Sunday, March 20, 2005

Researcher says study being misrepresented by prohibitions and reformers

Media Awareness Project archives a great response by Dan Gardner to the recent study the press and the prohibitionists are alleging proves marijuana causes psychosis. It appears even the researcher who conducted the survey is disputing this skewing of his evidence. He is angry that the study is being used for political ends.

Gardner meanwhile, looks at the issue of how prohibition politicians use science to further their own agendas. He takes us back to 1893 when Britain commissioned a study in India that came to the same conclusions as many subsequent studies have - heavy use carries some risk of psychological damage, just as heavy use of alcohol will lead to health consequences, but moderate and responsible use presents no significant danger, privately or to the public welfare. And all have been ignored by those would continue prohibition.

Gardner further illustrates his point with a study cited in a recent Canadian debate on the subject. The prohibitionist cites one statistic that showed a drop in IQ in regular users. What she didn't note was the rise in IQ of former users over non-users and the data that showed participants who were "currently smoking between one and five joints a week saw their IQs increase by 5.8 points."

Mr. Fergusson, author of the current study in question, sums it up just as well as they did in 1893.
The findings are not "grounds for the banning of cannabis as a medical treatment ( nor or they ) a barrier to the decriminalization of cannabis possession," he writes. "What the evidence suggests is that cannabis is a psychoactive substance whose heavy use may have adverse effects and which should be used with appropriate caution."
Chances are his conclusions will be ignored as well.


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