Thursday, July 13, 2006

Still no cure for cancer

Pot may indeed lead to heroin use, rat study shows

Whoa!! Hang on there, Nelly! I think they are making some very broad assumptions and drawing some off-the-wall conclusions from this study!

They took some teenaged rats (teenaged being a developmental stage, not age) and administered some of them doses of THC and some got none. Then, they fit them all with catheters where they can give themselves heroin or not, and they can control the amount.

The rats conditions with THC gave themselves more heroin than the "straight" rats. This is supposed to prove that pot may lead to heroin use in people? pthhhhtt!! Silliness!

First of all, THEY gave them the THC doses, they administered the drugs, which, first of all, turned the rats into drug users (without being given a choice in the matter), and raised their their tolerance for drugs.

OK, they've been forcedly given a drug for a period of time, then they are catheterized and given the option of another drug (and these are LABORATORY RATS, remember... not people) and the results of this experiment are relelvant to the experiences of a human teenager in society with free will plus the whole bundle of issues surrounding drugs including parental guidance (pro and con), social norms (pro and con), personal ethics and beliefs, and knowledge of the law and repercussions of breaking the law? Those things are not factored in here whatsoever.

Pot is illegal, heroin is illegal, and so exposure to both substances may happen in the same places. Not like booze, if you go in a bar and have a nice legal beer it's probably unlikely that you will encounter heroin. How about this: condition the teenaged rats with booze, then offer the heroin and see if your results are any different. Does this mean booze leads to heroin? How about tobacco? Or aspirin? Does that lead to rats giving themselves extra heroin? Try putting vitamins in the catheter. I'll bet the doped rats turn into "health nuts".

How about this: make pot as legal as booze, and see how it affects use of harder (still illegal) drugs. Also, leave the rats the hell alone.


Ptelea said...

This bothers me a lot, as well. We are bombarded with what I call these 'junk or pop' science conclusions. No reputable scientist would ever make this kind of statement. The studies behind them may or may not be scientifically valid. As a scientist, I recommend that you ignore all of them! You need to go to the source of the study and find a peer-reviewed article in a reputable scientific journal(if you can even find one). I guarantee that this would not be light reading and certainly wouldn't lend itself to some simple statement like, "pot use leads rats/teenage humans to herion use." It certainly gives science a bad name. This study seems, on the surface, to be ridiculous from the get go - hardly worth the torture of innocent rats!

Blueberry said...

Agreed! Good points all. I'm certainly not a scientist but I do look at things skeptically and hate to see conclusions like this drawn so quickly (or at all!!). If this study shows anything, it might be that creatures develope drug tolerance and need more for the same effect (well, duh!), and that this is truly pointless animal abuse.

Coeur Mechant said...

In my view, the most dangerous thing about pot is that it's lumped in with other drugs that are far more dangerous. Someone tries pot and doesn't see what the big deal is all about. That person then figures that cocaine or heroin can't be that dangerous, either.

I think that scientific studies lead to a lack of common sense.