iStock_000001663447SmallDavid Gorski reviewed the evidence (real and imagined) for medical marijuana in a recent piece in the blog Science-Based Medicine.

There’s a second installment on cancer for those with a particular interest in that subject. Dr. Gorski does a much more thorough and scientifically rigorous job than I, so please, give it a read.

It’s probably true that if marijuana had been widely available, regulated and taxed along the lines of alcohol and tobacco, there wouldn’t have been the necessity to invent all these supposed medical benefits for its use. Those who wanted to smoke it could have gone ahead and done so on the grounds that, well, they felt like it. The rest of us would still be free to judge or not based on the usual tangle of prejudices that constitute our personal opinions. But it wouldn’t be a criminal matter and we’d all be free to transfer some of that energy to more worthwhile issues.

Instead, the debate has been ‘medicalized’, and that’s led to additional confusion about cannabis and its real benefits.

Let me go on record as saying I have no objection to marijuana as a drug; my dislike is for the BS that seems to surround it. We’re already a society at risk of drowning in sciencey-sounding flapdoodle. I’ve read way too much of it (to my lasting sorrow) and the conclusion I’ve drawn (if anybody’s interested,) is twofold:

  • First, the research that suggests marijuana is terribly awful for your health won’t hold up; and
  • Second, neither will the studies suggesting it’s actually good for you.

It’s true that marijuana will likely not prove to be as damaging, say, a lot of vodka or a pack a day nicotine habit, but that ain’t saying much: Those are two of the worst inventions (health-wise, at least) in human history. And as I noted previously, if we ever have as much ‘success’ regulating and managing pot as we have with alcohol and cigarettes– heaven help us!

My guess is the most society can expect from legalized marijuana is a tax windfall, like the one that motivated many states to legalize casino gambling. It’s extra revenue, sure. But have you noticed any major improvements in your life, personally?

Probably not.

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2 Comments »

My son smoked marijuana in secret as a teenager even though I explained it wasn’t good for him academically to be stoned and he got terribly addicted and really messed up his life and future by losing interest in everything but weed–he was a pot head. (Not to mention the car accidents, working and going to school stoned, running away from home because he couldn’t smoke pot, getting caught in school with pot. He only graduated high school because I helped him and I kept trying to get him to stop his addiction. With my help he did get into a good college but only was interested in pot and then other drugs So he went through several cycles of addiction/arrest rehab and lots of college classes but no degree. He went through a period of drug induced psychosis which was horrific and marijuana seemed to keep him there. And homelessness. And the drug overdoses, Now trying to keep sober and doing a minimum wage job living in our house not even close to self supporting. No interest in education. Months and months of counseling. Scott if you look at the latest study on outcomes teens who use marijuana have much worse outcomes in many areas. And most of those who use substances start while they are teenagers. My son got diverted medical marijuana when he was in high school and as soon as he turned 18 he got a medical marijuana card so he could smoke recreationally. THE ONLY HEALTH and MENTAL Health Problems he had were from substance abuse. And you can look at the child abuse and neglect cases directly related to parents being stoned. I see them in the news every day. We need to stop with the marijuana is not that bad meme. It really can be THAT bad especially for the family members. Mom with PTSD

Comment by Christy Brown — September 19, 2014 @ 5:53 pm

I disagree. I think we’ve done an incredible job reducing cigarette consumption and air pollution in buildings, hotels, and the air around all those places. People may get addicted but when the rest of us start demanding smoke-free air, we got results.

I don’t know anyone who needs or uses medical marijuana but I don’t believe it is a ruse to get high. I support it’s legalization.

Humankind has been using substances to change consciousness for thousands of years and that isn’t going to change through legal channels. It didn’t work for alcohol; it didn’t work for marijuana; it isn’t going to work for cocaine or heroin.

Comment by Joyce Goodale — September 18, 2014 @ 10:59 am

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