Tuesday, May 13, 2008

New Government Study: Pot Smokers Can't Count

In an article about a government study on the dangers of pot smoking:
The marijuana users in the study averaged smoking 78 to 350 marijuana cigarettes per week, based on self-reported drug history, the researchers said.

Uhm, that's like between 11 and 50 joints a day...every day. They're trying to tell me that somebody out there smokes 50 joints every day. Even 11 every day seems a bit much, but...50? Haven't they ever heard of a bong? Either somebody's getting a bit too high to count, or these people are the worst liars in the world.

Of course, there's a likely chance that the participants meant "bong hits" or something, which the researchers mistranslated into "marijuana cigarettes" because it sounds more clinical than having to write the word "bong" repeatedly in their report. And while that would still be a lot of pot smoking, it's not nearly as ludicrous as 50 joints a day. Or perhaps they're just exagerrating because it makes them seem cool, but again, I wonder how much of this was just stoners pulling the government's leg. But these studies always seem to list the amount smoked by number of "marijuana cigarettes," yet few of the bigtime stoners I've known in my life ever smoked joints on a regular basis; mainly because joints are so wasteful and the paper is detrimental to their health.

And naturally, the study's conclusion is a bit suspect, as they're comparing super-heavy-duty pot smokers with non-pot smokers, and trying to conclude that it's the pot smoke that's making their blood a little fattier. But maybe it's just a basic correlation, in that people who smoke 50 joints a day are less likely to take care of themselves as much as people who don't smoke pot. Or if nothing else, maybe it's just the munchies, which could certainly be put into the side-effect category, but wouldn't represent a direct threat to those with will power to resist it. You'd think they'd at least have compared them with non-chronic pot-smokers. You know, the folks who only smoke 5-10 joints a day.

One Habit per Person

But these are the kinds of studies that I hate. The ones that look at after-the-fact data and make sweeping conclusions that their data can't possibly prove. I'm not sure why researchers haven't clued into the fact that people generally have more than one habit, and that people with one bad habit are likely to have other bad habits; which makes it harder to conclude which bad habit was the culprit. But I kind of suspect that many of these researchers might actually prefer to have these correlated factors making their test subjects less healthy, as it makes it easier for them to find the results they were looking for.

And call me crazy, but I kind of suspect that researchers from The National Institute on Drug Abuse might not be the least biased researchers in the world when it comes to drug research; which might explain why they decided to test pot smokers who were too stoned to count properly. But it let them conclude that "Chronic marijuana abuse is not so benign," which is all they wanted in the first place; and for this we paid lots and lots of money.

Damn, and to think, I was just about to start up a 50 joint a day habit. But not now, now that I realize I'd be at increased risk of heart disease and stroke. Whew! Really dodged that bullet. Now if they could just put this info on the side of the marijuana cigarette packs...

2 comments:

John of the Dead said...

Geez, how much would a habit that big cost somebody? I admit, I'm not hip to the current price of marijuana, but I seem to recall it is not inexpensive. Or am I just hopelessly square? (Probably, as I'm trying to do a cost/benefit analysis on weed.)

Mike Haubrich, FCD said...

Now if they could just put this info on the side of the marijuana cigarette packs...

Dude, like you totally rock.