Big Head Press

L. Neil Smith's
Number 767, April 20, 2014

Anarchists are persons who believe with
all their hearts that governments are
enemies of their own people.

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On Marijuana - "Bungling the Cannabis Story"
by Richard Bartucci

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Attribute to L. Neil Smith's The Libertarian Enterprise

There has recently been a helluva lot of noise in the lamestream media about what's supposed to be "proof" of central nervous system (CNS) pathology associated with recreationally smoking marijuana [Breiter, Gilman et al. JNeurosci, 2014 Apr 9;34(15):5385-95]. Is this a horse to be ridden or horseshit to be shoveled out the door?

We all know that the anointed and established "press"—the chittering root weevils who are privileged (and lusting to be exclusively licensed) as the arbiters of Truth in our republic—consists overwhelmingly of guys and gals who spent their college years strenuously avoiding anything that remotely resembled any of the "hard" sciences, and whose great priority in grabbing eyeballs is, in the words of Lt. Gen. Nathan Bedford Forest, to "Get 'em skeered and keep the skeer on 'em."

As they keep proving with regard to the preposterous bogosity of the "Man-Made Global Climate Change" fraud, they're not only flagrant liars but also contemptible and commonly hysterical fucktards when it comes to the honest consideration of mensurable phenomena in the universe all around us, so they've gone predictably into Drug Warrior mode over cranial nuclear magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) findings discerned from this very small prospective study (40 subjects only, 20 young adult "casual" marijuana users and 20 age- and sex-matched nonusers).

Despite the press release from the Society for Neuroscience regarding this article, the changes in brain anatomy imaged on these MRI scans were not correlated with pathology of any kind, nor were the authors able to provide any evidence-supported contention that the changes noted in their "user" populations can be related reliably to any dysfunction of clinical significance,

MedPage is an information service for physicians originating out of the medical school at the University of Pennsylvania in Philly, and I've found it a useful "push" when it comes to surveilling stuff that patients are getting by way of both the broadcast media and the Internet. In his Web Log (Striking a Nerve: "Bungling the Cannabis Story"), John Gever (MedPage deputy managing editor) has written an intelligible layman's-level consideration of Breiter et al to shake out the chaff and squash the "skeer" without losing what's potentially valuable in the work accomplished by the investigators. Gever observes that:

...the study did not identify any cognitive or behavioral abnormalities in the cannabis users versus controls—it was strictly an MRI study.

That, however, didn't stop senior author Hans Breiter, MD, of Northwestern from opining in the [Society for Neuroscience] press release that the study "raises a strong challenge to the idea that casual marijuana use isn't associated with bad consequences."

Um, no, it doesn't—not without before-and-after MRI scans showing brain structure changes in users that differ from nonusers and documentation of functional impairments associated with those changes.

Because so much of "Big Science" is funded directly or indirectly by government grants-in-aid and other financial support extorted from the productive sector of American society, investigators and administrators dependent upon the prevailing wind from Mordor-on-the-Potomac will ever and always trim their sails to suit the political putridity, whatever it is.

The "War on (Some) Drugs" being the driving force between so much budgeting and megalomania (not to mention so many fuddy-duddy jobs in the law-enforcement growth industry), it's inevitable that the Ur-message to come from fodder-choppers like Dr. Breiter would support the production of much rent-seeking horseshit.

As our Mr. Smith is fond of observing:

To politicians, solved problems represent a dire threat—of unemployment and poverty. That's why no problem ever tackled by the government has ever been solved. What they want is lots of problems they can promise to solve, so that we'll keep electing them—or letting them keep their jobs in a bureaucracy metastasizing like cancer.

The author is a physician living in New Jersey

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