I’m weird. I study things that interest me, and if all I’ve read on a subject is just one book I consider myself dangerously ignorant so I get at least two more books. This stems from my childhood, of course, but it has proven to be positive rather than negative and very, very good for my career.
Now I’m interested in cannabis legalization here in Colorado and highly amused by the responses of some very ignorant and quite often downright stupid people. Most people, here in Colorado and out in the wider world, too, are pretty level headed about it. Some are calling it an experiment, but in my view the only experimental aspect of the whole thing is waiting to see how the federales will react to having their noses tweaked. The rest is all just good clean fun. The War On Drugs was just an adjunct to Nixon’s COINTELPRO and had the same purpose, and Nixon being fucking well and truly dead we might just as well let his longest lasting war die, too. And maybe even try real hard to make something like good sense for a change.
Yeah, that’s gonna happen.
The mainstream media is predictably unable to conduct diligent research into the matter. We’ve all heard by now about how cannabis use by adolescents is likely to cause psychosis and lowered IQ later in life, but what the people with keyboards who write stuff aren’t telling us is that the basis of this scare tactic is the observation of maybe a dozen schizophrenic Kiwis. The Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Study followed 1,037 children born in 1972 and 1973 in Dunedin, NZ for 38 years, with a 95% retention rate, and there’s what amounts to a side-note within one report correlating teen cannabis use with schizophrenia. The lowered IQ is stated within the abstract of the report to be associated with the schizophrenia, not the cannabis use. I’m citing the abstract because I’m not going to pay an outrageous price to obtain the full report to verify the one fact in which I’m presently interested and whose precision is not really relevant anyway. I hope you’ll indulge me as I make just one apparently reasonable assumption about it: According to a multitude of sources the worldwide incidence rate of schizophrenia is 1.1%, and I’m going to assume that Dunedin isn’t some kind of insanity hot spot so the incidence of schizophrenia there is also 1.1%. The simple math, for those of you who are stoned or registered Republicans: 1,037 participants times 95% retention rate times 1.1% incidence rate equals 10.83665, or about eleven schizophrenics among the studied population. Eleven. It might have been as few as nine or as many as thirteen, but it was likely from ten to twelve, and that’s not a sufficient sample size from which a conclusion about any fucking thing at all can be drawn. At the very best it’s reason enough to do further and more disciplined research, with a particular emphasis on more disciplined. To be of any value the additional research has to get beyond post hoc ergo propter hoc.
For those of you who are stoned or registered Republicans, post hoc ergo propter hoc is the Latin for one of the many common logical fallacies, translated as “happened after therefor was caused by”. It’s flawed thinking, the sort of thing morons do, like saying they got the clap from eating Cheetos because it never hurt when they peed before they ate that bag of Cheetos. Speaking of the devil, washing the car makes it rain, that kind of thing.
Oh, yeah, there’s a British medical researcher dude who did some stuff, too. He injected high doses of pure THC directly into volunteers’ veins, then observed and questioned them. The purpose of the observations and questions was to determine whether or not volunteers under the influence of high doses of pure THC exhibited symptoms similar to those that occur in schizophrenia. The questions were things like “Do you feel like you’re subject to a conspiracy?” and “Do you find yourself having trouble completing sentences?”. Answers in the affirmative were taken as evidence that THC might induce schizophrenia because it induces similar symptoms, which was the presupposition of the researcher at the outset. Never mind that this has absolutely nothing to do with the synergies of the many compounds in a plant taken together in the form of the plant, as certain segments of the news media are looking for evidence that cannabis is a demon weed and the rest are just looking for something to write about. The “research” the Brit has done is pure shit and has nothing to do with the cannabis plant anyway. The same shit could be done with most plants, really. For example spinach, as injecting high doses of pure oxalic acid into people will cause their kidneys to fail.
Every time I turn around I see or hear another representative of the news media asserting that we know very little about this plant, cannabis. My usual response, often spoken aloud, is “fuckin’ blow me”. Are we to believe that with at least 5,000 years of experience using cannabis as medicine, entheogen, recreation, and food we know very little about its effects upon the human body? We’ve got more than four times as long a history with cannabis as we have with tomatoes, and it was included in the United States Pharmacopoeia (you know, that book that’s most often encountered when referenced as the initialism “USP”) until the 12th edition in 1942. The fluid extract of cannabis, used as a drug, was standardized by testing: To be considered the real deal, it had to induce “incoordination” when administered orally at the rate of 0.03cc per kilogram to a dog weighing less than 15kg and who was already known to be “susceptible” to the plant (as not all dogs are). In 1851 the United States Dispensatory (a reference book used by physicians) stated: The complaints in which it [cannabis] has been specially recommended are neuralgia, gout, rheumatism, tetanus, hydrophobia, epidemic cholera, convulsions, chorea, hysteria, mental depression, delirium tremens, insanity, and uterine hemorrhage. Not that anyone would today recommend cannabis for rabies, tetanus, or uterine hemorrhage. The copy of the Dispensatory that I’ve got is from 1918 and also mentions the medical uses of the plant; you can get your own copy of the whole shebang from Michael Moore’s Southwestern School of Botanical Medicine web site, here [PDF]. RIP, Michael, I miss you, man.
