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Marijuana Use- Medical Or Recreational?


BeachOfEden
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Today on MySpace I had an unlovely but not unexpected response on MySpace. I had proposed the idea that a person COULD be a liberal or progressive and could be in favor for medical marijuana for the ILL..and yet NOT support recreational pot smoking. As you can imagine..the "BLEEP" really hit the fan and all these party-down liberals began informing that one simply can NOT reject recreational pot-smoking AND really be a liberal. As if...recreational pot smoking has anything to do with fighting for the civil rights of women and minorieis...Paranoid, they even swore that if any liberal spoke of not being in favor of recreational pot smoking then they MUST really be a right wing Fundamental Christian spy!

 

Personaly I have always found it a bit odd and hyprocritcal that all these liberal hippies swear they'd never eat food spayed with chemicals for fear of risking getting cancer but as long as their risk of posibilty getting cancer from smoking marijuana does not bother them..because at least this type of cancer comes from a natural plant?

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The thing is.... It's a fine line. For example..... There are plenty of studies that suggest that Cannabis has similar medicinal qualities to the anti-epileptic medicine I take for my bi-polar disorder. It can also be used as an anti-anxiety drug. If I use marijuana for my bi-polar disorder, and I feel better, and I am able to function more effectively, that's a good thing, right? And I say, "YAY! It's a miracle". But what if someone who is NOT bi-polar uses it as an anti-anxiety drug? What if average, every day people just use it to reduce stress in their lives? Ask any heart surgeon about the medicinal value of stress reduction. One could argue that even recreational use is medicinal. You see.... It's a fine line.

 

The problem with the argument against social or recreational use is that it doesn't make sense biblically, constitutionally, medically, or logically. One of the most valuable uses of marijuana is in the treatment of recovering drug and alcohol addicts. Its anti-epileptic AND PSYCHOACTIVE properties make it a safe and not physically addictive alternative to more dangerous and dependance causing drugs. There has never been a report of a single American death due to marijuana overdose, and long term studies show very little evidence that Marijuana has significant carcinogens in its natural state (minus pesticides and other, more sinister chemicals added on the "street" market), and have further shown that marijuana may, in fact, have tumor REDUCING agents, which are currently used to treat ocular pressure in glaucoma patients. Cigarettes and alcohol, neither of which has much, if any, valid medicinal use, are both on the market for recreational use, and both are among the leading causes of death for Americans each year.

 

Our constitution sets the precedent that we have dominion over our own bodies. This is, in my opinion, supported by the Bible. I suggest that you take a look at the Christians for Cannabis website for some scriptural references. Here are some links regarding medicinal properties....

 

A Guide to Medical CannabisThe Medicinal use of cannabisChristians for Cannabis

House of Lords - Section 6 - Medical uses of Cannabis

Medicinal Uses

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Well Sweet Tea is right. I think a certain amount of "self-medicating" goes along with marijuana. In the vast majority of cases (but not all) though, imo, the person would be better served figuring out their depression with therapy or using actual anti-depressants.

 

I fully support marijuana as a medical drug (NOT just the active compound, which isn't as effective). As you know the Bush administration has taken a very activitist stance including ruling in cases where the states have allowed it. I don't know of anyone personally but there are quite a lot of cases I've read about.

 

But I do think that even self-medication as a reason for marijuana use is not the whole picture. I did use marijuana in the 60s (yes I inhaled :-)). And it is enjoyable, well was for me then. OTOH, to claim, as some have that marijuana is completely harmless is crazy. For one hting it has more tar (I think that's the substance) than cigarettes. Tobacco is natural too. (Although it has been mixed around with and so on.) There are a lot of perfectly natural things that are deadly like coal dust, the AIDS virus, and any no. of plants.

Marijuana is also harmful to some people who are at risk. They have low drive, etc. anyway, and you combine this with marijuana and it is not pretty. And there are kids who always seem to need it. It is not addictive physically but in some individuals it is addictive psychologically. I do imagine that a stoned person is not able to drive well and would logically have poor reflexes (it slows down thought) and inadequate sense of "danger" (not really taking driving seriously) just because that's what marijuana does.

 

I don't think drug programs that overemphasize the dangers of marijuana though do any good, and I'd like our tax money used doing better things than sending people for long prison sentences or using elaborate and costly interdiction.I do think the over criminalization is worse than any problems the drug may have. There are people serving life sentences for trafficking in marijuana-- worse than a rapist would get. I think it should be a simple misdeamor or maybe like a traffic offense.

 

But recreational use a good thing? Generally no. Medical use? I think as drugs go, it is prob. life saving in some cases.

 

 

--des

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I do not believe that marijuana is completely harmless. Just as I do not believe that the Lamictal I take for my bi-polar is completely harmless. In fact, when I began taking Lamictal, the pamphlet focused on a terrifying side effect.... A flesh eating rash that can be fatal. Could it happen to me? Yeah. Is it worth the risk? You bet. Is it MY decision whether I should take that risk or not? Absolutely.

 

And that's the point. Morphine and other opiates have been used for millenia throughout the world for their pain-killing attributes, despite the fact that they are arguably some of the most dangerous and addictive substances on the planet. How about Chemo and radiation.... Yeah.... Dosing ourselves with radiation and drugs until we can't eat sounds pretty healthy too.... But sick people deserve EVERY opportunity to get well and/or be comfortable.

