Apparently, Alaska has become the third state to legalize marijuana. Because I guess Alaska is the cool liberal state? Um, yeah.
Marijuana being illegal is one of those baffling things. It's much safer than alcohol or most illegal drugs. Nobody gets into a bar fight and kills somebody because they were high on pot. The worst they might do is break into a convenience store and steal some cheese doodles. No, you shouldn't drive while high, as you shouldn't drive drunk or on any number of mind altering legal substances. Alcohol is responsible for a huge amount of morbidity, and I've read that heavy drinking shortens your lifespan by an average of 30 years.
I think cigarettes are worse than marijuana too. Because people don't smoke two packs a day of joints for 30 years. The health implications of cigarettes and alcohol are considerable, but both of these substances are completely legal. Hell, you could argue that marijuana might be better for you then Coca-Cola. It's less addictive than caffeine.
I dated this guy in college who had a theory about why marijuana was illegal. It had to do with the paper industry and how hemp paper is cheaper than regular paper, so the paper moguls wanted to keep it from being produced. Sounds like a theory you'd come up with while high, right?
I've seen a lot of patients get considerable relief of pain and nausea from marijuana and it's pretty safe as a recreational drug. I think it's high time (no pun intended) that we legalize it everywhere.
I agree, especially for medical use. But don't pretend that pun wasn't intended :)ReplyDelete
Louisiana will be the last state in the Union to legalize marijuana use, either medical or recreational, because of powerful, pro-law enforcement, lobbyists who represent interests which stand to lose lots of money if the jails and prisons are not kept filled with petty dealers and recreational users.ReplyDelete
I agree that it has potential to help many people, but like any drug, it has side effects, some of which are not yet known. I find interpreting the marijuana-related research challenging because I always wonder if the researchers are biased for/against the drug.ReplyDelete
But we do know it can precipitate a first psychotic break in schizophrenia (would this have happened eventually, regardless of drug use?). There is what I would call preliminary evidence of association with ischemic stroke. And chronic use is associated with brain changes including decreased orbitofrontal cortex gray matter volume (but is marijuana use the cause of this or perhaps part of the underlying reason for chronic use?). A pulmonologist, who didn't seem particularly for or against marijuana, taught my med school class that marijuana smoke is in some ways worse for lung health than cigarettes.
As there are still many unknowns about this drug, I would treat it like any drug and prescribe only if there is no good alternative for the patient. Drugs are a very crude way of treating disease as they virtually always affect receptors on a wide array of body tissues, resulting in sometimes adverse side effects in addition to the desired effects. I avoid them whenever possible and when I do prescribe I try to educate my patients to think of the pill as an adjunctive rather than primary treatment (as in my field I do not prescribe "life-saving" drugs).
I understand the dilemma that individuals and society, for that matter, faceDelete
with respect to marijuana. After all, it's relatively innocuous, right? Personally speaking, a family member died of lung cancer from chronic
use of marijuana. Of course, one example does not make for a conclusion. However, I would restrict it for medical use until we know further. In the meantime, I would not criminalize it, but ask that anyone smoking it for
recreational use do so in the comfort of their home. - Paul
I agree with your post 100% Fizzy!!ReplyDelete
Many of the drug laws have racist origins. Marijuana was anti Mexican/Latino, opium was anti Asian and crack was anti black.ReplyDelete
I support the legalization of marijuana, but I want law enforcement to be able to accurately test for the presence and amount of marijuana in a driver before pot is legalized.
We don't have a test like that for narcotics, yet they are legal with the prescription.Delete
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Reading the "theory" of the guy you dated reminds me of a conversation I had with someone yesterday. He does cocaine and ecstasy but refuses to smoke MJ because he thinks it's a government conspiracy to control the masses and make everyone docile and obedient. He believes there are high-power government officials mass-producing it ("because only very powerful people are capable of this") because... I guess how else can something be so readily available, yet legally prohibited? Or something... Naturally, I laughed in his face.ReplyDelete
just to play devil's advocate--don't you think it's a fair point that we don't know many of the side effects for the vast majority of medications? Or how they might interact? Or, often, how they even work? Certainly not all of MJs effects are known, but I'd bet more is known about it than scads of FDA-approved medications (or OTC "supplements" for that matter). It seems pretty darn safe though, don't you think? I mean, it doesn't even hold a candle to alcohol. That stuff is NASTY and freely purchasable.
