Reefer Madness Redux

Time for another dose of post hoc ergo what the fuck from bAdmin (via U.S. News & World Report):

Today the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy sent out a clear message on teen pot use and depression: They’re a bad combination. Issuing a report that analyzes around a dozen studies about marijuana use and mental health, the policy office warned that teens who use marijuana to “self-medicate” may worsen their underlying depression or other mental health issues.

But what do people who actually know what the hell they’re talking about have to say? In brief, “Dude, shut up”:

The report, entitled “Teen Marijuana Use Worsens Depression: An Analysis of Recent Data Shows ‘Self-Medicating’ Could Actually Make Thing Worse,” cites statistics to support its warning message, but experts are quick to note that it should be interpreted with caution. For example, the report’s statement, “One 16-year study showed that individuals who were not depressed and then used marijuana were four times more likely to be depressed at follow-up,” suggests marijuana might cause depression. That data from a 2001 study in the American Journal of Psychiatry was only statistically meaningful after the researchers adjusted for variables including age, gender, and antisocial symptoms, suggesting a weaker relationship between depression and marijuana before adjustments were made.

Here’s the thing. There’s a positive correlation between how much you have to play with your data and the likelihood that your data is crap. If you take that data and use it to prove anything, there’s a 100% chance that you’re a cretin. Even John Walters, director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy doesn’t catapult the propaganda with as much enthusiasm as is fitting for a full fledged BushBot:

“Adolescent marijuana use may be a factor that triggers psychosis, depression, and other mental illness,” says Walters, acknowledging that “research about causality is still ongoing.”

May? Ongoing? Tsk, tsk. But at least he threw the p-word in there to scare the shit out of everyone with visions of axe wielding teen skunkweed huffers roaming the streets.

Meanwhile, the Brits hate children:

“This very week the British government’s official scientific advisors on illegal drugs issued a report saying they are ‘unconvinced that there is a causal relationship between the use of cannabis and any affective disorder,’ such as depression.” [Bruce Mirken, director of communications at The Marijuana Project ] takes issue with the lack of warning about alcohol’s relationship to depression. “Data linking alcohol to depression is much stronger and alcohol use by teens is greater than marijuana use,” he notes.

O poo, you dirty hippy! I bet you objected to Joe Camel and Spuds MacKenzie.

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