There is a growing trend in the West, and specifically in the USA, to increase the legalization and public acceptance of smoking or ingesting marijuana. Is this something that Christians should do? (Here is a related video titled How Should a Christian View Marijuana?)
Why or why not?
Marijuana, Cannibis sativa
What does the Bible teach?
After the cocaine wars related to China, the West finally realized that it should not be encouraging people to use drugs to get high. So, for much of the 20th century, drugs such as marijuana where illegal in most countries. However, with the increase in organized crime, so countries (Portugal and the Netherlands come to mind) decided to legalize these drugs and the results were seemingly no worse than in the lands that kept them illegal.
In 2008, the USA elected as president, Barack Obama, a man who had a reputation as being a heavy marijuana user while young. Since Barack Obama was not arrested and convicted of any felony for this, this technically did not disqualify him from becoming USA president.
Barack Obama was asked about marijuana in January 2014:
When I asked Obama about another area of shifting public opinion—the legalization of marijuana—he seemed even less eager to evolve with any dispatch and get in front of the issue. “As has been well documented, I smoked pot as a kid, and I view it as a bad habit and a vice, not very different from the cigarettes that I smoked as a young person up through a big chunk of my adult life. I don’t think it is more dangerous than alcohol.”
Is it less dangerous? I asked.
Obama leaned back and let a moment go by. That’s one of his moves. When he is interviewed, particularly for print, he has the habit of slowing himself down, and the result is a spool of cautious lucidity. He speaks in paragraphs and with moments of revision. Sometimes he will stop in the middle of a sentence and say, “Scratch that,” or, “I think the grammar was all screwed up in that sentence, so let me start again.”
Less dangerous, he said, “in terms of its impact on the individual consumer. It’s not something I encourage, and I’ve told my daughters I think it’s a bad idea, a waste of time, not very healthy.” What clearly does trouble him is the radically disproportionate arrests and incarcerations for marijuana among minorities. “Middle-class kids don’t get locked up for smoking pot, and poor kids do,” he said. “And African-American kids and Latino kids are more likely to be poor and less likely to have the resources and the support to avoid unduly harsh penalties.” But, he said, “we should not be locking up kids or individual users for long stretches of jail time when some of the folks who are writing those laws have probably done the same thing.” Accordingly, he said of the legalization of marijuana in Colorado and Washington that “it’s important for it to go forward because it’s important for society not to have a situation in which a large portion of people have at one time or another broken the law and only a select few get punished.”
As is his habit, he nimbly argued the other side. “Having said all that, those who argue that legalizing marijuana is a panacea and it solves all these social problems I think are probably overstating the case. There is a lot of hair on that policy. And the experiment that’s going to be taking place in Colorado and Washington is going to be, I think, a challenge.” He noted the slippery-slope arguments that might arise. “I also think that, when it comes to harder drugs, the harm done to the user is profound and the social costs are profound. And you do start getting into some difficult line-drawing issues. If marijuana is fully legalized and at some point folks say, Well, we can come up with a negotiated dose of cocaine that we can show is not any more harmful than vodka, are we open to that? If somebody says, We’ve got a finely calibrated dose of meth, it isn’t going to kill you or rot your teeth, are we O.K. with that?” http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2014/01/27/140127fa_fact_remnick?currentPage=all
I would add here that light alcohol drinkers live longer than those who always abstain from it, hence I do not consider that marijuana use is less dangerous than alcohol. Of course, heavy alcohol consumption is a problem (see Binge Alcohol Drinking and the Bible and Alcohol: Blessing or Curse?).
The alcohol argument is not new. Decades ago, the old Worldwide Church of God dealt with it in a booklet about marijuana:
Marijuana and AlcoholMarijuana proponents always compare "their drug" with alcohol. What are the facts?
It's true that "social drinkers" have a significantly higher death rate than non-drinkers from heart attacks, circulatory diseases, cancer, gastrointestinal problems, homicides, suicides, and motor-vehicle and other accidents. Marijuana, on the other hand, has not been definitely linked to any organic disease, and has been responsible for only just a small fraction of the accidental deaths which alcohol has caused.
But as Dr. Louis J. West, chairman of the department of psychiatry at UCLA, told a conference on marijuana: "Just because alcohol [misused] is bad doesn't mean that marijuana is good." That would be fal1fty logic. Like attempting to prove that the Vietnamese war is good by showing that fewer Americans were killed in it than were killed in motor-vehicle accidents in the same year.
Let's get to the crux of the marijuana-alcohol controversy: What pro-marijuana propaganda does is to compare the effects of a large amount of alcohol with a very small amount of marijuana. But this is a contrived comparison — a rigged contest.
Of course "too much" alcohol is grossly debilitating. But "a _ little" alcohol, especially natural wine, is quite beneficial. It relaxes the body and aids in the digestion of food by stimulating the stomach's digestive juices. It also breaks down into natural compounds and leaves the system. Marijuana lodges toxically in the liver.
And there's the difference: while "a little" alcohol is good, "a little marijuana-"just once"-can be very bad. It may not cause as many accidents as excessive alcohol, but it can permanently harm the body and mind.
