Thursday, July 26, 2007

The Dangers of Pot

Pot may hike risk of psychosis, research finds (MSNBC)

OK. From the article:

“The strongest case is that there are consistencies across all of the studies,” and that the link was seen only with psychoses — not anxiety, depression or other mental health problems, he said.

Note though...

Scientists cannot rule out that pre-existing conditions could have led to both marijuana use and later psychoses, he added.

That's OK. For now, let's assume pot causes *all* the increase...
The scientists found a more disturbing outlook for “heavy users” of pot, those who used it daily or weekly: Their risk for psychosis jumped to a range of 50 percent to 200 percent.
WOW!!!! 200%!!! Still, let's assume pot causes *all* that increase, and it causes the full freakin' 200%.

So what are the risks in plain english:

They found that people who used marijuana had roughly a 40 percent higher chance of developing a psychotic disorder later in life. The overall risk remains very low.

For example, Zammit said the risk of developing schizophrenia for most people is less than 1 percent. The prevalence of schizophrenia is believed to be about five in 1,000 people.

Nope. I'm gonna stick with the 200% for the sake of this analysis. 40% or 50% is playing it too safe. "Think of the children ()", after all...

If the normal rate of psychosis is 1% of the population (though 5 of 1000 people is actually 1/2 of 1% or 0.5%), heavy use doubles (as in: increases by 200%) the lifetime risk of developing psychosis to...


...well, actually 2 times (1/2 of 1%) .5% is....


...which means that for 98% (more likely 99%) there's no psychological worries. Period. That's what they said.

And back to the first paragraph quoted: the link was *only* seen with psychoses, and *not* seen with anxiety, depression or other mental health problems (emphasis mine) In other words, that's *all* the damage smokin' dope does (at worst, and only maybe), just the puny noted raise in psychosis...

...which means this article is very much scaremongering ado about not very bloody much.

My thinking is that there is not a single punishment for the use of, or a method of policing to prevent the use of, pot that doesn't cause way more freakin' problems to the user and/or society than even heavy use of the drug itself.

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