Marijuana – An Exploration (Part 3 – Addiction)

Part 3 – Addiction

Next, on the docket, we have addiction. Or rather the very important question that is, can marijuana be addictive?

Anything other than an automatic “YES!” would likely set off many a guidance counsellor, police officer, social worker, or anyone else with a distinctly distant relationship with the substance. This is not to say that they all don’t have a point. More, their interactions with many of these substances tend to be under negative circumstances. Police officers, guidance councillors and social workers would not be in the picture if those they were protecting were keeping it together. Though, as is insinuated by my use of italics, their presence can at times be reactionary.

So, is marijuana addictive?

Yes. But as in pretty much all other areas of life, there is a nuance curve.

One of the first areas one has to explore is the type of addiction one is dealing with. As explored a bit in the previous section, marijuana is known not to be a chemically addictive substance. Its addictive traits are thought to be strictly psychological. And whilst there can be withdrawal symptoms for heavy users, they are not dangerous (unlike those associated with say, alcohol or opiates). It works by way of the dopamine reward system, but there is no requirement of continued consumption to avoid harmful withdrawal symptoms.

Whilst I do take the anecdotal experiences of the agents of influence (police officers, social workers) in our society into consideration, reactionary rhetoric based on the horrors of drug use is hardly a helpful argument. It’s but a red herring. Given that with or without the presence of substances to abuse, there will always be irresponsible people.

In short, one can no more solely blame marijuana (nor any other substance, really) for neglectful parenting then one can blame a single gun for the perpetration of a school shooting. In either situation, disregarding all (or much of) the background nuances of the given situations is helpful for nothing but pushing an agenda. It does not serve to help current (or future!) victims of the same circumstance. It just ensures that there will always be more.

Nuance may not be an easy pill to swallow as a Red Pill argument, but tackling it is the only way to finding an eventual satisfactory middle ground.

Period.

Moving onto the science of addiction, I turn back to the United States’s National Institute Of Health. If the question is “Can marijuana be an addictive substance?”, it would appear that the answer is yes. But, again, with a bit of a caveat. They only use the word addiction to describe the most severe of cases.

It is thought that around 30% of all marijuana users have some form of a marijuana use disorder, with users starting before the age of 18 being four to ten times more likely to develop the disorder (compared to users who started using as adults). Dependence on the drug can be characterized by the following withdraw symptoms:

  • irritability

  • mood and sleep difficulties

  • decreased appetite

  • cravings

  • restlessness

  • other physical discomforts

https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/marijuana/marijuana-addictive

All of which typically peak after one to 2 weeks after ceasing use of marijuana.

The addiction vector appears to occur when the brain adapts to the constant presence of large amounts of cannabinoids in the body, causing the reduction in the production of (and a growing sensitivity of the body towards) the bodies native endocannabinoid neurotransmitters.

The endocannabinoid system is a large part of the bodies nervous system, tasked with the regulation of many aspects of mammalian stasis. Marijuana works by mimicking the bodies own endocannabinoids, thus achieving the many both positive and negative traits for which it is known for. Addiction is defined by the NIH as when marijuana use is pursued even if it has negative ramifications in other areas of life. Which is a fair definition, given the information.


There is much controversy when it comes to the term
Marijuana Addiction. One just has to be aware not to use the words Addiction and Dependence interchangeably. Those that take their research or representation jobs seriously will know this and act accordingly. Those that don’t . . . you now know how to spot.

When it comes to the development of a marijuana use disorder, the numbers are favourable (albeit in a good way). It is thought that only 9% of users will develop a misuse disorder (with that number rising to 17% for users that started in their teens). While that can be an eye-opening number on its own, consider opioids. Or more, this first sentence from the mayo clinic’s webpage titled How Opioid Addiction Occurs:

Anyone who takes opioids is at risk of developing an addiction. Your personal history and the length of time you use opioids play a role, but it’s impossible to predict who’s vulnerable to eventual dependence on and abuse of these drugs. Legal or illegal, stolen and shared, these drugs are responsible for the majority of overdose deaths in the U.S. today.

