For the first time in my life, I decided to write an article on a topic that I didn't know a lot about. Did a bunch of research and spoke to those that knew of the topic before writing, and before I knew it I had something many have told me was "awesome". I'd love to have critiques on the writing (not the topic). Though to be honest if you want to discuss the topic I have no problem with that whether its negative or positive.
Bud Light or Buds, Pills or Pot?
Written by: Leelan
Marijuana is classified as an illegal substance per the Constitution of the United States of America. From being perceived as addictive, to being “linked” to more addictive and dangerous drugs like heroin, this narcotic has been given a reputation as being dangerous, a hazard to your health, and a risk of many things from car accidents to even death. But what is truly truthful of marijuana? Is it dangerous or toxic? Is it fun and carefree? What kinds of marijuana are actually strong enough to make you “high”, and what are really just placebo effects for money?
A twenty-five year old female from Texas grew up with the idea that along with alcohol and other drugs, marijuana was a dangerous substance never to be used. At age seventeen she only began touching alcohol then, drinking in the safety of her home with a few others, or partying with a couple of friends but she never binged like most teenagers are heard of doing. By the age of twenty-two, she was diagnosed with Pseudo Tumor Cerebrai, which causes excess fluid pressure behind her eyes from her brain swelling. The pressure causes many things from headaches, vision loss, and the usual treatments are not only dangerous but expensive. One is a spinal tap every three months for the rest of her life, another is a shunt placed in the base of her skull to drain the fluid constantly throughout her life. The final, is a diuretic medication that would flush out her body every day, but so strong it causes the nerves of the body to reaction painfully to anything. A simple “pins and needles” feeling when a leg wakes up, would turn into severe painful cramping along with that sensation for at least five to ten minutes while on the medication. By age twenty-five, she had lost at least 15% of her eye sight in her right eye, thinking it was gone forever due to her condition. The headaches were becoming constant every day, and she was having problems at times showing emotion, for when she would cry her eyes would water causing even more buildup to occur. For the first time ever, at age twenty-five, she gave marijuana try. Popularly known as “weed”, she had heard of the medicinal purposes of the narcotic and normally turned her nose up at it just as she had been raised. But after getting passed the initial struggle to breathe from taking in a deep breath of the smoke, her mind was changed.
It is common knowledge that “weed” impacts every individual differently. Some find they are able to concentrate on tasks more and are able to clean an entire house while listening to music and have no qualms regarding the constant, boring, tiresome tasks ahead. Some find themselves “hungry as a hippo”; eating everything in sight and still not feeling full while their stomachs are to the point of a painful pop. Others find themselves feeling like a “slug”, not wanting to move or even think. Pop in a movie and just let them sit there and they’re happy. But many find themselves when using marijuana happy to no longer be in pain. The woman previously mentioned after smoking found her eye sight fully returned, the pain in her head gone, and she was happy and not stressed in the slightest. She would think of the stresses of life and found herself also thinking at the same time “Eh, I’ll deal with it as it comes I can’t control it now”. That simple statement should be uttered by millions of Americans every day during the course of its current recession. Instead you find more violence on the streets, burglaries, thefts, assaults, rapes, and even murders all due to the inability to take care of the simplest needs of life. So what is it about this “drug” that makes people want it to keep it illegal?
The definition of a narcotic is “An addictive drug, such as opium, that reduces pain, alters mood and behavior, and usually induces sleep or stupor. Natural and synthetic narcotics are used in medicine to control pain.” This obviously defines marijuana very easily as it is a natural grown plant used to take away pain, stress, worry, and even treat some forms of depression and insomnia. Society finds that the United States deems this narcotic dangerous but not because it truly can be, but because it takes away the man made forms of medication not even needed. While some take Zoloft for depression, others can smoke “weed” and feel even better. While some are forced to take Vicodin for pain, others just smoke marijuana and the pain is there, but they don’t care. Instead of medicating themselves to the point of sleep or even hallucinations due to side effects of man-made drugs, society finds that marijuana can keep you from being medicated to that extent, and can be a safer and more natural source of pain relief than what is on the market today. If a person used marijuana when having a migraine, the question would be, why go out and spend money on Tylenol, Advil, Bayer, Aleve, or any other pain medication that would take 20-30 minutes to take effect? These medications can cause liver damage, overdose issues; the stronger ones can even cause addiction. Marijuana is not known for causing any physical damage other than some coughing and a rough throat, and is only addicting if the personality is addictive in nature. Robin Williams is quoted by saying “I’ve never seen me, an angry pot smoker”. Which is true for this article’s writer; anger seems to disappear quickly in any person who smokes around them, and yet for alcohol’s “happiness” to be felt, it is seen to bring about a clash of anger to its bliss. So why is alcohol legal for purchase (although there is a restriction on the age for purchase) but marijuana is considered illegal for all ages?