Hey, I could kill myself with a bottle of Tylenol tonight if I wanted, and that's available to anyone at any drugstore. I'm pretty sure marijuana is safer than that.Delete
The point is a very unhappy side effect of these campaigns to make people see how marijuana can be beneficial and isn't as harmful as nicotine is that they go a little too far and now a lot of people seem to think marijuana is harmless. What concerns me in particular is how demotivating marijuana is. Can we not turn this discussion to focus on how to use substances responsibly? And I think it remains to be seen how increased availability and social acceptability changes the addictive potential of marijuana.Delete
@Neurotrumpet - agree that alcohol is directly toxic to all body tissues and has many detrimental health effects. Even light drinking raises risk of certain cancers. But these are separate issues -- the fact that alcohol is likely more harmful has no bearing on whether marijuana's safety profile. Completely agree with ED Doc/Anon below that I wouldn't want my children smoking it and I have no regrets about not burdening my body and brain with the stuff. It might have some legitimate medical uses, but side effects limit even its medical use. I definitely do not support legalization for recreational use.Delete
I'm still not decided on the issue.ReplyDelete
Personal experience leads me to believe that the average pot smoker is far less intelligent than the non-pot smokers, chicken or egg?
And the amount of mental health disorders that have been ?'uncovered' by pot.
Pain relief/symptom control in chronic pain/cancer patients? Sure.
Legalised as is alcohol and cigarettes, no... I'm not convinced yet.
I wouldn't want my children smoking it. I think it ruins a lot of lives under 25.
- ED doc
I have to tell you, a large chunk of my friends in college used to smoke it, as did a sizable number of my medical school colleagues. No lives ruined, as far as I know. what you are thinking of it is probably people who smoke heavily for many years. But I'd still argue that better then somebody who drinks heavily for many years. Alcohol surely ruins far more lives.Delete
+1 to everything ED doc said.Delete
I think we should legalize it like EtOH (have to be 21, have to be inside, etc). With the following caveats:ReplyDelete
No edibles. Or they have to be really weak- none of this one chocolate bar with the equivalent of 16 joints. There's too much risk for overdose, especially for kids. You wanna get high, you gotta suck it up and smoke that sh*t.
No medical weed. I know it does a lot for cancer patients, and if it's legal they can go buy it at the liquor store like everybody else. I've already got enough people trying to drug-seek every other drug that's only legal by Rx as it is. You wanna get high, or you wanna call it alternative medicine - either way just leave me out of it.
As a critical care/ED nurse who came of age in the peace and love generation, I know a few things about marijuana. I know that I never particularly cared for its effects. I would be the one sitting all by myself in the corner, talking to no one, cradling the biggest bag of chips, Doritos, or Cheetos that I could find. I also know that I have never seen anyone in the ED or the ICU on a 'bad trip' from plain (not laced) marijuana. I never took care of anyone after a bar fight/street fight who was high on marijuana alone (no alcohol or other drugs). I never took care of anyone who was violent, nasty, or rude while high on marijuana alone. I never took care of anyone who overdosed to the point of needing resuscitation on marijuana alone. Marijuana as a gateway drug? Only insofar as the company it keeps, since it is still mostly illegal. Many, many, many users never move from mrijuana to stronger drugs. Just because addicts report starting with MJ this is correlation only, not causation. I do believe that because it is so demotivating, it has its worst effects on the young, still-developing brain, and children under 18 should be discouraged from using it. I also know that today's marijuana is, in general, more potent than that of my generation, so care must be taken. Otherwise, I see no problem with adults being free to buy and use marijuana as they wish, and I believe that we will learn of more, not fewer, medical benefits over time.ReplyDelete