Using science, not semantics

I’ve always been a bit uncomfortable with the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistics Manual) that is used almost universally for mental health issues and pretty much everything having to do with drug dependence and addiction.

When the controversy over the new DSM-5 was brewing and people were saying that this could significantly affect the number of people with specific mental health issues, that sent up red flags: How could a person’s mental health condition change based on rewriting a manual (unless you were actually stuck on the committee re-writing it, of course)? It started to sound to a layman like me that the entire field of mental health diagnosis (and thus all discussions about potential psychiatric harms of drug use and abuse) were based mostly on semantics.

Thus I was particularly interested in this article by Dr. Harold Kopleicz: The National Institute of Mental Health Declares Independence from the DSM-5

The strength of each of the editions of DSM has been “reliability” — each edition has ensured that clinicians use the same terms in the same ways. The weakness is its lack of validity. Unlike our definitions of ischemic heart disease, lymphoma, or AIDS, the DSM diagnoses are based on a consensus about clusters of clinical symptoms, not any objective laboratory measure.

It is no secret that the DSM is a clinical tool more than a scientific one, designed to compensate for the often unknown “etiology” or cause of psychiatric illness. This has been true since we began perceiving mental illnesses as real diseases of the brain. Lacking objective diagnostic tests — for now — the manual creates a set of clinical categories so that doctors are on the same page, and so that research into treatments could be effectively compared.

Dr. Insel’s “abandonment” of the DSM is in fact a symptom of his optimism that we are now or will soon be able to discover the “real,” biological causes of mental illness. The DSM is inconsistent with this science. “We cannot succeed if we use DSM categories,” he writes. “The diagnostic system has to be based on the emerging research data, not on the current symptom-based categories.”

This really helps me put the DSM into perspective. It also points out the fact that we should be wary of statistics showing numbers of people dependent on, or addicted to, various drugs, as these are also based on arbitrary DSM categories, not actual biological science.

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48 Responses to Using science, not semantics

  1. Dis Chord says:

    I’ll need time to Think.
    May I have an Ashtray,,Please.
    Thank You.
    Puff, Puff,,
    nnnoooooo aggghhhhhh

  2. claygooding says:

    It amazes me that the very definition of addiction has been dialed down enough to include cannabis as an addictive substance dangerous enough to force people into rehab,,since coffee has the same addiction level as cannabis,,when do we see rehab enforcing cops rounding up Starbucks customers to fill the rehab centers?

    • Duncan20903 says:


      Well consider this one, new as of yesterday and from the “please don’t give the assholes any new ideas” category:
      Wrigley pulls caffeinated gum after FDA concern for children

      Then again it’s really nothing new:
      United States v. Forty Barrels and Twenty Kegs of Coca-Cola, 241 U.S. 265 (1916)

    • Cliff says:

      Activities can also be included like, eating, gambling, sex, hoarding, shopping…

      • Jean Valjean says:

        I don’t think anyone would really dispute that some people do become obsessive and compulsive over any of these activities (eating, gambling, sex, hoarding, shopping), and this might be accurately described as “addiction.” Unlike with the use of certain drugs however, prohibitionists do not get involve in “saving these people form themselves” through enforcement, either in “treatment” or in the courts. What worries me about the authors of the DSM is how many have a vested interest in the “treatment” of cannabis consumers, and how self-interest may have affected their viewpoints and what they have written. Glad to see that some authorities in the field are now distancing themselves from the DSM for this reason.

    • claygooding says:

      PS: Addiction SWAT Squad,,the new balanced approach

      • War Vet says:

        ‘Addiction SWAT’ . . . that sounds like a good idea Clay . . . if you are one of those animal hoarders (which is an addiction), then the SWAT team will be happy to shoot your pets.

        What about a Mental Health Team of SWAT . . . you’ve got to have the numbers on your side or the group won’t have enough man power to tackle their crazy ass and all his or her’s imaginary friends . . . Each SWAT cop should have the chance to read each and every ‘voice’ in said sick man’s head, their rights. It’s illegal to make someone kill someone and some poor soul killed another human because a specific voice forced them to . . . different holding cells for each of the demonic voices should be sufficient.

