Does cannabis cause mass shootings? At a 4th of July parade in Highland Park, a young man opened fire, killing seven people and injuring 46 others. In the wake of the horrifying shooting, so-called journalists of the corporate press have been perpetuating their usual ideology. Somehow, these senseless killings would stop if only the government had all the guns.
The corporate press has long blamed violent video games for mass shootings. Since no one under 60 believes this narrative, they’ve shifted the blame to cannabis, describing the Highland Park shooter as a “typical stoner kind of guy.”
Someone who knew the shooter tweeted, “He was an isolated stoner who completely lost touch with reality.”
So clearly, for those who still believe the lies television tells them: cannabis might be responsible for America’s exponential rise in mass shootings.
Does Cannabis Cause Mass Shootings?
Media personalities Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham have parroted this narrative. Ingraham says “mounting scientific evidence” connects cannabis to violent behaviour.
“What can regular pot use trigger in young men in particular?” she asks, “Psychosis and other violent personality changes.”
The argument is cannabis use leads to psychosis which leads to violence which leads to mass shootings. It’s an excellent narrative for boomer conservatives who prefer to demonize cannabis than the cocktail of pharmaceutical SSRIs that are likely the actual cause.
But suppose Carlson and Ingraham and others have a point. Does cannabis cause mass shootings? What is their supporting evidence?
Not all mass shooters have been cannabis consumers. And mass shooters who do have cannabis in their system usually have a cocktail of other psychoactive substances, including antidepressants prescribed by a doctor.
The evidence linking cannabis to mass shootings rests on linking cannabis to psychosis. Even then, one would have to link psychosis to the act of buying a gun and using it on a crowd of innocent people.
The number of factors one must control to make this claim valid is preposterous.
Would a judge in a court of law take seriously the claim of “pot-psychosis” behind mass shootings? Not with the evidence presented.
But what about the link connecting cannabis to psychosis?
Does Cannabis Cause Psychosis, and Does that Lead to Mass Shootings?
Psychosis is a disconnection from reality. People with it experience symptoms like hallucinations, disordered thinking, and even full-on delusions. There is a condition doctors call a substance-induced psychotic disorder. Other substances can induce this temporary psychosis. This includes alcohol, amphetamines, antidepressants, steroids, hallucinogens like acid and mushrooms, sedatives, and even caffeine.
The only thing research says conclusively is that if you already have psychosis, or are developing it, then using any of the above substances, including cannabis, will worsen the problem.
The people at risk for “pot-psychosis” are the people already predisposed to psychosis.
Like linking alcohol consumption to cancer. It’s obvious abusing alcohol destroys your system. And one of the consequences of this is developing cancer.
But not everyone who enjoys a scotch after work or a cold beer on a hot day will get cancer. But suppose we report on this link like some “journalists” have. In that case, we’d have to conclude that everyone who enjoys an alcoholic drink is at risk of developing alcohol-related cancers.
There is no evidence linking cannabis use with causing psychosis, depression, anxiety or schizophrenia in otherwise healthy people. The strongest link between cannabis use and schizophrenia can’t tease out cause and effect.
In contrast, evidence suggests CBD – the non-psychoactive compound in cannabis – is beneficial in treating psychosis.
The 2019 Pot-Psychosis Lancet Study
Those clinging to the notion that cannabis causes mass shootings, or at the very least, psychosis, will no doubt point to the Lancet study.
Often touted in the media as proof that those who smoke cannabis have a greater risk of developing psychosis, “journalists” should try reading this 2019 study. But like most scientific studies, they don’t read beyond the abstract.
The conclusion was that if you’re predisposed to mental health disorders, then substances, in this case, cannabis, will likely not help you.
But the way the media reported on this particular study was so wrong that The Lancet had to release a statement clarifying everything.
First, they blamed themselves for the misinterpretations. They were trying to balance casual, everyday language with the scientific rigour of a research paper. The result was the corporate press making an “inferential leap” based on terms they didn’t know the precise definition of.
The Lancet admits, “Cases and controls were poorly matched.” That, “Results could conceivably be explained by protopathic bias.”
