David 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?