  3. allan says:

    always a voice of reason in the discussion on addiction, Dr. Gabor Maté. Reason, understanding, compassion and empathy beats sado-moralist hysterics any day.

    As the prohibs continue to push for that mandatory rehab thing, we need to support and echo those who speak with voices of reason. We cannot speak to a substance’s harms and risks w/o a comparative scale to other substances. The prohibitionists will sure try tho’…

  4. Servetus says:

    Through early morning fog I see
    visions of the things to be
    the pains that are withheld for me
    I realize and I can see…


    That marijuana’s painless
    It brings on many changes
    and I can take or leave it if I please.

    • curmudgeon says:

      What would the 4077th have been like if Hawkeye and Trapper had a grow instead of a still?

  5. Opiophiliac says:


    The War on Drugs: Join us for a debate

    On Thursday 23 May, the Observer New Review will hold a debate on America’s war on drugs.

    In what is sure to be a dynamic discussion, Eugene Jarecki, director of the hard-hitting documentary The House I Live In, and David Simon, creator and writer of the critically acclaimed television drama The Wire, will be joined by Rachel Seifert, British director of Cocaine Unwrapped, a documentary that confronts the harsh realities of the drug supply chain. The debate will be hosted by the Observer’s editor, John Mulholland.

    America’s war on drugs is 40 years old and has cost a trillion dollars. Since making his award-winning film on the fallout from the war, Eugene Jarecki has been on a crusade to change US narcotics policy. David Simon says: “After covering the drug war as a journalist and researching The Wire, it became clear that our political leadership is so necessarily wedded to the status quo, they’re so consumed with the next election, there will never emerge a shred of leadership that will change the situation. It’s up to us.”

    The debate will take place at the Royal Institution of Great Britain on Thursday 23 May 2013. Doors open at 7pm and tickets cost £12. Drinks are not included in the ticket price but there will be a cash bar.

    An Observer New Review debate: The War on Drugs
    The Royal Institution of Great Britain, 21 Albemarle St, London W1S 4BS
    Date: 23 May 2013
    Time: 7:30pm
    Duration: Two hours
    Add to your calendar

  6. ezrydn says:

    When I learned back when that the VA used the DSM-4 to establish PTSD, I copied the PTSD section and wrote a verifiable statement addressing that specific point, through all the questions. Got 100% Dis. out of it. Haven’t seen the DSM-5 yet.

  7. Rasta says:

    Certain Cowbweb Entities Make Putsch. Government come in with Very Best Chainsaw, Weedeater, Whatever, They always Grow Back. Funny that. Life will find a Way. Long time to Sunrise, the Remedy for the Sickness.

  8. darkcycle says:

    The DSM, an issue of semantics? I’m SHOCKED, SHOCKED to find semantics going on in there (he says while pocketing his evenings winnings)!
    When all you have is a bunch of symptoms you don’t understand, no obvious organic causes, and you can’t even agree on what to study or measure, all you have LEFT is the labeling and description. The capture of the APA and the AMA by the pharmaceutical companies makes the coopting of the DSM absurdly easy. Afer all, the DSM doesn’t represent consensus by any stretch. It from it’s inception was designed to IMPOSE consensus upon a community that was unable to agree even on what is a legitimate measure to study. When it’s the only tool you have, it’s the tool you use.