Furthermore, very few habitual marijuana users have the self-control to limit themselves to "very little" of the drug. Consequently, many of the scientific studies showing hardly any adverse effect of "a little" marijuana are just not relevant to the actual conditions which exist. (New Facts About Marijuana. Ambassadir College Press, 1970)
Notice also the following:
March 10, 2014
President Obama commented in January that marijuana is no, “more dangerous than alcohol." The White House’s own website tells a different tale, however, warning that marijuana has a “high potential for abuse and no currently accepted medical use in treatment.” The website further alerts readers that marijuana can cause mental disorders, respiratory illness and that in 2010 more than 460,000 people went to the emergency room for marijuana related incidents.
And that’s just the tip of the conflicting information iceberg on the issue of marijuana health risks. I reached out to groups on both sides of the marijuana legalization issue and the contradictory information I received was simply astonishing.
On the anti-legalization front, I connected with the Drug Enforcement Agency, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and Smart Approach to Marijuana (SAM.)
The DEA official I spoke to, who wanted to remain anonymous, passionately argued that marijuana is dangerous to your health. Both he and a spokesperson from NIDA forwarded me literature that set forth a litany of health hazards that marijuana smoking can allegedly cause, including lung damage, mental disorders and possible birth defects if consumed by a pregnant woman. http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/03/10/puff-puff-pass-on-the-truth-is-marijuana-medicinal-or-lethal.html
Despite Barack Obama's comments that he wanted to discourage marijuana use, his Administration took a major step to make it legal and more palatable as an industry in February 2014:
February 14, 2014
WASHINGTON – The Obama administration issued new rules Friday intended to ease the concerns of banks wanting to deal with businesses that legally sell marijuana, something the nation’s banks have so far declined to do.
The rules, issued by the Treasury and Justice Departments, are intended to “move from the shadows the historically covert financial operations of marijuana businesses,” said Jennifer Shasky Calvery, director of Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network.While 20 states and the District of Columbia have passed laws allowing the sale of medical and recreational marijuana, its production, sale, and possession remain illegal under federal law. And because the federal government regulates banking transactions, marijuana dealers have been unable to get banks to do business with them. http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/out-shadows-pot-sellers-can-now-do-business-banks-n30661
That move was a major step in the direction of legalizing marijuana, and making it more profitable for the businesses involved with it. Prior to Barack Obama, the US federal government would sometimes close 'legal' marijuana clinics as federal law has been ruled to override state laws. These closings continued when Barack Obama took office, but now seem to no longer be happening.
A couple of days after the Obama Administration lifted the banking restrictions, the State of Kentucky took steps:
February 17, 2014
LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Kentucky’s first legal hemp production in at least 50 years will include five projects in conjunction with state universities to test whether the crop can help clean soil on former industrial sites, Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner James Comer said Monday.
Each of the projects will be paid for through private contributions and will focus on different possibilities for hemp, which has long been illegal in the United States along with marijuana — its more potent cousin. A provision in the new farm bill allows for the pilot projects. http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/02/17/kentucky-hemp-pilot-projects/5566925/
The announcement from Kentucky was swift, especially when you consider that it happened on a federal holiday. Other states will likely follow Kentucky’s move here.
In 2013/2014, after decisions by the Obama Administration, the homosexual agenda made major strides, and various states made changes that they should not have. Now the marijuana industry is poised to make major strides to spread its poisons around the USA in a more government-approved manner.
Notice also the following:
March 2, 2014...
America has been at the edge of marijuana legalization several times during the past half-century, but never as close to mass acceptance of the drug as the nation is today.
Since the 1960s, the United States has traveled on a herky-jerky trip from hippies and head shops to grass-roots backlash by suburban parents, from enthusiastic funding of the war on drugs to a gathering consensus that the war had little effect on marijuana use.
Now, for the first time, marijuana legalization is winning majority support in public opinion polls and a drug used by about 6 percent of Americans — and one-third of the nation’s high school seniors — is starting to shake off its counterculture reputation. It is winning acceptance even from some police, prosecutors, and politicians...in 20 states and the District of Columbia, the booming medical marijuana industry (the drug first became legal to treat ailments in California in 1996) has raised expectations of full legalization.
In 2012, legalized marijuana outpolled President Obama in Colorado; the votes for pot and Obama in Washington state were almost identical at 56 percent each.
Activists in at least six states and the District of Columbia are working to put legalization initiatives on the ballot this year or in 2016.
Legislatures in 13 states are considering bills to legalize a plant that in 80 years has traveled from widely used patent medicine to felony to misdemeanor and now to the cusp of acceptance as one more taxed and regulated mind-altering substance, akin to alcohol or tobacco. http://www.bostonglobe.com/news/nation/2014/03/02/marijuana-legalization-cusp-broad-acceptance/TUycJH26igBgdAH5K7bbjP/story.html
The legalization of marijuana is considered to be an economic benefit for many. The USA and State governments will likely tax it and likely believe it will reduce jail costs. And while that type of tax will raise revenues, presuming this leads to increased use of marijuana this will not be good for society, and there are terrible costs.
Some do have concerns about this. Notice the following from California Governor Jerry Brown:
March 2, 2014
Gov. Jerry Brown said he wants to wait to see how experiments with marijuana legalization play out in Colorado and Washington before expanding access to pot in California.
"How many people can get stoned and still have a great state or a great nation?" Brown asked, expressing some skepticism about legalization. "The world's pretty dangerous, very competitive. I think we need to stay alert, if not 24 hours a day, more than some of the potheads might be able to put together. "
Brown made his comments during an interview on NBC's "Meet the Press" that aired Sunday morning. http://www.latimes.com/local/political/la-me-pc-jerry-brown-worries-about-potheads-on-meet-the-press-20140302,0,1470635.story#ixzz2upKCFKPB
And he is right to be concerned. But he still might be inclined to support legalization.
