Bad science, and really bad reporting

Note: An article about this very study was published in the News-Gazette this week. The paper uncritically reports on this sort of flaky stuff, but rarely notes any of the numerous much more rigorous studies that suggest significant medical benefits from cannabis, because those contradict the N-G Editorial Board's assertion that cannabis has no medical value.

by Pete Guither

So, of course, everyone in the media has been gushing about the study that proves that even casual pot smoking damages the brain. Of course, that’s not even close to what the study showed, even if you accept the study itself as legitimate.

The people who really know, know better.

Here’s John Gever, Deputy Managing Editor, MedPage Today: Striking a Nerve: Bungling the Cannabis Story

Correlation does not equal causation, and a single exam cannot show a trend over time. Basic stuff, right?

But judging by coverage of a study just out in the Journal of Neuroscience, these are apparently foreign concepts for many folks in the media. [...]

Study: Medical Marijuana Legalization Doesn’t Lead to More Crime

by Thomas H. Clarke

Researchers Say Decriminalizing Medicinal Use May Even Reduce Homicide, Assault Rates

DALLAS, TX – Long before Washington and Colorado legalized pot for recreational use, opponents to marijuana legalization were arguing that allowing marijuana for medicinal purposes would result in higher rates of crime and delinquency. But a new study by researchers at the University of Texas at Dallas determined that not to be the case.

In fact, researchers say, decriminalizing marijuana may actually reduce violent crime rates.

“The main finding is that we found no increase in crime rates resulting from medical marijuana legalization,” explained Dr. Robert Morris, associate professor of criminology and lead author of the study, which was recently published in the journal PLOS ONE. “In fact, we found some evidence of decreasing rates of some types of violent crime, namely homicide and assault.”

The Symbolism of One Adjunct Professor's Death

by Jim Hightower

Margaret Mary Vojtko, fall 2008. (Photo courtesy Joseph Ball/Off the Bluff)

If one obscure college professor dies, does it make any difference? If you're Margaret Mary Vojtko, yes.

Margaret Mary died last summer at age 83 — and her death has turned her name into an emotional rallying cry for adjunct college teachers who're seeking justice from their schools.

Finding Populism Today

by Jim Hightower

Mass movements don't just appear out of the fog, fully grown, structured and mobilized. They emerge in fits and starts over many years, just as the American Revolution did, and as did the Populists' original idea of a "cooperative commonwealth." A successful people's movement has to take the long view, to learn about itself as it builds, nurture the culture of its people, take chances, create fun for all involved, adapt to failures and successes, stay steadfast to its principles, have a stoic tenacity — and organize, organize, organize. A little serendipity helps, too, so grab it when you can.

Starving College Students and the Shredded Social Contract

by Michelle Goldberg

If you want to know why millennials are far more economically liberal than other generations, consider the news that colleges have started opening on-campus food banks to keep their students from going hungry.

Dozens of food pantries are “cropping up at colleges across the country in recent years as educators acknowledge the struggles many students face as the cost of getting a higher education continues to soar,” the Associated Press reported this weekend. Tuition alone, the article notes, “has become a growing burden, rising 27 percent at public colleges and 14 percent at private schools in the past five years, according to the College Board. Add in expenses for books, housing and other necessities of college life and some are left to choose between eating and learning.”

Dr. Gupta: 'I am doubling down' on medical marijuana

By Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN Chief Medical Correspondent

Editor's note: Don't miss "Weed 2: Cannabis Madness: Dr. Sanjay Gupta Reports," at 10 p.m. ET on Tuesday. Also, Dr. Gupta will be answering your questions on Reddit at noon ET Friday.

(CNN) -- It's been eight months since I last wrote about medical marijuana, apologizing for having not dug deeply into the beneficial effects of this plant and for writing articles dismissing its potential. I apologized for my own role in previously misleading people, and I feel very badly that people have suffered for too long, unable to obtain the legitimate medicine that may have helped them.

I have been reminded that a true and productive scientific journey involves a willingness to let go of established notions and get at the truth, even if it is uncomfortable and even it means having to say "sorry."

Suffering? Well, You Deserve It

by Chris Hedges

People wait in line to enter the Northern Brooklyn Food Stamp and DeKalb Job Center in New York City in 2012. (Photo: AP/Mark Lennihan)

OXFORD, England—The morning after my Feb. 20 debate at the Oxford Union, I walked from my hotel along Oxford’s narrow cobblestone streets, past its storied colleges with resplendent lawns and Gothic stone spires, to meet Avner Offer, an economic historian and Chichele Professor Emeritus of Economic History.

Marijuana – Positive Drug Tests not Associated with Elevated Risk of Workplace Accidents

By Paul Armentano |  NORML Deputy Director

EVANSVILLE, IN — Past use of cannabis, as identified by the presence of the inert carboxy THC metabolite on a standard urine test, is not positively associated with workplace accidents, according to data published online in the Journal of Addictive Diseases.

The study’s author assessed whether there exists a statistical association between marijuana use and work related accidents by comparing the proportion of cannabis positive urine specimens for post-accident verses random samples in a cohort of employees from five states (Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri, Ohio, and Pennsylvania).

“This study fell short of finding an association between marijuana use and involvement of workplace accidents,” the author concluded.

National Epilepsy Foundation Calls for Increased Access to Medical Marijuana

By Thomas H. Clarke |  The Daily Chronic

"If an epilepsy patient and their doctor feel that marijuana is their best treatment option then they need to have safe, legal access to medical marijuana and they need that access now," the National Epilepsy Foundation says, calling on the DEA to allow research and clinical trials

WASHINGTON, DC — Citing the injustice that patients in many states are being denied treatment that is available to patients in others, the National Epilepsy Foundation called on federal and state governments this week to increase medical marijuana access and research.

Broken Democracy: Republicans Poised to Take Senate Even as Americans Reject Their Platform

by Juan Cole

A lot of political analysts think it is entirely possible that the Republicans will take the senate next November. This development won’t change much, in all likelihood, if it does occur. The Republican majority in the House of Representatives can already block most legislation, and in 2013 it dedicated itself the the proposition that the country must be punished for re-electing Barack Obama, by being denied virtually any new needed legislation at all. The Republicans won’t have a two-thirds majority in the Senate, and so won’t be able to over-rule an Obama veto.

What is odd, and damning of the current American political system, is that the Republican Party’s major platform positions are roundly rejected by the American people. That is, they are ideologically a minority party. And yet they manage to win elections.

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