We surveyed dozens of people in many different cities with a focus on San Francisco and Indianapolis. San Francisco is known for its more liberal and tolerant views. In fact, in San Francisco, the possession of small amounts of marijuana has been legal long before the mainstream medical marijuana movement took root. Indianapolis was another other city we surveyed in. We figured that this was more representative of a conservative heartland attitude.
Our expectations mirrored our findings. San Francisco's answers consistently were more magnified in their acceptance of certain drugs. Still, the majority of people thought that cannabis possessed healing properties in each locale - San Francisco's just held a greater percentage. This trend followed throughout our survey. Specific graphs and charts, including P value analysis, are included on the accompanying charts.
Along with the specific questions surrounding Marijuana we also asked questions dealing with people’s thoughts and opinions of homeopathic remedies. We hypothesized that more people are becoming increasingly aware of and approve more usage of natural remedies. The data that we collected in part showed a positive correlation, however, the statistics were not very solid. Unfortunately, there were only slight differences in opinions, but the differences are there. Questions asked are listed below, in no specific order.
The following are samples of the questions we asked in our surveys:
1. Do you believe that cannabis has any healing properties?
This question was asked primarily for the purposes of side-stepping the political issues surrounding pot, and asking people point-blank, "do you believe in marijuana's healing properties." We feel we got a more honest answer. Here is what people in each city said:
MALE: 64 percent (Yes) (13 men out of 20)
FEMALE: 23 percent (Yes) (5 women out of 20)
MALE: 50 percent (YES) (10 out of 20)
FEMALE: 10 percent (YES (2 out of 20)
If anyone was going to lie on a survey, it would be to the following question that actually delves into peoples' personal histories. Still, we felt that the Internet anonymity garnered an accurate sample. This perhaps was the most revealing question in our research because it shows that despite government attempts to criminalize marijuana, the efforts have largely fallen on deaf ears.
2. Have you ever used Cannabis (Pot)?
MALE: 71 percent (YES) (21 out of 30)
FEMALE: 50 percent (YES) (15 out of 30)
MALE: 49 percent (YES) (14 out of 30)
FEMALE: 18 percent (YES) (5 out of 30)
The following question takes a look at what people consider to be a "natural drug." After all, even cocaine is found in a mild form in the wild. How far would people go, how much latitude would they give, when classifying drugs as natural? The outcome was fascinating. We had expected pot, or even nicotine, to lead the list. But when people think of "natural", mushrooms come to mind. The answers were culled from San Francisco and Indianapolis. Perhaps it is a statistical aberration, that if we had carried out the question to more people, pot would have been first. Still, it shows a strong association between mushrooms and nature in people’s minds.
3. What is the first “natural drug” that comes to mind?
29 - Pot
10 - Nicotine
6 - alcohol
The next question is simply a more direct form of some of our previous queries. Unlike earlier answers, this one was not broken down by gender.
4. Do you believe that Marijuana should be legalized (both genders)?
SAN FRANCISCO, 22 people.: 18 yes, 3 no
INDIANAPOLIS, 11 people: 11 yes, 2 no
The final question about marijuana gave us some of the most insightful responses in relation to the use of marijuana, whether it be medicinally or for recreational use.
5. If you knew that you would not get caught, would you smoke marijuana?
Women: 17 yes, 1 no
Men: 22 yes
women: 14 yes, 7 no
Men: 19 yes, 4 no
These next set of questions deal more with the legal, homeopathic, remedies and how people felt about them in relation to doctor prescribed medication.
1. When you become ill, do you see a doctor in order to get a prescription for medicine?
Men: 10 yes, 12 no
Women: 8 yes, 10 no
This could just mean that people do not like to go to the doctor or they more often do not like to take medicine.
2. Have you ever tried homeopathic medicine (non-over-the-counter products)?
Men: 13 yes, 9 no
Women: 10 yes, 8 no
We were quite happy with these responses because this shows that on the average more people are trying alternative methods of curing their ailments.
