THE BLOG
07/31/2007 08:20 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Media Marijuana Mania Part Duh

Ok, this is getting really tiresome. Earlier this week, I debunked media coverage that claimed that marijuana increases risk of schizophrenia by 40% -- but none of the media bothered to mention that despite massive increases in marijuana use, schizophrenia rates have not increased.

Comes now a new study claiming that one joint is as bad for your lungs as five cigarettes. Comes now another flood of "reporting " that fails, once again, to raise and answer the question readers are most likely to consider when they read the story.

Leave aside for a moment the fact that the vast majority of marijuana smokers don't even use one whole joint daily-- compared to an average 20-40 a day for cigarette smokers. Leave aside the fact that even most daily smokers of marijuana tend to do this for a few years-- not the 20-40 years seen with cigarette smokers.

Could the reporters at least mention that research looking explicitly for a conclusive link between marijuana and lung cancer HAS REPEATEDLY FAILED TO FIND ONE???

And that studies looking for an impact on mortality related to marijuana use also do not find that? Every time researchers have done studies using various forms of methodology looking for connections between tobacco smoking and lung cancer and tobacco smoking and death, the link has been there and been strong. The studies on this question on marijuana-- when it is smoked without tobacco-- do not find a positive correlation. In fact, one found a slight negative one-- suggesting that marijuana users could actually be *less likely* than non-users to get lung cancer.

Is it really too much to ask that reporters use PubMed-- or even Google, for goodness sake-- to look at the literature before they write their drug scare stories? Is it really too much to ask them to think-- hmm, what is this study reminding me of, but not mentioning that might be worth noting? Oh yeah, people think of "lung cancer" when they think of smoking-- wonder whether pot causes that. Might be a good idea to look it up. Nah, too busy. Let me read another press release from the government.

And people wonder why there is so much mistrust of the media!!!!