Notice also the following:
March 4, 2014
The UN has launched a counter-offensive against moves to liberalise drug laws around the world, warning that cannabis legalisation poses a grave danger to public health.
The UN body for enforcing international drug treaties, the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB), voiced concern over “misguided initiatives” on cannabis legalisation in Uruguay and the US states of Colorado and Washington that fail to comply with international drug conventions.
The INCB annual report published on Tuesday claims that the introduction of a widely commercialised “medical” cannabis programme in Colorado has led to increases in car accidents involving “drug drivers”, cannabis-related treatment admissions, and positive drug tests for cannabis...
Uruguay’s president, José Mujica, has said his country’s initiative was an attempt to undermine the black market, and find an alternative to the “war on drugs”, which he says has created more problems than it solves.
But the INCB report argues against such “alternative drug regimes”, claiming legalisation would not collapse “underground markets”, but instead would lead to much greater use of such drugs and higher levels of addiction. http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2014/03/04/un-misguided-initiatives-to-legalize-marijuana-pose-very-grave-danger-to-public-health/
The truth is that it is not good for more people to use marijuana. Despite this, more and more USA states are legalizing at least part of its use (23 states have as of July 7, 2014).
Although most realize that heavy marijuana use causes brain problems, a recent study also found that casual use messes with the brain:
April 15, 2014
For the first time, researchers at Northwestern University have analyzed the relationship between casual use of marijuana and brain changes – and found that young adults who used cannabis just once or twice a week showed significant abnormalities in two important brain structures...
“There were abnormalities in their working memory, which is fundamental to everything you do,” Breiter, a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, told FoxNews.com. “When you make judgments or decisions, plan things, do mathematics – anything you do always involves working memory. It’s one of the core fundamental aspects of our brains that we use every day. So given those findings, we decided we need to look at casual, recreational use.”
For their most recent study, Breiter and his team analyzed a very small sample of patients between the ages of 18 and 25: 20 marijuana users and 20 well-matched control subjects. The marijuana users had a wide range of usage routines, with some using the drug just once or twice a week and others using it every single day.
Utilizing magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), the researchers analyzed the participants’ brains, focusing on the nucleus accumbens (NAC) and the amygdala – two key brain regions responsible for processing emotions, making decisions and motivation. They looked at these brain structures in three different ways, measuring their density, volume and shape.
According to Breiter, all three were abnormal in the casual marijuana users.
“For the NAC, all three measures were abnormal, and they were abnormal in a dose-dependent way, meaning the changes were greater with the amount of marijuana used,” Breiter said. “The amygdala had abnormalities for shape and density, and only volume correlated with use. But if you looked at all three types of measures, it showed the relationships between them were quite abnormal in the marijuana users, compared to the normal controls.”
Because these brain regions are central for motivation, the findings from Northwestern help support the well-known theory that marijuana use leads to a condition called amotivation. Also called amotivational syndrome, this psychological condition causes people to become less oriented towards their goals and purposes in life, as well as seem less focused in general. (Grush L. Casual marijuana use linked with brain abnormalities, study finds. Fox News, April 15, 2014. http://www.foxnews.com/health/2014/04/15/casual-marijuana-use-linked-with-brain-abnormalities-study-finds/)
Smoking marijuana is not good for you.
In certain respects, smoking marijuana is even worse than smoking tobacco. While many try marijuana and do not become addicted to other drugs, the fact is that almost all drug addicts began with marijuana.
Furthermore, marijuana is intoxicating.
Inhaling or ingesting marijuana basically makes someone drunk.
The Bible repeatedly condemns drunkeness and activities associated with it:
18 And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit (Ephesians 5:18)
21 For the drunkard and the glutton will come to poverty (Proverbs 23:21)
11 But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner — not even to eat with such a person. (1 Corinthians 5:11)
9 Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, 10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God. (1 Corinthians 6:9-11)
13 Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy. 14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts. (Romans 13:13-14)
Becoming intoxicated by marijuana is sinful and not something that Christians should do.
Notice something else that the old Worldwide Church of God reported about it:
Effects on BODY and MINDWhat happens to the physical body under the influence of marijuana?
"On smoking the drug, there is usually an increase in pulse rate, a slight rise in blood pressure, and conjunctival vascular congestion; blood sugar is slightly elevated; there is urinary frequency without diuresis; and dryness of the mouth and throat as well as nausea, vomiting, and occasional diarrhea have also been noted." (Louis S. Good man & Alfred Gilman, The Pharmacological Basis of Therapeutics, New York: Macmillan Company, 1965, p. 300.)
Other investigators report a sluggish pupillary response to light, slight tremors and a partial deterioration of bodily coordination.
But what does marijuana "feel like"? What happens to your mind?
