Researchers based out of James Cook University in Queensland, Australia have been doing some research into cannabis use among the Aboriginal population in the far northern, tropical area of Cape York. The researchers reported their findings at the Tropical Medical Conference in Cairnes last weekend. The researchers stated, presumably with straight faces, that marijuana was causing a 50% rate of mental illness in the Aborigine community. This is like hitting someone with an axe and determining death was caused by their resultant fall to the ground.
The study, if one can call it that, is part of the Cape York Cannabis Project: “a part of the Weed it out initiative run by the Queensland Police Service and James Cook University, the aim of which is to promote Indigenous community action to reduce harms associated with heavy cannabis use in remote communities in the Cape York region.”
The basis of the scientific method is basically: 1. coming up with an idea, 2. testing that idea using experiments and observations and 3. comparing those results to your original idea in order to see if it is valid. On the other hand, there is propaganda: coming up with an idea and then selectively pulling or inventing information that backs your idea in order to make it believable. Which of these two do you think applies to a “study” funded by an anti-cannabis police initiative? The outcome and findings were never in question, thus the findings aren’t scientifically valid. The fact that the spurious results are even getting media attention does a disservice to humanity.
JCU Assoc. Prof. Alan Clough headed the “research” team along with associate Dr. India Bohanna. They determined that, since 50% of the population surveyed reported using marijuana, and 50% of the individuals were reported to have at least one symptom of mental illness, pot was causing the illness.
OH REALLY? So, let’s see: the Australian aborigines, the original inhabitants of the Australian continent, have (since the British colonized Oz in 1788) had their homeland effectively stolen, their culture brutally discouraged, been massacred, and had their children stolen from them, and have a life expectancy 17 years shorter than the average white Aussie, have a high incidence of mental illness because they use cannabis?
Mr. Clough and Ms. Bohanna were both paid to come up with that exact result, and I hope they were paid well to mortgage their professional reputations, because no one can take anything they publish seriously ever again after that preposterous claim.