By R.C. Seely

THE OPPONENTS OF marijuana legalization have been lauding a recent European study reported in The Lancet as proof positive that they were right. They have gone as far as saying the medical community is in agreement, marijuana is a health threat that causes schizophrenia and needs to be kept out of the public. According to them since the plant has been modified to a far higher potency, there are epidemics of psychotics in areas where it’s legal. There are some problems here.

To begin with let’s clarify what is actually happening. A cursory online search will suggest the prohibitionists are successfully misleading the public. The word “cause” is the focus of my attention here. Much of the research concludes that excessive indulgence–everyday usage–of the high potency strain can create symptoms that mirror schizophrenia, not actually cause the disorder. It can make schizophrenia worse if someone already has it.

Why is this Significant?

The prohibitionists claim that schizophrenia can’t always be cured but what does it mean if it’s not schizophrenia? What if since it’s not really schizophrenia but only appears that way, it needs another form of treatment? Most importantly, if they are misleading with the wording, what else are they not being honest about?

Making it seem like this is new ground-breaking information, is another misleading factoid. From the moment marijuana prohibition was originally proposed in the 1930’s, mental health conditions were the validation. Schizophrenia, laziness and the munchies are all well known as “side effects” of marijuana. Problem is like many other disorders, genetics are a factor in how the body responds.

Not all cigarette smokers will get lung cancer or alcohol drinkers get sciroccos or liver cancer. They are genetically preconditioned to it, it’s the same with marijuana and psychosis.

The study itself has a large problem, or technically a small one, a small sample size to be more accurate. The research team may have traveled the world for subjects, it doesn’t change the fact that they only examined a few thousand people. The global population is in the billions, so saying a comparable blip of a few thousand isn’t accurate, you need a sample of a few million. That’s actually a problem and one of my questions of the study. Drawing a conclusion from such a small sample is ridiculous.

Sample size and genetic predisposition aside, the study itself would need to be studied too. The biggest issue that could come up with the study is researcher bias. Does the one conducting the study already have an opinion and setting it up to get the result they want? In my research on the Dr. Marta Di Forti, of the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology, & Neuroscience at King’s College London, I couldn’t find any information to draw a conclusion.

Their other argument

The other argument by prohibitionists, isn’t medical but interference. What has them so bent out of shape is that marijuana now has lobbyists. What! A marketable consumable product has a special interest group pushing for it! That never happens! Except when it comes to pretty much everything. Which also includes the alcohol industry and the prescription drug companies. Both two industries trying to keep marijuana from the marketplace.

Conclusion: Why none of this matters

The prohibitionists will probably be very baffled by this, but in the end none of this matters. Not if you are truly in favor of limited government at any rate.

Whether you are against medical marijuana or recreational marijuana, if you think laws telling people what they can put in the bodies are right, you are not truly for limited government. That’s the problem with the conservative movement it may rant and rave against government overreach but when given the chance to prove it, they fall short.

States have already voted yes on having marijuana legal, and already complications because of the federal moratorium, they don’t need other states interfering. Or media, medical officials, politicians or the general public getting in between the consumers and producers.

Both recreational and medical markets are being excessively criticized because of excessive consumption is the prohibitionists lame attempt to sway public opinion. Oddly enough smoking in general is apparently quite high in schizophrenia sufferers, so their high marijuana consumption could be an over looked red flag for the disorder. Anything used in excess can create health complications and the wrong pharmaceutical medical for psychosis can exacerbate the existing condition. That’s why qualified medical professionals are consulted, but that is decided by the consumer.

That was one of the biggest criticisms of the Affordable Care Act, that politicians are getting between the patient and the doctor. Why is that acceptable when it comes to medical marijuana? This is a conservative logical inconsistency that they are blind to and medical patients are suffering because of it.

I’m an advocate for full legislation but anyone who opposes medical marijuana legalization is just plain heartless as far as I’m concerned. With the long list of side effects from medications for epilepsy sufferers and other conditions that do show promise in medical marijuana for relieving if not completely curing, research could be vital. It seems rather absurd to barricade such research due to studies that have come far from a conclusive–or even all that compelling–outcome.

R.C. Seely is the founder of americanuslibertae.com and ALTV. He has written books on pop culture, with a new book–Confused Yet?: Understanding the Utterly Incomprehensible–to be released.

Comments
  1. Curiously, Colorado has long been a high-use state (decriminalization in 1975, penalty of $100 for possession of <= 2oz.) and always ranked in the lowest five among states for prevalence of personality/mental disorders — and it also the least obese, with the greatest lifespan. So in the actual human population there is *no* evidence of the scares being mongered.
    One of the hallmarks of schizophrenia is self-medication with tobacco. No one seems to be claiming that his correlation implies that tobacco is the cause of schizophrenia. Hmm.

    • I don’t specifically have all the data on that, but it wouldn’t surprise me. So much of the negative attitudes about decriminalization and legalization of medical is based on bias studies and statistics that have been manipulated–if not completely fabricated. And smoking is recorded as fairly high with schizophrenia sufferers. Thanks for the comment.

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