We again quote the experienced researchers directly:
"The most common reaction is the development of a dreamy state of altered consciousness in which ideas seem disconnected , uncontrollable, and freely flowing. Ideas come in disrupted sequences, things long forgotten are remembered, and others well known cannot be recalled. Perception is disturbed, minutes seem to be hours, and seconds seem to be minutes; space may be broadened, and near objects may appear far distant. When larger doses are used, extremely vivid hallucinations may be experienced; these are often pleasant, but their coloring, sexual or otherwise, is more related to the user's personality than to specific drug effects. There are often marked alterations of mood; most characteristically there is a feeling of extreme well being, exaltation, excitement, and inner joyousness (described as being "high"). Uncontrollable laugh ter and hilarity at minimal stimuli are common. This is often followed by a moody reverie, but occasionally the depressed mood may be the initial and predominant reaction. With the larger doses, panic states and fear of death have been observed; the body image may seem distorted; and the head often feels swollen and the extremities seem heavy. Illusions are not uncommon, and the feeling of being a dual personality may occur. Even with the smaller doses, behavior is impulsive and random ideas are quickly translated into speech; violent or aggressive behavior, however, is infrequent. When the subject is alone, he is inclined to be quiet and drowsy; when in company, garrulousness and hilarity are the usual picture. Given the properly predisposed personality and high enough dosage, the clinical picture may be that of a toxic psychosis." (Ibid., p. 300, emphasis ours.)
Look at the overall theme! Marijuana causes an individual to lose control of his mind! That's not "soaring to new heights"! How dangerous — when one loses control of his own faculty to think and act intelligently!
Marijuana is not good for the mind.
Notice also the following from the same booklet:
Are Good Results Produced?The old saying is that "the proof of the pudding is in the eating." Are there concrete beneficial fruits produced by marijuana? What does it actually do to, or for, a person? Does it make him a more productive member of society? How does it affect the user? Are those effects desirable?
Here are 27 typical reactions due to use of marijuana. They were excerpted from statements made about the drug from users. All of you who are using marijuana or thinking of using it — please read carefully.
Any sound-minded person will see that NOT ONE OF these effects is desirable.
1. Marijuana makes me unable to operate normally — for instance, drive a car or operate a machine.
2. It slows me down quite a bit and I lost my initiative when I started to use marijuana.
3. I feel stubborn and get into arguments when I am high.
4. I get into a panic.
5. It makes me sleepy, lazy.
6. Marijuana makes me too generous. I gave away everything I had; for example, I would buy drinks for everybody in the bar, etc.
7. I did not take things seriously anymore after starting the use of marijuana.
8. After starting on marijuana, I withdrew into a shell and would not communicate with people. I lost my job because I could not communicate with my boss.
9. Marijuana made me lazy, and I could not hold a job after starting to use it.
10. I got arrested for lots of things when I was high -curfew violations and rape.
11. I did about fifteen drugstore robberies with a partner for narcotics. We used to get high on marijuana beforehand.
12. It makes me weak, passive and paranoid, but I don't get into trouble. I just want to be left alone where I don't think people are spying on me.
13. It made me drop out of school and I lost a couple of jobs because I was late and would take off early. The three of us got into a bad fight once when we were high on marijuana.
14. I got an inferiority complex and wanted to stay away from society, but I never got into trouble.
15. Makes me silly; everything I do or say or hear is funny.
16. Sometimes it makes me happy and sometimes sad — mostly sad.
17. Makes me happy-go-lucky and I do not care about anything.
18. It relieves me and makes me gay — sort of blocks my thinking.
19. After I started to use marijuana, I quit school and did not want to work. I beat up my wife several times when I was high. It makes me feel happy and expands my perceptiveness.
20. In driving, you might think you are going 60 if you are only going 30.
21. I thought I was better at music and typing in high school but it was not so — I flunked out.
22. It made my throat raw and I had hallucinations, that is, I kept trying to brush a spider off my shoulder. I usually saw bugs and things like that after only one cigarette. I lost my equilibrium and could not stand up.
23. If you are only going 20 miles an hour you think you are going much faster.
24. It made me want to go off alone and watch TV. I could see hidden meanings in the commercials.
25. It slowed me down so much I had to drop out of school.
26. Marijuana slowed me down too much, so I started using pills to stimulate me.
27. What used to bother me was it numbed my brain and I could not think right. I could not drive well.
Marijuana is not good for Christians. Notice also from the same booklet:
Psychotic ReactionsA psychosis is far worse than a mere "personality disorder" — a psychosis is a severe mental derangement. And it is charged that marijuana can generate — or can at least precipitate — a psychotic reaction.
Many scientific papers have been published on the relationship between the cannabis drugs and psychoses. Psychiatrists in India, Morocco, Egypt, and Nigeria have repeatedly emphasized that marijuana can produce insanity.
In his editorial in the March 14, 1968 issue of Science, Philip H. Abelson wrote:
"The inconclusive information about marijuana is not reassuring. . . . Some of the effects of marijuana seem reminiscent of LSD. Large doses may produce con fusion, disorientation, and increased anxiety and psychoses lasting hours or sometimes weeks. In the Middle East habitual use of marijuana leads to cannabis psychosis whose victims are reminiscent of the derelicts of skid row."
In Western scientific circles much controversy has arisen over the possible psychotogenic effects of marijuana.
And, obviously, there are differences of opinion among even the experts. But what sane person would gamble his mental health — and his entire future-on "somebody's opinion"?
We know the adverse effects of marijuana depend to a large degree upon the individual user. Therefore, it is probable that marijuana would cause psychotic reactions in persons with unstable or poorly organized personalities.
Now nobody likes to admit that his or her personality is poorly organized. Everybody naturally likes to think of himself as mentally stable.
