Marijuana Warriors and Statistical Illness (was "Here We Go Again" or "Walters Is At It Again")

A number of our readers wrote in this weekend to point out that drug czar John Walters was stumping the "marijuana causes mental illness" bandwagon. It was probably inevitable. After all, a year ago we reported, "Reefer Madness Strikes a Leading British Newspaper," and this and other spurious claims have continued to emanate from various outlets and agencies ever since. Still, propaganda is no less irritating for having anticipated it. So I could only sigh when I received a copy of a New York Times story that a member had forwarded, with his note "Walters is at it again." The article did quote people on the other side, which is good. But there's no way around the headline, which is what most people will ever read and which did not reflect any controversy or disagreement over the drug czar's claims. Master stats and criminology expert Matthew Robinson (author of the famed "Lies, Damn Lies, and Drug War Statistics" picked a similar title for his detailed critique of Walters, "Here We Go Again: White House Makes Scary Claims About Marijuana." I'll leave it to readers to follow the link for the bulk of Robinson's analysis, but the major thing to keep in mind is that Walters has not met the three-level burden of proof to back up his claims. Those levels are the following:
  1. One must show a correlation. Marijuana use and mental illness have to show up in many of the same people. That might not be so hard to demonstrate, but the reason for the correlation may be as simple as the fact that lots of people use marijuana, so most physicial or psychological issues may be represented among its users. Which leads to the second needed level:
  2. One must show a temporal order. That is, it is necessary to prove that marijuana use preceded the onset of mental illness. If marijuana use began later, there obviously is no causation. Even if they start at about the same time, there may be no causation.
  3. And then there is a third, very crucial intellectual requirement for drawing the conclusion that marijuana use causes mental illness. That is the need to demonstrate a "lack of spuriousness" -- which means eliminating the possibility that other factors could have led to both the marijuana use and the mental illness. For example, physical or other life issues may have led an individual to become depressed, and that person may have then begun using marijuana because of being depressed. Or there could be biological or personality factors that make both depression and drug use more likely. Or there could be other things going on.
And now you know more about statistics than the drug czar does. :)
Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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Oppression is depressing.

Oppression is depressing.

How To Tell If The Drug Czar Is Lying? His Lips Are Moving

Nice post Dave, and kudos to Matthew Robinson for reminding the Drug Czar (and the mainstream media) of the lessons they should have learned during Philosophy and Logic 101 (correlation is not causation).

I have much more to say about this story, which you can check out on NORML's blog page.

Paul Armentano
Deputy Director
NORML | NORML Foundation

FREE MARIJUANA and HEMP, Albany New York May 13 all day

For_Immediate_Release:
United States of America (Press Release) May 11, 2008 --

Cut the red tape. Allow a multi billion dollar grass roots ,Marijuana and HEMP industry ,to bring new jobe to New York, THIS YEAR

Stop crimes being committed TODAY under color of New York State, Marijuana laws, We can do it during this present legislative session.

In the interest of Justice we ask for REPEAL ALL New York State marijuans laws. Allow every New Yorker to grow their own Medical Marijuana at home without regulation this year..

Save lives, Thin out courts, Jails and prisons, save State money.
Take the crime from Marijuana. The only thing criminal about Marijuana is the New York State laws. All past New York legislatures are responsible for One Trillion dollar s$1,000,000,000,000 they have robbed from the New York taxpayers Heal the terrable damage already done by these bad laws that corrupt our Justice System

Help, Come to Albany Tuesday May 13th and LOBBY with us on State street at the State legislative building. We can do it with your help

Your lobbiest for your constitutional right to grow use and share Medical Marijuans in New York State this year. with out regulation.

Daniel Francis Eggink.

[srcsm] Fatty foods cause depression [/srcsm]

I've known many people (kids and adults) who use fatty foods to make themselves feel good when depressed but end up becoming overweight and, as a result, more depressed. They let this destructive cycle repeat itself.

Connect the dots!!!!

Marijuana Use = Super Munchies = "Little Debby" Abuse = Becoming Overweight = Depressed About Being An Overweight Teen Getting No Dates = More Marijuana Use = More Munchies, and so on....

If you think marijuana is the devil's weed

...you should be the strongest supporter for government regulation and control over the market, not increasing profits for criminals so they can market more marijuana to kids.

Office of National Drug Competition Policy

So are they trying to say we should use Marinol?

IF

John Walters and the drug warriors of America truly wanted to keep drugs away from underage Americans they would support a regulatory system that puts responsible and licensed members of the community in control of drug sales.

But no, Walters and company support a policy that gives exclusive market control for sales of drugs to addicts and drug gangsters.

Conservative economists tell us that regulation stifles and diminishes profitable growing markets. Yet drug warriors oppose this proven weapon against the violent predatory excesses natural to free market activity.

It's not about arresting the market

"Conservative economists tell us that regulation stifles and diminishes profitable growing markets. Yet drug warriors oppose this proven weapon against the violent predatory excesses natural to free market activity."

