Why “Lazy rats or lazy research? A response to the ‘THC makes rats lazy’ study” was removed

A piece titled "Lazy rats or lazy research? A response to the 'THC makes rats lazy' study” was published online in The Ubyssey’s Science section on September 2 and was later removed from ubyssey.ca on September 6.

The Ubyssey generally avoids retracting articles and only does so if an article puts someone in danger or if the article is factually incorrect. This article was removed because The Ubyssey did not feel that it stood up to our standards of accuracy.

Upon a closer read-through of the study, it became clear that the researchers did consider the possibility that THC reduced the rat’s desire for rewards — contrary to a claim in the article — writing, “at higher doses THC decreased trials completed, increased omissions, and increased latencies to make a correct response — all of which may suggest THC decreased motivation for sucrose reward. This explanation seems unlikely, however, as low doses of THC decreased choice of HR [high risk] trials without affecting other variables. THC also did not alter the time rats took to collect sugar pellets on either trial type, suggesting rats were still as eager to obtain such rewards."

It also became apparent that the argument that research showed that THC doses, similar to those used in the paper, reduced rats’ appetites to be lacking the required evidence. Recent research has supported the conclusion that THC increases rats’ appetites, as the researchers suggested. One of the papers the criticism cited concluded that THC only reduced rats’ appetites at doses that prevented the rats by “tranquilizing the rats,” which is not an accurate representation of the doses used in UBC's research.

In light of these facts The Ubyssey felt the piece did not have strong enough evidence to support its claims, and thus removed it. This is a decision The Ubyssey weighed heavily and takes very seriously.

The Ubyssey, as well as its Science section, is a place for conversation and debate. That debate needs to be informed by the best possible evidence available and presented in an unbiased manner.

Ubyssey Science’s goal is to inform and educate the UBC community about science and technology that is relevant to the UBC community. We aim to publish stories that have strong evidence and science to support them, and to ensure the public is well — and correctly — informed. If you ever feel the section falls short of this goal please reach out and let us know at science@ubyssey.ca