February 24th, 2017

Marijuana warnings, detective novels, and song

Today I happened across this article featuring an interview with Harvard psychiatry professor Staci Gruber, who issues some warnings about the legalization of marijuana:

There is an awful lot that we don’t know. What we do know primarily comes from studies of chronic, recreational marijuana users. There is still a lot left to learn about the effects of less frequent, casual use. Also, there are a number of differences between recreational and medical marijuana use. Recreational and medical users very often differ quite strikingly with regard to what they use, how they use, etc. Some of the products may overlap but the indications for use and what they expect to get out of using marijuana are usually very, very different…

When we think about legalization we always like to have science inform policy. In this particular case, it seems to me that policy has outpaced science. These products are widely available but to date, we have no studies on the direct impact of concentrates versus flower products on our recreational or medical users — which is important, especially given concerns for our youngest users.

That seems both reasonable and of concern. Gruber has also been instrumental in doing some of the previous research that indicates regular marijuana use by teens can be damaging in the cognitive sense:

“Our data suggest that the earlier you begin smoking, the more marijuana you smoke and the more frequently you smoke,” she said. “That’s an important finding.”

Gruber said the findings are particularly critical today when legalization of marijuana is being considered in a number of states.

“We have to be clear about getting the message out that marijuana isn’t really a benign substance,” she said. “It has a direct effect on executive function. The earlier you begin using it, and the more you use of it, the more significant that effect.”

The study included 33 chronic marijuana smokers and 26 control subjects who did not smoke marijuana. They were given a battery of neurocognitive tests assessing executive function, including the Wisconsin Card Sorting Test, which involves sorting different cards based on a set of rules given. During the test, the rules are changed without warning and subjects must adjust their responses to the new rules.

The findings showed habitual marijuana users made repeated errors even when told that they were wrong. Users also had more trouble maintaining a set of rules, suggesting an inability to maintain focus. Early-onset users and those who used the most marijuana had the most trouble with the test, making more than twice as many errors and fewer correct responses than later-onset smokers.

Of course, there might have been something different about that early-user population even before they began their drug use. But still, very worrisome.

I also noticed the name “Gruber,” which of course made me think of Jonathan Gruber, ye olde architect of Obamacare, and I wondered whether he might be a husband or a brother of Staci’s. I have no idea about the “brother” part (can’t find a thing about it). But he’s certainly not her husband. And therein lies another tale, one totally unrelated but quite fascinating in its own right.

Staci Gruber is actually the spouse of crime/thriller novelist Patricia Cornwell, who is mega successful in her field and a byzantine story herself:

Patricia Cornwell has sold over 100 million books, owns an upscale apartment in Boston, a private helicopter, and has a personal fortune somewhere north of $75 million. So, naturally, she is telling me about her money worries.

‘There will always be a financial incentive to write because, honestly, the way I grew up, a part of me is always afraid I’m going to wake up poor,’ says the author, who won $50 million in damages last year after suing her former finance company for mismanagement.

I won’t even bother to summarize her life story, but let’s just say it features many ups and downs, including political change (in her case, right to somewhat left, with pockets of right remaining).

You never know where the internet and Google will lead you. One other thing I discovered is that Staci Gruber got a BS in psychology in 1991 from Tufts, which is not the least bit surprising considering her later career trajectory. But she was awfully busy at the time, because in 1991 she also received a BMus in Jazz Studies/Vocal Performance from New England Conservatory of Music.

31 Responses to “Marijuana warnings, detective novels, and song”

  1. Rufus Firefly Says:

    neo-neocon, your posts are great and many of the commenters approach your level of intellect. I learn a lot from this site.

    Have you ever thought about adding a section in the margins that shows most recent comments? Sometimes you throw up so much content in a brief period of time that the threads seem to turn cold too quickly; as folks move their focus to the most recent post. Many other sites show the most recent 7 – 10 comments to make it easy for folks participating in a certain thread to see when new comments are added to older posts.

    Thanks again for all you do!

  2. Physicsguy Says:

    I can’t think of a better way to dumb down the population than by the legalization of pot. Unlike alcohol and other drugs, THC is not metabolized through the liver. It attaches it self to the fatty substance in the brain. As a result it’s biological half-life is about two weeks, rather than measured in hours. Basically a user if even if skipping a few daus never has a decrease in the amount of THC in the brain. No wonder they score low in cognitive ability tests.

