Sunday, February 22, 2009

More on the marijuana topic

I found myself writing a lot in the comments on the last post, so I thought I'd just create a whole new discussion instead. But before I go into what I wanted to talk about, I wanted to give some background information and dispel some assumptions first.

~ I would not call myself pro-marijuana in the definition I am pushing marijuana use on anyone. I am, however, anti-anti-marijuana. I simply do not think marijuana should be bundled into the "drug" category, next to crack and methamphetamine.

~ I did smoke pot for quite a long time (started at end of high school), but I do not smoke anymore. I quit back before I had kids and maybe even before I got married. There has been the random partaking though.

~ I'm not anti-marijuana, but would I want my children to smoke it? It's one of those moral questions I can't answer because I'm not there yet. I can say I won't ~want~ my children to smoke pot, but I certainly won't think I'll be disappointed if they do. I'd much rather them smoke pot instead of drink beer - that's for damned sure.

~ I am anti pot smoking in regards to some types of smokers. When I smoked, it was a casual thing. Something we did at a party or after work or after classes. Something we did at home or some other "safe" place. I never got high before school or work. I don't think you should smoke pot and drive, although I believe it's a million times safer than drinking and driving. Fact remains it's still a mind altering substance and it's unfair to put other people on the road at risk. So. The pot smokers which I am "against" are the kinds who blow off anything to smoke pot (school, work, etc.) or who get high and go to class or work high. The smokers who think it's okay to smoke and drive. Basically, I think it can be abused and I am definitely not "for" that.

As for the comments I wanted to make from the last post:

~ The entire "gateway" drug thing is utterly ridiculous! I can see why those against drugs just LOVE the idea of a "gateway drug", but it just seems so fucking brainless to me. Marijuana is simply one of the most available drugs out there. And I bet it's one of the most used drugs out there too (more on this in a moment). It's common sense most hardcore drug users had tried marijuana first. This whole concept is like using hindsight judgement and declaring "I knew it!" Ask a crackhead if they smoked pot first and you are more than likely going to get a "yes" in response. But marijuana use causing the use of "more dangerous hard drugs and crime"?? Let me just point out some numbers and you can come to your own conclusion.

SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) has come up with a few numbers about drug use in the United States:
12.5 million people in the US are current users of ~any~ illicit drug. Of that large number, 2.1 million people are users of what is considered the hard stuff: heroin, crack, and cocaine.

NHSDA (National Household Survey on Drug Abuse) came up with some very interesting numbers about marijuana use:
Marijuana is the Nation's most commonly used illicit drug. More than 83 million Americans (37 percent) age 12 and older have tried marijuana at least once

WOW!! 83 million people have tried marijuana at least once, yet only 2.1 million people are current users of the hard stuff (heroin, crack and cocaine) which are the "more dangerous hard drugs" as defined by the gateway drug theory. Marijuana sure isn't doing it's job as a working gateway drug. Out of the 83 million people who have smoked marijuana, only 2.1 million people are using those dangerous drugs the gateway drug theory warns us about. There is still time though! Maybe 80,900,000 of those marijuana users are going to pick up a crack pipe soon to fulfill the gateway drug prophecy.

~ Someone commented and asked why pot smokers hide their marijuana from their children. He points out that since we think it's so harmless, we should share it with our children.

I'm hoping that was supposed to be a funny comment and the question isn't actually being asked, but just in case ...

Just because beer is legal, I'm not sharing it with my kids. And like I mentioned above, I don't think anyone ~wants~ their children to smoke pot (or anything like that - beer, cigarettes, etc), so we aren't going to glorify it. Plus, it's illegal and who would want to put their children in that position? As for it being "harmless", I don't know where that comes from. No one said marijuana was harmless. It's less harmful comparatively speaking, but harmless it's not. I speak to this very subject in my last bulleted item on this list.

~ Mareike made a really good comment about the 'lawbreakers': "If people didn't break unjust laws they may never be changed. Inter-racial marriage would still be illegal. Co-habitation would still be illegal. Black people would still be having to ride in the back of the bus, be in separate schools, use different bathrooms etc." Makes you think, doesn't it?

~ Joe's statement, "I don’t want to hear any of that, 'he’s setting a bad example with the children' nonsense either, because we all know if he had a gin and tonic in his hand instead of a bong this would never have been an issue." REALLY struck a chord with me. It's such hypocrisy (alcohol being okay when it is so bad for you.)!!

