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June 24, 2007

Delusional Thinking in the Land of ED (Personal/Political)

I began screening pot smokers seeking medical recommendations in late 2001 after being recruited by a man who'd been running a "buyers' club" in Oakland for less than a year; I've already explained that although I'd been an activist in the drug policy reform movement for about six years,  I was still a relative stranger to what might be called "pot culture." Little did I realize how that naivete would become both a blessing and a curse.

The blessing was that it allowed me to recognize certain key features in the applicant population that other pot docs had been taking for granted; the curse was that my enthusiastic early reports were seen by many in the movement as evidence I was either greedy or gullible and, in either case, couldn't be trusted. The blessing was that I was then left strictly alone to develop a study which, had it been endorsed by others, might easily have been knocked off track.

This way, it's all mine.

Those same considerations have also allowed me to realize that I couldn't have changed that outcome for the simple reason that I had first  to learn two things that couldn't have been known in advance: 1) all applicants were already chronic users; 2) one's birth year is a critical element in determining whether one will ever become a pot smoker at all. That's because trying pot early; either during adolescence or by one's early Twenties, seems an almost essential requirement for later chronic use, and large scale youthful initiation of pot didn't begin until the baby boomers born right after World War Two began coming of age in the late Sixties. Additionally; each subsequent cohort of pot smokers born after the first has had distinctly different experiences with alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs. In other words, there has been an important, but relatively unnoticed, evolution within the aging (and now huge) illegal pot market that has grown steadily since the first Nixon Administration suddenly expanded drug prohibition from a quietly failing federal policy into a drug war.

The confusion referred to in the title refers to our beliefs about what is meant by  "recreational" and "medical" drug use, as well as our acceptance of the notion that designating certain immigrants and drug imports as "illegal" will "control" them. Just as delusional may be our  beliefs that we have time to deal with global warming in a context where NASCAR is still a growth sport,  that (eventual) cuts in petroleum consumption will be enough to prevent inundation of our coastal cities, and all "nano" phenomena  are potentially helpful.

Doctor Tom

Posted by tjeffo at June 24, 2007 07:37 PM