« Comment | Main | Inconvenient Truth 2 »

June 25, 2006

Inconvenient Truth

Inconvenient Truth I’ve often mentioned how an early understanding that all candidates for a pot recommendation were already chronic users led me to  screen them with a standardized interview specifically designed to explore not only whatever medical benefits they were deriving from their pot use, but also to identify and sort out whatever common factors might have induced them to become chronic users in the first place.  

It’s now been over four years since that project began and enough of the data accumulated from interviews has been entered into a modern relational database to establish that not only have virtually all of them experienced substantial benefits from their prolonged  illegal self-medication, but also to develop a tentative user ‘profile’ explaining how the current illegal commodity market  for ‘marijuana’ has grown steadily to its present dimensions over the past four decades despite unparalleled police efforts to ‘control’ it.

Beyond that; the unexpectedly complex and changing initiation patterns exhibited by the study population for a menu of other drugs, including alcohol and tobacco, also allows a tentative understanding that all repetitive use of any psychotropic agent may be rooted in a common need to self medicate. Although beyond the scope of the current data to establish with certainty,  that possibility offers a more coherent explanation of the government’s own annual surveys than ‘gateway,’ and also establishes how the gateway hypothesis was arrived at.

Which brings me to the next point: aside from chronic pot use, another behavioral phenomenon I’ve had to explain was the irrational, yet amazingly uniform, rejection by 'reformers' of  a study I thought they would have both understood and supported. Unfortunately, the best explanation of that particular phenomenon seems to be that— just like pot smoking itself—  denial of unpleasant reality is yet another form of human behavior which is both  more common and more characteristic of our species than most of us  seem either able to realize or willing to admit.

It further appears that the need to deny unpleasant (‘inconvenient’) reality may well be our species’ most pervasive and dangerous weakness; one which most accurately reflects not only why American (and global)  illegal drug markets have grown to their current dimensions, but also why so many of the political problems of our increasingly crowded and interdependent planet seem further beyond solution than ever.

In other words,  the implications of ‘inconvenient truth’ may be far more profound than the producers of Al Gore’s movie realize.  

An amazing thing just happened in real time: as I was doing the final checks on the entry, I checked my email (it’s Sunday morning) and immediately encountered a  fascinating article in today’s NYT Magazine; one I’ve only had a chance to skim, but already know I’ll be parsing in detail for quite some time...

Doctor Tom

Posted by tjeffo at June 25, 2006 09:26 PM