Hey, if the nation wants to make a guy who simply swims fast a national hero, maybe they should make the guy sign a binding contract agreeing he will NOT partake in anything unhealthy. No drugs for sure. No alcohol. No fatty foods. No sugar. No staying up late. No jaywalking. ONLY THEN can you hold the poor guy accountable for being a freaking ~normal~ kid. Phelps didn't apply for the "national hero" job.

~ I don't think any marijuana supporters think its harmless. It's just less damaging than virtually everything else. Yes, the smoking aspect of it IS the issue. Even Mr Rogan said "Marijuana is relatively harmless and certainly far less dangerous than a host of other things that are not only legal but also readily available, like alcohol and prescription drugs."

I have seen the studies over the years about how bad smoking a joint really is, because there is no filter - and how it's that "same as" smoking something like 5 cigarettes. (not the actual number, I don't remember and I'm not looking it up).

But the thing is - most people don't smoke the comparative number of joints to cigarettes (ie: a pack a day = 4 joints and most pot smokers just don't smoke 4 entire joints a day. Hell, I used to smoke pot every single day (stopped smoking for work years ago, before kids) and I never ever smoked an entire joint myself.

And smoking through a bong may be "better" for you due to (did look this up): "they filter out other, non-solid smoke toxins occurring in the gas phase of the smoke. Noxious gases known to occur in marijuana smoke include hydrogen cyanide, which incapacitates the lung's defensive cilia; volatile phenols, which contribute to the harshness of the taste; aldehydes, which promote cancer; and carbon monoxide, a known risk factor in heart disease. Previous studies indicate that water filtration may be quite effective in absorbing some of these".

No matter what someone smokes out of, it's better to NOT smoke.


Ella said...

Well said. And, AMEN!

Elana Kahn said...

Thank you for this! I agree with you on every point. In the same way that tobacco & alcohol is legal, marijuana should be too. And it should DEFINITELY be available as a prescription--like for cancer patients. I think my dad would've done better with that than with morphine. Marijuana has the same abuse potential as tobacco & alcohol and is probably better for you than either...

Sarah R said...

I think prescription drugs are far scarier. Read: klonopin (clonazepam), Paxil, Effexor, etc.

These are all LEGAL because hey--they're made in a lab, so they must be safe, right? Versus marijuana which anyone can grow. They can't make money off that so they're never going to legalize it (won't say never).

Just for the record, I have never tried pot or any other drug for that matter, but I do find it hard to see the logic when so many prescription drugs are "fine" to take, but marijuana is not.

My hubby was prescribed Paxil last winter when he was having some depression issues; he never took it after reading up on it and discovering it is a cousin to LSD. There is a reason why people can't suddenly stop taking antidepressants--it can really mess a person up! I don't think the same can be said for marijuana.

Amanda said...


& I have to agree with Sarah. I smoked pot for years and whenever I didn't smoke, I was fine. When I quit, I was fine. I also never became addicted to it.

I was on Effexor for months. When I was an hour or more late for a dose I would get mildly dizzy and feel unwell. When I was weaned off of if by my doctor I had such horrible vertigo attacks that I could barely function.

I was on and off of Xanax for many years. I do remember becoming addicted to it. When I would miss a dose I'd have panic attacks. i eventually had to have my doctor wean me off of it so I could give it up.

margelina said...

Well, you know I agree wholeheartedly! Our friends across the border in Canada have it right. Maybe I should more there, hehe.

Melissa said...

i totally agree. I don't like people who smoke pot as a lifestyle. Everyone else, mleh, it's their life

Beautiful Mess said...

*applauding* well said!

the mol said...

If marijuana became legal, I'm sure that they'd do a good job of making sure that the stuff for sale on which people pay taxes is WAY better than the stuff you grow in your "greenhouse."

Does anyone actually still drink bathtub gin? Thought not. And those who make beer or wine do so because it is tasty, but those same people probably buy beer and wine as well. I know that my brother-in-law, who makes his own beer, buys plenty as well.

As for what I want my kids doing? I'd treat marijuana like alcohol, in that I'd rather that they not partake while they are too young for it, but that they can make their own decisions when they are older. I didn't drink in high school and somehow I still survived. I also didn't go completely crazy getting drunk all the time once I hit college.

