associated with so-called toxic psychosis) or chronic psychosis (associated with the onset of long-lasting mental illness). The researchers did note that they excluded so-called “organic psychosis.” But no terms were defined, or delimited in any other way.

    Next, there’s a post hoc problem- the researchers based their study on those admitted for first incidence psychosis v. a control population, which says nothing in the epidemiological sense about the overall incidence of psychosis in the general public, and whether that may have risen or fallen over a span of years or decades.

    I might as well note that even a correlation between increased cannabis use in the public and an increase in mental disorders would not be demonstrate causation in and of itself. But this study is of a different sort entirely; it focuses on those already admitted to clinics for treatment of “psychosis”, and then recruits a control population of roughly the same size (but only roughly; 410 for the 1st-incidence psychotic group, 370 for the control group) and employment history (just “ever employed” or not: 88% for the 1st-incidence psychotic group, 95% for the controls).

    Education criteria were also used as a sorting variable, which must have required substantial weighting in order to provide the “logistic regression” claimed- the control group featured 2 1/2 times as many University-educated subjects as did the 1st incidence psychotic group; the 1st-incidence group featured 3 1/2 times as many subjects whose education level ended with a GSCE (UK secondary school certificate) as the control group.

    Weighting for ethnicity also must have been a bit of a challenge- the 1st incident psychotic group was 32% white vs. control population 57%; 1st incidence psychotic group Black Caribbean 33% vs. control 20%; 1st incidence psychosis Black African 24% vs. control 10%; 1st incidence psychotic group Asian 14% vs. control 11%.

    The study claims to have performed a logistic regression to account for all of these confounding factors. They also claim to have done the same to account for age variation.

    And here’s where things get sticky, in my opinion: First, if I’m reading it correctly, the table only supplies a comparison of mean age: 1st incidence psychotic 27; control group 30. Both populations were apparently recruited from a very wide age range of 18 to 65. Yet there’s no further age demographic breakdown provided in the tables- only the mean ages! This is crucial, because 1st incidence psychosis is something that usually presents early, or not at all. Therefore, a difference in the preponderance of younger or older people in one group or another is liable to skew results significantly. There are all sorts of ways that different ages of individuals in two groups can sum to provide close or even identical mean ages for both of them. The fact that the 1st incidence psychosis group averages a full three years younger might also indicate something significant about the range of individual ages, and how they might have been summed to provide their mean age of 27. But there’s no way to tell, since there’s no comparison providing a more detailed age breakdown, i.e., 18-23/24-39/30-35 etc. The study claims that the confounding factor of age was subjected to logistical regression, but if it was only done with the mean, that’s sloppy methodology.

    Finally: the study notes that the 45% of the 1st incidence psychosis group had a history of smoking more than 100 cigarettes, vs. 16% of the controls. Using the very same criterion leading to the study conclusions about the use of strong cannabis, the finding is clear: a history of having smoked more than 100 tobacco cigarettes indicates nearly a 3-fold risk of psychosis.

  • cabdriver

    Note: actually, that last inference about tobacco use could be wrong; the correlation may not be as simple and direct as it appears at first glance. I may have been hasty in assuming that, even jocularly.

    There definitely seems to be some sort of direct correlation, though- although I need to mention yet again that even a fairly strong correlation doesn’t necessarily demonstrate causation. That’s an elementary principle of logic- and crucial to considering studies like these, no?

  • sudon't

    “Study shows that crazy people smoke skunk, sane people smoke hash.”

    That’s what I got out of it.

  • Headlines:

    Smoking skunk cannabis triples risk of serious psychotic episode, says research

    A Quarter of New Psychotic Disorders Linked to ‘Skunk’ Cannabis, Study Says

    Psychosis five times more likely for cannabis users: UK study

    This story just gets bigger and bigger. Read your choice of sizes.

    Real Science.

  • DdC

    Corporate Science Fiction…

    FDA Reverses Its Position on Daily Aspirin
    After many decades of promoting aspirin, the FDA now says that if you have not experienced a heart problem, you should not be taking a daily aspirin

    ☛ Aspirin generated $1.27 billion in sales for Bayer last year,

    ☛ Evidence in support of using aspirin preventatively has gone from weak to weaker to nonexistent.

    ☛ Roughly 800,000 Americans die from cardiovascular disease annually, which includes heart attacks and stroke.

    ☛ The number of non-fatal events may be reduced, but the number of sudden deaths is actually increased, because what most physicians don’t realize is that surprisingly aspirin can mask a cardiac event in progress.

    ☛ Each year, 15,000 people die and 100,000 people are hospitalized as the result of aspirin and other NSAIDs—and these are probably conservative estimates. But aspirin may be one of the oldest killer drugs! Strong historical evidence points to aspirin overdose as a major contributor to high death tolls during the 1918 influenza pandemic.

    Pot Could Save Your Life: 4 Ways Cannabis is Good for Your Brain

    Drug Worriers preferred methods of treatment…

    9 Surprising Industries Profiting Handsomely from America’s Insane Prison System
    Business is booming thanks to the prison-industrial complex.

    Ever get the feeling corporations don’t like people?