  9. Opiophiliac says:

    There is a stunning amount of pseudoscience in psychiatry. Reading Thomas Szasz and some of his contemporaries like Jeffery Schaler has profoundly influenced the way I conceptualize mental illness. I find that Szasz’s critics either have never read him or didn’t understand him. When Szasz says mental illness is a myth, he’s not saying that people do not act in strange ways, but that it is incorrect to attribute the behavior to a disease of the mind. This is not to say that some mental illnesses are truly diseases of the brain, only that the current system of diagnosing mental illness is lacking in scientific rigor. Even if mental illnesses were diseases of the brain, they would belong to the domain of neurologists. Szasz uses epilepsy as an example of a neurological disorder that was once misclassified as a mental illness. Without some objective measures, mental illnesses are whatever psychiatrists say they are. As the power and influence of psychiatry grows, more and more behavior that is part of normal life is being medicalized. Definitions are driven by semantics, not science, and subject to personal bias. This is a long overdue move by the NIMH, if we are going to call mental illness diseases of the brain their etiology should be based on biology. There is an obvious conflict of interest with bureaucrats defining diseases by consensus, since those definitions are then used to expand their professional power and client base.

    Attributing behavior to mental illness also leaves out the important elements of society. If people’s disturbing behavior is solely a matter of the brain, we don’t have to address complicating societal factors like poverty or racism, correcting society’s ills is simply a matter of finding the right pharmaceutical to correct the “chemical imbalance” in the brains of the mentally ill.

    While psychiatrists supposedly deal with diseases of the brain, none of the technology of medicine is used in diagnosing the illness. There are no x-rays, no blood tests and most importantly no brain scans done. Mental illnesses can be created out of thin air in ways that would be impossible in other branches of medicine, as long as there is a person who’s behavior is outside of society’s norms their lifestyle can be pathologized. Then who is to decide it is not a disease of the brain, and how would one refute that accusation? There has been a persistent effort to medicalize deviance throughout the 20th century. Homosexuality is a prime example of medicalizing a behavior society deemed deviant. Homosexuality was not removed from the DSM due to some breakthrough in psychiatry, it happened because homosexuals asserted theirs rights as human beings to live their lives as they saw fit without being criminalized or medicalized.

    There are a number of drug users who take opiates, stimulants or cannabis regularly yet deny they suffer from some pathology. For some it is a matter of self-medication, for others it is simply how they choose to live their life. Who is to say that is wrong? We should treat differences in pharmacological preferences in the same way as differences in religious preferences, with a great deal of tolerance even when we vociferously disagree with that preference.

    • claygooding says:

      When addiction,whether of substances or activities becomes a problem for society it seems natural that some form of intervention/interruption would be called for but I am still waiting for someone to explain in scientific facts why being addicted to marijuana is harmful to society.
      How does addiction to marijuana become an affliction so evil that it requires anymore intervention than any other substance/activity you can become addicted too.
      The prohibs claim it is because it is a mind altering drug but then so is coffee,nicotine and alcohol.I just wonder what problem being addicted to marijuana causes society.

      • kaptinemo says:

        The ‘addiction’ is to ‘free thinking’…without dependence upon the drug called ‘dogma’. And that is what scares authoritarians the most.

        The most dangerous word in any language for any government bent on fascism is “Why?” Cannabis inevitably frees one from the shackles of official dogma, and in a way that causes that one word to have immense force…as anyone reading reformer’s comments, here and elsewhere, can attest.

        Most reformers have done their homework, and have learned of the myriad connections between various anti-public, anti-freedom special interests, and by working for drug law reform become huge threats to those interests.

        It’s extraordinary how so much is dependent upon the lies told about cannabis, lies that form the foundation of the present day police state. The scope of the deception, and the physical and social machinery needed to maintain that deception, are enormous. The negative effect upon society courtesy of that deception is as incalculable as it is painfully evident…once you step outside of that dogmatic chain-link fence.

        Once someone has used cannabis for the first time, they have an epiphany of sorts, a satori, that they have, indeed, been lied to. That is when that one simple word “Why?” acquires a red-hot razor edge. The kind that slices through the facade and into the reality behind it, a reality that beckons you to open multiple doors of investigation as to the true nature of the power structure, history, etc. Doors the Powers-That-Be do not want opened at any cost, for their doom resides behind those doors…because they have much to atone for.