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/prescription-drug-abuse/in-depth/how-opioid-addiction-occurs/art-20360372

A better way to explore this drug (instead of just following the addiction route) could be to look at its long term effects. After all, alike sugar, not being addicted to a substance doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s presence in the body in benign.

Most animal (and an increasing number of human) studies agree that marijuana use during the development of the fetus can cause long term (and possibly irreversible) changes to the developing fetus’s brain chemistry. Being that the changes seem to be most pronounced in adolescences (with the endocannabinoid system still in the process of forming new synapses during this stage of life), the connection would seem to be well founded. However, human studies leave a lot to be desired when other variables are considered (such as the usage of other drugs in combination with cannabis).

https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/marijuana/what-are-marijuanas-long-term-effects-brain

But there is hope.

The NHI is funding a major study on the subject, the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) study. Over a period of 10 years, it will track it’s participants right from pre to post marijuana usage phases. The goal is to get a clearer picture of the effects of cannabinoids both with and without the presence of other substances.

However, that study just began in 2018, and thus we are waiting until 2028 for anything definitive (well, ANYTHING). And so it goes for any studies related pretty much in any way towards marijuana, THC, CBD and anything else related therein. Kind of a sad state of affairs to be in. But, it is what it is. The show must go on.

In the meantime, I suppose the only thing we can do in play gatekeeper to marijuana information trickery. Make sure those in the old status quo are refuted when using misleading or deceiving arguments. But also make sure our proponents (the capitalist element!) aren’t stretching or manipulating the facts for the sake of making a profit.

A Win For Gay Rights

GAY-pride-flag-gay-rights-13910079-363-466

My last few posts have  been centered around topics of hate and negativity. So its nice to wake up to a positive note coming out of the US.

Today (coincidently, my 27th birthday), the Supreme Court of the United States has broken the months-long period of speculation and finally come to a decision regarding same sex marriage. That decision was, in favor.

http://www.cnn.com/2015/06/26/politics/supreme-court-same-sex-marriage-ruling/

Though I do not have much to add to the story, one thing I will say is, its about time. And also, thank you SCOTUS for ensuring a very interesting next few weeks on the part of the right. Obama kick started it last week by mentioning gun control. This should ensure more laughs then a barrel of monkeys.

marijuana-leaf

I have always thought that there are 2 things that should be part of an ideal world, but were unlikely given the climate of our socio and political reality (“Our” mainly pertaining to the United States, since most nations follow legislation promoted from therein). Those 2 things being gay marriage and marijuana legalization.
Its almost funny to think that just 5 or 6 years ago, I don’t think there was a hope in hell that either of these civil rights would get any traction (at least in the US). But the US surprised me, and started leaning more and more in favor of both issues.
And now, one of them has been knocked down at the federal level. Even if states are prohibitive of gay marriage, they are trumped.

When it comes to marijuana, in 2 states we are already half way there. Right now the feds are staying largely hands off. But that could change in a heartbeat with the election of next year, depending on the wishes of the incoming president. I trust neither any Democrat (well, besides Bernie Sanders) or a Republican to leave the situation alone.
So now that the gay marriage issue is out of the way, isn’t it time to turn up the heat on marijuana?

The first thing I should do is a bit of a clarification. I noted both marijuana and gay marriage as “civil rights”. Though I said that, I do not have the same identical explanation in both cases.

Though gay marriage was about the right to get married (and a handful of other benefits previously only available to heterosexual couples), marijuana civil rights is about more then “stoner’s rights”. I have heard some (well, one popular Youtube atheist that I have often criticized) argue for “Stoner’s rights”. While freedom of choice (of an adult) is part of the equation, it should certainly not be the basis.

What makes the issue big for me is not so much the illegality of smoking the said herb, but more the oceans’s worth of problems associated with that legislation.
First of all is the resources wasted on the futile attempt to stomp out this herb. Billions of dollars annually.
And of course is there is the hugely racist way in which American drug laws tend to be enforced. These in groups with lower overall usage rates are targeted substantially more then other groups with much higher usage ratio. When it comes to distribution, those that have the least available economic opportunities tend to get the harshest charges leveled when caught turning to drugs in order to make a living.

