[Neuroscience] Re: Cannabis and the Brain: A User's Guide

John H. via neur-sci%40net.bio.net (by j_hasenkam from yahoo.com.au)
Tue Nov 27 19:29:50 EST 2007

On Nov 27, 10:52 pm, "Glen M. Sizemore" <gmsizemo... from yahoo.com> wrote:

Hey Glen,

I appreciate your thoughts re stats because I am weak in that area. I
sometimes think there is too much "statistical fundamentalism" in
bioscience. As Steve Jones the geneticist once wrote: "There are two
kinds of scientists: those who use mathematics and those who
understand mathematics." I understand what you are getting at and
agree that the risk is over blown re pot and psychosis. What is
happening in Australia though is that teenagers are taking up the weed
and I do think there is a more significant risk regarding heavy pot
use during the teenage years. (Perspective: Ritalin has a much worse
safety profile.) However the latest stats now show that people in
their 20's are shying away from pot, they seem to prefer the more
moderate use of ecstasy and amphetamines, typically after a hard
week's work they like to play hard on the weekends. No-one really
understand the changes in drug consumption. The irony is that if the
stats are to be believed then the current batch of teenagers face a
far greater risk from brain tumours because of those bloody mobile
phones. Again though, from a very low base.

The sad thing is that exogenous cannabinoids have been ignored as a
therapeutic alternative but show great promise in relation to
dementias, brain injury, various cancers, atherosclerosis,
inflammatory disorders, neuropathic pain and possibly even epilepsy.
No need to get stoned, the principle benefit is arising predominantly
from CB2 receptors, mostly on microglia and immune cells, and
cannabidiol, which has bugger all if any affinity for the psychoactive
CB1, is as good as THC. So here we have an extremely promising, very
safe, non-psychoactive substance being ignored because of guilt by
association. It's like hanging out with a behaviorist at a psychology

Be well,

> "John H." <j_hasen... from yahoo.com.au> wrote in message
> news:58d35f79-b9da-484b-8325-40dbf63b7491 from b40g2000prf.googlegroups.com...
> > Hey Peter,
> > I used to reject the cannabis-psychosis link but the data on that
> > seems to firm up.
> Hi John,
> It is worth asking yourself, when you look at data like these, how big the
> effect really is. Remember, as N gets larger, the size of the effect that is
> detectable gets smaller and smaller. So, what is often praised (large N)
> probably needs to be rethought, though this is very unlikely to happen
> anytime soon (though there seems to be growing insistence on within-subjects
> comparisons where possible, though the reliance is still on statistical
> inference). Also remember, if one person out of 100,000 becomes psychotic
> normally, and among pot smokers it is three out of 100,000, the newspaper
> headlines will read "SMOKING POT TRIPLES RISK OF PSYCHOSIS!" Obviously,
> while true, your chance of becoming psychotic is very small. You probably
> know all this stuff (and you do point out, below, that the risk is low)  but
> it doesn't hurt to be reminded, and I can't help but take every opportunity
> to denigrate null-hypothesis statistical testing. And, incidentally, this
> does not mean that one cannot do between-groups experiments. In the lab
> where I was trained, between-group experiments were nonexistent. Later, they
> started asking questions that could only be investigated using
> between-groups experiments. They might have six subjects in each group; if
> you get five in one group that shows an effect and, say, one in the other,
> you start to think you are on to something, though six and zero is better.
> Needless to say, an ANOVA would show this to be "highly significant," but at
> that point who gives a shit? On the other hand, if you have 25 subjects in
> each group and obtain a significant p-value, the "effect" could be quite
> trivial, even if replicated.
> >Moreover I've known a few people who have had
> > sufficiently severe psychotic episodes that they have sworn off the
> > weed forever. Another toke and they just sit in a corner losing their
> > religion.  This does relate to heavy and sustained use, and the risk
> > is still rather low. Work and associated stress, living in or working
> > in CBDs(pollution), does more health damage than pot ever could. In my
> > view a good puff once a week is a very good way to ward off dementias.
> > The evidence on this is much stronger than the cannabis-psychosis link
> > but of course you won't see that evidence plastered over the front
> > pages. Gotta keep those peasants working. As Andrew Schmookler wrote,
> > "A man at peace with the world is an instrument of limited utility but
> > frustrate him enough and you can bend him to society's ends." (Parable
> > of the Tribes).
> Marvin Harris' explanation of the witch hunts in Europe relied heavily on
> this notion. Better to be standoffish with respect to others with whom you
> might otherwise bond and join together to exert "countercontrol"; after all,
> instead of bonding they might become pissed at you and tell the authorities
> you are a witch.
> > I don't smoke that much now, in the past I didn't mind because, just
> > to contradict myself, I actually worked quite well while stoned. Too
> > old now, I just wanna sit back and relax but that gets too boring.
> > With discipline thinking on difficult problems while stoned can be
> > productive.
> I have heard this, though, of course, I have never smoked the evil weed!
> <snip>

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