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The Truth About Marijuana
The Stories You Were Told
Before you even read this, or dismiss it, open your mind. The Stories you were told were not entirely accurate. In fact, even today, you are being spoon fed the nonsense the government has been feeding you since the 30's. Not that some of it isn't absolutely true. It's just that there is a whole lot you do not know because you were never told. Some people are so hooked on the information they won't even open their minds to hearing any information to the contrary.
In fact, most people will imagine that if I am writing this I am probably typing some on my laptop and then taking a few hits off my bong, then typing some more...truth is, many supporters of Marijuana do not actually smoke it. Some have never smoked it and never would. They are supporters because they have seen the benefits marijuana has had on their friends or loved ones with various illnesses or severe pain.
I don't have some goal of converting non-supporters or convincing anyone of anything. I just want the truth to be out there. Frankly, more and more people support the medicinal use of marijuana every day. The so called "war on drugs" that has cost our country billions and has done virtually nothing to stop drug use whatsoever, is consistently losing at this game. Although I am relatively certain they would try to convince the public that is not true. However, this "war" has been going on for decades and aside from the more mild and non-addictive drugs like marijuana you can still easily locate heroine, cocaine, crack, all kinds of hallucenogens, and of course benzos (xanax and the like) that are sold with prescriptions, they are available at a much higher street price of course.
Lets Debunk a few Myths...
Very few people ever get into car accidents or end up in the emergency room because they smoked a joint. Chances are if they got high, they didn't even have the energy to get into the car in the first place. When I as a kid I remember driving on the parkway with my friend Suzie. Suzie was driving. I never drove stoned. (Yeah I smoked Pot, it was the 70's and I was a closet wild child). I Didn't trust myself driving stoned plus I was always easily distracted. All I had to do was see something shiney and sparkly and would start mentally driving toward it or be so distracted I would just stare at it and lose track of what I was doing in the first place.
Some friends of mine were so hyper-focused on pot, they actually drove better. Suzie drove slower. We were perplexed as to why those rude drivers kept flying by us and honking their horns and even occasionally yelling at us. Apprently even in the right lane you have to go somewhat faster than 25 mph.
So no, pot smokers do not generally cause car accidents. Do not confuse the very legal alcohol drinking and driving issue with marijuana. Oh but drinking and driving is not legal AnnMarie. Really? Because people do it every single day and alcohol is legal. Alcohol also causes liver disease, marijuana does not cause liver disease. Oh and marijuana is NOT legal like alcohol. Why you ask? Let me give you a very REAL history of marijuana a little later okay? Right now we are debunking some myths. Just some, I cannot possibly address ALL of them in one Hub.
Marijuana is a "Gateway" drug. Hmmm...really? No. Alcohol however IS a gateway drug. There are very few kids who do not start their descent into addiction without first drinking alcohol. Just about every family has some so it easy to get and it doesn't take all that much to feel good and buzzed. When the time comes that they are older and introduced to pot, they will smoke that as well, but if they are not and they are introduced to pills or cocaine or heroin, that will work too. What ever is necessary to replace what the alcohol did. Some do not stop drinking, they simply add the pills or cocaine or what have you, to the menu. Pot was never a gateway drug.
Most users of heroin, LSD and cocaine have used marijuana. However, most marijuana users never use another illegal drug.
There has been no consistent relationship between the use patterns of various drugs. In fact, as marijuana use increased in the 60s and 70s, Ah I remember it well, heroin use declined. And, when marijuana use declined in the 1980s, heroin use remained fairly stable.
For the past 20 years, as marijuana use-rates fluctuated, the use of LSD hardly changed at all. Cocaine use increased in the early 1980s as marijuana use was declining and during the last few years, cocaine use has continued to decline as marijuana use has increased slightly.