  3. Vanderleun Says:

    ” And therein lies another tale, one totally unrelated but quite fascinating in its own right.”

    Are you high? It certainly seems you lost your focus here when you changed the rules on yourself. If you weren’t stoned you could have gotten at least two posts out of this post.

    Smoke ’em if you got ’em.

  4. Ann Says:

    Sort of sad there’s a swipe re “extreme forms of religion”, yet no mention of Billy Graham’s wife, Ruth, in that piece on Patricia Cornwell in the Daily Mail. She gave this information to the Guardian about their relationship:

    It was Billy Graham’s wife, Ruth, who Cornwell credits with turning her life around. She took her under her wing when she was released from psychiatric hospital after being treated for anorexia, and encouraged her to try her hand at writing. “I don’t know that I would be alive today if it wasn’t for her.”

    She even wrote Ruth’s biography in 1997.

  5. neo-neocon Says:


    That’s certainly interesting, too.

  6. neo-neocon Says:


    I think I could have actually squeezed at least three posts out of it, if not more.

    But that’s not my way. I like to pack as much as possible into them.

  7. neo-neocon Says:

    Rufus Firefly:

    You’re welcome!!

    I don’t tend to mess with the template of the blog, mostly because I’m awful at it, and the person who helps me with the design of the blog is very busy.

    My blog design is kind of archaic anyway, I realize. Most blogs these days have a lot of bells and whistles, in particular a photo that goes with every post. I tend to be minimalist. But yours is a good idea. I’ll take it under advisement, but as I said, the person who helps me with that sort of thing is mega-busy.

  8. parker Says:

    I very much like how the blog does not constantly change its format. Somethings need to stay the same.

  9. Ymarsakar Says:

    Opiate of the masses. Religion apparently isn’t enough now.

  10. OM Says:

    Nothing new under the sun.

  11. Yancey Ward Says:

    I was, at one time in the late 80s to early 90s, a big fan of Ms. Cornwall. I had found her first novel at my parents place during a visit and was hooked. I continued to read until the early 2000s, but at some point lost track of her work. Might pick it up again.

    As for marijuana use- I had a pretty large circle of friends who were users, and I know I would not hire any of them for pretty much any job I can think of. Attention to detail was a weakness in all of them.

  12. n.n Says:

    Opiate of the masses. Religion apparently isn’t enough now.

    It never was. Religious/moral (e.g. self-moderating, responsible) behavior is hard.

    The opiate of the masses is promises of secular treasure including wealth, pleasure, leisure, narcissistic indulgence, and immunity. Redistributive change and Pro-Choice are two extremely potent opiates that elites use to control the population in liberal societies. Puff the hallucinating dragon and other psychotropic drugs are second.

  13. Bilwick Says:

    Never smoked pot and for all I know it may be worse for the human body than sugar or alcohol. But the last I checked, this fleshy thing I inhabit belonged to me, not Gruber or Der Staat. If I want to shoot rat poison into my body, that’s my business.

  14. Ymarsakar Says:

    The human body is dying a death by sin, and I don’t mean smoking or alcohol or sexual insanity.

    Due to the 3 original transgressions and their effects, Lucifer injected a kind of virus into the human genome. The whole 120 year thing. This wasn’t entirely Lucifer and his angels’ idea, it was just a hack/crack of the aO code itself, the code of life. There was a plan, then someone hacked it and reprogrammed it.

    So Lucifer owns your human body and can control it freely, and human free will and the spirit can barely contain/resist it. Lucifer’s problem is that he has a limited number of spirits and humans tend to keep spreading across the globe. Hence, abortion to slow the strategic situation. A portion of those births and souls, whether created or sourced elsewhere, are put into Lucifer’s furnace and army, to empower his control of human slaves.

    Things like opiates, weaken the resistance of the will or the soul’s connection to the brain (which is merely a radio, not the house of the soul). It’s like mass cults like orgies, mass suicides, and various other iron hand control systems. It creates the One, by breaking down a person’s free will and soul link. Put a person into a sensory deprivation chamber for a few weeks, feed em only juice, and they will come out ready to believe whatever you tell them em. Their identity, their link to the soul, has shrunk to almost zero. It is very easy to reformat the human hard drive and replace it with a custom code.

    When people decide to send money to Planned Profit and PP makes war on the rest of you breeders, of course it is humanity’s problem then, not just the “right” of people to decide to send money. Having opinions is one thing, being involved in a war by helping Lucifer, is quite another.