As they wrote,
“Causal inferences from case–control studies are always hazardous, particularly with poor matching and incomplete specification and imprecise measurement of possible confounds. The unwanted influence of relevant group differences, whether measured or left unmeasured, might only be compounded by brute application of statistical controls. Awareness of the obvious political and policy implications of results, and the likely misuse to which they could be put, apparently failed to discourage the authors from inappropriate causal inferences and ignoring of obvious limitations of their study. This failure can only serve to distract readers from the important message concerning the need for a distinction between higher and lower potency forms of cannabis, even if it should be made with greater precision and in the context of a prospective study.”
So What Causes Mass Shootings?
Corporate press personalities masquerading as journalists are real threats to society. They’ve sold the public on everything from the illegal Iraq War to the absurd “two weeks to flatten the curve” nonsense that’s destroyed countless lives and small businesses.
The corporate press construct narratives designed to keep unpleasant people in power. It doesn’t matter if you’re watching MSNBC, CNN or Fox News. They’re all the same.
School shootings, in particular, have seen exponential growth in the last decade. Suppose we follow the logic of the “pot-psychosis” people. In that case, we’d conclude that more gun control legislation results in more mass shootings since mass shootings have grown in correlation with more gun control laws.
A better answer, however, is that of antidepressants, particularly selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors or SSRIs. Of course, this could be another confusion of cause and effect. People who are mentally ill enough to shoot and kill random people are likely already taking some antidepressants.
But the evidence linking these two is far greater than linking cannabis to mass shootings.
SSRIs increase the amount of serotonin in the brain. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter best known for influencing mood. Sometimes called “the happy chemical,” low levels are linked with depression. The gut produces 90% of our serotonin, which has led some researchers to suggest that one’s diet has more to do with mental health than previously thought.
Nevertheless, SSRI medication inhibits serotonin reuptake, causing neurons to release more of the chemical with the idea being “more serotonin = happier person.”
Despite no differences between SSRIs and placebo pills, drug companies have produced an effective marketing campaign to promote SSRIs. Big Pharma has spent big bucks advertising on MSNBC, CNN and Fox News.
Do SSRIs cause violence?
There’s little doubt that SSRIs increase the risks of violent behaviour. There’s a reason SSRI medications in the US require labels that warn of irritability, hostility, aggression and impulsivity.
Side effects of SSRI also include emotional detachment, with subjects reporting that they don’t feel or care about anything. There’s also a causal relationship between SSRI use and psychosis and hallucinations.
A review of FDA-approved drugs found at least 31 to have a “disproportionate” association with violent behaviour. These 31 drugs make up nearly 80% of all cases of FDA drug-induced violence. They include 11 antidepressants, six sedatives, three ADHD medications, and one smoking cessation drug.
Researchers concluded that violence against others was a “genuine and serious adverse drug event.” Researchers in Sweden came to similar results. They found significant associations between violent crime convictions and SSRI use in patients between ages 15 and 24.
Of course, pharmaceutical companies know this. During clinical trials for paroxetine, an antidepressant, drug manufacturers found homicidal idealization and aggression in .65% of the participants. Not too bad, some may conclude. But the side effect of becoming more hostile increases 17-times when the drug is given to children with obsessive-compulsive disorders.
Paroxetine is still on the market, despite the clinical study showing that, of 9,000 people, 60 of them will become hostile enough to fantasize about killing innocent people.
No, Cannabis Does Not Cause Mass Shootings
No, cannabis does not cause mass shootings. A variety of factors do, but if you want to blame drugs, look no further than SSRIs.
But that’s not the narrative MSNBC, CNN or Fox News will give you. Drug companies spend billions every year advertising on these corporate outlets. Do you think they want these “journalists” researching and exposing their crony-capitalist system?
History is repeating itself. The prohibition of cannabis came from intense lobbying efforts from competitor industries. The justification was racism regarding blacks and Hispanics. The “experts” said cannabis caused black men to rape white women.
Likewise, despite legalization, cannabis faces pressure from corporate drug manufacturers that feel threatened. So the justification is that cannabis is harmful to your mental health. That it can cause psychosis in otherwise healthy people. And that cannabis will cause mass shootings.
Of course, they’d say that. They have to. Cannabis is a natural herb that can’t be patented or protected by intellectual property laws. Cannabis consumers are more compassionate. The effects expand the mind and allow people to make connections they didn’t previously see.
Including how the corporate press constructs narratives designed to keep some very unpleasant people in charge.
No wonder the corporate state opposes cannabis. If they can’t stop the legalization bum rush, they can at least spew toxic propaganda about it.