Stoners Alert

weed“We are half-hearted creatures, fooling around with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.” C.S. Lewis

There have been three new bills offered just this year to legalize pot. In the House, Democrats offered “The Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act” and the “Marijuana Tax Revenue Act.” In the Senate, Rand Paul joined with Democrats Booker and Gillibrand to offer the “Compassionate Access Research, Expansion, and Respect States (CARERS) Act, that would allow states to legalize access to medical marijuana without federal interference. However, if passed, this law would remove marijuana from the list of drugs with a high abuse potential.

And that would be madness according to a Dr. Jangi, writing in the Boston Globe. It doesn’t matter what you call it – astro turf, bhang, dagga, dope, ganja, grass, hemp, home-grown, J, Mary Jane, pot, reefer, roach, Texas Tea or weed, – the important thing to remember is that it’s an addictive hallucinogen, and unfortunately, it is most addictive to younger adults.

People tout marijuana as a better drug than prescription pills because it is all-natural. But, just because something is natural doesn’t mean it’s healthy. Virginia Creeper, often confused for poison ivy, produces berries that if eaten will send you to your maker. Rhododendrons’ leaves can be deadly. The Buckeye which resembles a hickory nut is poisonous. The berries of an American Holly contains toxins. All natural, all deadly!

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the chemical responsible for most of marijuana’s psychological effects, attaches to the cannabinoid receptors concentrated in certain areas of the brain, affecting a person’s memory, pleasure, movements, thinking, concentration, coordination and sensory and time perception, which according to Dr. Jangi “can cause these receptors to disappear altogether, blunting the natural response to positive behaviors and requiring higher doses to achieve the same effect. “

In addition, THC can induce hallucinations, delusions, trigger a relapse in schizophrenic symptoms, cause bronchitis, pneumonia, and respiratory infections, as well as raising blood pressure and changing blood vessels that increase the risk of heart attack and stroke.

Concentrations of THC has quadrupled since the 1980s. Some of the new edible marijuana products, from cookies to chocolate, can be 10 times stronger than traditional joints. The average marijuana extract contains over 50% THC with some samples exceeding 80%. Making matters even worse, if that is possible, since there are no commercial pesticides labeled for legal use on cannabis plants, growers are using whatever they find works, leaving users to face unknown future health problems.

Smoking pot doubles the risk of a car accident than any other illicit drug according to a 2013 study. In comparison, being legally drunk, with a blood alcohol level of 0.08%, increases the risk of an accident by five times. In a study released earlier this year, Columbia University researchers found that marijuana contributed to 12% of traffic deaths in 2010, triple the rate from a decade earlier.

Some research studies suggest that the use of marijuana during pregnancy may result in premature babies and in low birth weights. Studies of men and women may have a temporary loss of fertility. These findings suggest that marijuana may be especially harmful during adolescence, a period of rapid physical and sexual development.

Young people are more vulnerable to the risks of smoking marijuana   because their brains are still developing, which helps explain why people who smoke pot frequently in their teens often have significant declines in IQ. Marijuana impairs critical thinking skills for days after people sober up. That means that teens who use marijuana on weekends may not be able to learn properly when they return to school. Like alcohol, marijuana impairs judgment, so that teens may take more risks – from speeding to sex – that can endanger their lives

THC can be extracted from marijuana, or synthesized, as is the case for the FDA-approved drug Dronabinol and Nabilone, both used to treat or prevent the nausea and vomiting associated with cancer medicines and to increase the appetites of people with AIDS, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine. Both are man-made compounds using THC found in the marijuana plant in standardized concentrations, whatever that means. And, like THC in marijuana, taking the drugs produce the same side-effects.  Of course when you’re battling cancer or AIDS perhaps the side effects are the least of your worries.

“How did we end up in a world where Big Gulps are being banned in New York while the welcome mat for potheads is being rolled out in Colorado? How is it that cigarette smokers are pariahs, while people smoking weed are being cheered? This is despite the fact that potheads are almost universally recognized as unmotivated, low-class, degenerate – and, yes, smelly failures. Even the ones that get somewhere in life, like Barack Obama, usually turn out to be mediocrities…., but we want to condone pot use on top of that? That’s like saying you’ve got a bad back and a bad shoulder; so why not break your knee cap to top it all off.” John Hawkins


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