3. Have you ever gone to a homeopathic doctor?
Men: 9 yes, 13 no
Women: 5 yes, 13 no
With this question we were glad to get any sort of response that showed that people went to homeopathic doctors. We did not expect to get a higher value for the “Yes’s” due to the fact that homeopathic doctors are not covered under insurance and also due to the fact that it is still quite an unknown field of medicine. People just do not know enough about the field.
4. Do you feel more comfortable taking prescribed or homeopathic medicine?
Men: 10 Homeopathic, 12 prescribed
Women: 10 Homeopathic, 8 prescribed
These results were interesting with more women trusting homeopathic medicine then men do. Again these answers were so close together that there is the distinct possibility that our findings are inconclusive.
Throughout our paper we tried to make the point that more people need to take into consideration the fact that there are other types of medicines out there. Sometimes our government acting in our “best judgment” will prohibit the use of some of these different alternative medicines (i.e. Marijuana), but hopefully the people in the government will start to listen to the voices of those whom they are trying to protect. The people want greater choices for health care. Sometimes the general run of the mill prescriptions do not work and they need something else. Time is the greatest test of anything, if something survives over the years it must have some sort of value contained within. For years people across the globe have been using remedies commonly found in nature to cure their diseases and illnesses. It is only now in the age of chemically produced medicine that we are getting away from that idea. Sure, pharmaceutical companies are searching the rainforests (before they get destroyed) looking for cures for disease, but that is only the start. They need to come up with more products that are just that, a part of nature. Over 60% of homeopathic remedies are prepared from vegetable or plant materials. Other remedies are prepared from naturally occurring mineral substances, including metals, non-metallic substances, and mineral salts (www.arnica.com/homeopath.html). My question is then, what are the prescription medicines made out of? If someone asked what we could have done to make the results a little more viable we would have a couple of things to tell them. First off, when it comes to working with the Internet do be careful to get a broad demographic of participants. We went into chat rooms looking for people to fill out our surveys, but not everyone you ask will be very willing to help. The very nature of the chat rooms limits the type of person you are dealing with. For example, the results that you would get from a person in a chat room whose heading is, “alternative medicine” are much different from those results you would get from a person who is in a chat room entitled, “auto repair.” What one needs to do is go into a “general” discussion chat room and ask there, where there will be a more diverse set of responses. Also, when it comes to researching topics such as Marijuana, or rather hot topics in today’s society. Be sure to weed out (no pun intended) the articles and information that is obviously biased. Try to find information from an authoratative resource.
I found this to be a fascinating topic, and I feel the paper fulfilled its mission: to give each student a chance to research and study a topic of his or her choice. In doing this paper, I had the chance to delve into issues that I had never thought of before. I had always just lumped pot in a "dangerous drug" category. This project allowed me to spend hours talking with people and scientists who felt very differently. In this sense, the project was very fulfilling.
For someone, however, who's background is not science, but journalism, I found the data analysis to be very tricky. Even with the computer program's ability to do most of the work, there still needs to be a basic understanding of P value and Chi, and other important factors. These were covered and explained well in lecture sessions. However, I feel that such an important topic needs much greater addressing. I just do not feel that I could have spent 10 weeks attending lectures and learning about data analysis and then used it intelligently and meaningfully. I certainly tried to in this paper, but I could have done with a lot more training and explanation.
In general I liked this project. The whole Statview component was a bit tricky since I have never really worked with it before (this is one of the few times I wish that I would have transferred to Western as a freshman and learned how to do this in NS I ). However, I now feel like I have a beginning knowledge of the program which will become useful, I am sure, in my years in my years to come. When it comes to the connection between the final paper and the poster I think that the best course of action is not to have them connected, related maybe (for instance ours). We came up with our idea for the final from parts of the research that we did in preparation for our poster project. When it comes to the whole issue of making it a group assignment I do not feel this project is one that benefits from using two people. Sometimes there is a lack of communication that goes on and when the paper involves intricate pieces such as this communication is important. Therefore, I think that maybe next year each individual should write a paper. (smaller versions of course, so you do not have to read as much). Overall, it was enjoyable, along with the course. I learned from it so I look upon it as time spent well.
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