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August 04, 2010

REEFER MADNESS - 2010 - Dangers of Marijuana - PART THREE

In my last post I focused on the topic of the paranoid feelings users of cannabis report. I summarized by saying it's not an illusion... I think, if one went back to the 20's, with alcohol prohibition, you'd find plenty of paranoid people.

The "dangers" I list; well, some of them may appear odd at first glance; it does depend upon your current point of reference.

About those dandelions growing in your yard? If you haven't been spraying them with weed killer, do you realize the leaves have as much or more nutrients than spinach. It's not a weed. That's a myth.


"Dangers of marijuana, marihuana, ganja, ganjah..." (common and historic references for cannabis - common - sativa/indica):

Insane Laughter: Nothing sticks with a person more than the nervous, insane laughter of the actor(s) in the original 1930's, "Reefer Madness" film, considered a public safety warning at the time, to become, an hilarious comedy years later. True, when first using cannabis and getting buzzed or high, laughter is usually part of the experience - and for someone who literally had a childhood and teenagehood without laughter, the second time I tried cannabis in the 1970's, I laughed till I really hurt. So too, my two friends. The laughter part of it is nothing like the film mentioned earlier, it's simply a relaxation of a "primal fear" to laugh. After awhile the laughter part of it goes away, and the more mellow, meditative experience begins.

The Munchies: If there's one basic argument for keeping cannabis illegal, it's the fact that I last heard a report on NPR (National Public Radio) that stated 1 in 4 person's in the US are obese. Apparently, the reason people get the munchies is a drop in blood glucose levels. Need to feed the need. So eat. For myself, with a BMI under 20, eating is a very good thing, and for that reason alone, I should have the right to use a medicinal plant of my choosing. I don't.For those in the 1 in 4, do you think ruining people's lives for having cannabis is any more reasonable than arresting you for buying 6 cheeseburgers, 10 bags of fries, and a Super Colossal diet soda? Hey... I do need to eat...

Tobacco: Yes this is a danger... because, if you smoke cannabis you do so either through a pipe or a joint, though many may use a vaporizer these days. Except they have to buy it and everything is data-mined these days. So they probably don't. Point is, to smoke cannabis, you need fire - like matches, or a lighter. But, if you don't smoke cigarettes, why do you have a source of fire? Someone like your boss or nosy neighbor might ask you that question. Solution: Tobacco! However, it contains the poison nicotine, which is very much physically addictive, unlike cannabis. It's only practical use is as an insecticide, by the way. And killing human beings.

Diminished Job Opportunities: This danger is divided into two parts; 1) drug testing at the work-place and 2) a drug conviction on your record.

1) During the 90's I worked at a public school - an elite school with lots of wealthy tax-payers in town. I forget the exact year, but it was when the drug-testing surge took place. The school principal announced one day that all employees would be subject to a random drug test. The teacher's union, of which I wasn't a member, opposed the rule. We had a meeting, and was I surprised to hear nearly every teacher was opposed. The rule never took effect, it was dead. But that was then and this is now.

Now, nearly every large school, company, state or federal job tests for illegal drugs. They ignore alcohol and tobacco. Since most illegal drugs are processed and quickly out of one's system, marijuana is the exception -  that's what "they" call it - marijuana. So since cannabis "ash" can linger in fat cells for up to 30 days, it is the drug routinely tested for. Other drugs, two, three days, stop use. The obvious lean toward singling out cannabis users is obvious, and a danger.

2) Beginning after the terrorist attack on the WTC, personal privacy disappeared. If you've ever been busted for cannabis, aka marijuana, it's on your record forever. As you stand in line for a job you'll notice those ahead of you could have a history of assault, rape, murder, but the good news is the pedophiles are behind you. Comforting thought as you try and be a productive member of society.

Freedom of Expression: I admit, this is an odd danger... but it's true. During the 50's through the 70's, while cannabis use was actually quite illegal, it was not yet quite on the forefront of law-enforcement's priority list; that happened, from my perspective, in the mid 70's to 80's. Nancy Reagan's "Just Say NO" speech galvanized the world... but to what end? To demonize cannabis users? Since it's popularly pushed that marijuana is the stepping stone to harder drugs? How much harder can you get, then from the legal ones already available?

Much of the personal expression part of cannabis use during the 60's and 70's gave way to hushed silence on the subject. During that time cannabis was widely used and talked about by artists of all kinds... until the last few years.

Head-Shops, mostly forced to close down these days, were very popular during the 70's. Good for the economy and a friendly environment. They sold art, exotic clothing, herbs and lots of cannabis related gear like pipes, bongs, and papers. They usually had incense burning, so the atmosphere was usually surreal. But unlike Haiti, where colors are everything - they paint their buses in wild floral colors, in the US, drab black and white is still the norm.

Freedom of expression is a significant victim to the "Just Say No" mentality. Considering the alternatives... and the danger that your cannabis incurs is that you have to censor what you'd like to say or do, like start up a head-shop.

Loss of Personal Freedom, Pursuit of Happiness: Let's face it... use cannabis and your opportunities in life diminish. This is a result of laws and stigma about cannabis, and has a "catch-22", in that, if you appear to be complacent or relaxed under duress, or between jobs, it's easy to blame the marijuana. I'm surprised the "experts" don't realize with current discriminations and laws directed towards cannabis users, it's a no-brainer that they appear to be slackers.

The best part about cannabis is it's not physically addictive. And over time, less is enough... not more. With regards to psychological addiction, it depends upon the individual. Many people use it on only occasionally, easy enough to do. Others use a small amount each day for pain, relaxation, or meditation. It is a natural medicine... one used for thousands of years. I admit, still others seem to go through an ounce a day... but the thing is, unlike alcohol where the more you use the more intoxicated you get, it's the opposite with cannabis - you only get so high. Mostly, those who use an ounce a day simply like smoking it.

There is no hang-over, just a relaxing night no matter how much one consumes.

To Be Continued...  Next: More dangers, like schizophrenia - is it myth or reality?

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