Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Who are the medicinal cannabis users?

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  • linger,

    The combination of (online questionnaire delivery) + (higher-than-average earners) + (knowledgeable about the topic) suggests a likely bias in the survey responses towards the educated middle class, and so (much as the results indicate) directed away from the stereotypical cannabis user. (Though specifically medicinal use should also skew older and, as a result, higher-income, anyway.)
    But the problem then is the lack of reliable data to correct such a bias. Historical arrest statistics, for example, are certainly biased in their own right (away from educated middle-class users), and form a large part of what created the stereotype in the first place, so we should not be surprised if the two sources don’t agree.

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1889 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford,

    Someone I’ve known all my life is using cannabis while the onset of some sort of dementia is becoming observable. The cannabis is being claimed by the older person, as an explanation for the bewilderment. Such as, “please excuse my dithering around trying to figure out how to make this cup of tea, I just finished smoking a joint”.

    This is the sort of research I would be very interested in reading; the medical value of cannabis to the elderly who have already begun to loose their marbles.

    Its early days, so I’d be very surprised if there is much known about that yet.

    Atlantis • Since Nov 2006 • 4327 posts Report Reply

  • linger, in reply to steven crawford,

    So what you’re describing is a coping mechanism whereby the cannabis allows some plausible deniability regarding the dementia?
    That may well be of some psychological benefit, but most researchers would hesitate to assign “medical value” on that basis alone.

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1889 posts Report Reply

  • Shane Le Brun, in reply to linger,

    I agree RE Bias, as a charity doing things on a shoestring budget calls had to be made, nevertheless the data, while self-selecting is better than the status quo which was absolutely no data on the finer points of use.

    Medical Cannabis research of every kind seems to be thwarted by something or other.
    You cant even blind a trial where THC is involved, 'cause when you on cannabis, you will know about it.....

    Since Mar 2015 • 47 posts Report Reply

  • Smokey Smokersen,

    Somewhere near Wellington… • Since Mar 2019 • 3 posts Report Reply

  • mpledger,

    In this article, where the survey wasn't about medicinal cannabis,
    https://www.nzma.org.nz/__data/assets/pdf_file/0004/49405/Pledger-2069-NZMJ-1433.pdf
    Recreational users were more likely to be younger, male and Maori then medicinal users but males and Maori were still more likely to be medicinal users then females and non-Maori. That kinda makes sense - a person is more likely to use it medicinally if they have had prior experience or have seen other's experience.

    Medicinal users were more likely than recreational users to be on a sickness or invalids benefit but also more likely to be in the least financially deprived category - so it looks like there are at least two different groups of people using. Speculating a bit wildly I would suggest it splits into those who can't afford medicine and those that can't find a medicine that works.

    Upper, middle-class women seem to be more comfortable with alternative medicines across the board so I would expect there to be some cross-over into medicinal cannabis use.

    Since Oct 2012 • 97 posts Report Reply

  • linger, in reply to mpledger,

    at least two different groups of people using

    I think you’re right, medicinal users are more likely to be a collection of clusters than a single homogenous group. Not least because of barriers to access leading to disparate types of cannabis source (as you point out, past recreational users may have an access advantage).
    Corollary 1: different survey techniques / data sources will capture different clusters with different levels of success (resulting in different overall demographic profiles for ethnicity, income, and range of medical conditions cited).
    Corollary 2: we should be very cautious about making generalisations from any one sample. Especially, look for clusterings before calculating averages.

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1889 posts Report Reply

  • Alfie,

    The MoH has just released their consultation document on medicinal cannabis. There's a lot to take in but I see they're suggesting defining any grow under 200 sqm as "small". That's twice the size of our house!

    Dunedin • Since May 2014 • 1386 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to linger,

    Corollary 1: different survey techniques / data sources will capture different clusters with different levels of success (resulting in different overall demographic profiles for ethnicity, income, and range of medical conditions cited).