 

And that means ALL sick people. EVERYONE who can benefit from a drug should have access to it. That means athsmatics, anorexics, AIDS patients, epileptics, the mentally ill, addicts, Glaucoma patients.... ALL OF THEM. That's what the progressive movement wants with the healthcare reforms and such, right? So why should that availability be restricted only to medicines they make in a lab and then charge you exponentially for?

 

Also, addiction is a disease, and either you have it, or you don't. Some drugs can make you physically dependant, but there is a difference between dependance and addiction, as anyone who works with addicts will tell you. Addiction is actually a syndrome.... A disease of the mind that manifests itself physically. But it is important to understand.... the people who would become dependant on a non-addictive substance like marijuana could become addicted to anything.... Food, work, gambling, or sex. I repeat. Addiction is a disease. One that is actually treated with marijuana. Like lithium is used to treat mania and valium is used to treat anxiety.

 

As for finding other meds..... Most people who have taken psychiatric drugs can tell you that the side effects can be unbearable. If you want to be unmotivated, take lithium or thorazine for a month, and see how motivated you are. Or how about not being able to respond to your partner sexually for months at a time? Prozac. Or how about insomnia? Celexa. Would you like to gain 50 lbs in 3 months? Depakote. I speak from experience on this one. The side effects from marijuana are about equal to (if different from and infinitely more pleasant than) side effects caused by any other psychiatric drug in use today, and in some cases, marijuana has far FEWER side effects.

 

No, marijuana is not "perfectly safe".... Putting foreign substances (even FOOD) into our bodies is NEVER "perfectly safe", but is it my choice to take that risk? Of course it is. THAT is the point. And can the government, in good concience, try to take that choice away from me, especially when there are no ACTUAL studies or FACTUAL evidence to indicate that this substance is any more dangerous than any other (government approved) drug on the market? No. I think not.

 

-Tea

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I fully support marijuana as a medical drug.

 

"To claim, as some have that marijuana is completely harmless is crazy. For one thing it has more tar (I think that's the substance) than cigarettes. Tobacco is natural too. (Although it has been mixed around with and so on.) There are a lot of perfectly natural things that are deadly like coal dust, the AIDS virus, and any no. of plants."

 

"Marijuana is also harmful to some people who are at risk. They have low drive, etc. anyway, and you combine this with marijuana and it is not pretty. And there are kids who always seem to need it. It is not addictive physically but in some individuals it is addictive psychologically. I do imagine that a stoned person is not able to drive well and would logically have poor reflexes (it slows down thought) and inadequate sense of "danger" (not really taking driving seriously) just because that's what marijuana does."

 

That is it. I HAVE SEEN shows on 60 minutes of verified ILL people with cancer and what have you...where there was this medical marijuna group in Oregon that actually gave out baked marijuna products and the like to the ILL and I DO think this IS GREAT. But EVERY time a kid has approuched me to try and support a marijuna agenda he or she was NEVER sick..but they are using the those who ARE sick, hoping to come along for the ride..in HOPES that while passing a law for medical marijuana maybe this can make it easy for them to get their party stash.

 

When a drug is misused for recreation purposes..whether it's a movie star hooked on Oxycoton, which they DID get lawfully from a doctor or whether it's weed or the pain killer stuff they put in yout I.V in the hospital..I don;t support the misuse of any of these. people like this may well reason that if they get stoned for fun...that it is their buiness and no one else's. Well, if your 'fun' does not innerfear with other people's saftey like impairing someone judgement at putting others at harm or being neglectful as a perent. And even it getting high for fun does not harm other people...if a person on their free choice is choosing to abuse their health and expose themselves needlessly to cancers....I don;t have any interest in supporting their pursuit of this...They are on their own.

 

As I told someone on Myspace when they sugested to me that one could NOT be liberal and reject recreational use of pot....I have a brother who is 43 and he has smoked pot recreationally since age 11. I also have 2 other siblings. One who is in her 50's and lives far from us in Oregeon and the other who is also in his 50's and also lives away in the desert. Besides me, who takes care of my elderly mother, my brother who smokes pot lives the closest to her, about 20 minutes from me....But he can never remeber his promised appointments, to help take her to her doctor's appoitments. So they rest of us siblings have to work twice as her for our mom because my one brother's 'recreation' gets in the way of helping her.

 

This brother who smokes pot has the skills to do carpetery, fix cars,ect..I do not have these skills..and so when my brothers forgets that he promised to do work on the house or what have you this kinda leaves our mom screwed. Many times we've simply have to wait several weeks or months to re-gain his memory to get things done for my mom. Also he has a problemed son who is 15 but do to health problems he is the size of a 10-year-old. He has anger problems and ADD. So my brother started letting smoke pot at age 11 which seemed to make him grow more angery.

 

Then about 2 months ago his other son, the good student and basically good kid who is 16 and has a responsible job at a pizza place got busted at school for trying to sell his father's weed to make extra cash. Because of this he was kicked out of his high school and now goes to continuation. It get annoyed at my brother because instead of taking responsbility of his errors in judgement in his use of weed he excuses himself by comapring himself to his other friends and former schoolmates who have dome worse drugs like crank and he simply goes, "Well, at least I don;t do harsher drugs like crack."

 

While there ARE things worse then geting high..there are things better..like being able to rember where your car keys are every morning.

 

I don't think drug programs that overemphasize the dangers of marijuana though do any good, and I'd like our tax money used doing better things than sending people for long prison sentences or using elaborate and costly interdiction.I do think the over criminalization is worse than any problems the drug may have. There are people serving life sentences for trafficking in marijuana-- worse than a rapist would get. I think it should be a simple misdeamor or maybe like a traffic offense.

