Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Who are the medicinal cannabis users?

11 Responses

  • linger,

    The combination of (online questionnaire delivery) + (higher-than-average earners) + (knowledgeable about the topic) suggests a likely bias in the survey responses towards the educated middle class, and so (much as the results indicate) directed away from the stereotypical cannabis user. (Though specifically medicinal use should also skew older and, as a result, higher-income, anyway.)
    But the problem then is the lack of reliable data to correct such a bias. Historical arrest statistics, for example, are certainly biased in their own right (away from educated middle-class users), and form a large part of what created the stereotype in the first place, so we should not be surprised if the two sources don’t agree.

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1885 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford,

    Someone I’ve known all my life is using cannabis while the onset of some sort of dementia is becoming observable. The cannabis is being claimed by the older person, as an explanation for the bewilderment. Such as, “please excuse my dithering around trying to figure out how to make this cup of tea, I just finished smoking a joint”.

    This is the sort of research I would be very interested in reading; the medical value of cannabis to the elderly who have already begun to loose their marbles.

    Its early days, so I’d be very surprised if there is much known about that yet.

    Atlantis • Since Nov 2006 • 4163 posts Report Reply

  • linger, in reply to steven crawford,

    So what you’re describing is a coping mechanism whereby the cannabis allows some plausible deniability regarding the dementia?
    That may well be of some psychological benefit, but most researchers would hesitate to assign “medical value” on that basis alone.

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1885 posts Report Reply

  • Shane Le Brun, in reply to linger,

    I agree RE Bias, as a charity doing things on a shoestring budget calls had to be made, nevertheless the data, while self-selecting is better than the status quo which was absolutely no data on the finer points of use.

    Medical Cannabis research of every kind seems to be thwarted by something or other.
    You cant even blind a trial where THC is involved, 'cause when you on cannabis, you will know about it.....

    Since Mar 2015 • 46 posts Report Reply

  • Smokey Smokersen,

    Somewhere near Wellington… • Since Mar 2019 • 3 posts Report Reply

  • mpledger,

    In this article, where the survey wasn't about medicinal cannabis,
    https://www.nzma.org.nz/__data/assets/pdf_file/0004/49405/Pledger-2069-NZMJ-1433.pdf
    Recreational users were more likely to be younger, male and Maori then medicinal users but males and Maori were still more likely to be medicinal users then females and non-Maori. That kinda makes sense - a person is more likely to use it medicinally if they have had prior experience or have seen other's experience.

    Medicinal users were more likely than recreational users to be on a sickness or invalids benefit but also more likely to be in the least financially deprived category - so it looks like there are at least two different groups of people using. Speculating a bit wildly I would suggest it splits into those who can't afford medicine and those that can't find a medicine that works.

    Upper, middle-class women seem to be more comfortable with alternative medicines across the board so I would expect there to be some cross-over into medicinal cannabis use.

    Since Oct 2012 • 97 posts Report Reply

  • linger, in reply to mpledger,

    at least two different groups of people using

    I think you’re right, medicinal users are more likely to be a collection of clusters than a single homogenous group. Not least because of barriers to access leading to disparate types of cannabis source (as you point out, past recreational users may have an access advantage).
    Corollary 1: different survey techniques / data sources will capture different clusters with different levels of success (resulting in different overall demographic profiles for ethnicity, income, and range of medical conditions cited).
    Corollary 2: we should be very cautious about making generalisations from any one sample. Especially, look for clusterings before calculating averages.

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1885 posts Report Reply

  • Alfie,

    The MoH has just released their consultation document on medicinal cannabis. There's a lot to take in but I see they're suggesting defining any grow under 200 sqm as "small". That's twice the size of our house!

    Dunedin • Since May 2014 • 1376 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to linger,

    Corollary 1: different survey techniques / data sources will capture different clusters with different levels of success (resulting in different overall demographic profiles for ethnicity, income, and range of medical conditions cited).

    There wasn't really a survey technique possible here, it was just a matter of letting people know, in the first place via existing MC networks on Facebook etc. So what we might be getting a picture of is the medicinal cannabis community, as such. Plus my audience :-)

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22743 posts Report Reply

  • linger, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Well, yes; and that social networking approach is the sampling technique in this case. Nothing wrong with that, but it’s better to be explicit about the possible impact when interpreting the results. E.g. more fully networked users (and/or your readers!) are likely to be more knowledgeable about the specifics of compound ratios.

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1885 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Young,

    Bob McCoskrie's doing his yeah but no but routine on medicinal cannabis again: https://www.familyfirst.org.nz/2019/07/medicinal-cannabis-false-hope-for-chronic-pain-sufferers-pain-doctors/

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 547 posts Report Reply

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