Well, just ponder this one point: studies have shown that most people who take drugs have a somewhat poorly organized personality to begin with. That's why they take drugs. That's why drugs appeal to them. They lack something in their lives — and they hope drugs will supply it. So, the simple fact that a person wants to use drugs should immediately suggest that that person could very well have a poorly organized personality, and, therefore, be vulnerable to an irreparable psychotic reaction.
Christians should not ingest or smoke marijuana (this differs from hemp protein, which is not mind altering, and is normally fine).
Some claim marijuana is safe. A Huffington Post article claimed:
Recent news reports describe doctors blaming the deaths of three people in the past few years on marijuana, a drug renowned for its low toxicity and used regularly by millions of people around the world. Those doctors suggested that marijuana can kill in extremely rare circumstances...medical findings suggest a certain caution regarding marijuana use by people with serious heart conditions. But they don't do anything to trump decades of conclusive scientific research showing that marijuana doesn't pose a danger to millions of other individuals who use it. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/02/28/marijuana-deaths_n_4868209.html
The above is basically stating that since relatively few actually die from marijuana, that it is safe. But that ignores the Bible's warnings against intoxification and the affects on the lungs, etc. Many could point out that billions of people have bowed down before idols and not died, but that does not mean that they have not been affected spiritually--Christians are to avoid idolatry (1 John 5:21) and the type of revelry (Romans 13:13) sometimes associated with marijuana use. More so than idols, marijuana is also harmful physically.
A five year study found more problems associated with marijuana:
By Melissa Healy
April 23, 2014
Over a five-year period, a government-mandated tracking system in France showed that physicians in that country treated 1,979 patients for serious health problems associated with the use of marijuana, and nearly 2% of those encounters were with patients suffering from cardiovascular problems, including heart attack, cardiac arrhythmia and stroke, and circulation problems in the arms and legs. In roughly a quarter of those cases, the study found, the patient died.
In the United States, when young and otherwise healthy patients show up in emergency departments with symptoms of heart attack, stroke, cardiomyopathy and cardiac arrhythmia, physicians have frequently noted in case reports that these unusual patients are regular marijuana users.
Such reporting is hardly the basis for declaring marijuana use an outright cause of cardiovascular disease. But on Wednesday, cardiologists writing in the Journal of the American Heart Assn. warned that “clinical evidence … suggests the potential for serious cardiovascular risks associated with marijuana use.” And with a growing movement to decriminalize marijuana use, they called for data-collection efforts capable of detecting and measuring marijuana’s cardiovascular impact among American users of cannibis setiva.
“There is now compelling evidence on the growing risk of marijuana-associated adverse cardiovascular effects, especially in young people,” said Emilie Jouanjus, lead author of the French study, which was also published in the Journal of the American Heart Assn. http://www.latimes.com/science/sciencenow/la-sci-sn-heart-attack-stroke-marijuana-20140423,0,3208786.story
Marijuana is more addictive than many believe:
Marijuana Use—and Abuse—in the U.S. Has Doubled in the Past Decade
October 21, 2015
Changing laws and attitudes surrounding medical and recreational marijuana use have made the drug more accessible. Currently, 23 states in the U.S. permit cannabis for medical purposes, and four of those states have decriminalized the drug for recreational use. As a result, more people are using marijuana, and according to a new study this may come with a serious expense: Marijuana use disorders are now a bigger problem than ever.
For the study, published Wednesday in JAMA Psychiatry, researchers analyzed data from the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions for 2001 to 2002 and 2012 to 2013. They found that three of every 10 Americans who used marijuana in the past year had a diagnosis of a marijuana use disorder, a condition in which a person becomes dependent on the drug and uses it daily in excess, sometimes at the expense of taking part in other activities. This adds up to approximately 6.8 million people. Between 2001 and 2013 overall marijuana use rose from 4.1 percent to 9.5 percent. So while the overall rate for addiction and dependence has gone down in the last decade—from 35.6 percent in 2001–2002 to 30.6 percent in 2013, there is a larger population of users who are now addicted to the drug, because of how many more people have access. …
Marijuana is viewed by many people as a harmless and nonaddictive drug. … Dr. David Sack, chief medical officer of Elements Behavioral Health and Promises Addiction Treatment Center in Long Beach, California, says that the idea that marijuana dependency doesn’t occur is a myth. “It has a very predictable set of withdrawal symptoms. It usually starts in 48 hours and peaks within 7 days,” he says. These symptoms include dysphoria, insomnia, anxiety and cravings for the drug. Those who try to quit frequently relapse, and sometimes a person who is misusing marijuana may also struggle with addiction to other substance. The drug also functions differently in the body than other substances. Marijuana is stored in fat tissue, which means it stays in the body for about 30 days, says Sack. To compare, heroin only maintains a presence in the body for about three minutes, while the liver processes one serving of alcohol in less than one hour. Sack says the notable personality differences in marijuana users are due to the fact that the drug remains in the system long after a joint has been smoked. http://www.newsweek.com/marijuana-use-and-abuse-us-has-doubled-past-decade-385975
The study itself has the following conclusions:
Conclusions and Relevance The prevalence of marijuana use more than doubled between 2001-2002 and 2012-2013, and there was a large increase in marijuana use disorders during that time. While not all marijuana users experience problems, nearly 3 of 10 marijuana users manifested a marijuana use disorder in 2012-2013. Because the risk for marijuana use disorder did not increase among users, the increase in prevalence of marijuana use disorder is owing to an increase in prevalence of users in the US adult population. Given changing laws and attitudes toward marijuana, a balanced presentation of the likelihood of adverse consequences of marijuana use to policy makers, professionals, and the public is needed. http://archpsyc.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=2464591
Marijuana is not something that people should smoke.