 

But recreational use a good thing? Generally no. Medical use? I think as drugs go, it is prob. life saving in some cases.

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One Reggae Gospel artists wrote:

 

"In the New Testament, the form of the word "sober" is used 17 times. Sobriety is an important part of a Christian's life. It is impossible to be sober and of a sound mind while using marijuana. In fact, recent medical science has even deciphered marijuana's high by locating tetrahydrocannabinol receptors in the human brain . "Many users describe two phases of marijuana intoxication; initial stimulation, giddiness, and euphoria, followed by sedation and tranquillity. Mood changes are often accompanied by altered perceptions of time and space and of one's bodily dimensions. The thinking processes become disrupted by fragmentary ideas and memories. Negative effects can include decreased motivation, confusion, acute panic reactions, anxiety attacks, fear, a sense of helplessness, and loss of self control" (Funk 445).

 

Marijuana is from the "Hops" family, the same family through which we get beer. However, the Greek terms for sobriety are not limited to drunkenness. They mean to be sober, and of sound mind, to be aware, much like our use of the word sober today is not limited to one substance, but is achieved by abstaining from intoxication.

 

In the scriptures, sound doctrine teaches that one must be sober (Titus 2:1-2, 4, 6) According to II Corinthians 5:13 we are to be sober for the cause of our brothers and sisters in Christ. For in I Corinthians 8:9-13 we are called to be sober (I Timothy 3:2-3, 11). Romans 12:3 calls us to think using sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given us. II Thessalonians 5:6 tells us to watch and be sober. I Peter 4:7 reminds us that we must be sober for prayer.

 

Anyone who has used marijuana knows of the unmistakable high that one receives after smoking or eating the drug. I can tell you from personal experience that one is not sober and far from being of sound mind while under the influence of marijuana. "

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Mark 7:15-18, 20-23

 

15:"'There is nothing which enters a man from outside which can defile him; but the things which come out of him, those are the things that defile a man.

16: If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear!'

17: When He had entered a house away from the crowd, His disciples asked him concerning the parable.

18: So He said to them, 'Are you thus without understanding also*? Do you not percieve that whatever enters a man from outside cannot defile him.

20: And He said, 'What comes out of a man, that defiles a man.

21: For from within out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders,

22: thefts, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness.

23: all these things come from within and and defile a man.'" (New King James Version)

 

*footnote: some translations say "Are you that dull?"

 

Here, Jesus defines "sobriety". The passage is in reference to kosher food, but it could not be more clear. "There is NOTHING which enters a man from outside which can defile him". It is not the substance which is evil.... All natural substances are created by God and are used for His purposes. But Marijuana CAN be used as medicine and to enhance life. The references to sobriety throughout the Old and New Testaments refer to behavior usually associated with the use of an intoxicant, but not the use of the intoxicant itself. Only the REASON for using it, and the way we behave while under the influence can be judged imperfect. I find it hard to believe that God would deny us access to a miracle drug. After all, we use the opium poppy for medicine, even though heroine is derived from it. The SUBSTANCE is not evil, and even the consumption of the substance is not sin. It's the lack of reverence that often comes as a result.

 

Regardless, do we live in a theocracy? No. So even if I thought smoking pot was a sin (which I absolutely do not), it should have no bearing on the law of the land, which is supposed to be indiscriminate religiously. There are many faiths represented in our society who believe synthetic medicines are evil, yet they are not illegal on the grounds that they offend some people. If they are helpful, they are promoted. Period. And marijuana should be no exception.

 

-Tea

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I understand your point...People CAN surely use marijuana recreationally..but I was stating my position that if a kid approuches me about supporting his marijuana views and I can clealry see it has nothing to do with medication for the ill but rather to further his recreational causes..then he's on his own. I support ALL forms of medication....but I don;t support any form of any medicines for recreational purposes.

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SweetTea, you clearly have real medical issues. I would agree that sometimes marijuana is a better drug than some of the alternatives. But I don't think the vast majority of people who use it are using it for medical reasons. Even self-medication. I think ADD and marijuana really do not mix at all. I have seen this way way too many times. I think people with ADD are somewhat predisposed to self-medication. Not saying I think Ritalin is so great-- there are alternatives, like DMHO (I think or is it DMSO??) and so on. But marijuana basically will take a functioning ADD person, and turn them into non-functioning. Case in point: Twenty something ADDer, worked as a CAD programmer (yikes that's some hard work). Then starting smoking pot. He couldn't focus at CAD, he started bumming aroudn with a guitar, it's not like he is musically talented as he isn't. Another guy in late forties, still strapped to mom's apron. He can barely leave the house.

 

I do know the difference between psychological and physical addiction, as physical addiction is a real disease. I am not sure what psychological addictions are. But I have seen them and they are real. These folks will use marijuana every day and maybe a few times a day.

 

I'm sure you can find Biblical verses supporting or not marijuana use. I'm not sure about occassional use, I'm not sure it does much harm. I don't think it hurt me. I think very limited use is prob. equivalent to a couple drinks (not to the drunk state). (Though it is illegal, with draconian penalties.) But I'm not sure all kids (or adults) know where that is. And I do worry about accidents (perhaps an unrecorded death no. on marijuana). It's use isn't conducive to driving.

 

That said, I don't know that a stoned state is all that good for lots of things that really count in life like relationships and so on. So I definitely think you can be a progressive and be opposed to it. I think the medical use is a humanitarian issue. But I think the vast majority don't use it to medicate.