Then there is all the internal AND external gang wars and other corruption caused by the lack of a legitimate marijuana sources to feed the gigantic demand. People die needlessly in the US due to gang violence and turf wars. And there are even bigger problems in places like Mexico, where American drug dollars fund and arm cartels, giving them power that even their home nations have problems keeping under control.

The time for change is now. When it comes to how societies will react to legalization, there are already test cases WITHIN the US (Colorado and Oregon!). And of course there are many other nations with varying status on the drug.

The worlds most progressive nation on marijuana? North Korea.

If one puts aside (or ignores) all of the the economic and societal drawbacks and problems of marijuana prohibition, some still argue against its legalization based on the lack of research of its affects (I am assuming toxicity, though I could be wrong).
One reason why this argument is idiotic is the lack of ability to research. As I understand it, when it comes to schedule 1 substances in the US, your not allowed to legally do research  on (or with) these substances in question.

And then there is the “proven” toxicity based around overdose deaths as tallied world wide. Zero.

Then of course there are the other legalized drugs to contrast marijuana to.

If the argument is “We do not have enough evidence to make a decision”, then that must mean they need evidence of a lack of negative aspects.
If we turn that logic around on the other legally available drugs currently on the market today (harmful = banned!), then we end up with a very interesting result. All drugs are not equal, and will have varying levels of “harm” and toxicity. But none the less, even the lowest drug on the list in terms of harm as acknowledged by society (caffeine) is much less benign then marijuana.

Again, this does not say that I think marijuana is COMPLETELY safe. I don’t recommend smoking anything, due to the affect to your lungs. And like any other drug, marijuana can become an addiction for some people using it.
Harmless is a good adjective for marijuana, in context. When compared with eating an apple or an orange, then no, one could not really say marijuana is harmless. If eating it in a pastry or as is, possibly. But not in the way that one normally associates its ingestion (smoking).
But when compared to basically any other drug available on the market (caffeine included), then marijuana is a very harmless substance. Like any other psychoactive drug, common sense must be exercised in its usage. And like any other drug, some people will be prone to become (or just develop) a psychological need for the drug. Note the difference between psychological and physical addiction.

But when all things are considered, I don’t see why this drug is still illegal. From a personal (and strictly anecdotal) standpoint, it has not been a substance that has given me any trouble (at least physically). Though its been many years since ive used it, those times were good, but for one “bad” trip (and that had more to do with a bad “setting” then the drug itself).  As for after effects, though there was a lingering “odd” quality to the day after use at times, it was gone within  24 hours. No nasty headache or vomiting (trademark fingerprints of a night of alcohol consumption).

As for a strictly empirical standpoint, some argue that more research on the drug is necessary. Though I know they have an agenda, I don’t disagree. Research is always good, so long as its not done for the purpose of boosting bias. And there have been many of those from the pro-prohibition side of late.

One such study has shows us that heavy and steady usage for a 20 to 30 year period has a negative effect on intelligence later in life. Missing are the effects on recreational users. And of course affects of heavy use of some of the other already legalized drugs (though such studies are elsewhere).
Also not mentioned is the zero percent overdose rate of marijuana. Even without the wealth of empirical knowledge that we have on other drugs, this one fact still puts marijuana above all others.

We have toppled one long standing social domino towards a better world in gay marriage. Its time we work on marijuana. A domino with even more of a negative footprint then gay marriage (when all negatively affected lives are considered).

420 – A Marijuana Post

420-coming-soon

Its that time of year once more. Its Hitler’s birthday!

Just kidding. Its a day where stoners everywhere celebrate their herb and the culture surrounding it, by smoking it to excess. Sometimes (often times?) even in public (if they happen to be in one of the islands of legality, or if the police in their location take a day off in enforcing its criminalization).

I have smoked pot, but not for a really long time. Its been years. But I am on your side stoners.

This period of my life was not when I was younger, not while in high school. Back then, I (for the most part) unconsciously labeled users of ALL drugs as bad people. A hangover from the “drug education” that  I had taken all though my school career, which remained largely unchallenged by reality due to my growing up in a very much self imposed state of isolation. I had very few “close” friends (maybe 4), but didn’t even see them much. 2 of those I knew to be a marijuana users, but they mostly fit my “profile” of what a drug user looked like, so I never really gave it a second thought.