Marijuana use is dangerous.
What about 'medical marijuana'? It has been my professional experience that there are alternatives to 'medical marijuana,' that can assist those who state that it helps with various problems such as pain, etc. Part of the problem, however, is that many health professionals do not know how to deal with certain physical causes of health problems. This discourages many and various ones have decided that marijuana is a better treatment than what they have been offered. While I understand that, and there could possibly be some place where it may be appropriate (Proverbs 31:6; Ecclesiastes 3:1) I will state that this does not tend to mean that marijuana is the best option.
The so-called 'lessor of two evils' is still not good.
Marijuana is harmful. You should communicate that to your children, and when appropriate, grandchildren:
How to talk to kids about legal marijuana
Doctors say to focus on health risks
February 28, 2017
The American Academy of Pediatrics is weighing in, issuing new guidelines this week for doctors and parents to talk to teens about the risks of using marijuana. Changes in the legal status of marijuana may lower teen perceptions of the risk and lead more to start smoking pot, the organization said in a statement.
It points to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, which found a decrease in the percentage of 12- to 17-year-olds who said they believe there is a “great risk” in smoking marijuana once a month or one to two times per week. …
The research is clear that using marijuana during adolescence could have a long-term impact on a teen’s memory, problem-solving skills and critical thinking.
Yet teens do not want to hear that, Wolk, who is also Colorado’s chief medical officer, said in 2015. “The research shows that that’s like a turn-off.”
Instead of focusing on the health risks, Wolk encouraged parents to talk to their kids about what they might lose if they use marijuana during their teenage years.
“It’s taking kids along the track of, ‘Well, you’re putting in jeopardy your potential to do well in school or to graduate or to be successful once you get your driver’s license, because marijuana does impair you if you’re going to use it and drive, and it does impair you if you’re trying to study or you’re trying to do well in school or you’re trying to get a good job,’ ” he said. …
Micky Morrison, a mom of two boys, ages 11 and 14, said they recently had the “weed talk” at the dinner table, since her older son is now in high school.
She told her sons that they may likely be offered pot at some point and that they really need to think about “whether they want to go there,” she said.
“I told them … the thing about marijuana is that it can affect your memory and your motivation,” said Morrison, of Islamorada, Florida, founder of BabyWeight TV. “If it becomes a habit, it could limit your abilities and your potential.”
Terry Greenwald, a father of grown children in Alaska, said he handled discussions about marijuana the way he’s tackled every other issue with his kids: with honesty. …
Communication is key, said Scheff, whose latest book, “Shame Nation: Preventing, Surviving and Overcoming Digital Disaster,” is set to be released in fall 2017. Parents should never stop talking about the risk and consequences, and should give their kids tips on how to handle situations in which they might be offered marijuana.
“Give them a way out if someone offers them a joint. Give them pointers on how to say, ‘No, thanks, I’ve tried it,’ or ‘I quit smoking,’ ” said Scheff. If kids feel the peer pressure and don’t want to argue, they can say, “No, thanks, I have a test tomorrow. I want a clear head” or “No, thanks, I’m not into drugs,” she added. http://www.wfmz.com/health/how-to-talk-to-kids-about-legal-marijuana/365528796
Children do get exposed to marijuana in many parts of the world–parents need to lovingly and effectively teach and warn their children about it.
Marijuana can mess up futures::
February 27, 2017
An influential doctors group is beefing up warnings about marijuana’s potential harms for teens amid increasingly lax laws and attitudes on pot use.
Many parents use the drug and think it’s OK for their kids, but “we would rather not mess around with the developing brain,” said Dr. Seth Ammerman.
The advice comes in a new report from the American Academy of Pediatrics, published Monday in Pediatrics. The group opposes medical and recreational marijuana use for kids. It says emphasizing that message is important because most states have legalized medical use for adults, and many have decriminalized or legalized adults’ recreational use. …
The brain continues to develop until the early 20s, raising concerns about the potential short- and long-term effects of a mind-altering drug. Some studies suggest that teens who use marijuana at least 10 times a month develop changes in brain regions affecting memory and the ability to plan. Some changes may be permanent, the report says.
Frequent use starting in the early teen years may lower IQ scores, and some studies have shown that starting marijuana use at a young age is more likely to lead to addiction than starting in adulthood. …
Dr. Sheryl Ryan, a Yale University pediatrics professor and lead author of the academy report, said marijuana “is the drug of choice” for many of her teen patients in New Haven, Connecticut. Some think daily use is safe, noting that their parents or grandparents smoked pot in college and turned out OK. But today’s marijuana is much more potent and potentially more risky, Ryan said. http://www.nbcnews.com/health/kids-health/pediatricians-warn-against-pot-use-not-your-dad-s-marijuana-n726081
Yes, modern marijuana is even worse than the stuff people used decades ago.
It does not matter that many consider marijuana to be ‘legal.’ Drunkenness and smoking are often legal, but does not make them good or helpful. They are harmful and not edifying.
As far as talking to children about it, explain that God does not want people to be intoxicated (cf. Ephesians 5:18). Teach them that their bodies are to be temples of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19-20), which is why we also do not smoke tobacco.
