Savoring Cannabis

By Adrian Devitt-Lee On September 30, 2019
A young couple, one male presenting and one female presenting, laugh and hug while sharing a joint in front of an open blue sky.

A recent article from scientists at the State University of New York, Albany examined how savoring positive experiences predicts aspects of problematic cannabis use. According to the authors, people who savor (read: enjoy) cannabis are less likely to use it in ways the authors considered problematic. It may sound odd to some, but people who develop harmful and addictive relationships with drugs often use to avoid withdrawal rather than for a positive experience, so the research question makes sense. (On the other hand, reducing addiction by convincing people to enjoy their drug use more does sound a bit weird.)

But the abstract indicates that the researchers ought to chew over their data a bit more. They report that 27.3% of the 195 participant were female, but women come as whole humans, so that number is mathematically impossible. If there were 53 women in the study, it would be 27.2%, if there were 54 women that would be 27.7%. It may seem like nitpicking or a minor concern, and it seems likely that the researchers merely typed “53/194” into their calculator by accident. But in the information age where we are flooded with nearly a hundred new cannabinoid papers each week people have to filter out irrelevant information somehow. One error at the outset casts an unfortunate shadow over the rest of the paper.

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Adrian Devitt-Lee, Project CBD's chief science writer, is pursuing his PhD in Mathematics at the University College of London.