As previously stated, marijuana is a non-addictive narcotic that not only removes pain but also stresses, worry, concern, and can lower the risk of any stress-related stroke or heart attack. Tylenol.com’s website posts their warning label, and included in those warnings is “Taking more than the recommended dose (overdose) may cause liver damage.” Overdosing may also cause cardiac arrest, which is why a poison control center’s number must be listed with the overdose directions. Marijuana cannot be proven to cause heart attack, stroke, or even be possible to overdose. Wikianswers.com states “In order for a human to consume enough marijuana to be fatal, they would have to consume nearly 40,000 times the amount of THC required to intoxicate them. In contrast, it only requires about 5 to 10 times the amount of alcohol required to intoxicate, to be fatal. For example, if it requires 3 beers to intoxicate you, it only requires 15 to 30 beers to kill you. However, if it takes you 3 'hits' of marijuana to intoxicate you, it would require 120,000 hits to kill you. Thus, it is virtually impossible to die of a marijuana overdose.” Based off this information alone, we should outlaw the home use of alcohol immediately! Why give Americans the opportunity to kill themselves with alcohol poisoning legally, but not give them the chance to remove pain, depression, nausea, and more with marijuana?
The only true reason marijuana can be viewed in a negative light, would be the fact that those with addictive personalities could in fact become addicted. Some will go so far as to sell their belongings or beg for money just to purchase this narcotic, but it is still nowhere near as dangerous as the legal purchase of an over the counter medication that anyone can receive. Paranoia can be helped with marijuana but can also be enhanced depending on the personality of the person using the narcotic. But unlike the “craving need” that is felt for prescription medications, the majority of marijuana users can easily walk away from their cravings, as it is not a “need” but is a “want”. Another thought we can look at is the addictions those in Hollywood have on prescription medications, and the many deaths that have occurred due to these substances. Heath Ledger, Anna Nicole Smith, Michael Jackson, and more have died by accidental overdoses and some on purpose with suicides. Whether by accident because doctors did not discuss between them all the chemicals being ingested at one time, or on purpose because they had their hands on the means to do so, it is clear that prescription medications are by far worse than marijuana. Would these three loved famous icons still be around today, if they were only taking one or two medications and just smoking marijuana? This is a very legit question to ask.
The “gateway” effect is also often used as an excuse to keep marijuana illegal as many believe it will cause users to feel they can feel “even better” if they move onto other drugs like cocaine and heroin. But it has been proven through the users themselves that they do not personally wish to try drugs just from smoking this. One social user of marijuana when asked if they had ever desired to try other drugs after smoking marijuana was quoted saying “The desire to attempt other drugs is mainly due to social settings and not to the drug itself. As they say ‘Guns don’t kill people, people kill people’. Therefore it is clear that people link other people to drugs, not the drugs themselves”. If the atmosphere of marijuana usage is going to be placed in a negative light, then the same should be done to alcohol, or even food. Many have wine and cheese parties where the goers will get intoxicated and some will then drive while intoxicated, and yet these parties are legal to have. But a party where someone could use marijuana and still have complete control of their movements and reflexes would find this person in prison easily. This kind of hypocrisy is not only dangerous, but is completely illogical.
The long term effects of prescription medications can affect the liver, the heart, and can cause heart attacks or stroke. The long term effects of alcohol would be kidney and liver failure, stroke or heart attack, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and sexual impotence. The long term effects of marijuana are…nothing. The only effect again could be coughing and a rough, sore throat from the cough on the initial “hit”. But the use of humidifiers and vaporizers remove the only negative effects of marijuana so already there is no negative thought. The only other negative possibility is the fact that many do try to create placebo effecting products. From THC sprays, to lip balms, these items are not proven to actually give the same feeling as marijuana, but the same “scams” are used every day in more dangerous drugs and even prescription drugs. Birth control pills are replaced with baby aspirin causing unwanted pregnancies, but a lip balm causing you to think you feel good is not nearly as big of a hazard.
The woman mentioned previously chose to begin smoking marijuana to treat her medication condition. Although the side effects are positive for her, taking away her stress and worries, and bringing her sight back during that time, she does not choose to smoke marijuana just to “feel good”. She also does not smoke except for once every few months when she absolutely needs the pain to stop and the cranial pressure is just too much to handle. But if she were on the prescription “Diamoxx” for the diuretic to take the pressure away, she would be in pain many hours of the day due to her nerves reacting badly, and would have to wean her body off the drug slowly so she would not have bad reactions. So in this final question, the reader should ask themselves what is worse, a medication that causes pain, or a narcotic that takes pain away? Why replace one pain for another when you can just not feel pain at all? Perhaps this is the decade for marijuana to become legal, and let’s bring back to “love” of the 1970’s, instead of the war-hating heartbreak of the 1990’s.