Because I'm an old white guy who doesn't get it, maybe someone can explain why we're rushing to legalize the smoking of "recreational" marijuana at the same time that we're cracking down on smoking e-cigarets. I thought that filling your lungs with smoke, no matter what kind (e.g. from burning autumn leafs to toxic particle emissions from industrial stacks) was bad.
The media are filled with the good, great news that an addictive, dangerous drug soon will be legally available for all to reach the heights.
Simultaneously, the media are filled with stories about the dangers of e-cigs, even though popular opinion says they're a a healthier alternative for tobacco smokers.
The Chicago Tribune, for example, detailed how Democratic Gov.-elect J.B. Pritzker can bring legalization to Illinois: "With Pritzker win, pot legalization is now in legislators' hands, but not all are on board." Columnist Steve Chapman was in a celebratory mood because "America is becoming Weed Nation." Apparently so, as a 2017 study found that "22.2 million Americans ages 12 and older reported using cannabis in the past 30 days."
All's that missing are the exclamation points.
Depending which poll you believe, a majority of Americans favor legalization and the shifting to the states and away from Washington the power to regulate the growing, distribution and use of pot. And that smoking marijuana is not dangerous, but maybe even healthy. Among the arguments for legalization: No one dies from marijuana. No "solid evidence" supports the assertion that marijuana is a "gateway" to other other illicit and dangerous drugs. The claim is made (and here) that legalizing marijuana could reduce the use of other drugs and end the racially biased incarceration of blacks for drug use.
Meanwhile, the campaign to stamp out the increasing popularity of e-cigs is fully underway, especially among young Americans. The list of e-cig health risks is long, including diabetes, increased heart rate and blood pressure, cancer (from the cancer-causing chemicals and free radicals in the vapor), inflammatory lung diseases. Even the batteries are dangerous.
Yet, early research on e-cigarets makes their risks seem small compared with the health risks posed by marijuana. Google "health risks of marijuana" and millions of hits show up, so many of them warning that smoking pot is dangerous. Among those issuing warnings are the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine; American Thoracic Society; American Lung Association; The National Institute of Drub Abuse; webmd and many more.
Research shows that marijuana has detrimental effects on the brain, body, and mind. Even though marijuana seems harmless because it’s from the hemp plant, Cannabis sativa, it is important to remember that it is still a drug and can be dangerous.
Marijuana smoke irritates the lungs, contributing to issues like daily cough and phlegm, as well as lung illness including pneumonia and bronchitis. Marijuana increases the heart rate for up to three hours after smoking. This can increase the chance of a heart attack, especially in people who already have heart disease.
Marijuana has a negative impact on fertility as well. Men who smoke marijuana regularly demonstrate lower sperm count, which can contribute to difficulty conceiving a child. Smoking marijuana during pregnancy has been linked to low birth weight, and problems with attention, memory, and problem solving in the child.
Marijuana affects the brain almost immediately after use. People experience altered senses, an altered sense of time, changes in mood, impaired body movement, difficulty with thinking and problem solving, and impaired memory.
People who begin using marijuana as teenagers and continue to use the drug into adulthood have impaired function in the thinking, memory, and learning parts of the brain. This can be long lasting or even permanent.
When someone is high on marijuana, they may experience temporary hallucinations, or sensations and images that seem real even though they are not. They may also experience temporary paranoia, which is an extreme and unreasonable distrust of others.
Marijuana has also been linked to the development of psychotic disorders like schizophrenia, especially if someone has a genetic predisposition. Schizophrenia is characterized by hallucinations, paranoia, and disorganized thinking. On the other hand, people with schizophrenia may find that their symptoms are exacerbated by marijuana use. Long-term marijuana use has been associated with other mental health conditions including depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts among adolescents.
While marijuana use can have negative health consequences, medical marijuana is frequently used to create an appetite in AIDS patients and reduce nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy. It’s also been used to help relieve symptoms of other medical conditions like glaucoma, seizure disorders, and multiple sclerosis.
The Journal of Addiction Research & Therapy chimes in:
Despite normalization of marijuana, it is still an addictive substance. If you or someone you know is addicted to marijuana, Pyramid Healthcare provides treatment for teens and adults. Get confidential help for you or a loved one.
Marijuana is currently a growing risk to the public in the United States. Following expanding public opinion that marijuana provides little risk to health, state and federal legislatures have begun changing laws that will significantly increase accessibility of marijuana. Greater marijuana accessibility, resulting in more use, will lead to increased health risks in all demographic categories across the country. Violence is a well-publicized, prominent risk from the more potent, current marijuana available.
We present cases that are highly popularized storylines in which marijuana led to unnecessary violence, health risks, and, in many cases, both. Through the analysis of these cases, we will identify the adverse effects of marijuana use and the role it played in the tragic outcomes in these and other instances. In the analysis of these cases, we found marijuana as the single most common, correlative variable in otherwise diverse populations and circumstances surrounding the association of violence and marijuana.
Let's not leave out second-hand smoke and testicular cancer. And I haven't even examined the literature about the dangers of driving high pose to everyone. Never mind that the burgeoning market will be dominated by (hated) big business. (For a sample, see here.)
Progressives and libertarians seem to be behind most efforts to legalize recreational marijuana. They ignore the scientific evidence that they will be poisoning generations of Americans. How hypocritical that some of them so facilely label as "anti-science" those who question the controversial and incomplete science "proving" that mankind is causing global warming. Yet they themselves ignore or reject the science that demonstrates the health risks of marijuana.
I'd like to say, go ahead potheads, scramble your brains; it makes no difference to me. But I won't because you're endangering everyone, raising medical insurance costs and adding to violence. But what else can we expect from Americans who see their own pleasure as the highest good.