  15. Ymarsakar Says:

    I related a few stories of marijuana users. The ones I particularly found interesting were people with IQs higher than me, at the equivalent time in their schooling, but ended up with inferior abilities to me right now.

    I found that… unnatural. Those with higher IQs with me, especially those who could read a textbook and memorize it using photographic or memonic devices easily, should easily outpace my neurological cpu speeds even if they lack my experience/wisdom in other fields.

    Yet the ones that were better than me in school when they used marijuana for some time, they ended up calmer yet dumber. And by that I mean they lost their photographic memory capabilities. Their memory capabilities became worse than mine. Their logic and reasoning slowed down to almost 25% or 50% of my max overheated speeds. They were still cunning and clever, enough for their own business and lives, yet they were intellectually and data bandwidth wise grossly inferior to what I was a few years ago. And I was pretty much an obsolete cpu when I was in school, compared to what I can do now with quad and octet processing capabilities akin to quantum computing. Being able to think 4 or 8 separate lines of thought at a time, is no longer all that much of a strain for me, having learned about the Leftist alliance and received the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Double think research doesn’t work for low IQ people, because they have issues thinking one train of thought, let alone two trains that oppose each other. And that is a credit and virtue to the meek and the unlearned, for they can receive the guidance of the aO with better fidelity than those in a human organization, since we have to deal with human monkey bs at the executive and political level.

    A lot of people in high IQ societies are eccentric or socially maladjusted. Art is not particularly a unique or rare example. Mensa isn’t dumb, they are just not as high as other IQ societies. Triple Nine and Prometheus (the name is hilarious btw for those that get it) are much higher statistically rarer. I read some of the journal articles concerning high IQ maladjusted social abnormalities from Triple 9 and Prometheus. The author was one of the few that “got it”. I readily understood his explanation, not because of his style but because I had already thought of it years ago. Much of his research was new to me, but it confirmed my hypothesis and theories. My IQ, the cpu processor rating, is lower than Mensa, yet I can easily understand, anticipate, and trump, research at an even higher level. But to get to the point, given that high IQ members have issues adjusting to human “normals”, marijuana is capable of removing the gift, at the price of losing the brilliance. You become a normal, and gain the benefits of above normal cunning and intelligence, but lose all the weaknesses of having too high an IQ spread over your fellow humans. It’s a min and max situation, give and take.

    As for IQ tests, the Raven test is what I used, since it was more challenging. You need IQ tests designed to test for the HIGHEST, not for the dumb idiots at the bottom. I always suspected the normal IQ tests were dumbed down, and they were. Those near Mensa levels can game the Raven test a bit, and use algorithms like people do for SATs, in order to improve their performance to Mensa or above levels. Those at Prometheus and Triple 9 levels, don’t need to study or research or work on the tests, they naturally ace em. The way Miyamoto Musashi naturally killed swordsmen with more experience and more years of dojo training than Musashi.

  16. huxley Says:

    There will always be plenty we don’t know about a drug, actually a large group of somewhat related chemicals, as complex as marijuana.

    However, marijuana has been studied to death for well over half a century in hope of proving it is dangerous with little success. I’d rate marijuana research overall as worse than climate change science.

    I don’t think using marijuana does one’s body or brain any favors — although there are strong cases to be made for some therapeutic effects. I certainly don’t recommend it to children or teenagers. However, in the context of recreational drugs, marijuana is about as benign as those get, short of coffee and tea.

    I grew up in the drug subculture. I smoked my first joint with my mother and uncle. I’ve seen a lot of people go down with pills and powders, not to mention booze, but never marijuana.

    OTOH, I’ve known a fair number of professionals who smoked regularly while performing at a high level. Including myself. I suppose one can argue we lost our edge and consequently forfeited our futures as CEOs or Nobel Prize winners because we indulged the weed, but I consider that a dubious argument.

    Generally speaking, I find conservatives fairly stupid about marijuana.

  17. huxley Says:

    For all the vaunted American medical research on marijuana, we didn’t find out until the 1980s — after an Israeli chemist, Dr. Raphael Mechoulam, in 1964 smuggled five kilograms of Lebanese hash through customs into his lab, centrifuged the lot, synthesized THC and started real research — how marijuana actually works in the body.

