Headlines About Cannabis Driving Us Crazy Are Driving Us Crazy
It seems like Europe is always a few steps behind the United States when it comes to the culture of what’s cool. It used to be blue jeans but now it is buds as the overseas market looks once again to Americans to tell them what’s dope about cannabis, and what isn’t.
But c’mon… Reefer Madness was released in 1936! Surely they aren’t that far behind across the pond, right?
Well, one recurring headline made waves in the news cycle this week as a team of researchers from across Europe concluded that as many as 30-50% of psychosis cases reported across the continent were due to exposure to cannabis.
Additionally, the study stated that use of “high-potency cannabis”, which they defined as anything with over 10% THC, would expedite the onset of the mental illness.
The study warns that what they claim to have discovered about long-term, daily use of cannabis, especially that out of this world 10.1+% weed, has “important implications for public health”.
The researchers poached their test subjects, ages 18-64, from 11 European psychiatric hospitals. What their study failed to mention, or presumably account for, is the fact that people with psychotic disorders are far more prone than the general public to be consumers of all types of intoxicants, including cannabis.
So the fact that their sample group of first-episode psychosis sufferers happened to contain a significant number of potheads plays right into the reality spelled out above, but does nothing to establish or prove causation – ‘'This patient needs help with mental health and also happens to smoke cannabis’ does not equal ‘This patient needs help with mental health because he/she smokes cannabis’
In fact, the authors of the study admit as much, saying that they are, “assuming causality”.
Well, ok, I guess we will assume they aren’t idiots, but their nonchalant downplaying of a core tenet of research science isn’t helping.
You do not have to be a college professor, or a megabrain to sit back, take a dab, and think about the fact that the prevalence of cannabis use has varied greatly over time, ramping up over the past decade as legalization spreads worldwide, yet the prevalence of psychosis cases has remained pretty much static.
Another element of cannabis use that the researchers failed to take into account is the anecdotal history, thousands of years of it, that sounds the Bullshit Alarm anytime a fear mongering headline about weed like this pops up.
According to the U.S. National Institute on Mental Health (NIMH), psychosis involves a loss of contact with reality which could cause a person to become delusional, or suffer from hallucinations.
Off 10% THC?
Shit… 2-9x that is more our taste and always has been. Yeah, maybe we are a little terp-crazy but I do not know one person in my 25 years enjoying this plant that has been hospitalized FOR ANY REASON due to cannabis use.
This study fails again though on that aspect. Subjects were not given a homogenized and lab tested control sample of weed to all smoke from. Instead, they were asked to self-report the THC levels of the weed they smoked, leaving infinite room for error or dishonesty. Further, the subjects primarily scored their “test” weed straight from the streets, so how could they possibly know or accurately report THC levels?
This study is a joke
As damaging as it may initially seem to public perception of pot, the reality is that even people who do not care for weed or are indifferent about it know that they can usually find Reefer Madness in the comedy section, not the documentary section, and this paper reeks of the same outdated propaganda.
As with most attempted criticisms or dire warnings about weed, all this should invoke is a greater need to open the plant up on the federal level for real studies by scientists who don’t still listen to Limp Bizkit.