Scratch the Surface of a Weak Harvard Study...
I spied a salacious headline that smacked of propaganda from the UPI, United Press International. It turned out to be mostly a re-write of the summary page from study posted by the Journal of the American Medical Association.
STRANGE STUDY, THOUGH...
Not only does the "Harvard study" NOT contain any real news, but the primary QUESTION & GOALS are plain odd:
“What are the risks and benefits of obtaining a medical marijuana card for adults who seek medical marijuana for pain, insomnia, and anxiety or depressive symptoms?”
And the primary goal(s) of the "Harvard study": to assess
The effect of cannabis on targeted symptoms and
... “Particularly the development of cannabis use disorder (CUD).”
We'll get to "cannabis' effectiveness of cannabis on targeted symptoms" in a moment, but first, let's be clear that the parameters of "cannabis use disorder" are so vague and subjective as to be akin to cannabis' continued inclusion on Schedule 1 of the DEA's Schedule of Controlled Substances. In other words, largely hooey.
I’m no Harvard scientist but I could have saved them some time about addiction. It is well known that about 9% of people who use cannabis are likely to become addicted. We know this from the Center from Disease Control and the National Institute on Drug Abuse, but you can poke around any of a number of sites trafficking in the same data set, articles from 2011, etc.
It therefore defies belief that the Harvard study purports to have revealed a 50% rate of reported cannabis use disorder symptoms. It's so far out of the realm of reality that one must consider some fault in the study, the data... something went wrong. Welp, plenty went wrong with this study, as you'll soon see.
But before we move on from "cannabis use disorder" let's recall which (totally legal) substances are REAL KILLERS:
We also know that “Smoking cigarettes is the cause of over 480,000 deaths every year in the United States” and that
And don’t get me started on opiates, which killed 100,000 Americans last year.
But the one thing you won’t find in this study or any other, is overdose statistics on cannabis, because it has failed to kill anyone by overdose in 12,000 years.
STRANGE STUDY, THOUGH...
#1: Not only was this "Harvard study" limited in its scope, and twisted in its findings, but it was also limited by the number of participants – a grand total of 186, in Massachusetts, over three years.
Here’s what they did: they divided their 186 people into 2 groups. Group 1 was given medical cards right away. The Group 2 was asked to wait 12 weeks to get their cards.
During that 12-week period, they found more cannabis use disorder in the group that got access to cannabis vs. those that didn’t.
Is that a Harvard-level conclusion? I doubt it very much.
#2: The "Patients" in the "study" self-reported to be suffering from chronic pain, insomnia, anxiety or depression.
You got that? Self-reported symptoms. In other words, the patients told the doctors what was wrong with them, and the doctors believed them.
Is that Harvard-quality medicine? I doubt it very much.
#3: And back to the "EFFECTIVENESS OF CANNABIS IN TREATING SYMPTOMS", the "Harvard study" also found that, except for the insomniacs, the cannabis didn’t work.
Gee, why could that be?
“Participants from both groups could choose their cannabis products, dose, and frequency of use …” And here’s a kicker: “…all participants could choose a variety of cannabis products with input from licensed medical marijuana dispensaries or elsewhere.”
Got that? THE "HARVARD STUDY" FEATURED:
NO CONTROLS ON PATIENT DIAGNOSES; AND
NO CONTROLS ON THE MEDICATION.
... AND YET THE CLAIM IS THAT THE MEDICATION DIDN'T WORK.
Cannabis has been legal for medicinal use for more than 25 years hardly and this is the best that THE ANTI-CANNABIS PROPAGANDA MACHINE can come up with?