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August 01, 2010

"REEFER MADNESS" - 2010 - Dangers of Marijuana - PART TWO

I concluded "Part One" with the phenomenon generally known as a paranoia; after using cannabis, seems after smoking it, rather than when eating it in a brownie. The paranoia is usually passive, non-specific, produces anxiety of varying degrees - usually depending upon one's environment at the time. It can be most acute in the early period of use, before an individual understands the link to their environment. I wouldn't say I've ever found this effect to to very common. 

But it inspires concerns with another, well published concern: Schizophrenia. I read that this fear is the number one concern if cannabis becomes legal. I sympathize with you, however, far better that cannabis is legal and non-stigmatized, than illegal, and those with a problem are afraid to come forwards. The other problem with this fear is that it's now quite official-

The person who experiences this side-effect may decide to stop using it for awhile, with a bonus in that there are minor to no withdrawal symptoms. And that may become that user's past... imagine, being able to say "no thanks", after a personal decision. Try making a list of legal substances that you can try and easily say "no" to? Tobacco???

Some people gradually are able to conceptualize the origin of their fears when using cannabis to come to terms with issue. Some call a mental health center, to come to terms with what they now realize is a problem - and I don't mean the cannabis. inhibits both a person with problems seeking help, and providing a hostile environment for people who want to use cannabis.

The problem as I see it is that the environment that a cannabis user lives within, regardless if it's their "castle", is in this country a pretty hostile one, one where I've seen the push to close "head-shops", the so called hippie shops businesses that sold tie-dyed t-shirts, bongs, Indian apparel and other unusual clothing, exotic t-shirts, jewelry, rolling papers, cards  and pipes. They always had incense burning. I loved going into a head-shop. 

In NH I consider whatever the state had to do with prohibiting or closing down such shops operating legally, to be violation of NH Article 84. I believe it's time to Get together openly all of us in America and form forums of discussion and promote actions. We will have our differences. That's human nature. But we're intelligent people - without threat, we should be able to make a big difference in what this country is supposed to be about.

It is ironic that we have so much public support to legalize cannabis, all the obvious medicinal benefits; the great musicians who found inspiration using it; Movies, TV shows, and countless, thousands of books on the subject. Some of the topics are amazingly funny and there are parts where the actors outright mock the prejudice and laws against cannabis users as quite ludicrous. A couple movie suggestions:  "Harold and Kumar", "Cheech and Chong",; Cable TV: "Weeds", Comedians: Sarah Silverman.

My biggest disappointment was Michael Phelps, Winner of 8 Olympic Gold Metals - who failed to stand up against his accusers; Kellogg Co., and the "anti-drug" establishment. This photograph of him after he'd won the gold medals could have been a turning point in understanding, that smoking pot is not by nature a crime. He might just as well be having a beer; since in my opinion there's not much difference in pursuit of happiness, in the act. It does not harm people, nor apparently, if he actually inhaled, let alone if he ever used cannabis. But this photo, available here tells it all:

This photo, more than anything, speaks about the prejudice born and now grown up about cannabis. We have blind drunk actors, unfaithful Presidents, perfectly sober terrorists, sinfully corrupt Wall Street Exec's... so WHY IS MICHAEL PHELPS THE BAD GUY??? What did he do? Why is it Michael Phelps felt the need to apologize? It's a picture of him with a bong, that's it!

Getting back to number one, what is now called marijuana, is really the target of the  "drug reform policy"  - the federal government and many state governments depend on it as the weather station. It's one of a few recreational drugs that leaves behind a signature tell-tale by-product that can be found in many people up to 30 days after it's use. This makes cannabis the ideal "tracking cookie" for the millions who prefer it to the potentially more harmful legal alternatives - alcohol and tobacco.

The "by-product is not THC - meaning the by-product itself is not psychotropic (producing a high). It's simply stored in fat cells much as ash left in an old campfire can be used to determine there once was a camp-fire. What makes this dangerous is the common misconception that cannabis use is associated with hard drug use, like crack, opiates, etc. ... which in my opinion is what scared Michael Phelps into apologizing and disappearing from the public light.

The federal government refuses to acknowledge the reality about cannabis, that it's essentially harmless when used responsibly. They refuse to reschedule it, from currently being a Schedule One Drug, which is simply bogus, and which laughs in the face of California residents, and millions of other supporters of legalization. The Obama administration did at least decide to let California do what it wants to do with minimal federal intrusion. So far he seems to be true to his word. And I appreciate that. But it's not enough. Not nearly enough.

I discovered after posting a reference to this phenomena on another blog, that not everyone is aware of the paranoia cannabis users may experience. I would like to point out it's generally temporary, and really does depend a lot of the person's environment. Cannabis users simply becoming more aware of their surroundings, and the people they're with. The fear general inspires a flight response, unlike alcohol which would more likely inspire a fight response.

These two phenomenon extent to the problem of driving an automobile. The person using alcohol tends to feel invulnerable and compelled to get in a car and show off, speed, push the petal. The cannabis user might be lulled into a sense that a car is an extension of freedom. Fine if they're the passenger, but not fine if you think driving 35 in a 55 is okay, or waiting an hour (an exaggeration of course - but even waiting 30 seconds is not okay) to make your turn. Some individuals believe they drive better under the influence of cannabis - and they'd be wrong. They are the people who should be subject to arrest, not those using it in the privacy of their home or with others. Know your plans for the next few hours after consuming any recreational drug. I strongly suggest you consider having a designated driver - a friend that doesn't indulge.

There's no reason for a user of cannabis, a natural plant with many beneficial uses, to be paranoid, and subject to the mayhem and indirect deaths that occur as a result of inappropriate government prohibition. Cannabis heightens awareness... and I must emphasize the paranoia one may feel is generally simply that - heightened awareness, of how a person feels. Fears of getting busted is a real fear. It's not an illusion.

To Be Continued...

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