Let's Be Blunt

Let's Be Blunt
Posted by CN Staff on April 16, 2008 at 15:49:43 PT
Staff Editorial
Source: Loyola Phoenix 
Illinois -- There's a subcultural holiday of sorts this week and, whether you're a part of it or not, you know you know what it is. Only the second-most common joke involving numbers (um, behind those involving 69), April 20 is 4/20, a day when countless folk worldwide celebrate the use of marijuana by using marijuana. To acknowledge this holiday, the Phoenix Editorial Board has deemed this a most opportune time (no, not for us to zone out) for the medical and non-medical cannabis debate to be, ahem, stimulated.
Let's begin with some background: Through the Controlled Substances Act of 1970, marijuana was categorized as a Schedule I substance - pinning it as having high potential for abuse and no medical value. Since then, petitions from numerous national organizations have been submitted for the reconsideration of cannabis' medical value, but the FDA has not yet responded.As of today, 12 states have legalized the use of medical marijuana but, due to a 2005 Supreme Court ruling, prescribed patients are still liable for government prosecution because of the federal act. Such precariousness has prompted the debate that rages onward over the legalization of marijuana. Proponents of the legalization say marijuana is a safe and effective treatment for a broad range of conditions, including cancer, AIDS, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, migraines, glaucoma and general pain and anxiety. They stress that the drug's benefits outweigh its risks and that its medical use is already accepted by dependable, established figures, editorial boards and organizations throughout the U.S. Opponents argue that marijuana is unnecessary, saying it is more dangerous than other available prescription drugs and declaring it an addictive "gateway drug" that is harmful to one's lungs, immune system, brain, fertility and driving ability. There is also concern over the message legalization could send to kids and the tendency that people will claim medical necessity when really abusing it for recreational purposes.Who's telling the truth? It's easy to see that both sides have extreme potential for bias, so check these cold, hard facts first: In small to medium doses - about the equivalent of or less than a joint - marijuana causes relaxation, sleepiness, an altered sense of time and space and reduced coordination, attention and blood pressure; this tends to be the recommended medical dosage for many ailments. In high doses, it can cause hallucinations, delusions, impaired memory and disorientation. Most importantly, however, cannabis cannot kill you. Even the Drug Enforcement Administration - one of the biggest opponents of legalization - has concluded that, "marijuana is far safer than many foods we commonly consume.  It is physically impossible to eat enough marijuana to induce death." Oh, wait - but alcohol can. How many Loyola freshmen this year alone have been rushed to the hospital for a routine stomach-pumping? Let's get this straight: You can drink yourself to death on something that's legal, but consumption of something that cannot kill you, even in the largest possible quantities, is illegal? Yet no one in his or her right mind would readily return to the days of U.S. Prohibition because we saw how much it backfired - a black market that resulted in violent crime, racketeering, the high expense of legal enforcement, the drop in government funds by not taxing alcohol, poor products, seedy underground operations and, well, the fact that people continued to drink anyway. The illegality of marijuana has produced similar results - drug-related gang crime, shady but accessible drug dealers, not to mention unregulated and often-tainted strains of the drug - but you can bet that someone on this campus is probably lighting up as you read this. Control and regulation of the drug could potentially eliminate these negative effects.While we're at it, we can't help but be a hell of a lot more concerned, too, about the use of meth or heroin as opposed to pot. Marijuana is widely considered to be a "gateway" to these harder drugs because of its possibly "addictive" tendencies. But cannabis has actually been prescribed in treating alcoholism and heroin addiction. A 2001 University of Oxford study pronounced that marijuana is, in fact, not chemically addictive, but incites psychological dependence in "as many as 10 percent [of users, as] there is no clearly defined withdrawal syndrome" - about as likely an obsessive-compulsive patients' excessive teeth-brushing or light-switching. How many of us "need" our caffeine fix multiple times a day (lest we be reduced to an angry walking migraine)? Marijuana's impacts differ from user to user, and there's a big difference between occasional and habitual activity. Legal or not, a drug is a drug, and users must be responsible and conscientious in their decision-making.This is not about jumping on or off the weedwagon because it's "trendy." We really can't deny that cannabis culture has become glamorous - HBO's Weeds isn't the first to make light of it. The legalization of marijuana just might make it less cool, meaning parents could worry less about their children toking up. Police officer and detective Howard Wooldridge of Lansing, Mich., offers this nugget of information: "32 years after [the Dutch] legalized and regulated [marijuana] sales to adults, their 15-29-year-olds smoke half as much as American youth. Even better, Dutch youth no longer come in contact with pot dealers who also offer heroin for sale. Thus, far fewer Dutch teens try heroin for the first time; a win-win situation." Even our very own Ed Board is divided on this issue, but we're certainly not promoting the use, abuse or non-use of marijuana. Rather, we are advocating the choice - and we all agree that this choice would be a much safer one if it were regulated and controlled. Source: Loyola Phoenix (IL)Published: April 16, 2008Copyright: 2008 The PhoenixContact: phoenix luc.eduWebsite: -- Cannabis Archives
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Comment #1 posted by Donald B Parsons on April 17, 2008 at 05:52:42 PT:
Lets be Blunter still
Who's telling the truth?I have never in my 30 years of cannabis use had a hallucination or delusion. Maybe users who are already prone to these delusions and hallucinations due to pre-existing mental conditions.Maybe some black market crap laced with other drugs ie: PCP, or horse tranquilizers that would cause these symptoms. Straight-up organic cannabis will not cause hallucinations or delusions NO MATTER how strong the THC content is , whether its 1% OR 24% potentcy.
The stronger the THC potentcy, the less you have to consume for the desired effect. The stronger the potentcy, the more tired you may feel, less coordinated (possibly),but NO HALLUCINATIONS OR DELUSIONS...
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