Cannabis is a Recreational Drug
and that's a good thing
Opposition to the recreational use of marijuana is not confined to the sky-is-falling hyperbole of drug warriors and law enforcement whose lucrative and lush lifestyles are dependent on the never-end flowing of government drug prohibition money, but to respected members of the medical marijuana community who have spent a better part of their lives fighting to make marijuana accessible medically.
Recently Dennis Peron, the person most singularly responsible for getting us to the brink of legalization, published an opinion piece that was edited by long-time medical marijuana advocate Steven Kubby entitled "Why Cannabis is Not a Recreational Drug." To read the article CLICK HERE.
Why anyone, let alone medical marijuana advocates, treats the term “recreational” as some kind of pejorative is beyond comprehension. Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary defines "recreational" as “providing refreshment in body or mind, as after work, by some form of play, amusement, or relaxation.” I cannot think of a word that better describes both the effect and attributes of the use of marijuana than "recreational."
Although I certainly understand their reasoning and in many instances concur with it, to oppose the recreational use of marijuana is short-sighted for health reasons and dooms marijuana consumers to continued exorbitant prices for a relatively easy-to-cultivate plant.
I have always believed that one of the most important reasons for legalizing marijuana was because it will then be available for adults to use recreationally legally instead of making them into criminals.
As a nurse I have experienced firsthand the benefits of the recreational use of marijuana. I lost count shortly after I started working in hospitals how many patients I provided care for because of their use of alcohol. The number of patients I have taken care of in a hospital because of marijuana use I don’t need even need the fingers on one hand to count.
Nurses are realistic about human behavior and humans like to alter their senses. They have been doing it for so long that I believe there is genetic basis for our strong desire to alter our senses.
Many people find that marijuana is an effective substitute for alcohol when they feel like altering their senses. Multiple studies show that alcohol consumption goes down when marijuana use goes up. That is a good thing because marijuana is far less dangerous than alcohol.
In a study undertaken by Professors Mark Anderson and Daniel I. Rees and published in the Journal of Law and Economics, the authors wrote:
Legalization of medical marijuana is associated with increased use of marijuana among adults, but not among minors. In addition, legalization is associated with a nearly 9 percent decrease in traffic fatalities, most likely to due to its impact on alcohol consumption. Our estimates provide strong evidence that marijuana and alcohol are substitutes. To read the full study CLICK HERE.
Another study undertaken by Rees and Anderson found a direct correlation between increased marijuana use and a decrease in suicides particularly among 20 - 29 yo males.
Using state-level data for the period 1990 through 2007, we estimate the effect of legalizing medical marijuana on suicide rates. Our results suggest that the passage of a medical marijuana law is associated with an almost 5 percent reduction in the total suicide rate, an 11 percent reduction in the suicide rate of 20- through 29-year-old males, and a 9 percent reduction in the suicide rate of 30- through 39-year-old males.
In commenting on their study in a research brief published in January 2015, the authors wrote:
We conclude that the legalization of medical marijuana leads to fewer suicides among young adult males. This result is consistent with the oft-voiced, but controversial, claim that marijuana can be used to cope with depression and anxiety caused by stressful life events. However, the result may, at least in part, be attributable to the reduction in alcohol consumption among young adults that appears to accompany the legalization of medical marijuana.
To read the Research Brief CLICK HERE.
Yes the studies are done in medical marijuana states, but do you really think that all those 20-29 yo males are using marijuana to treat their arthritis? It is no secret that the vast majority of young adults who have gotten medical marijuana recommendations are using it for recreational rather than the recommended medical purposes.
The value of the non-medical recreational use does not end with males in their 20s and 30s. A study authored by Professor Philip Smith and three others found that domestic violence was significantly less likely in households in which marijuana was used recreationally.
We found that more frequent marijuana use by husbands and wives predicted less frequent IPV [intimate partner violence] perpetration by husbands. Husbands’ marijuana use also predicted less frequent IPV perpetration by wives.
Once again these were people using marijuana recreationally instead of alcohol. Should they be denied this most beneficial of uses just because marijuana also has medical uses? To read this study CLICK HERE.
The real problem marijuana has is that it does all these medical things - reduces pain, facilitates sleep, mitigates depression – and unlike most medicines which make you feel nauseous or even awful, marijuana makes you feel good. If marijuana made you feel queasy to awful like most other medications, it would be legal, but because it makes you feel good, it’s illegal.