Anonymous said...

In reference to your statistics about the "gateway drug," the orignial statistic was for those that have tried pot at least once. So, certainly there are going to be more people in that statistic than those that started using a harder drug. Not saying that I necessarily disagree with you in the sense that pot isn't the "gateway drug" that it is made out to be. However, I can see that those that do enjoy the feeling of being "high" could get tired of the high that pot gives them and seek something harder. Not necessarily always the case, but I am sure that it does happen. I just wanted to point out that the statistic about how pot dramatically fails as a gateway drug is not entirely correct in the sense that you are speaking of. Maybe it would be more accurate if it was the statistic of the number of people that smoked pot on a regular basis, instead of the number of people that smoked pot at least once. Just food for thought.

Dagny said...

"I don't like people who smoke pot as a lifestyle."

That's rather judgemental I would think. I mean, how do you KNOW who is smoking everyday? You DON"T.

Meh, that just irked me.


zach05kate95 said...

Marijuana is the Nation's most commonly used illicit drug. More than 83 million Americans (37 percent) age 12 and older have tried marijuana at least once

The 12 yr old part bothers me. I am sure it has something to do with me having a 13 yr old. I know there are 13 year olds who do drugs....I just don't want it to be my 13 yr old.LoL

nancy said...

mol - someone close to me has a medicinal marijuana license. With that, he is allowed to have 5 plants in budding stage at anytime. He just harvested and I was over for that. It was BEAUTIFUL marijuana. I didn't smoke it, but those who did said it was nothing but a perfect crop of the strain he was growing. I could tell it was "good" by the smell (ppl who know anything about marijuana will know what I'm talking about), the stickiness and the purple crystals covering each bud.

So, I don't quite know how the govt, if legalalized, will make it better than if ppl grow it themselves. (i totally understand your point though - I just happened to see a home grown harvest for the first time, so it was coincidental timing!

nancy said...

Anon - then the "dramatic-ness" of my argument wouldn't be as ridiculous! :) Gotta use the statistics in ways it makes my point stronger! ~wink~

Mareike said...

By now you probably all think I am a "pothead." I only wish. I suffer chronic pain from Rheumatoid Arthritis and their is much evidence that marijuana can reduce inflammation (which is what causes the pain) but although I have tried pot on a few occasions I have never "warmed up" to the product.
I still know more about the production than likely most of you do (or I ever thought I would) and Nancy is right. The government wouldn't produce a higher quality than a careful grower. Choose your strain/strains; make clones from female plants; select the proper nutrients and light cycle; keep the proper pH of the water; allow the buds to fully mature and you get a wonderful product with no seeds.

Steph O. said...

Chiming in as someone who has never tried marijuana. Ok, I've also never tried a ciggarette, or ever been drunk, though I do drink on occation.

I think the whole thing with Michael Phelps is stupid. He's young, young people make a few bad choices. His was being photographed taking a bong hit. Yes, it's an illegal drug. Yes, it's probably safer than some of the legal drugs out there (ever hear of phentonal patches?)

But, seriously? Compared to some of the real crimes taking place, this is a waste of police resources. He should learn that actions have consequences, but it should be out of the media by now.

For those who say that it sets a bad example for children & that he's a bad role model- Really? Is your parenting so lax that you just leave it up to media celebrities to raise your children? Use it as a teaching example & a conversation starter for what you want for your kids!

For the most part, I have my moral standards, but I don't inflict them on others. The time that I start getting ticky about it is a. when I have to work harder to pick up someone's slack. or b. If it's being done around children & could endanger them (including during pg!).

Oh, and I'm speaking about those who would use recreationally, not those who have any medical ailments & may use it medicinally. I'm also not anti-prescription, but I do think you should take it upon yourself to question what your dr is giving you, why, s/e, and possible interactions.

Christy said...

I just watched a documentary yesterday about marijuana and it said that marijuana was the second biggest cash crop in the US behind corn. So it seems they could legalize it, tax it and get rid of some of this huge debt.

I know it will never happen that way, but its a thought...

Morgan said...

I'm not going to get started again cause I'll never stop rambling, but I just wanted to comment so you knew I was still following.

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Anonymous said...

A point we agree on!

That said, it isn't something I do, tried it a couple of times when I was 17 and didn't like it.

It's not like dope smokers are robbing old ladies to pay for their indulgences.