In short, there is no inevitable relationship between the use of marijuana and other drugs. In the Netherlands, although marijuana prevalence among young people increased during the past decade, cocaine use decreased—and remains considerably lower than in the United States. Whereas approximately 16% of young marijuana users in the U.S. have tried cocaine, the comparable figure for Dutch youth is 1.8 percent. The Dutch policy of allowing marijuana to be purchased openly in government-regulated "coffee shops" was designed specifically to separate young marijuana users from illegal markets where heroin and cocaine are sold. Apparently, this works quite well. I have been to Amsterdam, loved it. Had my nose pierced there.
My best friend Claire, god rest her soul, became a heroin addict in her 30's. Prior to that nightmare, she had always been an A student, worked through college, became a psychologist and never smoked a joint in her life.
Here is a good one. Marijuana causes cancer. No, cigarettes cause cancer. Apparently crap that can kill you is legal and crap that mellows you out and makes you less hostile and aggressive is against the law!! In any case, truth is, marijuana does NOT cause cancer. On the contrary, recent studies by actual real scientists in 2007 found that marijuana has benefits that fight cancer. Don't believe me? You can look it up. I will even tell you where. It's pretty damn easy to find.
Now, the 2007 research. Printed in ScienceDaily (Apr. 17, 2007) — "The active ingredient in marijuana cuts tumor growth in common lung cancer in half and significantly reduces the ability of the cancer to spread, say researchers at Harvard University who tested the chemical in both lab and mouse studies." The active ingredient is called Delta-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Apprently this works on highly aggressive lung cancers that are resistent to chemotherapy.
Did you know that cannabinoids are naturally produced in our bodies? But it is true and the experts at Harvard University also confirmed this:
"THC that targets cannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2 is similar in function to endocannabinoids, which are cannabinoids that are naturally produced in the body and activate these receptors. The researchers suggest that THC or other designer agents that activate these receptors might be used in a targeted fashion to treat lung cancer"... See? I told you.
Wait, there's more. It's not just for lung cancer anymore...
Researchers learned that cannabinoids have been associated with anti-carcinogenic effects, which are responsible in preventing or delaying the development of cancer.
This article was originally published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute Advance Access and online on December 25, 2007:
"Cancer cells that were treated with combinations of cannbinoids, antagonists of cannbinoid receptors, and small interfering ribo nucleic acid of 'siRNA' to tissue inhibitor of matrix metalloproteinases-1 (TIMP-1) were assessed for invasiveness, protein expression, and activation of signal tranduction pathways". Yeah, I know, I don't understand it either, but wait, there's more...
The biggest contribution of this breakthrough discovery is that the expression of TIMP-1 was shown to be stimulated by cannabinoid receptor activation and to mediate the anti-invasive effect of cannabinoids.
Okay so what they are saying is that they learned that treatment with cannabinoids, one of the active ingredients of the medicinal side of marijuana, has been shown to reduce the invasiveness of cancer cells. Prior to now the cellular mechanisms underlying this effect were unclear and the relevance of the findings to the behavior of tumor cells in vivo remains to be determined. hmmm...
But in fairness, recently studies have linked testicular cancer to marijuana. However, they consistently say MAY increase risk for testicular cancer and nothing has yet been determined to be conclusive.
Okay so clearly we understand now that marijuana does not cause lung cancer, on the contrary. Cigarettes however, do still contribute to lung cancer. Cigarettes have carcinogens and marijuana does not. See the difference?
We already know that Marijuana is used to increase the appetite of cancer patients. As usually after chemotherapy they have no appetite and tend to waste away. Smoking gives them an appetite, which in turn gives their bodies the minerals and vitamins they need to build up their immunities. Chemotherapy kills everything, not just the cancer. As I type this the medical communitiy aggressively seeks alternative methods to chemotherapy to cure cancer. Marijuana has shown some positive effects that may help in the treatment of certain cancers without slowly killing what good cells the patient has left.