Teach God’s ways:
6 “And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. 8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. (Deuteronomy 6:6-9)
Teach them God’s ways along with scientific facts. Explain how they can damage their dreams and futures by turning away from God and towards marijuana.
If you are a Christian, God considers your children to be holy (1 Corinthians 7:14). Talk to them and teach them (Deuteronomy 6:6-9).
Marijuana has a variety of health risks associated with it. Here are some:
Many studies have looked at the effects of smoking cannabis on the respiratory system. Cannabis smoke contains thousands of organic and inorganic chemical compounds. This tar is chemically similar to that found in tobacco smoke, and over fifty known carcinogens have been identified in cannabis smoke, including; nitrosamines, reactive aldehydes, and polycylic hydrocarbons, including benz[a]pyrene.
There is serious suspicion among cardiologists, spurring research but falling short of definitive proof, that cannabis use has the potential to contribute to cardiovascular disease. Cannabis is believed to be an aggravating factor in rare cases of arteritis, a serious condition that in some cases leads to amputation. Because 97% of case-reports also smoked tobacco, a formal association with cannabis could not be made. If cannabis arteritis turns out to be a distinct clinical entity, it might be the consequence of vasoconstrictor activity observed from delta-8-THC and delta-9-THC. Other serious cardiovascular events including myocardial infarction, stroke, sudden cardiac death, and cardiomyopathy have been reported to be temporally associated with cannabis use. Research in these events is complicated because cannabis is often used in conjunction with tobacco, and drugs such as alcohol and cocaine. These putative effects can be taken in context of a wide range of cardiovascular phenomena regulated by the endocannabinoid system and an overall role of cannabis in causing decreased peripheral resistance and increased cardiac output, which potentially could pose a threat to those with cardiovascular disease. (Cannibis (Drug), Wikipedia, viewed 02/14/14)
A 2013 literature review said that exposure to marijuana had biologically-based physical, mental, behavioral and social health consequences and was "associated with diseases of the liver (particularly with co-existing hepatitis C), lungs, heart, and vasculature". (Medical Cannibis, Wikipedia, viewed 02/14/14)
Marijuana is also considered to be a 'gateway' drug--one that encourages people to try other drugs:
Since the 1950s, United States drug policy has been guided by the assertion that cannabis use increases the probability of trying "harder" drugs...Almost two-thirds of the poly drug users in the "2009/10 Scottish Crime and Justice Survey" used cannabis. (Cannibis (Drug), Wikipedia, viewed 02/14/14)
Notice what the National Institute of Health says about it:
How Does Marijuana Affect the Brain?
When marijuana is smoked, THC rapidly passes from the lungs into the bloodstream, which carries the chemical to the brain and other organs throughout the body. It is absorbed more slowly when ingested in food or drink.
However it is ingested, THC acts on specific molecular targets on brain cells, called cannabinoid receptors. These receptors are ordinarily activated by chemicals similar to THC that naturally occur in the body (such as anandamide; see picture, above) and are part of a neural communication network called the endocannabinoid system. This system plays an important role in normal brain development and function.
The highest density of cannabinoid receptors is found in parts of the brain that influence pleasure, memory, thinking, concentration, sensory and time perception, and coordinated movement. Marijuana overactivates the endocannabinoid system, causing the “high” and other effects that users experience. These effects include altered perceptions and mood, impaired coordination, difficulty with thinking and problem solving, and disrupted learning and memory.
Marijuana also affects brain development, and when it is used heavily by young people, its effects on thinking and memory may last a long time or even be permanent. A recent study of marijuana users who began using in adolescence revealed substantially reduced connectivity among brain areas responsible for learning and memory. And a large long-term study in New Zealand showed that people who began smoking marijuana heavily in their teens lost an average of 8 points in IQ between age 13 and age 38. Importantly, the lost cognitive abilities were not fully restored in those who quit smoking marijuana as adults. Those who started smoking marijuana in adulthood did not show significant IQ declines.
What Are the Other Health Effects of Marijuana?
Marijuana use may have a wide range of effects, particularly on cardiopulmonary and mental health.
Marijuana smoke is an irritant to the lungs, and frequent marijuana smokers can have many of the same respiratory problems experienced by tobacco smokers, such as daily cough and phlegm production, more frequent acute chest illness, and a heightened risk of lung infections. One study found that people who smoke marijuana frequently but do not smoke tobacco have more health problems and miss more days of work than those who don’t smoke marijuana, mainly because of respiratory illnesses. It is not yet known whether marijuana smoking contributes to risk for lung cancer.
Marijuana also raises heart rate by 20-100 percent shortly after smoking; this effect can last up to 3 hours. In one study, it was estimated that marijuana users have a 4.8-fold increase in the risk of heart attack in the first hour after smoking the drug. This risk may be greater in older individuals or in those with cardiac vulnerabilities.
A number of studies have linked chronic marijuana use and mental illness. High doses of marijuana can produce a temporary psychotic reaction (involving hallucinations and paranoia) in some users, and using marijuana can worsen the course of illness in patients with schizophrenia. A series of large studies following users across time also showed a link between marijuana use and later development of psychosis. This relationship was influenced by genetic variables as well as the amount of drug used, drug potency, and the age at which it was first taken—those who start young are at increased risk for later problems.