    There wasn't really a survey technique possible here, it was just a matter of letting people know, in the first place via existing MC networks on Facebook etc. So what we might be getting a picture of is the medicinal cannabis community, as such. Plus my audience :-)

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22756 posts Report Reply

  • linger, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Well, yes; and that social networking approach is the sampling technique in this case. Nothing wrong with that, but it’s better to be explicit about the possible impact when interpreting the results. E.g. more fully networked users (and/or your readers!) are likely to be more knowledgeable about the specifics of compound ratios.

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1889 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Young,

    Bob McCoskrie's doing his yeah but no but routine on medicinal cannabis again: https://www.familyfirst.org.nz/2019/07/medicinal-cannabis-false-hope-for-chronic-pain-sufferers-pain-doctors/

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 566 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Boden, in reply to Craig Young,

    Bob McCoskrie’s doing his yeah but no but routine on medicinal cannabis again: https://www.familyfirst.org.nz/2019/07/medicinal-cannabis-false-hope-for-chronic-pain-sufferers-pain-doctors/

    It’s starting to look like FF and the National Party are being backed by Pharma, who were the largest financial backers of the anti-cannabis lobby in the US. It’s well past time to have some investigative journalism into the extent to which the Pharma lobby is already at work here.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 87 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Young,

    Apparently, cannabis law reform initiatives are being directly funded by liberal US billionaire George Soros!!! Oh look, everyone... conspiracy theories...: https://www.familyfirst.org.nz/2019/07/george-soros-real-crusade-legalizing-marijuana-in-the-u-s-and-nz/

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 566 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Boden, in reply to Craig Young,

    Apparently, cannabis law reform initiatives are being directly funded by liberal US billionaire George Soros!!! Oh look, everyone… conspiracy theories…: https://www.familyfirst.org.nz/2019/07/george-soros-real-crusade-legalizing-marijuana-in-the-u-s-and-nz/</q>

    Where's my cheque? :D

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 87 posts Report Reply

  • andin, in reply to Joe Boden,

    Its in the mail ;-)

    raglan • Since Mar 2007 • 1882 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Young,

    Family First telling porkies about cannabis psychosis?! Can it be…well, yes, it is: https://thespinoff.co.nz/science/26-07-2019/family-first-rebuked-for-non-fact-based-activity-over-cannabis-psychosis-claims/

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 566 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Boden, in reply to Craig Young,

    Family First telling porkies about cannabis psychosis?! Can it be…well, yes, it is: https://thespinoff.co.nz/science/26-07-2019/family-first-rebuked-for-non-fact-based-activity-over-cannabis-psychosis-claims/

    I got quite a few messages thanking me for that. :D

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 87 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Young,

    Meanwhile, the government is finalising the details of its 2020 cannabis decriminalisation referendum: https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/395503/parliamentary-bill-enables-cannabis-referendum-process

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 566 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace,

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3203 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Young,

    McCoskrie again, scaremongering over cannabis edibles. I think that insuring that these particular formats don't get across the line is reasonable, but it's no real reason for maintaining prohibition:

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 566 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Boden,

    I'm pleased to be able to announce that I have been appointed by the Prime Minister's Chief Science Advisor to the Expert Panel on Cannabis.

    https://www.pmcsa.ac.nz/our-projects/cannabis/

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 87 posts Report Reply

  • andin, in reply to Joe Boden,

    Good news looking forward to the report.

    raglan • Since Mar 2007 • 1882 posts Report Reply

  • andin, in reply to Craig Young,

    So thats McCoskrie in person? Looks and sounds like your average kiwi bloke type, and then the paranoid, scare mongering spouts forth.

    raglan • Since Mar 2007 • 1882 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Young,

    Most health practitioners believe that GPs should be encouraged to prescribe CBD-based cannabinoid medical products: https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12254849&fbclid=IwAR387uYS8JKv3BjFaHpnZbFgNomh1I35o7PpeFqam4z9TmlVyR1s3qxFEIM

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 566 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford, in reply to Craig Young,

    Thanks Craig, thats compounding evidence of how clever Helius Therapeutics executive director Paul Manning is at promoting his brand.

    But it's probably better to make it easy for people to run CBD trials on them selves, just for fun, while the 'evidence based research' is still in its infancy.

    Atlantis • Since Nov 2006 • 4327 posts Report Reply

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