August 30, 2017

"The main takeaway message is that use of cannabis can result in subtle changes in the way you move."

Said the author of a study quoted in "Marijuana users WALK differently: Study shows how the drug affects users' elbows, shoulders and knees" in The Daily Mail, which had us laughing over the line "A marijuana user's knee reaches a greater speed when they walk than a non-user's knee does while walking."

Meanwhile: "The study’s authors are calling for more research that can determine exactly how marijuana affects people's movements."

I think more research is needed into whether we'd find this story even funnier if we were high.

56 comments:

tim in vermont said...

Ha! It's funny because it's true!

Bob Boyd said...

I wonder how global warming affects knee speed.

3rdGradePB_GoodPerson said...

"I think more research is needed into whether we'd find this story even funnier if we were high."

Road trip, to Colorado.

tim in vermont said...

Never occurred to me to think about it, but stoners do have a gait. I think some cartoonists have captured it.

sparrow said...

If it's true it implies nerve damage.

Tank said...

Truckin on down the line.

Matthew Sablan said...

Research conducted by the Ministry of Silly Walks.

Bob Boyd said...

I've noticed people walk differently after a juicy government research grant comes through.

Matthew Sablan said...

"If it's true it implies nerve damage."

-- Not necessarily. People walk odd after sleeping, after sitting on their leg awkwardly, or for any number of reasons not related to nerve damage. Not only that, but it could be something with the joints unrelated to nerves.

I'm not saying, "Go use marijuana!" I'm just saying that this study doesn't imply nerve damage (well, it COULD imply that, but it could also imply a lot of other things.)

Bay Area Guy said...

These geniuses should do a study on whether getting stoned actually does give you the munchies.

TwoAndAHalfCents said...

So that's why they are so good at hackey sack.

tim in vermont said...

All the same stoners came with trenchant arguments as to why it doesn't lower IQ over time too.

This stuff is easy to measure using video and body markers, and the statistics are pretty trivial, and look at the knees in that Truckin' picture

Matthew Sablan said...

"What more could you possibly want in a First Lady?"

Silly walks.

Bob Boyd said...

I wonder if success in negotiating a patch of soft ground in stiletto heels is related to knee speed?

rhhardin said...

So weed has subtle effects too.

Bob Boyd said...

I just ask a regular marijuana user if she thought it affected her knee speed.

She said, "Well...it depends on the strain."

sparrow said...

Matthew
It's not as if we know nothing about pot: it's effects on neurons are well known. Ataxia is a common effect of CNS damage. There's little reason to look at joint or other mechanisms.

CStanley said...

To maximize the humor of the research study, everyone should get high and sing the "Head and shoulders, knees and toes" song with the accompanying motions,

Laslo Spatula said...

The majority of entertainment cliches of pot-enfeebled people are male.

Spiccoli.

Bill and Ted.

Harold and Kumar.

Cheech and Chong.

Brad Pitt in 'True Romance'.

Shaggy in 'Scooby Doo'.

Where are the swimsuit models?

I am Laslo.

Matthew Sablan said...

"There's little reason to look at joint or other mechanisms."

-- Except all the things they described (knees, elbows, etc.) are joints. Hah. We keep talking about joints.

Anyway, it is also one study. It's possible, but not the only solution to what could be causing this. You may be right, but it seems irresponsible to jump to that conclusion instead of looking at everything.

Phil 3:14 said...

I keep reading "knee speed" as "knee spread".

That makes more intuitive sense.

John Lynch said...

n=44

Birkel said...

This study was performed by Daphne and Velma.
Shaggy could not be reached for comment.

Undecided said...

If a joint affects knee speed, why is a rock? They said the more you polish it gets.

sparrow said...

I'm not jumping to conclusions here. Be real for a second: the only reason anyone smokes pot is precisely because it has neurological effects. It's "irresponble" to ignore the obvious well supported theory in favor of low likelihood ones. I guess you don't like the possibility it might be true? I can certainly understand that and to be fair one study with weak effects is not that convincing by itself.

sparrow said...

that should be "irresponsible" , need to edit more carefully.

EDH said...

Is this somehow related to Melania Trump walking on 'grass' in high heels?

The stilettos were only seen in her walk across the White House lawn. (But have you ever tried walking in stilettos on lawn? It doesn't work. You can't put any weight on the heel and must, essentially, tiptoe.)

Bob Boyd said...

I wonder how they controlled for the fact that increased knee speed was measured when the subject was moving from the couch to the cheetos.

Matthew Sablan said...

"It's "irresponble" to ignore the obvious well supported theory in favor of low likelihood ones. I guess you don't like the possibility it might be true?"

-- I don't smoke or use marijuana. I suppose I'd prefer it not be true since joints are probably easier to fix than nerves, but whichever it is won't impact my life directly one way or the other.

Ann Althouse said...

"I guess you don't like the possibility it might be true?"

