Word Canoodling for your mind

I don’t buy Cheeba, I grow it. Werd.

Listen up folks.  I’m about to get sensible all up in this shit.
I posted a Facebook status today; “Pot is a gateway drug. But the gateway is cluttered with gallons of ice cream and stacks of pizza, so it’s hard to pass through.”
Little did I know that I was starting a war on my own profile.
First, let me start by saying that statistics are shit.  I can make up anything and quote it as a common statistic and have people eating out of my hand with their full and undivided attention.  Why?  People have weak minds.  I don’t mean that in a derogatory sense, but in general, people will not think for themselves given the chance.
A good example of this:  I write “how-to” articles and reviews of hardware, software or other technology trends.  I have yet to find someone who didn’t want me to spoon feed them information, even when I’ve presented it to them in full detail, on black and white, served up on a golden platter with pretty Crayola pictures to illustrate.  No, I have to “dumb it down” even further to one simple sheet of paper that can be read/glanced at and surmised in less time than it takes for them to answer the next email, text or funny tweet that comes across their smart phone.  People are fat lazy slobs who think the world owes them this luxury.  But I digress.
My point, is simply this:  statistics are useless unless you have full data to back up your claim.  Even then, I could argue with you that you’re still wrong, because for every piece of data you have, I have another piece that contradicts yours. So who is right?  Well, that all depends on all the data, the circumstances on how the data was obtained and if the data is presented in an unbiased manner.  Did you catch that?  UNBIASED manner.  The key word that most, if not all, arguments suffer a sever lack of.  We all know the old saying right?  Opinions are like….assholes.  Everyone has one.  But to present your argument in a new light with no bias to one side of the coin or the other…that is EPIC my friends.  This is the path to enlightenment.

So the argument for today – “Is Pot, Cannibus, GiggleWeed, Ganja…a gateway drug?”  Without naming names, I’m gonna go over some of the “facts” that were flying around in today’s discussion and see what we can come to.

Statement: Marijuana is a gateway drug–it leads to harder drugs.
Fact: The U.S. government’s own statistics show that over 75 percent of all Americans who use marijuana never use harder drugs. The gateway-drug theory is derived by using blatantly-flawed logic. Using such blatantly-flawed logic, alcohol should be considered the gateway drug because most cocaine and heroin addicts began their drug use with beer or wine–not marijuana.

Statement: Marijuana is addicting.
Fact: Marijuana is not physically addicting. Medical studies rank marijuana as less habit forming than caffeine. The legal drugs of tobacco (nicotine) and alcohol can be as addicting as heroin or cocaine, but marijuana is one of the least habit forming substances known.

Statement: Marijuana use impairs learning ability.
Fact: A 1996 U.S. government study claims that heavy marijuana use may impair learning ability. The key words are heavy use and may. This claim is based on studying people who use marijuana daily–a sample that represents less than 1 percent of all marijuana users. This study concluded:
  1. Learning impairments cited were subtle, minimal, and may be temporary. In other words, there is little evidence that such learning impairments even exist.
  2. Long-term memory was not affected by heavy marijuana use.
  3. Casual marijuana users showed no signs of impaired learning.
  4. Heavy alcohol use was cited as being more detrimental to the thought and learning process than heavy marijuana use.

Statement: Smoking marijuana can cause cancer and serious lung damage.
Fact: There chance of contracting cancer from smoking marijuana is minuscule. Tobacco smokers typically smoke 20+ cigarettes every day for decades, but few smoke marijuana in the quantity and frequency required to cause cancer. A 1997 UCLA study concluded that even prolonged and heavy marijuana smoking causes no serious lung damage. Cancer risks from common foods (meat, salt, dairy products) far exceed any cancer risk posed by smoking marijuana. Respiratory health hazards and cancer risks can be totally eliminated by ingesting marijuana in baked foods.

People undergoing cancer chemotherapy have found smoked marijuana to be an effective anti-nauseant – often more effective than available pharmaceutical medications. 15 Indeed, 44 % of oncologists responding to a questionnaire said they had recommended marijuana to their cancer patients; others said they would recommend it if it were legal. 16
Marijuana is also smoked by thousands of AIDS patients to treat the nausea and vomiting associated with both the disease and AZT drug therapy. Because it stimulates appetite, marijuana also counters HIV-related “wasting,” allowing AIDS patients to gain weight and prolong their lives.

Statement: Smoking Marijuana is a leading cause of traffic and vehicular accidents.
Fact: A number of studies have looked for evidence of drugs in the blood or urine of drivers involved in fatal crashes. All have found alcohol present in 50% or more. Marijuana has been found much less often. Furthermore, in the majority of cases where marijuana has been detected, alcohol has been detected as well.

For example, a recent study sponsored by the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) involving analysis of nearly 2000 fatal accident cases, found 6.7% of drivers positive for marijuana. In more than two-thirds of those, alcohol was present and may have been the primary contributor to the fatal outcome.
To accurately assess marijuana’s contribution to fatal crashes, the positive rate among deceased drivers would have to be compared to the positive rate from a random sample of drivers not involved in fatal accidents. Since the rate of past-month marijuana use for Americans above the legal driving age is about 12 percent, on any given day a substantial proportion of all drivers would test positive, particularly since marijuana s metabolites remain in blood and urine long after its psychoactive effects are finished.

A recent study found that one-third of those stopped for “bad driving” between the hours of 7 p.m. and 2 a.m.—mostly young males—tested positive for marijuana only. To be meaningful, these test results would have to be compared to those from a matched control group of drivers.
Dose-related impairment was observed in drivers’ ability to maintain steady lateral position. However, even with the highest dose of THC, impairment was relatively minor—comparable to that with blood-alcohol concentrations of between .03 and .07% and many legal medications. Drivers under the influence of marijuana also tended to decrease their speed and approach other cars more cautiously.

Statement: Most users of heroin, LSD and cocaine have used marijuana. However, most marijuana users never use another illegal drug.
Fact: Over time, there has been no consistent relationship between the use patterns of various drugs.

As marijuana use increased in the 1960s and 1970s, heroin use declined. And, when marijuana use declined in the 1980s, heroin use remained fairly stable.
For the past 20 years, as marijuana use-rates fluctuated, the use of LSD hardly changed at all.
Cocaine use increased in the early 1980s as marijuana use was declining. During the late 1980s, both marijuana and cocaine declined. During the last few years, cocaine use has continued to decline as marijuana use has increased slightly.
I could go on and on.  Point being, it is a debate that continues to rage from both sides.  I don’t support one side over the other, rather I see valid points on both sides of the fence.  Unbiased.

What I think is probably irrelevant as many of these arguments are.  What I will say however, is that with the proper regulations, legalization of Marijuana could work.  There are economic benefits as well as the medicinal uses.  Properly taxed, like cigarettes, marijuana could help put money back into the budgets for schools, medical research, work programs and the like.  Put into a different light, it seems silly that we haven’t already legalized marijuana in the same manner of other, similar substances.  In the end, do your own research for the facts and stop following along with the sheep.


One response

  1. Just saw this today. Well written and I agree with you 100%!

    July 31, 2011 at 3:29 pm

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