More on the Illinois Marijuana Lectures

A reminder that Andrea Barthwell will be continuing her marijuana disinformation campaign in Southern Illinois on Monday and Tuesday. She had an unadvertised (at least on her website) lecture visit in Geneva/St. Charles yesterday.
I don’t know how dangerous she’s going to be to the medical marijuana movement in Illinois. She’s certainly trying hard, but it may be that the denseness of her two-hour lectures will turn people off (or at least confuse them). This is partly her effort to not make her lies quite as obvious as the Drug Czars’ so she hides her disinformation in a bunch of irrelevant scientific information.
One of the things she returns to often in her lecture is the whole Super-pot myth. Of course, this has been touted by the government for quite some time, without a single bit of evidence that pot with higher levels of THC is, in fact, more dangerous. What actually happens is that people smoke less. (Just like during alcohol prohibition, they smuggled whisky instead of beer). Also, they use the extremes, without noting that the THC in average pot has not increased very much in the last 30 years.
After pushing the “super pot” myth, she gave it a little geographical flavor by noting that Mexican brick weed was getting more potent all the time, and the super high-tech wizards in Canada were using their advanced systems to grow bud that’s even stronger. Then, of course, she does the same trick — follow the statement about super-pot, with figures about the high number of young people in treatment because of marijuana. Always inferring a connection when there is none. While she admits that half of the referrals for marijuana come from criminal justice, she downplays many of the other referrals. None of the figures she uses (these, or the misleading DAWN emergency room figures) have anything to do with separately measuring real marijuana problems.
Andrea really leaves the reservation when she starts talking about “brain science” — she talks about receptors and drives and rewards and various kinds of memory. It’s mostly garbage, but she makes it sound like it leads to something and while she carefully avoids saying the lie herself, she gets the audience member to suggest that the details it remind them of.. Alzheimers. And she just gives a knowing nod. What crap! (Interestingly, there’s a study that has actually used cannabinoids in treatment of Alzheimer’s anorexia [190 Volicer L, Stelly M, Morris J, McLaughlin J, Volicer BJ. 1997. Effects of dronabinol on anorexia and disturbed behavior in patients with Alzheimer’s disease. International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry 12:913Ö919.])
She made a number of outrageous statements throughout the rest of the presentation, including the notion that even discussions about such issues as the relative dangers between alcohol and marijuana are not appropriate within communities that want to fight drugs. She also said:

Minimal clinical studies [on medical marijuana] do not exist.
This will destabilize modern medicine.

Ridiculous. But now you know a little of what to expect in the opposition to the medical marijuana bill in the legislature, so you can be better prepared to answer it.

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