        Or, as the old saying went, “Pull a string; find a snake.” A particularly venomous snake called the DrugWar has coiled itself around our freedoms, threatening all who dare reach for them in the name of ‘protecting’ them. Cannabis teaches you that, yes, there is indeed a snake, as you may have already suspected, but most importantly, to not bother with the tail and focus on the head.

        And everyone knows the fastest way to kill a snake is decapitation. For, like a fish, the rot on our rights starts at the top.

        • claygooding says:

          In other words the next step is to outlaw thinking,,after all,,thinking is the most mind altering event we have and it goes on uncontrolled and by everyone,,finally,,they can arrest everyone but the ones that prohibited thinking,,clearly they are guilt free.

    • darkcycle says:

      I like and admire Szasz, but he represents the extreme. When you delve into severe mental illness, you find symptoms and behaviors that clearly warrant the label “disease”. Suicide, self-mutilation, …I once worked with a boy who at fourteen had tried to cut his own head off with an axe. A real axe. It left a horrific scar, but the most horrific scar that child carried was his own mind, which was determined to torment him unto death. Many were unable to care for themselves, meet basic hygene and nutrition needs and had no supports from family. Their suffering is very real, and these aren’t misunderstood savants. This, my friends, is disease. Profound and deeply disturbing disease. That we don’t understand or agree upon it is in my mind secondary. That there are people in the field of psychology that use this to get rich, promulgate corporate profits and secure their own positions and authority, is even more tragic. And a statement of where we have come to as a society. DSM-V is an insult, a hurtful and cynical insult to what the pioneers of this field envisioned.

      • claygooding says:

        “”Many were unable to care for themselves, meet basic hygene and nutrition needs and had no supports from family.””
        I was in jail with a person that had exactly those problems,,it took me two months of writing letters too the State Hospital(because I knew a worker there that could help) to get him out of the jail and into mental health care where he should have been placed within the first week of incarceration.
        But that is Texas crime prosecution rule 101,,if you have a weak case,,put the poor in county jail and hold them until they plea bargain out.
        PS:I was in there for 9 months and wrote 4 people out on writs of habeus corpus,,including me,,mine took the longest,,they really wanted to make an example out of me and taking their prison fodder away from them didn’t make me very popular with the prosecution/judicial/enforcement so my first move after release was out of town.

      • Opiophiliac says:

        I’ve known people with severe mental illness too, and for people who cannot take care of themselves merely “liberating” them from mental institutions means they end up in our streets and prisons. Ultimately though I think understanding the causes are essential to developing effective treatment. How we interact with people who have severe mental illness is going to change depending on if we believe the cause of mental illness is demonic possession, seen through the lense of Freudian psychology, or chemical imbalances in the brain.

        Szasz was at his best as a scathing critic of psychiatry’s worst abuses. He showed the danger of diagnosing diseases based solely on behavior, from Communists labeling political dissidents as mentally ill to black slaves who tried to escape to the North as suffering from the mental illness of drapetomania. In these cases psychiatric diagnoses are used to disempower and disenfranchise enemies of the state.

        Diagnoses can be used as a political weapon. Some psychiatrists consider any illegal drug use “drug abuse”, supposedly a symptom of a mental illness. Since drugs are illegal, no “normal” person would take the risk of enjoying even a relatively harmless drug like cannabis, drug users must be suffering from a mental affliction. If you especially value the drug experience and continue to pursue the drug even in the face of significant negative consequences you must be suffering from the more severe disease of addiction or dependence.
        It doesn’t matter how rationally the individual defends their choice, since denial is also a symptom of this disease. This leads to people like Kevin Sabet to frame the issue as a false choice between treatment and incarceration. “Treatment” often means submitting the user to prohibitionist propaganda. Particularly for the more stigmatized “hard” drugs like heroin, repealing the drug laws and leaving the users alone is not even considered.

        Szasz’s best book, in my biased opinion, is Ceremonial Chemistry, which frames the war on drugs as an eliminationist campaign, indeed a pharmacological inquisition, against those who have incorporated the “wrong” drugs into their private or social customs/ceremonies/rituals.