    Turns out THC, the main psychoactive component in marijuana, is a natural chemical mediator. So they now call that part of neurosystem the “endocannabinoid” system. In terms of evolution, the endocannabinoid system goes back back hundreds of millions of years to sea squirts, which is to say it’s a fundamental part of how our bodies work.

    I consider it a serious failure of American science that our researchers were so fixated on their “Reefer Madness” agenda that a lone Israeli scientist cracked the THC code.

    In 1982 Dr. Mechoulam said that if marijuana were legalized it could replace 10-20% of all pharmaceutical prescriptions. I would take his word over most American scientists.

  18. huxley Says:

    But the last I checked, this fleshy thing I inhabit belonged to me, not Gruber or Der Staat. If I want to shoot rat poison into my body, that’s my business.

    bilwick: Amen!

  19. huxley Says:

    Here’s Steve Yegge, a top programmer who has worked in senior positions at Amazon and Google:

    I have smoked marijuana (and inhaled it, deeply) on more occasions than I can count. And yet I’m almost undoubtedly smarter than your kid that you’re so goddamned worried about. I skipped three grades (3rd, 7th and 8th), entered high school at age 11 and graduated at age 14, took A.P. courses, had stellar SAT scores, was a U.S. Navy nuclear reactor operator, went to the University of Washington and earned a Computer Science degree, worked at major corporations like Amazon.com and Google for many years as a senior staff engineer and/or senior development manager, and now I’m an internationally famous blogger.

    I don’t usually dwell on that, but today it’s relevant. It’s relevant because I’ve smoked a LOT of pot, and I dare you to prove that it has impaired me in any scientifically detectable way. We would debate, and you would lose; nevertheless I double-dog dare you.


  20. neo-neocon Says:


    Boy, does that quote NOT impress me with Yegge’s brilliance or his clarity of thought, for the simple reason that he knows (or should know) that what he’s telling people to prove is unprovable.

    The only way we could get any data on it is to have an alternate reality in which we could have a Steve Yegge who smokes pot in one and doesn’t smoke pot in another. He smoked at such a young age that we cannot possibly compare a before and after, either. Perhaps a non-stoner Yegge would be even more brilliant than he is now. Perhaps he would be less brilliant; perhaps pot has even enhanced his genius. But we can prove neither.

    I doubt the non-stoner Yegge would be less arrogant, however.

    Research on humans is difficult to do, but with an n of one, it’s pretty meaningless. It becomes anecdotal.

  21. huxley Says:

    neo: Yeah, Yegge was obnoxious there and I agree that the issue is impossible to prove either way except to note it’s clear if Yegge has been damaged by marijuana, it’s not been by much.

    He is quite an intelligent and accomplished person who by his own admission has smoked a lot of marijuana yet made money and fame on the basis of his intelligence. I consider him a decent data point.

    For those of us on marijuanana side of the fence it’s fairly obnoxious to constantly feel guilty until proven innocent by American marijauna research that we have damaged our brains.

    As I say the American researchers are like the climate change folks. Just about the only results which will reach the papers are those that confirm their bias.

    I’ve been reading the latest scare du jour regarding marijuana since the seventies. Not much changes. When the latest scare fails to achieve traction research move on to the next.

  22. huxley Says:

    Of course it’s not only in America where authorities are working the marijuana scare.

    A few years ago I watched a UK documentary on some sad sack who claimed his life had been ruined by marijuana. He was depressed and unhappy because of it, but said he was addicted and he couldn’t stop.

    The documentary didn’t explain the guy was smoking spliffs — part marijuana, part tobacco. Not terribly surprising he was addicted, though not to the marijuana.

  23. neo-neocon Says:


    A single data point is pretty irrelevant.

    I don’t think researchers would claim that every single person is damaged by marijuana. That would be absurd.

    There are always people who can transcend circumstances, such as growing up in a very dysfunctional home, and yet still do very well. That is irrelevant to the fact that in general, growing up in that kind of home is more likely to cause problems than growing up in a home that’s supportive and loving.

    It’s the same with drugs or any other potentially damaging thing in a person’s life. It can be transcended by certain individuals. But that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t tend to be damaging. A single person’s history tells you very little about the basic trend.

    Even Yegge should know that, no matter how fried his mind may be by marijuana. Maybe if he hadn’t smoked dope at such as early age he would have more understanding of these things.

