The study must be taken at face value. No causal link is established, yet. It could just as well be said that subtle symptoms of mental instability may be causing the sufferer to turn to recreational drugs. the authors even say as much:
"They add that as the study is a cohort study it is not possible to determine whether alcohol or substance abuse actually causes the increased risk of schizophrenia. It is possible that people who are likely to develop schizophrenia are then more likely to abuse substances, and/or that people could be susceptible to both substance abuse and developing schizophrenia. The authors' analysis of the data suggest all these explanations are possible, and they conclude the relationship between schizophrenia and substance abuse is highly complex."
This study in no way settles the science issues. For one, this is not the first time a medical research made a connection between marijuana and psychotic mental illness. But other studies failed to establish more than a connection. We must first determine a causal link. Does pot or liquor make illness more probable? Or perhaps the slightly ill person seeks to quietly self-medicate the annoying symptoms through these recreational drugs?
Self medicating is always a bad treatment plan, because it hides the progression of the underlying disorder. It just makes the symptoms less noticable. Sort of like taking an asperin might numb your headache, while the aneurysm in your brain grows larger (and eventually explodes, killing you instantly).
Just as doctors currently have authority to prescribe very beneficial, yet dangerous drugs like Morphine and Ritalin; Drugs like Cannabis should be treated as far less dangerous than liquor (which kills far more than other recreational drugs.)
Schizophrenia is a serious problem. it hits twice as many people as Alzheimers, and onset is usually in early adulthood, whereas Alzheimers is largely a geriatric disease.
In full disclosure, it needs to be said that many prescription drugs carry far worse risks, and your own doctor should have the legal authority to prescribe medications which address an eminent health crisis, even though a risk is associated with it. For this reason, SoonerPolitics' publisher fully supports the Medical Marijuana state question which will be presented to the voters in an upcoming state election.
Opinion of the Editor
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David Van Risseghem is the Director of Sooner Politics.org. The resource is committed to informing & mobilizing conservative Oklahomans for civic reform. This endeavor seeks to utilize the efforts of all cooperative facets of the Conservative movement...