In the 1920’s, Lucky Strike cigarettes were the preferred cigarette of doctors as they were considered “less irritating” on the throat than other cigarette brands. In 1949, Camel cigarettes claimed that “More Doctors smoke Camels than any other cigarette.” 15 years later, the United States surgeon general announced that a link had been found between smoking cigarettes and the development of lung cancer, among other diseases. Even still, cigarette advertisements could be found in school magazines until 2005. Similarly, the legal drinking age was lowered to 18 by 30 states in the early 1970’s despite the known negative effects of alcohol. Although the national drinking age has since been reestablished as 21, advertisements for alcohol can still be found everywhere, from TV and radio commercials to magazines and baseball stadiums. What’s my point? In a country where 16 million people will suffer from cigarette related illnesses and 88,000 people will die alcohol-related deaths this year alone, how are both of these substances perfectly acceptable by most of society’s standards while marijuana remains heavily stigmatized, despite being thousands of times less deadly than cigarettes and alcohol?
Marijuana has received a reputation in the United States as a drug for deadbeats and losers, a substance that opens the doorway for experimentation with hard drugs such as cocaine and heroin. Personally, this notion falls somewhere between outdated and complete nonsense, but my own beliefs aside, I’m left wondering, is marijuana really as bad as people say it is?
The Journal of Scientific Reports published a study in early 2015 (which is analyzed in this article [ https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2015/02/23/marijuana-may-be-even-safer-than-previously-thought-researchers-say/ ] in which lethal amounts of various substances/drugs were tested against the amount used by the average user. Of the tested substances (Meth, ecstasy, tobacco, cannabis, heroin, alcohol and cocaine), marijuana ranked dead last in comparative risk, was the only drug analyzed that showed a low mortality rate, and was rated as 114 times less deadly than liquor. Following the study, the authors even released a statement declaring that the federal government should begin to prioritize risk management towards alcohol and tobacco instead of marijuana.
Additionally, in a 2012 study led by University of California, San Francisco epidemiologist Mark Pletcher, Pletcher and his team analyzed the effect that long term, frequent marijuana usage had on the body of the smokers. Pletcher says that most of the study’s participants smoked an average of 2-3 joints each month for 20 years, but even when examining the body of a man who had smoked at least one joint daily for 20 years, Pletcher and his team were unable to find ANY effects of marijuana use.
It’s likely that those who strongly oppose the legalization of marijuana with never stop talking about the drugs *allegedly* negative effects, but I wonder what these same people have to say about the positive effects of marijuana?
What? Positive effects of marijuana? Yes, medical marijuana has undeniably helped hundreds of thousands of people in the United States, the largest group being those suffering from neuropathic due to nerve damage. Also becoming increasingly common is the prescription of medical marijuana for individuals who suffer from severe appetite loss as a result of AIDS or chemotherapy in cancer patients. In other instances, marijuana and marijuana oils have also been used to aid individuals suffering from conditions such as bipolar disorder, epilepsy, chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), and multiple sclerosis.
Until very recently, marijuana has been billed as a drug with strictly negative effects that starts users down the path towards drug abuse. With that being said, Marijuana has been proven exponentially less dangerous than alcohol and tobacco (two legal substances in the U.S.) while it’s also been proven to have health benefits for potentially millions of people across the world who suffer from certain diseases or conditions. So let me ask you, Is Marijuana really as bad as people says it is?