    Seriously, though, he doesn’t seem to get it. He may be successful and smart at some things, but I think he’s seriously deficient in other ways, if that quote is taken as evidence.

    Nor does any of it say what he’d be like if he hadn’t been a stoner: smarter? dumber? the same?

  24. Ymarsakar Says:

    I smoked my first joint with my mother and uncle.

    Right afterwards, you fell for everything the Leftist alliance fed you, thinking you had thought it up yourself.

    This is defined then as “high level” functions.

    It isn’t high level to me.

  25. Ymarsakar Says:

    We would debate, and you would lose

    The only thing needed are his Mensa, Prometheus, 9 IQ test records, then have him take those Raven tests and other equivalents now, to compare. They should be comparable.

    He would only need to win a debate against himself to prove he is right.

  26. Ymarsakar Says:

    I suppose one can argue we lost our edge and consequently forfeited our futures as CEOs

    If you actually functioned at a high IQ level, you would have known by now that CEOs and other leaders have IQs which are percentage wise, within the normal curve of some odd deviations away from the average IQ of their subordinates. Meaning, those who actually function at a high level like Tesla or Einstein, can’t have subordinates, because most of humanity would be too slow and stupid to understand their leader. They need Middle Managers to rotate down the subject and dumb it down first.

  27. Ymarsakar Says:

    Another test is emotional maturity and self discipline. People who have used marijuana, are said to be cool and mellow and such. But there are extremely easy ways to provoke them at the emotional level after they are down from the high but before the withdrawal symptoms. Things such as school yard tauntings are sufficient. They do not have the emotional maturity of a 30 year old or a 40 year old, but that of someone decades younger.

    There are also authors who use drugs precisely because it allows them to tap their dark creative energies and emotions.

  28. neo-neocon Says:


    But I got the distinct impression that Yegge smoked a lot as a teenager, and if that is true than the tests to use for comparison would be childhood. Pretty meaningless, really. It’s not as though he had a large record of testing as a young adult and then, suddenly, at the age of 35 or so, he took up pot-smoking.

    That’s my assumption, anyway—that there’s no real basis for comparison, even with Yegge himself.

    And of course, as I said earlier, what happens with one person is pretty irrelevant to the larger question anyway, which is what it does in the aggregate to a group of people who use the drug. If Yegge is the least bit intelligent, he must know that.

  29. Ymarsakar Says:

    But I got the distinct impression that Yegge smoked a lot as a teenager, and if that is true than the tests to use for comparison would be childhood. Pretty meaningless, really.

    Some of the tests apply for child prodigies as well, and if Yegge is as excellent as he says he is, some records may have remained.

    The external and internal drug use does not automatically nullify mental edge. That takes some time. Even if the test score line is nullified, the fact that mari locks a person’s emotional maturity level at the age which they first started or the strongest hormonal growth period, is already pretty much demonstrated with this 8-16 year old taunt.

    We would debate, and you would lose; nevertheless I double-dog dare you.

    It is clever he said “scientifically detectable” way, because he might still be aware that science is based around averages and studies. We wouldn’t need a scientific way to detect his problems, just a comparison of 1 variable. The variable and data would only need to prove that he is broken, not that every human in existence is broken due to marij.

  30. Ymarsakar Says:

    It’s not as though he had a large record of testing as a young adult and then, suddenly, at the age of 35 or so, he took up pot-smoking.
    In terms of scientific methodology, it would be better to look at small changes over a long period of time and development.

    If people are trying to find fatally quick ways that marij deteriorates the intelligence of humans, they won’t find it easily. Either because it doesn’t exist or because they are on the wrong path. Their theories about THC are flawed vis a vis what little they know of human biology.

    There should have been minor tests Yegge took to skip grades. Merely duplicate the test, even have it be the same questions. If he cannot equal or excel his scores, as an adult, with the same time limits, then it is quite obvious his abilities have fallen or changed. Most people should do better on tests as an adult than if they were children. They may have “lost” some things due to time and biological decay, but it should not be 25-50% if people are as smart as they think they are.

  31. Ymarsakar Says:

    The reason why IQ and brain cpu processing tests are to be preferred, is because it doesn’t use knowledge. An adult will obviously have more wisdom and knowledge, if you try to test them on knowledge of such things as say mathematical equations or world history. But IQ processing speeds is stable, whether for a child or an adult, in terms of Objective reference.

    That will, at least, fit the scientific threshold for reproduction.

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.

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