The Defense of Marijuana

First of all, I am pro-choice when it comes to a lot of things. I think women should be able to decide whether they want to have babies and whether they want to have sex. I think people should be able to decide what they want to put in their bodies, as long as they are not harming anyone else. I also believe that employers should be able to choose to not hire someone who comes to work intoxicated: even on caffeine, if that is against their wishes. So it stands to reason that I am for the legalization of not only “medical” usage of currently controlled substances, but also recreational usage. Just because I am for it, does not mean it is the “right” thing to do. I don’t think there is a clear-cut right or wrong (and by right or wrong I mean socially beneficial vs. least socially harmful) in the drug debate. While I believe in educated, responsible usage of various substances, I admit that many people have no concern for others when it comes to their habits, and although legalizing many controlled substances would reduce some of the risks in their usage, it would not prevent people from becoming jerks to their loved ones, or from becoming a social burden eventually.

However, what I think is absolutely insane, is the way most marijuana activists argue for the broad legalization of marijuana. After reading a few medical marijuana websites, and following link after link to various arguments for using marijuana for this and for that, I find it to be completely contradictory and blindly passionate. Go to any medical marijuana page, and look at the list of ailments that it claims to “treat.”  Here, check this one out. Basically, there is a list a page long of various ailments that MM can be used to treat. In reality, MM is more often used to treat the side-effects of these ailments, not the actual disease. For example, it is used to treat nausea, headaches, depression and lack of appetite. Not enough studies have been done to conclusively decide whether it actually “treats” major diseases. (Except maybe cancer.) Calling for more studies is great, but telling people that marijuana is some complete cure-all is irresponsible.

Secondly, people are fighting for marijuana because it is, “all-natural.” Sure, it comes from a plant, but the naturalness of it stops there. Medical marijuana (and recreational strands) have been cross-bred specifically to enhance specific aspects of the plant, the hallucinogenic properties are emphasized or stagnated, certain chemicals in the plant that people THINK are medically useful are encouraged or discouraged etc. Then, the plant is processed in so many different ways, including extractions of the various components, that it is not exactly natural. I mean, on the website I linked above I was reading about how MM helps oxygenate the brain to deal with certain issues. The article began by saying that in the East people concentrate on breathing and oxygen supply so they don’t have to put the foreign substances (current traditional medicine) that we depend on in the west into their bodies. It goes on to say the answer is not learning how to meditate and breathe deeply, but to use the “natural” method of MM. Huh? It is still putting a foreign substance in your body to do the work that deep breath-work and meditation can accomplish. Sure, it still came from a plant, but these are often the same people that wont put gluten in their bodies because dwarf wheat has become too “unnatural”  through selective breeding for humans to process. (No offense to people who have actually found that they have an allergy or intolerance to gluten, or that their life is better without gluten, I believe that is your choice. It just seems a bit hypocritical in this case.)

Thirdly, people misuse the term, “medical.” Getting a medical marijuana card seems to be easy enough. Maybe I am wrong, but I know several people who had legitimate reasons for having a card, but had plenty of extra MM to give away to their friends who didn’t have cards. This means that the dosage is not being regulated, by any doctor-patient relationship. But it is something more than that. I know too many people who constantly say they need to medicate.

“I am going through a breakup and can’t sleep, I need to medicate.”

“My friend died, I need to medicate to deal with the depression.”

“I have to medicate before I go in for a big meeting, or else I will have anxiety.”

These self-diagnosis are abusing the use of the word, “medicate,” in order to validate using a substance not to deal with situations which are within a person’s control to deal with. Again, I am not against using substances for whatever reason. If you are not ready to deal with a traumatic life-event, then go ahead and avoid it for a few days until you think you are ready. But don’t use the term, “medicate,” to socially validate your desires of escapism. This kinda bleeds into my next point: the people I know supporting the legalization of marijuana actively tend to be unable to control their emotions. Maybe it is just the circles I have ran in, but I find that people who smoke a LOT of marijuana tend to be the ones advocating its legalization (makes sense), and these people, that I have known, have been emotionally immature, prone to throwing tantrums, complaining how life is SO-UNFAIR to them, and also emotionally manipulative. It is as if they are in a completely different reality, where they think everything should be lined up for them, and lack the basic skill of considering other people’s emotions, desires, and feelings. It isn’t a strong point, but it does make the case for legalization hard to take seriously.

Lastly, people tend to over-state the safety of marijuana. Marijuana is a powerful substance. If it wasn’t then how could it be used to “cure” so many diseases? But these advocates continuously state that marijuana has no ill-side-effects, and is not addictive. Well, I can definitely say that I know several people who have made bad decisions while under the influence of marijuana, that they might not have made while sober. I also know people who have severe reactions to inhaled marijuana- including anxiety, vomiting, and depression- the very things it is supposed to treat. Now, apparently with all of the extractions and new-strands being created it is possible to get a pill without THC in it that would lessen these side-effects, but I am still not sold on it. As for the “not-being-addictive,” sure, it might not be physically addictive, but it is definitely psychologically addictive. People who get arrested do not stop smoking it, even when they are being tested. I have been on several mothering websites where the discussion of fetus safety comes up and there are hundreds of comments from mothers who do not stop smoking while pregnant or breastfeeding, or who have stopped smoking, but are desperately seeking social permission to start again because they need to “take the edge off.” If those are not signs of psychological dependency then I am not sure what is.

Basically, I realize this blog post could be more informed on my part. I am doing the very thing that I don’t like advocates doing- ranting about things I haven’t actually researched or thought about from every side. But it gets frustrating. People advocating blindly for medical marijuana and recreational marijuana, while not clearly stating their reasons for either and blurring the two. People using weak “evidence,” and scientific terms to support their own selfish habits… <sigh> No wonder substances are still strictly controlled in the US. 

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