 

--des

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I think that there are valid arguments on both sides, although, I'm afraid that the examples you cited about other types of drug abuse only solidifies the argument that a sweeping law against some use while permitting other use would be as ineffective as the current law prohibiting ALL use. It's simply not the government's job to determine what we put into our bodies, but here in America, we expect our government to force us to make good choices about our own health.

 

Jesus tells us that we are always responsible for our behavior. Repeatedly we are reminded that even those who do not know the law will be judged by the law. In the previously cited scripture, Jesus tells us that we can't blame spiritual "uncleanliness" on external sources. Is it not safe to derive from that statement that even those who are "impaired" are expected to be mindful of their behavior as well?

 

Addiction is a disease. It is one of many that I personally suffer from. The irresponsible and seemingly inconsiderate traits displayed by your brother are classic symptoms of addiction, which has been proven time and time again to be a disease on its own, and NOT a symptom of marijuana use. Thankfully, your brother is not physically addicted to a more dangerous substance. Since addiction is a disease, it is treatable, but only if everyone (including the addict) recognizes what it is, and the argument of "at least I'm not doing hard drugs" is a classic defense mechansim for addicts who live in denial because they use prescription drugs or food or gambling or alcohol or any one of a host of other triggers. The disease must be treated, and taking away the trigger only brings about substitution, which can lead to infinitely more dangerous behavior.

 

A drug war that punishes people for the posession of the safest of drugs (including, apparently, Aleve and celebrex) is like a war against AIDS that punishes patients for the posession of AZT, because the treatment has some adverse affects. It just doesn't make sense, and history has shown that we can't effectively enforce "prescription" laws for marijuana any easier than we can enforce the archaic laws that are in place now. Practicality in this matter could save lives and give a HUGE boost to the economy and agriculture sectors, while cutting our prison population in half.

 

I have my own very sad stories about drug abuse.... How I was homeless for 6 months strung out on meth.... Or how I developed bi-polar disorder after habitual ecstacy use..... Or how my boyfriend's mother has been prescribed to xanax for so long she can barely remember her name..... Or how I met my boyfriend doing community service at a mission. But MY life experience doesn't apply to everyone, and it's not my place to try to force others to learn lessons that I learned through hours of prayer and painful reflection. Likewise, there may be people in the world who could truly benefit from the ability to make their own decisions about physical and mental health and wellness, and they should not be held back because of people (like myself) who have a disease that prevents them from making those responsible choices.

 

I would personally not benefit from marijuana legalization. Because I am an addict, my treatment requires that I remain free of all mood or mind altering substances, aside from the medication I take for my bi-polar disorder. But for an addict's weakness to be cited as reason to prevent others from gaining access to what could be a miracle for them? Horrible. It's just night right. And no matter how long and hard I wrestle with my own experience and feelings on the matter, I simply can't find it in my heart to support the restriction of marijuana use on legal grounds, since alcohol and tobacco are BOTH legal and neither has any medicinal value at all. The legal precedents set forward in this country do not support the "protect the population" argument.

 

-Tea

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SweetTea wrote

 

It's simply not the government's job to determine what we put into our bodies, but here in America, we expect our government to force us to make good choices about our own health.

 

I suppose it is the government's job if what we put into our bodies has a harmful effect on the people around us. But I also suppose that that's not the only criteria that lawmakers use to determine the laws regulating or banning controlled substances.

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"SweetTea, you clearly have real medical issues. I would agree that sometimes marijuana is a better drug than some of the alternatives. But I don't think the vast majority of people who use it are using it for medical reasons. Even self-medication."

 

Agreed. And it really annoys the hell out of me how I have observed with my own eyes stoner kids trying to ride the coat tails of the seriously ill patients who really DO need and benifit from medical marijuna use. I HAVE seen many REAL seriously ill people on documentries benifiting from medical marijuana use...but NEVER have I had THIS type of marijuna user approuc me to try and support medical use of marijuna. Rather it has been obviously otherwise perfectly healthy young hippie kids. They want me to USE the seriosuly ill as a justification for 'THEIR' recreational use...and I doubt that those who really ARE seriously ill and ARE benifiting from MEDICAL use of marijuna really appreixate these kids poising to represent them.

 

"I think ADD and marijuana really do not mix at all. I have seen this way way too many times. I think people with ADD are somewhat predisposed to self-medication. Not saying I think Ritalin is so great-- there are alternatives, like DMHO (I think or is it DMSO??) and so on."

 

My nephew, Jake has taken both..and both had horrible eefects. making him more paranoid and more angry.

 

" But marijuana basically will take a functioning ADD person, and turn them into non-functioning. Case in point: Twenty something ADDer, worked as a CAD programmer (yikes that's some hard work). Then starting smoking pot. He couldn't focus at CAD, he started bumming aroudn with a guitar, it's not like he is musically talented as he isn't. Another guy in late forties, still strapped to mom's apron. He can barely leave the house."

 

Another example. My brother.

 

"I'm sure you can find Biblical verses supporting or not marijuana use. I'm not sure about occassional use, I'm not sure it does much harm. I don't think it hurt me. I think very limited use is prob. equivalent to a couple drinks (not to the drunk state). (Though it is illegal, with draconian penalties.) But I'm not sure all kids (or adults) know where that is. And I do worry about accidents (perhaps an unrecorded death no. on marijuana). It's use isn't conducive to driving."

 

I simply don't reply on any substances, pot or alcohol. Having dyslexia..I don;t think I need to add to attention span challenges.