It was not until sometime later that this slowly begun to change, as I learned that people around me that I considered close friends (or otherwise as good people) were recreational to frequent marijuana users.
I remember that it was quite a pill to swallow, and I didn’t know how to contextualize it. I suppose its in a sense how many theists turn atheists feel at first, upon waking up to “reality”. I see the information, but I am not quite sure how to react to it, since it stands in direct opposition of my previous conclusions.

At that point, I must have (more or less) just shoved the mess over to the side mentally, because I don’t remember struggling with it until a couple years later.

Later came, upon moving out and on my own at the age of 18 and a few months (well, for a short while. About 6 months).
Since turning 18 I had been “experimenting” a bit with the party scene with co-workers of mine. This in itself was a big step, since I was against ALL drugs up until then (including alcohol).
Thinking back now, I forgot to consider caffeine in with the substances I had concluded should be prohibited (energy drinks were a big thing for me back then). Even though I found it quite hypocritical for the teaching staff to be bringing in cups of Tim Horton’s for themselves almost daily. The things we miss 🙂 .

But either way, 18 was an age of breaking many barriers. The first to go was alcohol. My first beer taught me the good side (its quite relaxing), my first binge (and then my first hangover) taught me the “bad” side. But I learned that it was not the bogyman I once thought it was.
Although its a substance I am still quite careful with (having a relative with a major addiction to it that I suspect will never disappear).

And marijuana was present where I was living at the time, and used fairly regularly by occupants. And I was asked if I wanted to participate.

It was something that I always avoided, due to my internal dialog. Though I was always curious of what it was like, and quite often kicked myself later for not experimenting. Yet my internal dialog, just would not let me do it.

For anyone wondering what the heck I am talking about with my “internal dialog”, its basically, that little voice inside you that dictates life. I am unsure what it is like for other people, but when I am apprehensive of a situation, it is EXTREMELY difficult for me to override those fears and make a decision.
Which can make life quite difficult at times, since its often easier to put a decision off or just say no (even though it often means remaining stagnant). Even though past “overrides” of this reluctance have moistly utilized positive results, its still a formidable opposition.

But, importantly to this piece, I did manage to put it all aside and have a first toke. Which turned out apparently to be mixed with Salvia (back then, legal here. Not sure what the status is now). And the result was positive. As it was on the handful of occasions that I tried it since then.
The only “bad” experience that I can recall was when me and a roommates friend smoked up, and he left, leaving me alone. Which suddenly made me paranoid.
For some reason, I was paranoid of the cops, so I opened all the windows to the apartment to try and clear the air. Then my phone started ringing somewhere on the couch, but I was apparently to baked to figure out where the sound was coming from (or to think of turning on a light, since the room was dark).
I then decided to go for a walk for some reason, ending up lost 5 blocks away after everything visually took a weird turn. It become real dark, and it seemed that some streets were pointing upwards, while others were pointing downwards. I started walking down one, to see a long building lite by bright orange lighting, which for some reason I interpreted as something military. But after a bit I realized that it was a nearby strip mall, which reoriented me. And on the way back I was “found” by my roommate lol. Who wondered why all the windows were open.

That is, about all the experience I have had with the herb. In terms of addiction potential, it was a feeling that I enjoyed and did want to repeat. But then again, so was drunkenness (to a degree anyway).

Since then I have done quite a bit of research on marijuana, and many other drugs (even quite uncommon stuff) online, mostly out of curiosity and boredom. Erowid was one of my main sources (including the vast experience vaults for the many substances), but it was not the only source.

Either way, after taking into account both my experience and what research is available, I could only conclude that the current status quo reaction to marijuana is ridiculous. And as such, I tried to mount various facebook campaigns (in the form of groups and Pages) to just get a conversation started (even if just between my friends). But I was throttled, because it seems that most stoners can’t be bothered to stand up for their own cause. I had a group that was stocked with “stoner” members and updated with provocative material. But never any bites.
So it became a case of “if you don’t want to fight for it, why should I?!”, to which I gave up on that aspect. The pages remain, but are largely inactive (even now).

