How can you debunk alleged cannabis harms? If people with PhDs say cannabis is harmful, should we accept that? Or are these “public health” concerns more akin to proclamations by the Church?
Donald Trump signed the 2018 Farm Bill five years ago that legalized many cannabinoids, including CBD. Since then, it’s been a wild west of a market. Some sketchy manufacturers will produce delta-8 THC in not-so-legitimate ways, leading to poisoning and even death.
This has worried the “progressive” busybody public health warriors about cannabis legalization.
They’ll refer to research that suggests smoking cannabis is more dangerous than smoking tobacco. Or that legal states equal more children accidentally ingesting edibles. That legal states also mean growing asthma rates in teens and young adults.
Some even go as far as to link cannabis with increased risks of depression and suicide. And, of course, we have our obligatory “driving on cannabis will kill you” studies.
We’ve outlined before ten reasons why most cannabis research is false. When public health refers to “evidence-based” approaches and “scientific studies,” you can be sure they’re referring to the Science™.
What’s the difference between science and Science™? Distinguishing between these two is crucial when learning to debunk alleged cannabis harms.
Alleged Cannabis Harms Debunked
You can learn how to debunk alleged cannabis harms from how bad some of the research methods are.
For example, most cannabis research is observational, which is low-quality and establishes no causation. Observational research essentially confirms the bias of whoever is doing the research.
As mentioned in the other post, replicating findings in other studies is critical. Take smoking cannabis, for example. Public health will promote the “it’s worse than tobacco” study until their face turns blue.
But what about the recent research indicating the risk from cannabis smoke is overblown?
Which study is more accurate? And why? The answer to this question is how we debunk alleged cannabis harms.
In Against Method, philosopher Paul Feyerabend argued that it was a myth to believe there exists a single scientific method that we can use to uncover truths in all scientific fields.
Instead, he claimed that science’s success is due to various factors, including experimentation, conjecture, and the influence of cultural, political, and economic factors.
He also asserted that scientific theories are incommensurable, meaning we cannot directly compare them or even evaluate against them each other. That there is no way to determine which view was more accurate.
Feyerabend argued for an anarchistic approach to scientific knowledge, where various methods and perspectives are allowed to coexist and interact. To debunk cannabis’ alleged harms, we’ll need to examine Feyerabend’s argument more closely.
What Would Feyerabend Say?
In Against Method, Feyerabend argues:
- The idea of a single scientific method that applies to all scientific disciplines is a myth.
- Scientific theories are incommensurable, meaning they cannot be directly compared or evaluated against each other.
- Scientific theories and methods are influenced by cultural, political, and economic factors and by chance events.
- Experimentation is not the only way to validate scientific theories; sometimes, it can lead to bias and error.
- Science does not progress through the cumulative accumulation of evidence and knowledge but rather through a process of revolutionary change in which new theories replace old ones.
- There is no way to determine which scientific theory is “truer,” as truth is not an absolute value but a matter of convention.
- The scientific enterprise would benefit from a more anarchistic approach, where various methods and perspectives can coexist and interact.
- The scientific community tends to suppress alternative and unconventional ideas, leading to a lack of creativity and scientific progress.
The scientific method is not a fixed and universal procedure. It is flexible and has a variable set of practices and procedures that vary significantly between different scientific fields. And even within a single field.
No one method can be considered the “right” or “correct” way to do science. Each scientific theory operates within its unique framework of concepts and assumptions; we cannot directly translate these frameworks or compare them to those of other theories.
According to Feyerabend, this incommensurability makes it impossible to determine which theory is “truer” or more accurate, as there is no standard measure or criteria by which scientists can evaluate.
Feyreabend argues that the choice between theories is a matter of convention. One that’s influenced by cultural, political, and economic factors.
This idea of incommensurability challenges the very foundation of Science™ as practiced by our wise overlords. Heaven forbid science becomes a fluid and dynamic process where different theories can compete and coexist.
Money & Politics Will Always Influence Research
How can you debunk alleged cannabis harms? Each debunking will be unique to the claim the researcher is making. But generally, we can discard almost every “study” proving this or that.
Scientific theories and methods are not purely rational or objective. They’re influenced by cultural, political, and economic factors and by chance events.
We assume that the accumulation of empirical evidence and the application of logical reasoning drives the development of science.
But to ignore the political, social, cultural, philosophical, and historical forces shaping our idea of “science” is naive—pure and simple naivety.
According to Feyerabend, we don’t choose scientific theories and methods based on empirical or logical merits. Factors such as the values and interests of the scientific community, the availability of funding, and the political and economic climate of the time take precedence.
So it is little surprise that the Science™ community demonizes a nontoxic, unpatented, natural plant that can alleviate so many medical conditions.
(And it’s not just cannabis. Look at how often economists ridicule the “Austrian” school of economics despite its predictive power or the complete dogmatism regarding climate science. Or the backlash against the alternative archaeological theories of Graham Hancock or Randall Carlson).
When you realize who’s buttering the bread, the “growing evidence” against cannabis is simply an updated version of reefer madness.
It was stupid back then, and it’s stupid now.
If you don’t like cannabis, don’t consume it. Stop worrying about what other people are doing with their lives.
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