 

"That said, I don't know that a stoned state is all that good for lots of things that really count in life like relationships and so on. So I definitely think you can be a progressive and be opposed to it. I think the medical use is a humanitarian issue. But I think the vast majority don't use it to medicate."

 

I agree 100%

 

"It's simply not the government's job to determine what we put into our bodies, but here in America, we expect our government to force us to make good choices about our own health"

 

Well, as for 'me'...'I' am not trying to vote against it and I am not using poltical vote to stop it...I am just saying the stoned hippie kids who HAVE tried to approuch me in HOPES that "I" would vote for 'their' freedom to use it recreationally...that 'I" would not support or help THEM poltically in this.

 

"Jesus tells us that we are always responsible for our behavior. "

 

I think that is always a key point.

 

 

" Thankfully, your brother is not physically addicted to a more dangerous substance. Since addiction is a disease, it is treatable, but only if everyone (including the addict) recognizes what it is, and the argument of "at least I'm not doing hard drugs" is a classic defense mechansim for addicts who live in denial because they use prescription drugs or food or gambling or alcohol or any one of a host of other triggers."

 

My nephew who has been A/A for 8 years now says they call this type of justifying "The AtLeast" Club. "At least...I don;t do something worse like..._"

 

The disease must be treated, and taking away the trigger only brings about substitution, which can lead to infinitely more dangerous behavior.

 

"I have my own very sad stories about drug abuse.... How I was homeless for 6 months strung out on meth.... Or how I developed bi-polar disorder after habitual ecstacy use....."

 

This is intersting cause I once met this really handsom and kind young surfer at the beach my age. As we were talking about our love of the beach he told me he was bi-polar..but he also asked me if I had some weed on me...so I wonder if one

bothers the other when one could think it helps?

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Probably the saddest aspect of the "War on Drugs" for me is that it has created a black market subculture for the sale of illegal drugs which, since it exists outside the law, operates without accountability to the society it markets to... which causes a great deal of social misery. Also, that it criminalizes normal adolescent curiosity and behavior.

 

I wonder why we feel driven to hate or scapegoat these so-called "stoner kids?" Don't you think most of them would grow past this phase in thier lives? I know I did. Don't most kids flirt with testing the boundaries, trying out for themselves all the tantalizing things they've been told by others aren't good? Isn't that a normal part of what it is to grow up, grow beyond the control of our parents so that we can become independent and make our own way in the world?

 

Aren't these kids really just like most of us were when we were that age, curious about the world, learning deep lessons about pain and the avoidance of pain? Haven't most of us tried some stupid things in an effort to "fix" our own discomfort at merely being alive?

 

Yet we have created a culture in which this behavior is criminalized, and this attitude is so pervasive that we have no problem displaying our open contempt for such "stoner kids", some of whom fall down the rabbit hole because they buy into the glamorization of this criminal subculture which the war on drugs itself has wholly created. The vast majority of these are kids that could use a little understanding, yet many hold them in contempt. Why is that?

 

Our kids are tossed into jail for the smallest of "crimes", where they are effectively removed from society and their odds of going on to create a meaningful or productive life for themselves are severely diminished. To me, that should be criminal.

 

At the same time, we repeatedly are told that the best and quickest way to happiness is through the use of prescription drugs, some of which are every bit as addictive as the drugs that have been criminalized.

 

Does no one else see the irony here?

Edited by Lolly
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Lolly..... I see the irony. Absolutely. And that's the point I'm trying to make.

 

I'd bet most of the people on here would think I was a "stoner kid" if they met me... I'm 24 years old, I have a tounge ring and tattoos.... Nevermind that's I've been through in the past 5 years what most people don't go through in 3 lifetimes, or that I'm a devoted Christian..... No one sees that. What they also don't see is the depression I fight with every day. You can't tell a person is bi-polar by looking at them. Maybe these "stoner kids" are like me.... with serious medical problems.... but the stigma surrounding mental illness has thus far prevented them from getting professional help. Or maybe the bi-polar surfer made a informed, responsible decision to avoid adverse side effects of prescription medications in favor of a safer, no-habit forming alternative. Good for him.

 

I will aggree that crimes committed or criminal negligence caused by being under the influence of any substance should carry a higher sentance, but simple possession and cultivation and intoxication should not be criminal offenses at all. Most states have statutes allowing additional penalty for "aggervating circumstances" in most crimes and cases, and I think the fact that those laws are already in place would make the transition very easy, and the DUI laws already include a whole array of drugs.

 

In short, my answer is this..... Do I think you can be liberal and personally against the recreational use (or abuse) of drugs? Yes. Do I think you can be liberal and believe that the government has a right to decide what you put into your body, REGARDLESS what it is or why you take it? No. But that's only my opinion.

 

-Tea

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I think the criminalization of marijuana has been far worse than the drug itself, which I think has it's bad points. But the criminalization has created a very bad situation with basically law

abiding (except for use and perhaps growing of marijuana) citizens and throwing them in the slammer for life for very long sentences(there are several people serving life sentences, worse than rapists get). Any jail sentence at all is too much. I would at least want it decriminalized, like a parking sentence. I'm not sure I'd be ready to actually make it legal.

 

We already have a legal drug, alcohol (actual has worse problems arguably), that is associated with many traffic fatalities. We don't have a quick way of determining marijuana toxicity (i think) for police.

 

But the whole thing of having huge penalties and spending millions of dollars a year on intradiction-- saw something on tv last year (I think) of just all that is done fighting it. I just don't think that the costs to society of using (for example the dependent individuals or possible "stoned driving") are worth the costs of trying to fight it this way (of course, that much might be said of the whole "War on Drugs", but at least some fo the drugs in that War are pretty dangerous. (It's still a foolishly run war anyway.)