But, like anything else I have a strong opinion on, I do not shy away from sticking up for my side if the opportunity presents itself. And it has, a couple of times.
Its often amusing because my opposition often assumes right off the bat that I am just a stoner on the defensive (often insulting my intellect based on that). The only thing more laughable then that not being frowned upon in a “legitimate” debate, is often the reasoning behind the stance. For example, “I have been a social worker for 35 years, and I have seen parents neglect their children because of their marijuana addiction!”.

I do not doubt that. But, does this mean that you have never come across a family that was ravaged by alcohol? Or some extremely powerful over the counter narcotic? Have you ever encountered an abusive alcoholic?
Though the answer COULD be no, I find that HIGHLY doubtful, being the usage rate of the substances in question.

 When it comes to marijuana, I think that both sides have a tendency to, present things wrongfully.

Lets start with using the word “harmless” as an adjective to describe it. This is a word that can be utilized, but you need context. If you are making a comparison with morphine, heroin or even Alcohol, then yes, by contrast marijuana is harmless. Its body count alone is good evidence.

But I hesitate to say its COMPLETELY harmless, because it is after all, a psychoactive drug. I have heard the argument that smoking pot is not harmful and even “reverses cancer”, but I hesitate at believing that smoking ANYTHING is harmless. Look what it does to your utensils of the trade. Thats not even a portion of what your lungs are taking on.
And then there is driving on pot, and other activities while high. Some studies apparently show little to nil affects on operation of a vehicle (compared to similar amounts of alcohol), but I still hesitate (and default to what my common sense tells me).

When we are arguing for legalization, I think that we have to be careful and just stick with what we know. And to a degree, what would fall into the category of “common sense” to the every day individual.
It may be true that you can not get cancer from smoking marijuana, or that its intoxication has little affect on motor skills required to operate a vehicle. But I guarantee that those arguments will only be a hindrance.
So stick to its most obvious strong points, including its quite tame nature comparatively to even every already legalized drug on the market (particularly its lack of an overdose body count).

When it comes to drugs, if I were to measure my personal addiction potential, I would not even put marijuana on the list. The only things I would put on the list are nicotine and caffeine.

In later grade 12, I begun to experiment with little fruit flavored cigarillos. A close friend was an avid user of them, and I didn’t understand. Until I took a puff.
This activity increased when I started working at a c-store and got access to more flavors. Eventually the cigarette made me curious, which caused me to first buy menthols and cigarillos. Then just cigarettes.
My smoking increased quite a bit after some drama and a falling out in my circle of friends (a sting that never really went away). But after awhile, I guess I decided I was ready to quit (or more like, that this habit/addiction was ridiculous!) and I tossed the smokes and lighter I had on me into a dumpster in my ally.
Not gonna lie, it was replaced the very next day.  But from that first trashed pack onward, I never finished smoking a whole pack since. And the time between “relapses” has only grown longer.
Every so often (maybe once or twice yearly, if even) I fall off the wagon again. But its rarely for more then 1 or 2 smokes. And I do not really chastise myself for relapsing, seeing it as not being useful.

Caffeine I don’t have as much of an issue with, but its an ever present staple, be it in coffee, tea or some drink or other (including the occasional energy drink). I don’t really plan to eliminate caffeine. But I sometimes have headaches that seem to coincide with my non-caffeine consumption days, so I do sometimes wonder if there is a correlation (or if im just paranoid).

Thus concludes my piece on this 20th day of April. An explanation of a life experience that even I find amusing. My 180 from being 100% anti-drugs in my teens and earlier (well, 80 to 95% anyway), to being very open minded later. Partially with the help of experience, partly on account to education.

I never really went any further then marijuana on my personal journey. Despite this, I am somewhat favorable to such substances as shrooms, acid, and maybe even ecstasy. Truth be told, I can’t see myself as ingesting any of the above. With the first 2, because I can’t see my current mental state as being conducive to a “good” experience. And as for ecstasy, though many people around me (some of them living quite normal and productive lives) have reported good experiences, I just don’t trust it. Particularly in recent years, when it seems that ones hears more and more about such drugs being formulated with such nasty and addictive substances as amphetamines (more propaganda? One can never be sure).