Now we know where the term lucky dog came from. Here, Spot, c’mere boy! Let’s get you baked! C’mon, Spot, I’ve got kibble and pot for you! 😀
But, ya know, we don’t know much at all about cannabis. It’s only been here since the space aliens brought it from the planet Nibiru in 1995. At the request of the damned dirty terrorists who hate America. They want us all to get stoned so they can invade our Homeland without us fighting back, don’tcha know. (For those of you too young or too stoned to remember, this is funny because during the Cold War it was said that marijuana and LSD were part of a commie plot to accomplish that very end. So please at least grin a little bit now, okay?)
Cannabis didn’t used to addictive, but now it is. It’s not because “the stuff they’re smoking now isn’t the stuff you smoked in the 60’s. It’s much stronger today”. It’s because the folks who make money treating substance abuse have redefined the word addiction to encompass anything to which people become habituated, and with the new definition insurance companies will pay for the treatment of it. Animals will not self-administer cannabis or its extracts as they will addictive drugs like morphine, but shady psychotherapists will always self-administer insurance claims. That’s why we’ve got a whole range of new addictions in the 21st century, like sex addiction, internet addiction, shopping addiction, and so on, and every other strip mall has an abuse recovery clinic in it.
I’m addicted to poverty, so please send whatever cash you can spare to HappierHeathen, General Delivery, Dinkytown, Colorado. Immersion therapy is the only cure and Hello, my name is Heathen, and I’m an addict. I’ll do almost anything to remain broker than the ten commandments. Ah just knows that you kin hep me.
I’ve also turned some of my attention to reading what others have to say right here on this Voidpress contraption about the subject. Most are level headed, even those who aren’t so keen on the idea, so it takes a while to find a loony or two to laugh at — and laughing at loonies is the whole point in seeking them out. One author (actually!) claims that after buying some cannabis from a random stranger on a cross-country bus trip he saw fairies dancing with unicorns and outlaws riding carousel horses chasing the bus. It was a pretty entertaining read, like Hunter Thompson if he were retarded. I was waiting for the part about the bats east of Barstow, or at least “the decision to flee came suddenly”. Then again, it seems unlikely that the author had ever even heard of Hunter Thompson, let alone read anything he’d written. Or anything that was ever written at higher than the sixth grade level.
Anyway, I was along for the ride even though it was impossible to suspend disbelief when someone says that marijuana causes hallucinations of the Disney variety. The protagonist of this cockamamie story somehow ends up at his grandparents’ home in Georgia, with no idea how he got there. The author, in fact, says he remembers nothing on the trip east from California beyond Arizona or maybe “the next state”. Uh, that would be New Mexico, man. Anyway, all he knows is that he somehow got there with a blue ring around his ass from the toilet on the bus. Apparently his grandparents didn’t ask about how he came to appear at their door wearing holding tank treatment on his ass. From there the story devolves into something reminiscent of my Air Force days when the backward ass bayou welfare rednecks told stories heavily seasoned with “Ah shit you not!”.
The story goes that the marijuana induced blackout ended as he sat in a chair at his grandparents’ house, and somehow or other his last roach from the stash he bought from some random stranger on a bus had got into the ashtray from which his grandfather collected old butts to roll himself up a smoke, and from the ashtray into old Gramps’ reburn. Grandpa’s only remark was that this here terbacky tastes funny. It’s lame as shit, but a good setup for something funny. Gramps got himself a little paranoia, got the munchies, and then spoke in tongues, apparently. Maybe it was just infantile babbling. Either way, not something I’ve ever seen someone do while stoned. Mister Not Hunter Thompson was losing me. Drunk bayou welfare rednecks used to lose me with their “Ah shit you not!” bullshit stories all the time, too.
It might be perceived that I am prejudiced against rednecks who live on bayous and collect welfare, but that’s only because I am. If you’ve ever encountered bayou welfare rednecks you know why, and if you haven’t I recommend never getting any closer to them than, say, Atlanta. Better still, Iowa.
The story continues with stoned Granmpa, after a period of glossolalia, wanders out to his workshop and proceeds to cut three fingers off of one hand while “brushing sawdust away from the blade” of a miter saw. That’s the horror story ending that comes right before the moral of the anti-legalization story: “… this too will spiral out of control. It’s inevitable… it will happen… I guarantee it. I know what dope can do you see”.
I’m so, so glad that we have good upstanding American citizens who are good and kind and wise enough to warn us about this evil weed that has only recently been introduced from the planet Nibiru by hostile space aliens hell bent on destroyin’ us from within.