Associations have also been found between marijuana use and other mental health problems, such as depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts among adolescents, and personality disturbances, including a lack of motivation to engage in typically rewarding activities. More research is still needed to confirm and better understand these linkages.
Marijuana use during pregnancy is associated with increased risk of neurobehavioral problems in babies. Because THC and other compounds in marijuana mimic the body’s own endocannabinoid chemicals, marijuana use by pregnant mothers may alter the developing endocannabinoid system in the brain of the fetus. Consequences for the child may include problems with attention, memory, and problem solving.
Additionally, because it seriously impairs judgment and motor coordination, marijuana contributes to risk of injury or death while driving a car. A recent analysis of data from several studies found that marijuana use more than doubles a driver’s risk of being in an accident. The combination of marijuana and alcohol is worse than either substance alone with respect to driving impairment.
Is Marijuana Addictive?
Contrary to common belief, marijuana is addictive. Estimates from research suggest that about 9 percent of users become addicted to marijuana; this number increases among those who start young (to about 17 percent, or 1 in 6) and among people who use marijuana daily (to 25-50 percent). (DrugFacts: Marijuana. National Institute of Drug Abuse. January 2014. http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/marijuana viewed 07/08/14)
Smoking or otherwise ingesting marijuana does not show love towards one’s neighbor (Matthew 22:37-40) and harms oneself and others.
Notice also the following from the old Worldwide Church of God booklet:
Marijuana and TobaccoWe've all read the statistics which show that every puff on a cigarette statistically takes x number of seconds off a person's expected lifespan. Yet over 500 billion cigarettes are smoked in the U. S. every year.
Marijuana protagonists enjoy exposing the hypocrisy of the average person's acceptance of cigarettes as compared with his emotional rejection of . marijuana. The nicotine in tobacco may be just as — or even more- physically addictive than marijuana. And the carcinogenic tars in tobacco far out-kill anything presently known in marijuana...
Is the general public hypocritical? You bet it is.
Is tobacco more of a national health problem than marijuana? Obviously-and by a long shot.
But marijuana is coming on strong. And we must not allow the idiocy of our national attitude toward tobacco to justify the introduction of another, even more subtle killer.
Smoking marijuana should generally not be done by Christians (1 Corinthians 5:11). But the Bible shows that, even if you have done such things, you can repent and change (1 Corinthians 6:9-11).
Smoking marijuana contributes to early death:
22 April 2016
Heavy marijuana use in the late teen years puts men at a higher risk for death by age 60, a new long-term study suggests.
Swedish researchers analyzed the records of more than 45,000 men beginning in 1969 and 1970. The scientists from the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm reported that 4,000 died during the 42-year follow-up period, and men who'd used marijuana heavily at ages 18 and 19 were 40 percent more likely to die by age 60 compared to guys who hadn't used the drug. ...
"Cannabis users have poorer health in general. You'd expect there to be increased mortality risk," Krakower told CBS News. He pointed to another long-term study linking early heavy marijuana use with lung cancer, and a second study that associates the drug with increased heart problems. http://www.cbsnews.com/news/heavy-teen-marijuana-use-may-cut-life-short-by-60/
Possessing marijuana is also illegal in many parts of world, as well as expensive. Yet, in places like the USA, it appears it will become legal in more areas, this is a trend to look out for. This is not good.
Notice something the Apostle Paul was inspired to write:
19 Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? 20 For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)
Getting stoned with marijuana is harmful to the body and is not glorifying God.
The Bible warns of disaster coming upon a nation that is in debt and a nation that is drunk. Marijuana essentially makes one drunk. Notice:
2 Then the Lord answered me and said:
"Write the vision And make it plain on tablets, That he may run who reads it. 3 For the vision is yet for an appointed time; But at the end it will speak, and it will not lie. Though it tarries, wait for it; Because it will surely come, It will not tarry.
4 "Behold the proud, His soul is not upright in him; But the just shall live by his faith.
5 "Indeed, because he transgresses by wine, He is a proud man, And he does not stay at home. Because he enlarges his desire as hell, And he is like death, and cannot be satisfied, He gathers to himself all nations And heaps up for himself all peoples.
6 "Will not all these take up a proverb against him,And a taunting riddle against him, and say,'Woe to him who increases What is not his — how long? And to him who loads himself with many pledges'? 7 Will not your creditors rise up suddenly? Will they not awaken who oppress you? And you will become their booty. 8 Because you have plundered many nations, All the remnant of the people shall plunder you, Because of men's blood And the violence of the land and the city, And of all who dwell in it. (Habakkuk 2:2-8)
15 "Woe to him who gives drink to his neighbor,
Pressing him to your bottle,
Even to make him drunk,
That you may look on his nakedness!
16 You are filled with shame instead of glory.
You also — drink!
And be exposed as uncircumcised!
The cup of the Lord's right hand will be turned against you,
And utter shame will be on your glory. (Habakkuk 2:15-16)
The above will come to pass. A people that 'party' and increase debt will be eliminated. No nation in history has been as indebted as the USA. Expect increased partying and drunkeness as marijuana gets more legal and more public acceptance in the USA.
Christians should not use marijuana to get high. It certainly is against the principles of scripture.
Here is a related video titled How Should a Christian View Marijuana?
Thiel B. Marijuana: Should a Christian get high? http://www.cogwriter.com/marijuana-christian.htm (C) 2014 2015 2016 2017 0228
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