        • darkcycle says:

          I think we can all agree, the issue arises when we (or in this case, the authors of DSM-V) medicalize behaviors that should fall under the heading of non-pathological. The issue I and so many other veterans of this field have is, it really does look like non-pathological conditions, like normal grieving, and ordinary drug use, are being medicalized for profit. It stinks of the hand of the pharmaceutical companies. The are using their tools in the process to HUGELY expandtheir customer bases. At the expense of good medicine, and every person they can corral.

  10. Matthew Meyer says:

    “No further evidence is needed to show that ‘mental illness’ is not the name of a biological condition whose nature awaits to be elucidated, but is the name of a concept whose purpose is to obscure the obvious.”
    –Thomas Szasz

  11. The point we are reaching is who gets to decide what behavior and thought patters are deemed to be “abnormal”?

    If this is chemical, neuronal, or genetic we are talking about the physical ability to change or alter the basic personality of a man. To what end becomes a perfect question for discussion, for in my eyes this kind of power is the equivalent to the invention of atomic weaponry. Too much power in the hands of a government already out of touch and control with its own population.

    • allan says:

      and thus we arrive back at cognitive liberty. Or the gummint usurpation thereof… a choice between the growth of human consciousness and social/civil evolution or a descent into despotism and fascistical chaos is not a choice.

      Time to grow up, humanity.

      • War Vet says:

        Could one say we are more of a Kritarchy kind of government and not a representative democracy?

        • Who is being represented, and who is being judged?

        • allan says:

          groovy… Saturday night vocabulary building.

          Had to go look it up (thanks WV). Here’s the best definition (the wiki entry sucked) I found in a quick googling, Kritarchy

          Personally, I’m a fan of the Six Nations Confederacy and their Gayanashagowae, the Great Law of Peace

        • War Vet says:

          Thinking Clearly: The lobbyists are well represented and cops are the ultimate judges since they are the ones who make the decision for one to go to court based on probable cause and suspicion.

          That’s a good link Allan . . . I use wiki as my middle man to dig deeper. I’ve long thought the Native American tribes could better manage a government than any GOP or Dem out there. I quite literally am surrounded by Native Americans in my area and they are most awesome and their ideas, history and achievements are quite breathtaking.

        • allan says:

          speakin’ of injuns… I mention my Grampa, Semu Huaute (RIP) occasionally. Here’s the best write-up I’ve found on the wwweb w/ a specific Grampa story:

          CHAPTER FOUR – “From Hollywood to Hopiland”

          It’s a good read, especially if you’re old enough to remember the days of Wounded Knee II and AIM’s rise and all that.

  12. In Incompetance We Trust says:

    They are all ‘AuthoritEH’ behind that Desk, but corner them in the Parking lot and Whoa, Jittery Boney Fingers that have never perfomed Useful Work BullsEye that 911 0n SpeedDial in Record Time, every time. Walking Backwards stammerring Inanities another of their practiced Specialties, when cornered. Hilarious.

  13. Duncan20903 says:


    I think it’s fascinating that thousands and thousand of years ago people had already figured out that drinking alcohol and opium were addictive. But it wasn’t until not that long ago when the addictionologists figured out that they could get paid once people realized that cannabis is addictive.


    It appears that our fellow cannabinoidians in Michigan have kidnapped Attorney General Bill Schuette and have replaced him with a clone that’s not a total douchebag:

    Medical Marijuana Use Can’t Cost Parents Custody

    Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette says parents who use medical marijuana aren’t disqualified from having custody of children or visiting them.

    But Schuette says the immunity isn’t absolute. He says it’s appropriate for a judge to determine whether there are unreasonable dangers for children, similar to a parent’s approved use of other controlled substances.

    The attorney general says a judge can’t independently determine if a parent should qualify to use marijuana.

  14. Servetus says:

    The trend in science is to connect behavior to distinct behavior traits that are innate, ones influenced by genetics. Many psychologists remain skeptical of evolutionary psychology (AKA sociobiology), preferring the blank slate or tabula rasa theory of mind and behavior to anything predisposed by biology or evolution.

