Is marijuana harmful? Some experts say that it is about as harmful as smoking a cigarette, which isn’t illegal (yet!). Others say the potential for lung damage is far beyond what a cigarette can do. Some call it an addictive substance and others state that it is not. What are we to think? Was the illegalization of pot put in order to protect us from ourselves, or was it a attack on a society that was experiencing a new level of freedom that this country had never seen before?
Here’s the truth the way that I see it. Yes, marijuana is harmful. So are cigarettes, chewing tobacco, alcohol, and processed foods. So are about 90% of the medications that our physicians prescribe for us. I think it comes down to the level of harm, and the overall harm on a society. Let me explain. You can’t be fired from your job in this country for smoking a cigarette or having a nightcap in the privacy of your own home.
However, you can be fired for lighting up or drinking during working hours because there is an expectation of behavior that we are all supposed to meet. Back before my time, when marijuana was sold in head shops right next to the necessary paraphernalia, people loved it. They flocked to it. And overall, they used it extensively.
Science can be skewed to fit the need. While scientific findings are generally pretty accurate, the interpretation of those findings is left up to those who want to see a specific result. Thus, I don’t believe that anyone can truly identify whether or not a little smoke is truly any more harmful to our bodies than half the legal stuff we do.
There is certainly a certain amount of negative side effects, but I don’t think it has been proven beyond the realm of the same negative side effects of a fried chicken dinner eaten once a week. I also know that I have been prescribed medications that were considered necessary but had a twelve week withdrawal period. My brain had to heal. Is marijuana dangerous? I know it can’t be any more dangerous than a prescription for methadone for pain relief. When pot was legal, there was not the same push for antidepressants, mind altering pain drugs, or other long term medically endorsed ideas that keep people hooked on their meds for life. When pot was legal…
Conservatives got scared that we were about to start a society that wandered around perpetually high. That would be a bit like having a society wandering around perpetually drunk. Lives would be lost in car accidents and babies would be born with serious health problems. We would have lost our structure and that need to show up on time. If pot had been a recreational product that people kept quietly in their lives, it would probably have remained in the same class as cigarettes. But people loved their pot and smoked outside on their lunch break. Kids showed up at school with two or three joints for the day.
The most harmful part of marijuana is the inability to use it with discretion. Physically, I don’t know whether it’s any more dangerous that a lifetime diet of processed foods and a lifelong prescription to mind altering antidepressant medication. But I do know that without balance in life, we end up wandering about on a ship without a sober captain, and there is more harm in that than whatever we choose to do to our own bodies.