Because it's not about public safety and arresting the market, but arresting pot smoking would-be criminals, like Bill Clinton, Newt Gingrich, George W. Bush, and Clarence Thomas.

Perhaps they are self-medicating?

Since there is a statistical correlation between marijuana use and depression and schizophrenia, we should try to examine the cause. Perhaps schizophrenics and those who are depressed find they FEEL BETTER when they smoke pot. This would lead to a higher incidence of use for these individuals.

We don't say ibuprofen causes headaches just because people with headaches are more likely to have ibuprofen in their bloodstream.

ONDCP

The ONDCP is an agency that needs to be abolished at the federal level. We should not continue to waste the people’s money to support a “dinosaur” agency, like the ONDCP.

Substance abuse/dependency is a local, not national, issue. Abolish the Office of NATIONAL Drug Control Policy. Let the states and local governments address their specific problems.

What LIES Inside Walter's Wild Workshop

Really, David. Is anything that comes out of the ONDCP still that surprising? Back in 2004, I made the mistake in quoting some of John Walter's statistics for a paper I put together at Stanford. That's when I realized during the Reagan Administration drug culture was turned upside down. The government conveniently turned use into abuse, and clouded statistics and definitions. I was furious when I discovered that all these organizations, like the Partnership for a Drug-Free America, do is reshape information to the form that will serve their purpose, and then they accuse reformists and others of manipulating information. At that point, I was so frustrated that I started a laborious effort to compare data from numerous sources.

Then people like Steven William Fowkes, President of Cognitive Enhancement Research Institute took me under their wing and by 2005, I was enrolled in a nursing program and launched a study of neurotransmitters/neuromodulators and how the various substances listed in the pharmacopia impact the brain. I put together a wall chart that spanned 15 feet, and when I was finished, I knew much more than I ever thought I could.

It doesn't matter what ONDCP claims, but can they demonstrate how marijuana or any other drug causes mental illness? They can't! Walters tried to state how methamphetamine "rewired" the brain... causing rapid deterioation of motor skills. But, in fact, MRIs released in 2005 consistently show how methamphetamine results in "volume increases... to the basal ganglia and parietal cortex"...

This is my motivation for Drug Use Education (DUE). Teach people the truth. Give them knowledge, and then we won't have political quacks earning a salary by dishing out false information just to terrorize the public and cause panic. History repeats itself. Humans did the same thing with witchcraft and sorcery. It's about time that we skimmed off the bullshit and looked at the facts. Here's a blanket statement for you and your readers:

There is no known controlled substance that causes mental illness or mental disorders. Those substances which cause a breakdown of brain tissue, such as hydrocarbons (ie: gasoline... etc) are NOT controlled substances. Hence this is one paradox of the drug war.

Methamphetamine, marijuana, coccaine, ketamine, LSD, heroin, GHB... you take your pick, in their purest, unadulterated form, these drugs and many others from our wonderful list of controlled substances do not cause mental disorders. No matter what anyone says. Furthermore, other than depleting dopamine and seratonin etc, these drugs don't have ANY negative impact on the brain. In fact, top pharmacologists, chemists, and other experts recommend psycho-active substances as a means for "turbo-charging" the brain. If you are not familiar with this, I suggest you read it the article under http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/04/10/boffin_drug_epidemic/

Here we find a claim that no physician I've encountered has disputed yet. Several of them cracked a smile when I mentioned it to them and one was so surprised that the media actually printed such story.. When I explained that it wasn't the American press, but rather the British press, he snarled and made a comment that American medicine is far more advanced that it is in the UK. OH REALLY? Is that why the UN's WHO ranked us number 37 in 2003, and called it a "mercy grade" because we actually come in like 60-something when using all the criteria, as I understand. The WHO has not produced an update as far as I know.. I'm sure that's because the US is probably wielding zero tolerance again, threatening to sanction other nations who depend on the US for support like they did in 2005, when the supermonster, US, crammed zero tolerance down the throats of many governments, when all these other nations wanted to do was boast about their success with harm reduction.

I will never understand the mentality that exists among US politicians. EVER! It is whacky, dangerous, and deadly. We don't have freedom of choice because the Democrats have been sucked up by the Republicans and both parties have slammed the door to drugs. Of course, that has nothing to do with our politicians who don't ever have to take a drug screen and maintain connections with physicians that they keep safe. If you ever have difficulty getting an Rx, go to Washington DC or the state capital. I did. That was the only way I was able to get medication for narcolespsy. Sacramento is drug heaven in California. You just have to be connected.

One more comment: I've said this before and I'll say it again, you people who are settling for reform are getting the short end of the stick. It's high time for a drug revolution because, the reason why people are drawn to drugs is becoming increasingly obvious as we start to turn our attention to global warming. I don't think it takes an Einstein or a Tesla to figure that out.

aren't YOU starting FROM a conclusion?

http://scholar.google.com/scholar?q=causal+marijuana+%22mental+illness%22

that's all.

Aren't you starting from a conclusion and then finding fault with someone else's reasoning? Where are your studies?

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