Yes, of course it should be legal. Just stop pretending that smoking a marijuana cigarette is good for your health.
The pro-marijuana lobby has been pretty successful lately, and I am happy for that. It makes no sense that marijuana is still illegal in most places while alcohol is legal. And in Colorado (for instance), legalization has been quite successful financially, both in the income it produces through taxes as well as the money saved from having less crowded jails and courthouses.
But geez, stop claiming that smoking it is good for you.
My wife (the award-winning artist) is a cancer survivor. She lost much of the use of her right arm due to a very rare desmoid tumor. She can only work for a few hours a day before the pain is too much for her. She is on constant medication and often has to use a machine to massage her arm because of her lymphoma.
Do I believe marijuana would make her feel better to help the pain? Sure, of course. Just like wine does for her now.
But a glass of wine a day really isn’t that bad for you. It may even be good. Alcohol is only bad when it is abused. People have literally died from alcohol (whereas no one has ever died from an overdose of marijuana).
But that doesn’t mean a marijuana cigarette is healthier for you than a glass of beer.
Here’s what the American Cancer society has to say:
Like tobacco smoke, marijuana smoke contains cancer-causing chemicals. There are 33 cancer-causing chemicals contained in marijuana. Marijuana smoke also deposits tar into the lungs. In fact, when equal amounts of marijuana and tobacco are smoked, marijuana deposits four times as much tar into the lungs. This is because marijuana joints are un-filtered and often more deeply inhaled than cigarettes.
Fortunately, no one smokes marijuana in the same amount that they smoke tobacco. If they did, you’d be seeing a lot of marijuana-related cancer deaths just like you do from tobacco.
So yes, let’s make marijuana legal, and as soon as possible. But let’s not pretend that it’s because it’s good for you.
Please note: I am just talking about your standard marijuana cigarettes that you smoke. Smoking is bad. The harm is not bad if eaten in a brownie, for instance, and medical uses wherein the materials from marijuana are taken to make drugs for treating glaucoma and such is an entirely different subject.
Also, since I wrote this, my wife (who I mentioned above) has started using the medical marijuana and it has made a huge difference in her pain. It’s wonderful. But (here’s the point): She doesn’t smoke it. Smoking is bad, mkay?
I am always mildly bemused by people trying to pretend that there’s any way that igniting a plant and inhaling the fumes is NOT going to be bad for you. My dad pointed out that the products of burning ANYTHING are bad to inhale.
“Fortunately, no one smokes marijuana in the same amount that they smoke tobacco. If they did, you’d be seeing a lot of marijuana-related cancer deaths just like you do from tobacco.” No, you’d see a lot of people walking into traffic. That said, I don’t think your scientific credentials are good enough to make the blanket statement in your headline credible.
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My statement is an accurate reflection on current medical reports, which I can read and understand as much as any other basic scientific paper. I am also not an expert on climate change but I can have an opinion on it based on what I have read. I’m not a doctor, but I also believe that vaccinations are good based on what I have read.
Anyway, if you have evidence to counter my statement, let’s see it. I am willing to change my mind upon being presented with new evidence.
Since treating glaucoma with marijuana was mentioned and I am an ophthalmologist, I thought I’d chime in a bit: Marijuana is not a useful treatment for glaucoma for a couple of reasons:
– It does lower eye pressure a moderate amount, but the effects are very short lived. Glaucoma needs to be treated around the clock, and to do that with marijuana, you would need to be high 24 hours a day.
– It also lowers blood pressure, which in turn may lower blood flow to the eye leading to more damage to the optic nerve.
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