 

But aside from this, imo, if someone needs to use marijuana on a regular basis (even not a dependent individual, I wonder what's wrong with their life. What is missing that they would want to do this? I know what was missing in my life back in the 60s, things like direction,

meaning, real companionship, etc. I think you can't get those things from drugs.

 

I do believe that marijuana smoked or eaten is a very good drug for numerous conditions. But I don't think anyone here, at least who has posted, is against this, if it was used for a real disease. The use of marijuana as a stress reducer, well, that's an iffy area. That's like using alcohol though. Not better or worse, I think, except for the penalties of marijuana usage.

 

--des

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I think the issue isn't necessarily whether we personally believe that use/abuse/misuse of a drug is right or wrong, but rather whether we believe the government should make that distinction.

 

I am (admittedly) pretty "left-wing" on this issue, simply because I would have LOVED to have access to marijuana while I was detoxing off of meth (for paranoia and tremors) and again when my drug abuse treatment prevented me from taking my anti-anxiety/sleeping pills because they could become habit forming. I also know many people my own age who frequently use marijuana (on a daily basis), and lead happy, productive, fulfilling lives in loving relationships and rewarding careers. In fact.... I know plenty of people my parents' age who have done the same for most of their lives.

 

I also voice concern about the motivation of some to use drugs. I am personally not a big fan of most ADD treatments, for example, because I think amphetamines and their derivatives (like methamphetamine) are extremely dangerous and have an extremely high potential for abuse (as a recovering speed addict, I can speak from experience.... Ritalin and drugs like it are abused just as frequently as any other). That doesn't mean I think those drugs should be illegal.

 

But one thing is REALLY bugging me. There is absolutely no definitive proof indicating that marijuana adversley affects reaction time. It does not slow down thought process, and is therefore not categorized as a sedative, just as it is not classified as a hallucinogen or stimulant, even though it displays traits of both. You'll find studies that categorize it very generally into one of those categories, but close inspection of those class definitions indicates that marijuana doesn't fit in any one of them an a completely bio-chemical front. Not only do we not have an accurate test to show whether a person is actually under the influence of marijuana or not, but, there is really no conclusive proof that marijuana adversely affects the ability to drive in any way.

 

Granted, studies in this field are few and far between, because since the middle of the 20th century studies about the long term affects of marijuana have been heavily restricted in this country. But part of the problem is that people have been brought up on inaccurate government propaganda, and have grown lazy in informing themselves about real facts. The human brain is very complex, and the reaction it has to drugs can be vastly different from person to person. To observe that it seems like things slow down when one is high and deduce from that observation that marijuana slows down reaction time might seem like a safe assumption to make, however it's far from scientific and hardly a responsible way to research such an important issue.

 

Try Erowid for great info about all kinds of drugs. But the info is real. There are clinical studies as well as individual accounts from personal experience. This is one site that exposes some things that are false about our collective "drug knowledge", but also they have no qualms warning about the dangers of drugs. I find it to be an informative, unbiased site.

 

-Tea

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>I think the issue isn't necessarily whether we personally believe that use/abuse/misuse of a drug is right or wrong, but rather whether we believe the government should make that distinction.

 

I do think that certain drugs should be illegal, but the trouble is that it has made

made the situation worse, imo. It has taken really severe action against what is arguably a fairly minor drug. It has made crack penalties worse than cocaine penalties (though I agree crack is worse, the effect has been that minorities are disproportionally imprisonated).

It has put away a major part of a whole generation into prisons.

So imo, the question is more what the government should really be doing. Of course, I am not a libertarian.

 

>I also know many people my own age who frequently use marijuana (on a daily basis), and lead happy, productive, fulfilling lives in loving relationships and rewarding careers. In fact.... I know plenty of people my parents' age who have done the same for most of their lives.

 

I wouldn't argue that. I don't know anybody my age that is normal and happy and using regularly but I am no doubt older than you are. I know people that were my age back when who were happy and using, if not daily then frequently.

 

>one of them an a completely bio-chemical front. Not only do we not have an accurate test to show whether a person is actually under the influence of marijuana or not, but, there is really no conclusive proof that marijuana adversely affects the ability to drive in any way.

 

Well I would find it highly curious if it didn't aversely effect the ability to drive. As for reaction time and sense of time, I find it very odd that these aren't together in some way.

I think we could quote sources back and forth on this. But I did take a drive in car driven by someone who was very stoned. It is an experience I would not want to repeat. It is not that

he was overconfident as someone using alcohol might be, but there was a casualness to driving that strikes me as unsafe. It is part of the experience of the drug. I don't think it would all be as easy to verify as alcohol use though. I think you mention an important point about the ability to study it or even the ability to use demographic studies. Since they don't ask in an accident if someone has taken marijuana then it is pretty hard to do it (I think people would lie anyway as it is illegal.) Ewold mentions slow driving and did not recommend driving while on marijuana.

 

I agree that Ritalin can be a dangerous drug, but my point was not whether Ritalin was a dangerous drug, but that ADD and marijuana don't mix (although I feel-- no way to prove) that a large no. of ADDers take marijuana. I dont' think marijuana improves mental functioning in any way. It might improve mood, which miight be the appeal in ADD. It might improve relaxation. But it doesn't improve focusing. You tend to defocus vs focus. I think the primary group of people with dependence to marijuana are (undiagnosed or diagnosed

ADDers). Ewold itself lists the following that would be worse in ADDers than others:

memory loss, clumsiness and lack of coordination.