    Marxism depends on the blank slate paradigm for its validity, which is why Stephen Jay Gould argued against sociobiology. Others think pursuing sociobiology or evolutionary psychology would produce a eugenics program of the type existing in Germany and the United States in the early part of the 20th century.

    Behavioral influence distributes between biologically innate, parental and peer influence, with parental influence occupying only about 5% of the total, which is why patriarchal solutions can fail, and theories like the imagined threats to latch-key kids are statistically meaningless. It also means that patriarchal approaches to drug use, such as arresting and persecuting people, or locking them in jails, or confining them against their will in some type of addiction re-education camp complete with goofy anti-drug propaganda, are not going to work 95% of the time.

    If psychology is to treat behavioral abnormalities, it must first correctly recognize what is normal, then it must treat both the persecutors and the persecuted. As Krishna Murti remarked, “It is no measure of good health to be well adjusted to a sick society.”

  15. DonDig says:

    Another fabulous thread!
    Thank you one and all!

  16. Psy Op says:

    Dang, Just Found another Comet. Who’da Thunk? Not bad for a Dropout. Ashtray,, Please. Puff Pufff so f’n puffKOFF Cool!

  17. Psy Op says:

    Just a small Sungrazer. For the Curious…Viewable at SOHO Movie Theatre
    Entry into Field of View at Frame 100

    Select Lasco C2
    Date Range

  18. darkcycle says:

    Daily Mail with more hyperbolic nonsense and lies. Right up front is the recently re-discredited claim that marijuana is more carcinogenic than tobacco. I guess the nonsense hasn’t completely stopped yet.

    • Opiophiliac says:

      Oh man that was bad. This one comes from Texas and notes how police unions are against anything that threatens their drug war gravy train. So much for we don’t make the laws, we just enforce them.

      In January 2010, mid-way through her term, then-Harris County district attorney Pat Lykos announced that her office would no longer prosecute so-called trace cases, as they are called. To help explain her reasoning, at an appearance at Rice University’s Baker Institute, she held up a package of Splenda, which weighs approximately one gram. She and her predecessors had been prosecuting people for less than 1/100th of that amount. “Sometimes they had a little flake extruding from their nose, a little flake [on a shirt collar] or on a crack pipe. We had thousands of cases clogging up our dockets, and that meant thousands of people overcrowding the jail.”

      Beyond that, she argued that the policy helped police make better use of their time “When someone is arrested for a trace case, that officer is out of service for two to three hours,” she said. “That neighborhood is unprotected for two to three hours. Officers are getting time-and-a-half to fight the drug war, and this is their drug-war arrest, time-and-a-half to go to court. So the union bosses are not happy with me.”

      After Lykos’s change in policy, McSpadden and his fellow judges noticed the effects: trace cases dropped from nearly 30 percent to approximately 10 percent of the dockets. But the police were less enthusiastic. When Lykos filed for re-election in November 201l, the Houston Police Officers’ Union held a press conference to express their disapproval of the DA’s policy and kept up a steady drumbeat against her. Not only was she flouting the law, they charged she was putting the public at risk by letting crack addicts run free to commit other crimes.

      Lykos insisted she had no quarrel with police department leadership. “We met with the command staff for the Houston Police Department, the Sheriff’s office, the Harris County Criminal Justice Council, and laid it all out. There were no objections.” HPD Executive Assistant Chief and panel member Michael Dirden confirmed Lykos’s account: “I want to make it clear that the disconnect is not between the District Attorney and the police department. It is the union that is pushing the issue of accepting charges on every case. Those of us in the administration work very closely with the district attorney’s office on a daily basis. We are in one accord on that particular issue, in terms of how it relates to our usage of police resources and also in our understanding of the concepts of fundamental fairness.”

