Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Synthesis Sketch Report

For this post, I will write a synthesis sketch report on the decision problem I have been discussing over the last few months.  The problem is as follows:
Should you use marijuana to treat for anxiety or depression?
In order to address this problem, I have formed two hypotheses.  The two hypotheses are as follows:
Marijuana is effective when treating for anxiety and depression,
Marijuana isn’t effective for treating for anxiety and depression.
As marijuana is an illegal substance in most of the world, the professional studies I will use will mostly focus on the latter hypothesis.  Finding studies for both of these hypotheses are difficult, but the studies I have found mostly relate to proving the second hypothesis.  I will use three studies to address this issue.
For the former hypothesis, I will use newspaper articles that support its claim.  It was decidedly easier to find articles that didn’t involve actual marijuana use in an experimental environment because of its illegality.
Reports used after the break…

Hypothesis:  Marijuana is effective when treating for anxiety.

Medical Marijuana:  No Longer Just for Adults
Source:  New York Times
This article discusses the use of medical marijuana in kids under 18.  Several Bay Area doctors in California recommend medical marijuana for patients who suffer from a number of illnesses such as adolescents with A.D.H.D.  They claim that it is safer than aspirin as well as Ritalin. 
This article works with my claim, because it shows that medical marijuana can treat for different mental illnesses.  It has many credible sources to include those that refute the claim.
Anxiety and Marijuana:  New Studies Show it May be Beneficial
Source:  Anxiety Social Net
This article claims that various studies have established the benefits of using marijuana to treat various illnesses.  They also claim that medical marijuana has been used in treatment of psychiatric conditions such as anxiety and depression.
This works towards my claim, because my claim directly uses marijuana to treat anxiety and depression.  It shows the benefits of using marijuana for these purposes which will help me support this claim.
Is medical marijuana an effective treatment for depression, bipolar disorders, anxiety, and similar mood disorders?
Source:  ProCon.org
This is a good article, because it is two articles in one.  It contains an article discussing the pros of using marijuana for treatment of anxiety and depression, and it shows the cons of using the plant for such purposes.  The article claims that there seems to be an effective treatment for depression and other mood disorders and a sharp decrease in suicidal rates in 15-19 year old males.
This article supports the claim of my first hypothesis.  It will prove useful, because it also has the con argument as well.
Hypothesis:  Marijuana isn’t effective for treating for anxiety and depression.
Marijuana Use and Depression
Source:  Journal of Health and Social Behavior
The study showed that people who use marijuana to treat for depression actually have a higher depression index score.  This will be useful for the second hypothesis, because the study supports its claim.
Substance abuse and posttraumatic stress disorders: Symptom interplay and effects on outcome
Source:  Journal of Addictive Behaviors
The study found that the most common Substance Abuse Disorder (SUD) in their sample to be alcohol use disorder at 69 percent.  34 percent met the criteria for opioid use, 23 percent for cocaine abuse, 19 percent for cannabis use disorder, 15 percent for a sedative use disorder, 4 percent abusing hallucinogens, and 2 percent abusing stimulants.  Using these substances showed that this could adversely affect people with PTSD.
This study is good to use, because it shows that people that suffer from PTSD often suffer from SUD without any positive effects for treatment.
Marijuana and driving in real-life situations
Source:  Europe PubMed Central
This study claimed that using marijuana and driving to be dangerous.  It also claimed that the stresses from encountering these dangers could have an adverse effect on anxiety and depression.  This is a good article to prove the second hypothesis, because the hypothesis shows that using marijuana could have an adverse effect on depression and anxiety.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Looks good, Brendan. You can combine your two hypotheses because you're really just looking at evidence for and against the single claim that marijuana is effective for anxiety and depressions. Some of your sources do not address this hypothesis but instead some other hypothesis, such as that marijuana use impairs driving ability. Consider these other hypotheses separately.

  3. The layout of your blog is always visually nice. Well done. It is unfortunate that there is limited scientific articles on this topic because I find it very intriguing. It interesting how you have one article that claims marijuana improves depression and lowered suicide rates, while you have another that claims marijuana actually makes depression worse.

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  5. Looks good to me. I feel that research for the different uses of marijuana as medicine might hve a bias since it is illegal. Which is unfortunate that researchers and different companies that fund research would have such biases. I think with this amount of data you could make a convincing arguemnt for either hypothesis.

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