 

 

--des

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Oh, I don't argue the ADD thing.... I think ADD and pot are a generally bad cocktail..... except in really severe cases where violent behavioral tendancies may be a problem (as in the case of a good friend's brother), but I totally aggree that pot is not for everyone. My disaggreement comes with laws that take the right to decide what IS right for me away from me and put it into the hands of the government. I'm not a libertarian, for sure, but I have always believed fundementally in the right to make decisions about my own health and body. To me, marijuana laws fly in the face of my core values.

 

At some point, we have to say enough is enough.... I don't suggest that heroin or crack or meth should be legal, or that we should have absolute freedom to do whatever we want to, but I feel there should be a real medical, legal, moral, or social reason for restriction that I haven't seen in the case of marijuana. I believe that the drug war as a whole is like fighting a war on cancer by declaring cancer illegal and imprisoning cancer patients for not telling us where they got the cancer. I just think it's outrageous.

 

I think the whole entire system needs to be overhauled in a really big way. But the marijuana laws, in particular, are the most likely to change in my lifetime. And that will start a national dialog about the drug war in its entirety. I hope. Gives new meaning to the phrase "gateway drug".

 

-Tea

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"That's like using alcohol though. Not better or worse, I think, except for the penalties of marijuana usage."

 

And interstingly, the majority of neo-hippies i have met who are for smoking pot for non-seriously illnesses...usefully have voiced very passionatley against drinking alcohol and very hardcore against non-Vegans..even contedeming the eating of milk or eggs...Eating eggs and milk does not hurt the animals and yet that fell it is so unhealthy and unnatural.

 

But I think it strikes people like me and Des odd that people would feel so strongly that eating eggs and milk are unnatual and unhealthy but that inhaling smoke would ever be "Healthy" or natural and that mind altering substances even from a natural plant for fun could be healthy.

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I can't speak for the "other" neo-hippies :P , but I enjoy a big juicy steak as much as the next guy.

 

I do, however, feel that alcohol is an infinitely more dangerous drug than marijuana when used socially and/or recreationally. I personally feel that alcohol is horrible for me (with the exception of red wine, which is heart healthy), and I choose not to drink it. Ever. For any reason. If I did use recreational drugs, you'd never find me in a bar or cocktail lounge.... I'd be sitting in a friend's living room with a few joints. If my children want to experiment with recreational drug use, I'd rather they smoke pot than drink alcohol from a purely medical (and for that matter, social) standpoint any day. I've researched this pretty thoroughly, and the adverse effects of marijuana use are miniscule when compared to those of alcohol. But the legal ramifications stop me short of encouraging young people to smoke pot rather than drinking (if they MUST use drugs.... That's a key point.... I don't believe in sex education that only teaches abstinence, so I don't believe in drug education that only teaches abstinence, either.).

 

Perhaps I'll feel differently as I get older, but at this point, unless the science behind the research changes, I feel that pot is safer and generally less inebriating than alcohol. Perhaps THAT'S the neo-hippie argument, although the whole "vegan" think kinda creeps me out, to be honest.

 

-Tea

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Re: equivalence of alcohol and pot (minus penalties).

 

>And interstingly, the majority of neo-hippies i have met who are for smoking pot for non-seriously illnesses...usefully have voiced very passionatley against drinking alcohol

 

Yikes. Well I don't quite get that at all. I think it is a whole counterculture thing circa the 60s (some people have never gone past that).

 

> and very hardcore against non-Vegans..even contedeming the eating of milk or eggs...Eating eggs and milk does not hurt the animals and yet that fell it is so unhealthy and unnatural.

 

I can't understand the feelign that marijuana would be totally harmless in their view. Seems to the idea (or at least justification thereof) that it is somehow "natural". Well if you know about burning, you know that burning changes a substance. So if they felt eating it was better than alcohol, I could understand that. But I really think it is a cultural thing kind of, and not based on much rationality. BTW, the guy I know that has ADD and pretty much wasted is VERY worried about diet and other drugs (won't take anti-GERD drugs, though he has pretty severe GERD). I don't suppose that marijuana would be so great for that.

 

 

Also as per alcohol. I can't drink at all. But I don't feel that very moderate drinking is bad. Esp. as you say the red wine. Most people I know now are very moderate/light in drinking.

However, in excess, I think it is more dangerous, and the dangers are very well known.

 

 

--des

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"Yikes. Well I don't quite get that at all. I think it is a whole counterculture thing circa the 60s (some people have never gone past that). "

 

 

I actually like neo-hippism...well, many parts of it...like the civil rights parts, the eco-friendly part, earth day.....infatc alot of the beliefs would be in harmony with Progressive Christianity.....but then there are these parts that we are talking about...where it becomes irrational and contridictive..kinda like Evangelical Christianity...accept the flip side. The chrasimatic Evangelicalism and the mystic neo-hippism (oddly enough) share some magical thinking conepts. This is high lighted in this book I Have "Religions of America" where the author Leo Rosten compares a study done in 1972 where those who use LDS or pot are compared to the chrasmatic Jesus People movement where the Jesus Freaks speaks of being "High on jesus" and feeling that the Holy Spirit was a high "Like Speed."

 

"I can't understand the feelign that marijuana would be totally harmless in their view. Seems to the idea (or at least justification thereof) that it is somehow "natural". Well if you know about burning, you know that burning changes a substance. So if they felt eating it was better than alcohol, I could understand that. But I really think it is a cultural thing kind of, and not based on much rationality."