      Still, in the Republican primary two months later, Lykos was defeated by former prosecutor and judge Mike Anderson, who got 63 percent of the vote and went on to win the post in November. He received and prominently touted a rousing endorsement by the Houston Police Officers Union and vowed that his office would reinstitute the policy of prosecuting trace cases. He has kept that promise, and trace cases are once again filling the Harris County District Courts. Judge McSpadden noted that on a recent Monday his docket had fifteen cases for less than a gram, nearly a third of the cases for that day.
      The Policy and Politics of Drug Sentencing

    • Duncan20903 says:


      The Daily Mail was responsible for my decision to give up my hatred for the m-word. The British are fully capable of making the word cannabis sound like it refers to something just a bit more despicable than a pedophile necrophiliac.

  19. darkcycle says:

    Here’s a little sample “Cocaine, heroin, LSD and amphetamines all bring devastating consequences but it is no exaggeration to say that cannabis, and in particular hash, its concentrated resin, is the most deadly of them all. It brings a level of violence, illness and addiction that to most people would seem barely credible.”
    Barely credible, indeed. Reefer madness lives on at The Daily Mail.

  20. Duncan20903 says:


    The problem is that when it comes to this controversy a significant majority of drug war perpetrators and their sycophants have a shared case of confirmation bias which results in them assigning credibility to the results which most closely resembles the opinion of the prohibasites themselves. Dress a father figure type in a lab coat and have him deliver the results of a bogus study in a somber tone of authoritative gravitas will cause the prohibitionist sycophants swallow it whole. No need to get all complicated with presenting those results either because the sycophants only pay attention to the headline. Here’s a not exactly on point example:

    From Marijuana to the Medicine Cabinet: A Boy Who Couldn’t Stop
    One Montclair Family Warns Marijuana Addiction is Real

    By the end of his Freshman year of high school, he was smoking every weekend. Sophomore year, every day. His parents were worried. But friends told them to let Jake be. After all, he was still excelling at school and in sports.

    There’s plenty of evidence people can do that while stoned – especially if they’re smoking weed all the time. Columbia University researcher Carl Hart studies how people behave on drugs and his data suggests that for people who smoke marijuana seven times a week, there is little change in the abilities they display.

    “When they’re intoxicated, you don’t see many changes in their cognitive functioning,” he said. They’re slower, but equally capable.

    Jake’s mom says when they took him to therapists and doctors, they were encouraged to chill out. Both she and Jake remember a pediatrician asking her, “What do you want from this kid?” He was getting good grades, he got 1400s on his SATs, he was on varsity teams.

    “For people with alcohol, cocaine, opioid dependence, lots of bad stuff is happening to them that they don’t want to have happen,” he said. They may be getting arrested or they may have an overdose, for example. Mariani says marijuana dependence is different. “Often patients will have a philosophy that, ‘This is something I choose to do. It’s something I enjoy. It’s something I benefit from.’ And to some degree, that might be true,” he said.

    To argue about whether marijuana should be legalized, you have to debate global politics, criminal justice, health, medicine, addiction, and more. And one can probably use Jake’s story to come down on any side. Jake’s parents know the statistics: that addiction rates are lower for marijuana than for most other drugs – including alcohol and cigarettes.

    But as marijuana becomes increasingly accepted, they want people to recognize that addiction is a real possibility. And look out for the signs.

    Well, that list of the peculiarities shared by merrywanna addicks is most certainly a departure for the prohibasites. Remember a couple of days ago that I said that I couldn’t predict what they’d try next but that it wouldn’t take long to find out their next move but that it would be a doozy? I sure as hell couldn’t have predicted they’d go with the truth. It really is beyond my ken.

  21. Firefighter Frank says:

    Yellow journalism alive @ the Billings Gazette. This rag clings to prohibition so hard, it would make Randolph Hearst orgasm.

  22. Check out the twitter feed of this lady, @ConcernedMom420. Some of these pearls of wisdom are real gems, you really can’t hug your children with marijuana leaves (huh?) and did you know marijuana can be put into food? We’re all gonna die of an overdose! The poor woman apparently thinks it’s already legal, since she is on a mission to see it banned.
    The Mayans definitely took marijuana. How else would they come up with such a crazy idea to predict the end of the world?