I used to find myself in disagreement with those that argued for the legalization of all drugs, but truth be told, further thought processes have also reversed this. I used to consider money spent on fighting such substances as marijuana as wasted, when it could be better utilized such deadly substances as crack/cocaine or heroin. But I realize now, that such a measure would only increase the presence of such substances (as the market for the lighter stuff dries up).

If the market is fully opened up (and regulated for quality), the funding allocated to fighting such substances can be better spent on education  (leading hopefully to prevention on a large scale), and treatment.

Throwing addicts with addictions into prison does not cure them. And playing an expensive (and losing!) game of whack a mole with drug traffickers and peddlers will never stem the flow or the demand. As American society should have learned from prohibition. Another thing America should have learned from prohibition was the dangerous underground outfits that such prohibitions will help to fund. Back then, it was gangsters like Al Capone. Today, its cartel leaders like Pablo Escobar (and current successive leaders).

Marijuana prohibition is rife with problems, on most every level.

Toxicology wise, its placement as a schedule 1 narcotic in most nations is ridiculous (it is not extremely dangerous, compared to even many pharmaceuticals currently on the market). In the US, there tends to be a huge racial disparity in terms of enforcement (minorities tend to be targeted far more then Caucasians). For those who are targeted, a drug sentence for even a small amount can be life altering, with such a record often destroying future educational and job prospects.
And whilst the authorities are fighting to keep these substances out of the country, not only are they being replenished at a never ending rate, but they are also being substituted and replaced and by ever more risky substances.

First, there is the problem with leaving quality control to your run of the mill dealer or basement chemist. They are not Walter White, they only care about the money, not about the quality of the product (or how many people it may kill).

And of course there is the ever growing list of risky “alternative” substances pouring into the marketplace. “Molly” comes to mind (a spin on MDMA/Ecstasy, if I remember correctly).  Then there are “bath salts”. And even “synthetic marijuana”. Crocodile is another, particularly nasty substance in this category.

So while the authorities are busy trying to stem the flow of the traditional intoxicants, they also have an ever changing (and at times totally legal, at least initially) flood of these alternate substances to deal with. With things like bath salts, the chemists can often skirt the laws by simply changing the chemical formulation slightly. They may have 5 new formulas for every 2 banned.

All of this, all unnecessary. If there were legally available, and legally regulated sources of a great many of these substances, I can almost guarantee that this “alternative” narcotics industry would evaporate overnight.
For those wanting the typical substances, most will choose the quality (why gamble, when you don’t have to!). For others, why would you need an “alternative”, if the real deal is easy enough to get?
This is particularly true of such substances as “synthetic marijuana”.

Then there is, the children. The staple of many opposing arguments to legalization. Though I for the life of me, can not imagine where they get that logic.

When it comes to the sale of substances such as alcohol and tobacco at current, it is age restricted. And there are steep fines to breaking this restrictions and selling to a minor (at least in Canada). It IS still possible for children to get alcohol and tobacco, but it is usually not nearly as easy as it is to get other illicit substances. Because most drug dealers do not care about age verification, they care about MONEY.

And, back to the topic of “bath salts” and “synthetic marijuana”. In many cases (at least in the US), these substances apparently are often not even age restricted. And available in plentiful amounts in many nearby locations, such as gas stations and convenience stores. How stupid is THAT?!

Long story short, the system at current has been a 5 decade long disaster. And it will not change (and continue to do more harm then good) unless it is DRASTICALLY reformed.

Society’s Best – Or Worst?

addiction04_large

addictions

Growing up in the world today, we are faced with an interesting array of cultural messages. Though our locations and cultures do differ,  I can see some similarities that transcend them all. At some point in life, most of us will be faced with messages and popular cultural attitudes on consumerism, alcohol / drugs and food.

Lets start with the elephant of the list, consumerism.

