Crunching the numbers; why I say almost all medical marijuana patients are faking it.

I’ve been asked a few times to explain why I say almost every one of the marijuana cardholders in Arizona is probably a substance abuser faking their illness just to get the pot.

Pain patients are about 55 percent female in one study, and the others just came up with mostly female. That’s close to 50 percent, so let’s just say pain patient should be 50:50 male: female. Then it is like a coin toss. If you toss a coin 100 times, about 50 times it should be heads. If you toss it 100 times and get heads 75 times, something is very wrong.

Now suppose there is a coin that actually does come up heads 75 percent of the time. If you toss it 100 times, you should get heads 75 times.

So now suppose you have a whole pile of 1000 coins. Some of them are the normal ones and some are the ones that come up heads 75 percent of the time. And you want to figure out how many are the normal coins and how many are the 75 percent heads coins.

You can’t tell which an individual coin is by tossing it, but if you toss them all you will have a good idea. If you toss them all and get heads 50 percent of the time, then they are all normal coins. If you toss them all and get heads 75 percent of the time, then they are all the 75 percent coins. If you toss them all and get heads 62.5 percent of the time, then half the coins are normal and half are the 75 percent heads coins.

Well, that is almost exactly our situation. The medical marijuana patients are almost all claiming pain. If they really have pain and only want marijuana for their pain, then a little over 50 percent will be female, or around 45 percent will be male. But adult pot-smokers are 74 percent male, so if they are all just pot-smokers who are faking pain to get weed, then they will be 74 percent male. And if some are genuine and some are faking, then the percent of males will be somewhere between 50 and 74.

Well, in Arizona, 73 percent are male. That means that probably they are just about all faking it.

In Colorado, 68 percent are male. That is 6 away from 74, but 23 away from 45. (24 away from 45 is easier to use, so let’s use that.) If we were doing our coin toss, then 80 percent would be the mostly heads coins and 20 percent the regular coins. But in our case, 68 percent is the number you’d get if 80 percent were faking it and 20 percent really had pain.

That’s why I say most of them are probably faking it.

If you go look at the Arizona DHS website and look at their marijuana statistics, you will see a graph showing that almost all the young people getting medial marijuana are male. As you get older, the numbers come closer together. That graph alone tells you that most of the young people with marijuana cards are doing it to get high, not for any medical reason.


About Edward Gogek

I've been practicing psychiatry for 25 years, doing general work with adults, children and adolescents. My subspecialties are addiction psychiatry, classical homeopathy and nutritional medicine.
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