 

Yeah, I concure. It would make more sense to me if the neo-hippies liked to use Marijuna in baking rather than smoking. I the idea that inahuling ANY kind of smoke could be "natual" and "healthly" seems irrational.

 

"BTW, the guy I know that has ADD and pretty much wasted is VERY worried about diet and other drugs (won't take anti-GERD drugs, though he has pretty severe GERD). I don't suppose that marijuana would be so great for that."

 

Oddly enough it is more commom than not. How many neo-hippies passionatley refuse to eat eggs, milk or any food that it's not organic for fear it might harm their health and yet how many of these end up with throat cancer for smoking weed? Bob Marley? GREAT musical artist and lots of his Rastafrai 12 Tribe bibical understanding were right on...but the smoking part?

 

"Also as per alcohol. I can't drink at all. But I don't feel that very moderate drinking is bad. Esp. as you say the red wine. Most people I know now are very moderate/light in drinking.

However, in excess, I think it is more dangerous, and the dangers are very well known."

 

In my family they simply can not drink moderately...Seeing this, I chose not to even start at all.

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I dislike the feeling of being drunk. I guess, when I found the substances that really "spoke" to me, I craved the "superman" feeling that speed could give, and I loathed the sloppy, out-of-control feeling the being drunk gave me. So I guess I chose not to drink originaly because I was abusing drugs, and I was doing it to get a desired effect. The drugs that didn't give me that effect got eliminated from my "diet" pretty quickly. As for marijuana, I liked it when I used it, and I do believe that it is possibly the most effective treatment I have ever used for my bi-polar disorder, however it is illegal, and I don't like jail, so.... Anyway, I knew I needed to fix the part of me that NEEDED the drugs, and I think that's the answer to the whole drug war problem.

 

That's where Jesus came in. When I first started using drugs (cocaine was first, not pot), I had tried every psychological treatment in the book. My drug abuse came through literal depeartion. I'd try anything if I thought it would make me feel better. Well, anything except prayer. I had turned my back on the church years earlier, partially to rebel against my father (an evangelical minister), and partially because the idea that my gay friends and my friends who were not Christian were going to hell totally made me sick. Christianity had too many rules.

 

What I came to understand through 6 years of heavy drug abuse and repression of my emotions, was that Jesus doesn't represent rules and limits, but freedom and infinite possibilities. I came to understand that Christianity is beautiful and abundant and that the BEST part of it was that I could have my own personal relationship with Jesus..... and it could be all mine.... No one else had to believe exactly what I believed, because Jesus and I had different experiences together.... A different relationship. Once I figured that out, I was able to figure my life out and get my head on straight.

 

If we want to start fighting a war on drugs that will be effective and result in fewer "casualties", the first thing that needs to happen is we need to change our battle strategy. We are fighting the wrong enemy. We need to stop fighting addicts and start fighting addiction. We need to provide treatment on demand. In my area, the great citizens of my county have voted to prohibit a drug rehabilitation center in our community. That's not right. If it were a hospital, the community would have jumped for joy, because hospitals are good.... They provide jobs, revenue, and help sick people. But if it's a rehab or a mental health facility..... "Not in MY backyard!".

 

So we need to stop this social stigma and start HELPING these people, and that includes alcoholics and chronic over-eaters and compulsive gamblers and, yes, even the nymphomaniacs, who ALL display symptoms of the same disease. Then, we need to stop calling addiction a social problem and start looking for effective treatments.

 

We need to release the addicts who have been imprisoned for being sick, and we need to teach them how to live productive lives with this incurable disease. And we need to stop promoting the double standard that somehow marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamine, and heroin have something in common, because they couldn't BE more different, and the people who use (and abuse) them often have many different issues, which our prison system largely ignores.

 

We need to start giving the public ACCURATE information about the effects of drugs, because I guaruntee you.... Kids are NOT getting accurate information in schools, and lying to our children ensures that they will forever doubt our warnings when it counts. This means suburban houswives should be able to say what the letters MDMA stand for (methylenedioxymethamphetamine) and what drug they represent (ecstacy) and how it affects the brain (stimulates neurotransmitters and floods the brain with seratonin, endorphins, and dopamine, depleting reserves of "happiness" hormones). That way, when their kids come home late, these super-moms will have some idea what to look for if they suspect that their children are using drugs, and they can open an intelligent dialog. Because THAT'S where the drug war needs to be fought. In our homes. And we need to fight the disease and the ignorance, not the substances or the people.

 

We need to put progressive Christianity and other progressive faiths to work in helping these people discover God again, and God will help them discover themselves.

 

-Tea

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi all--Just a couple of comments--

 

I recognize that some "stoners" have used the medical marijuana issue as a means to try to get it legalized for their own personal use, as BeachofEden mentions.

 

However, what seems to be the bigger problem, in my opinion, is that those fighting against medical marijuana assume that EVERYONE who claims they want medical marijuana legalized really just want to have access to recreational pot. And because they are against recreational pot, they are going to make sure no one gets it even for medical purposes--because there just might be a chance that someone will end up smoking just to get high!

 

Do you see my point? People who need medicine can't get it because some powerful folks are against recreational smoking! (And they are often the same powerful people who, by the way, have no opposition to other recreational intoxicants such as alcohol!)

 

Isn't it better to have stoners "using" the medical marijuana issue, as long as it results in people being able to get medicine that might help them? Does it matter if our motivations are mixed or impure, if the result is that people with wasting syndrome from AIDS and other serious illnesses might gain some relief?

 

Peace,

 

curlytop

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