Most children these days are faced with consumerism before they are even “aware”. Children watching cartoons, are often bombarded with commercials for the newest toys and fast food franchises with kids meals. And this is just the beginning.

Then school comes along, and industry once again steps in to supply the clothing, shoes and everything else required to school a kid these days. As one transitions into the higher grade levels (middle and high school), “fitting in” starts to become important. Especially in high school.

Students create peer pressure for all to fit some sort of prefabricated mold, at times with negative consequences if they don’t (bullying). And so industry is there to sell them the threads they need to appease.
And the people that dare to be different from the ordinary? Industry has them covered to. If there is a dollar to be made, someone will be in the business.

During high school is also when most people tend to be first exposed to alcohol. Societal culture itself tends to send very positive messages about alcohol consumption, and so this often filters into the high school experience of many. Some try it (or overindulge in it) at parties, most hear the stories and joys of it from friends and fellow students.
Anti drug and alcohol education courses teach the terrible and often negative side affects of it, and the law makes consumption of it illegal for those under aged, which only adds to the drugs appeal.

Move on up to college or university, and alcohol (mainly binge drinking) tends to be a HUGE part of the culture. The stuff practically flows like water in some cases.

Drugs often make there first appearance in high school as well. Though Marijuana is the first illegal drug for most, there are other options. I do not have much of a problem with marijuana though, even with young grade 9 students. In an ideal situation, no drugs would indeed be best. But ide much rather them using marijuana then drinking alcohol. But its usually just the illegal drugs (with the exception of alcohol) that begin to make an appearance in high school.

Drugs of the legal variety, might appear even before.

When it comes to parents that take medication for any reason themselves, the children are usually exposed to this growing up. It doesn’t matter if its an over the counter pain killer or a prescription anti-depressant, a pill is a pill. And often children will take medications at different times for different reasons. Sometimes as minor as a pain killer or cough suppressant, sometimes as major as regular ADHD drug treatment.
And then there are the advertisements. The commercials for all sorts of prescription and non-prescription drugs, running 24/7.

It all paints a picture of “medications” being safe, since there use is so ubiquitous .

And then there is the food culture of the west. The abundance of food we have at our disposal is staggering, and the messages society sends is often that eating more, is better. There is even a cable channel dedicated solely to food and everything related to it, from its preparation to its consumption. There are shows about the foods preparation, shows featuring eating contests, and everything in between.

The best time you can see this culture in action, is with the holiday behaviors of those in the west. Whether its Thanksgiving or Christmas, its all about food. Be it a Turkey, Chicken, Roast or some other part of a dead caucus, we celebrate with indulgence. We have all heard people joke about gaining 20 pounds over the holidays, and about there “food coma” brought on by holiday over eating.

And so, knowing this, I can list a few of society’s messages for us.

Mass consumption is good, so buy as much as you can

– Alcohol is a fun substance, so drink up

Medications are safe and widely  used, so don’t think twice about turning to one to relieve your every bodily issue

– There is nothing wrong with overindulging in food

So judging by all these messages coming at us, we would think that the best precipitants of this culture, would be regarded to highly. After all, they are the best of the best, they are seemingly taking the messages of society right to heart. Lets review what we call the best participants of each group.

The Best Consumers = Hoarders

The Best Drinkers = Alcoholics

The Best Drug Takers = Druggies

The Best Eaters = Obese

One would think that the best of the best, would invoke a positive response from the majority. But instead of positive, we all as a society, tend to look DOWN on the above behaviors. Whether or not it is warranted is irrelevant, because of the message.

What is wrong with this picture?

Irony Watch

If you are a fan of such shows as Intervention and Hoarders (of which im not, I fucking HATE both. Personal reasons), I want you to watch for something. Not in the show itself, but more, in the advertisements that air during its airtime.

For intervention, I want you to watch for advertisements for alcohol, medications (prescription OR non), or any other such substance. And while your at it,  keep an eye out for anyone trying to make a buck off of the addicted.

When it comes to Hoarders, make a note of all commercials that are trying to sell you something, anything.