    Marijuana has an “A” in it and so does Satan. Coincidence? I think not.

    My children are NOT allowed to watch movies. ESPECIALLY films like “Harry potter” which encourage weed smoking.

    Millions of people just made a sin when they all smoked pot at 4:20. Put the pot down do something good with yourself. Stop weed smoking!!

    I’ve only ever gotten down on my knees to please one man. The lord Jesus Christ – pray with me.

    Stop Weed Smoking!!

    I am in my bed crying. I haven’t left my room all day, this story has broken me down. Please GET HELP pot smokers.

    I can’t cope with dope.

    The cops on Border Wars are my heroes. They stop thousands from killing themselves from smoking marijuana

    Just saw two homosexuals holding hands. That’s just wrong! Stop homosexuality!

    Name and shame marijuana smokers, tag them in this tweet – forwarding all names to the police.

    Easter, the day Jesus slapped YOLO in the face.
    My eldest, Isaiah, 21, just said “yolo” to me. What does “yolo” mean, help.
    Note: YOLO: You Obviously Love Oral

    Please retweet if I have helped you become a better person. Have I helped you quit marijuana? Have you accepted Christ?

    What?!? I just found out people are smoking massive amounts of marijuana in New Amsterdam! Weed is illegal! The cops better arrest them all!

    “well what about the lesbians?”
    Lesbianism is a sect of satanism. It’s followers aim to temp and seduce Christian men into a life of sin.

    “pass me some of that green leaf”
    If you did not think of Basil – you’re already knocking on satans door.

    No matter how well someone is raised – the devil can still corrupt. My sister is an example. Marijuana = promiscuity.

    Eggs are just tiny abortions in shells.

    Have you “weedies” even thought about the child slave workers in china working round the clock to harvest your marijuana? Didn’t think so.

    There is no such thing as a homosexual vegan. Their craving for meat cannot be satisfied. This is #fact.

    Retweet if you smoke marijuana so I can report you to the police.

    I light up 4 times a year. That’s right – the candles on my birthday cake and my children’s.

    You kids keep on saying “YOLO.” Well let me tell you something. If you smoke marijuana once, you will die!

    Stop Weed Smoking!!

    Stop Weed Smoking!! It kills thousands every year!
    Being dark skinned is a CHOICE. In just a few years, through prayer, celebrity Beyonce is almost completely white. You can change too.

    “cigarettes are worse than weed!!”
    False: tobacco is not a gateway drug like marijuana.

    Well maybe I should just pick up a marijuana and overdose. Will that make you happy? If I just took marijuana and died.

    If we let the homosexuals marry, what’s next? Animals marrying humans? A slice of pizza marrying humans? Tell me.

    #threewordstoliveby Stop Weed Smoking!!

    Circumcize your children before the devil does.

    I’ve got 99 problems and marijuana is the cause of all of them.

    I read a report that weed can be cooked into FOOD. If the reports are true then we are ALL at risk. Fwd this message to the people you love.

    You can’t hug your children with marijuana leaves.

    A friend just offered me one of these. Good try. I know that is not a St. Patricks Day cigarette! Stop weed smoking!

    My 2 year old asked me if she could go to her friend “Mary Jane’s” house. I know she was trying to smoke pot. So I grounded her for a week!

    Stretching your ears only creates more orifices in your body for the devil to sodomize.

    I’m warning you all… If you don’t stop smoking the devils lettuce… Marijuana has been proven to kill more people each year than cancer

    I am nervous. My 2yr old daughter is slurring her words lately. Taking her to church early morning to see if an exorcism is possible.

    @ConcernedMom420 STOP WEED SMOKING!!
    45yr old christian mom from utah trying to spread awareness!! Stop taking pot!!! Marijuana KILLS!! Help my mission to get it BANNED

  23. Relaxing perceptions of marijuana pose harmful risk to youth, anti-drug initiative claims

    Promotes lying to kids?

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