What I don't like is all the news stories about insignificant little studies that might mean something. It's clickbait. (I know I linked to it.)

Daniel Richwine said...

I recall the term ginger foot comes from a condition when people used to drink ginger beer and lose control of their limbs. Will we have to create a new term like knee high now?

tim in vermont said...

I think denial of the effects of a recreational drug, while panicking about exposure to a couple parts per billio of a compound that helps to feed millions and makes food affordable to everyone is a consistent and logical position.

Meade said...

I'm smoking a joint while strolling down the street trying to loosen my joints. Next thing I know I'm stuck in the joint.

sparrow said...

You're right it's clickbait and a weak study getting more publicity than it deserves. There are many more studies that show both positive and negative effects of pot. I expect that it has more medicinal uses and risks than we currently know. I just object to ignoring the link to neuractivity, which is already well established.

Bob Boyd said...

"Next thing I know I'm stuck in the joint."

You should have worn your flats.

sparrow said...

There've been recent reports about MDMA and LSD in low dosage that may be beneficial. Like any drug there are risks and benefits. Some common chemotherapeutics are horrible drugs with very serious side effects (cisplatin for example can cause deafness) but they also save lives.
These effects are hard to track and predict even under controlled circumstances (clinical studies). So no surprise that recreational drugs uncontrolled in quality and dose may have poorly understood side effects.

sparrow said...

Last bit and I'll shut up for a while. The study has several problems: low sample size and variance in the main effect, and difficulty in observing/measuring the main effect. These are all reasons to remain skeptical and not to publicize it. Id also note they didn't refrence the journal, possibly it's not a well respected one? The press frequently inflates the significance of a given health study to sensationalize.

Infinite Monkeys said...

Does this explain the Ministry of Silly Walks?

Mac McConnell said...

I have no idea if walked funny after the two times I tried pot back in the early 70s. I fell asleep immediately. I always admired my frat brothers who could party all night with a beer in one had and a joint in the other.

Mac McConnell said...

"one hand"

James said...

Where it truly all began: The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers!

James said...

The link:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Fabulous_Furry_Freak_Brothers

Infinite Monkeys said...

Id also note they didn't refrence the journal

The article it linked to linked to the original - http://www.drugandalcoholdependence.com/article/S0376-8716(17)30290-9/fulltext

"The results suggest that history of cannabis use is associated with long-lasting changes in open-chain elements of walking gait, but the magnitude of change is not clinically detectable."

ELI5, if the changes are detectable, why isn't the magnitude of those changes "clinically detectable"?

sparrow said...

missed that reference: thanks

pious agnostic said...

Has anyone said "Keep on Truckin'" yet?

Oso Negro said...

For what it is worth, I was a decent pool player back in the day. But a little bit of the old reefer, and I was suddenly Minnesota Fats.

Nonapod said...

I've known quite a few stoners over the years. I never really paid attention to their walk, but there seems to be a lot of similarities their in mannerisms and demeanor. Even fully sober they always tended to be physically looser and a bit torpid, slow to anger. The classic mellow stoner behavior is so well known it's cliched I guess.

I know it pot culture there's claims that there's some kind of difference between indica and sativa strains (indica is supposed to be more soporific and sativa a bit more stimulating). I wonder if that's just psychosomatic?

Fernandinande said...

The raw data is shocking.

Results
Good people-- Bad people
366 to 426 -- 376 to 476
041 to 055 -- 050 to 064
020 to 043 -- 026 to 046
022 to 060 -- 010 to 042


ELI5, if the changes are detectable, why isn't the magnitude of those changes "clinically detectable"?

That means everything was normal.

Fernandinande said...

pious agnostic said...
Has anyone said "Keep on Truckin'" yet?


Why, yes, someone has, but it was mentioned out of innocent ignorance, I'm sure, since Crumb said that picture and that style of drawing were inspired by his taking LSD.

Wilbur said...

Henry tasted
He got wasted
Couldn't even see
How he's gonna' drive like that is none to clear to me

"Henry" New Riders of the Purple Sage
A 45 year-old true stoner classic

MadisonMan said...

n=44

Most important point. Statistically irrelevant study. Also, note this sentence: "The changes in walking were small enough that a neurologist specializing in movement disorders was not able to detect changes in all of the cannabis users"

In other words, in this small (and very sloppy IMO) study, a few people demonstrated a change in gait.

The Researchers are calling for more study; that is, they want more research money for their lab.

Darrell said...

Research proves research works.

Fritz said...

Even assuming there is a statistically significant difference between the way stoners and "normals" walk, it may not be caused by the cannabis. Stoners are a self selected group of people who may differ, even before pot use, from the population mean. Correlation is not causation.

walter said...

Duuuuddde!

walter said...

The marijuana-logues

walter said...

Might increase knee movement:
Cyclic vomiting syndrome is on the rise among adults