Further just because something is a medicine, doesn’t mean an M.D. has to be the gatekeeper. Aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen are medications that are far more dangerous than marijuana, yet they are legal and can be sold anywhere to anyone including children.
Then there are the medicines we call supplements like niacin, riboflavin and vitamin A-H. Cannabis falls more into this category than it does in the aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen category. Our endocannabinoid system is the largest neurotransmission system in our bodies. To work it needs cannabinoids and our bodies produce endocannbinoids in order to make this system work.
Like people needing to take “supplemental” vitamin D because they cannot produce enough, some people need to take “supplemental” cannabinoids or ectocannabinoids because they cannot produce enough. Cannabis is the only natural plant that produces cannabinoids that our bodies can use. In his research study on cannabinoid deficiency Dr. Ethan Russo wrote:
Migraine, fibromyalgia, IBS and related conditions display common clinical, biochemical and pathophysiological patterns that suggest an underlying clinical endocannabinoid deficiency that may be suitably treated with cannabinoid medicines.
To read this groundbreaking and vitally important study CLICK HERE.
Once again does an MD need to be a gateway for a product that is, in the words of DEA Judge Francis Young, “one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man.”
The bottom line is that people are going to use marijuana recreationally and making it illegal for the last 80 years has not stopped them from doing it. Should we really continue criminalizing them and continue arresting 700,000 Americans every year with somewhere between $10 - $20 billion of taxpayers’ money spent annually to enforce marijuana prohibition laws?
Should we continue to tolerate the thousands of murders along our border with Mexico because of illegal drug smuggling with marijuana comprising about half of all smuggled drugs.
Should black and brown people continue to be arrested, prosecuted and imprisoned at a far higher rate than white people even though the use of marijuana in their communities is about the same as the white community?
Should students continue to get busted and lose their college scholarships and low-income people get kicked out of their low-income housing and other welfare programs because they use marijuana recreationally?
As a nurse I am proud that the California Nurses Association supports Prop. 64 and the reason they support it has a lot to do with all of the above. To be against allowing the recreational use, to actually work to prevent its recreational use, makes no sense and harms people and our communities.
As for the point I made in the beginning of this piece that opposing the recreational use of marijuana “dooms marijuana consumers to continued exorbitant prices for a relatively easy-to-cultivate plant,” I have written a piece on that very subject and if you would like to read it CLICK HERE.
The list of people and organizations that have endorsed Prop. 64 is truly impressive – practically breath-taking in scope. From the California Democratic Party to the California Medical Association, the California NAACP to the League of Conservation Voters – these are people and organizations that engender respect and provide invaluable contributions to the well-being of our communities. To see the list CLICK HERE.
From substituting marijuana for alcohol to ending the violence and ruined lives caused by prohibition, I respectfully and sincerely request those opposed to the recreational use of marijuana to reconsider their opposition.
MAPP MEETING SPECIAL PRESENTATION
Surviving for the Long Term
A special presentation by Long Term AIDS patient Tom Place
Long term AIDS survivor Tom Place brings his roadshow cannabis presentation to all three November MAPP meetings in Joshua Tree, Palm Springs and Riverside. Tom has been delivering a series of these very personal presentations on Long Term Survival with Cannabis at many different venues throughout California and now he brings it to the Inland Empire.
Fighting AIDS, drug addiction, kidney failure and more, Tom Place knew life was coming to an end. Then he discovered cannabis and it changed and saved his life. Tom’s story is as inspiring as it is informative. Detailing his first person experiences, Tom explains how a patient can obtain real results using cannabis for serious problems like chronic pain, cancer, diabetes, AIDS as well as neurological & autoimmune disorders.
Taking a straightforward but somewhat unorthodox look at using cannabis, Tom will discuss how to get healthy without getting high, what types of products give the best results, how to get the right dose and most importantly how to save money.
Tom has developed a tincture marketed under the Grandpa Tom label that many patients have found to be extremely beneficial.
Mark your calendar now to attend one of these special November MAPP meetings.
Riverside/Western IE MAPP meeting – Wednesday, November 2 at 7:30 p.m. at the historic THCF Patient Center, 647 Main St. Unit 4D, Riverside 92501.
Palm Springs/Coachella Valley MAPP meeting - Saturday, November 5 at 12 noon at the new age palace Crystal Fantasy, 268 N. Palm Canyon, downtown Palm Springs 92262.
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