Marijuana

Image

One thing I have not really mentioned on the “about me” page, nor in my intro entry, is that im a pro marijuana/soft drugs guy. I even have a facebook group dedicated to the cause (but like my others, it does not get a whole lot of activity). The photo above is a large part of exactly WHY i am pro-legalization.

One of my big reasons is, I could not find a legal drug that is as harmless as cannabis. Even when you start at the very bottom of the ladder!

-Caffeine (addictive, can overdose)

– Alcohol (VERY addictive, can overdose)

– Tabacco (addictive, very destructive to health over the long term. Can overdose)

– Various over the counter medications (See photo)

– Various prescription meds (see photo)

And one of the funniest things to me about the whole situation, is that there are many anti-legalization people that partake in various combinations of the above “legal” drugs. Likely because of previous misconceptions and beliefs from dishonest school drug education programs and parents, but no less hypocritical. A part of me is inclined to put them in the same category as the religious, but there’s a reason I won’t.

Most christians and theists with a web presence and a desire to “spread the word”, have run into folks like me, the ATHEISTS. Haha.

And they usually run from our groups with there tails between there legs. And censor us in there groups, and kick our heathen asses out when we misbehave (aka, ask questions. lol). And when not in control of content, they use the report button and cause all kinds of irritation and annoyance. Ive been forum surfing FB for the last 5 or so years, and I know many of the tricks of the fundaMENTAList pain in the asses.

But that’s another entry . . .

In any case, theists have many people questioning there thoughtless assertions regarding there chosen brand of god. Online the conversations are all over the place, and not hard to find. But honest and factual drug conversation, is a different story. Which is why I am not quick to put the anti-drug folks in with the theists.

If there is one thing I want to bring up on this topic (that I don’t often get to elsewhere, because of prying eyes), its the amount of HARM police do by riding the streets of green. At different times over the years, I have been around people calling around for some ganja. And many of these times, I heard “I have no green, this town is dry right now. But I do have snow, or rock”.

Yes. The police got the cannabis off the streets and kept it out of the hands of stoners and kids alike. Only NOW, since a business man sells anything he has to make a profit, they have now possibly driven the kids to moving UP the ladder, and possibly trying something a WHOLE lot more dangerous.

And to a degree, we see a form of this, when you hear the harm/deaths associated with things like “synthetic marijuana” or “bath salts”. Im shooting in the dark here (I admit), but im thinking its one of 2 things:

a.) weed is hard to get

or

b.) They have been taught that illegal = BAD, and automatically assume that legal = good (the stuff can be purchased almost anywhere! Its easy to think someone young would assume it harmless)

One can not have a post like this without referencing Alcohol prohibition. That worked so well, that it stayed on the books. Right?

Which brings us to the demand aspect. Even though the LAW said no alcohol, the consumer demand does not dwindle and die. It looks for another source. To which the underworld happily filled, reaping all the illegal (tax free!) profits, and left the public (tax payers!) to deal with the increased crime rates associated with enabling a criminal racket. And when you give a crime ring more money, they get more powerful.

We seen it then. We see it now. All you have to do is look to the state of Mexico at the moment.

And then there is the financials.

At the moment, gov’ts world wide waste BILLIONS of dollars, resources (and at times) lives, trying to fight an UN-winnable battle against weed. In a period when every penny counts, were still throwing money at people to use expensive whack-a-mole techniques to chop a twig off the tree. Its like using a bucket to drain Lake Superior.

Which is stupid, when you consider that with the right legislation, marijuana could be a VERY profitable cash crop the world over. If handled and sold in the same ways we already sell alcohol and tobacco, the possibilities for the economy are HUGE.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/story/2012/11/20/bc-pot-market-value-tax.html

Imagine if the US began producing its own pot. The first ramification I can see, is the cash flow to the cartel would quickly dry up. The 2ed, is the drug would become harder to get by young people, as it would be sold in the same way as alcohol/tabbaco/other legal narcotics. And it would take a HUGE burden off of law enforcement, allowing them to concentrate on getting that drugs that really DO harm or kill people (Crack, cocain, meth ect) off the streets.

Someday, it could happen. But it won’t, unless we spread the truth about Marijuana. Dispel rampant misconceptions.