Additionally, marijuana works on pain receptors. In the United States, Sativex is being studied in large randomized trials in cancer pain that has not been adequately relieved by opioids. (Sativa is a certain kind of Marijuana, not all marijuana has the same levels of Sativa). Three early and six pivotal controlled studies in the United Kingdom demonstrated positive results treating chronic pain of various origins including neurologic pain, various symptoms of multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, and cancer pain. Initial results show improvement in pain for more than one year despite lack of effectiveness of the opioids. Common adverse effects of Savitex have included complaints of bad taste, stinging, dry mouth, dizziness, nausea or fatigue.
What is interesting is that nausea usually decreases with marijuana and is used specifically for this purpose as well. Marijuana in general has always caused dry mouth, fatigue, some dizziness and munchies.
"Munchies" are uncontrollable cravings to eat everything in your house. If you have a teenager and have noticed that on certain occasions he/she has come home eaten all your leftovers, a pint of ice cream, and an entire package of Oreo's while polishing off a gallon of milk, odds are they were stoned. And don't even look for cereal in the morning.
Marijuana is addictive. Well, actually, marijuana has NO addictive properties so it cannot be physically addictive. However, one can convince themselves that they are addicted to rubber duckies if they want to and my youngest son is convinced he is "addicted' to Coca-Cola and insists this each time he wants some. "Mom, please" he pleads "I NEED IT!!!". Of course, he is not addicted to it, he just enjoys drinking it and I usually do not let him. This only makes it more attractive.
Still, as I stated earlier, we can convince ourselves we are addicted to anything and Marijuana is no different. But since Marijuana gives one a feeling of "relaxation" or what is classified as a "high" or "good feeling" sensation, we can very easily convince ourselves that we need, what we merely want. My son does not NEED cola, he WANTS it. We can get addicted psychologically by telling ourselvs that we NEED what, in reality, we just really really want. We really really want that relaxing high. We in no way need it and our bodies do not crave it.
How Did this Happen???
So you might be asking yourself, "Why did they make pot illegal anyway?" Or you might be asking ME. Okay, fine, I will tell you why, because I doubt you know. I mean, do you know most people don't even know that pot was LEGAL in this country and we had smoking cafes just like they do in Amsterdam? It's true. In fact, in the 1600's it was illegal NOT to grow pot. Of course it was called Hemp then and used for a wide variety of purposes; clothing, paper, food, rope, incense, you could even pay your taxes with it. Your Taxes!!
Not like Hemp wasn't around much much longer. It was believed that in 7,000 - 8,000 b.c. fabric was made from dried hemp weed.
Of course it went through Europe first and only began to be smoked in 900 -1000.
It wasn't until 1492 that Cannibas Sativa came to America, thanks to a man named Christopher Colombus. Oh, and George, as in Washington, grew Hemp as his primary crop in 1797.
In 1876, the Sultan of Turkey gave marijuana to the United States as a gift. By 1880, Turkish smoking parlors were opened all over the northeastern U.S.
How Green Was My Country?
Back when we grew Hemp and used it for paper, instead of trees, Mr Ford also invented a vehicle made from Hemp Plastic. It was his first Model T and it ran on Hemp ethanol.
Sooooo.....why is this not considered a form of "green" ing our country? If we are serious about "saving our planet" then why not use the logical green venue of Hemp? The use of Hemp is not the same as marijuana. You cannot smoke Hemp and get a "high" from it. We could be using Hemp to keep our forests green, and to cut our dependence on oil. Why are we so interested in researching soy and corn when we know for a fact that Hemp is a most reliable resource?
Because it's Hemp? Well no, because of a man named Aslinger. An ignorant man who loved propaganda and not necessarily truth. During the last few years of Alcohol Prohibition (1919 - 1933) in 1930, Aslinger became the first commissioner of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics. A very ambitious little prohibitionist who waged an all out war on Marijuana.
It wasn't hard to do, understand by this time marijuana had largely become associated with the jazz musicians who were of course, black. Newspapers said that marijuana made black men "look white men in the eye" and "look at white woman twice". Apparently this freaked out white people as I guess at this point in time this was considered "aggressive black behavior".
The Harrison Act had already outlawed Cocaine and Opiates but that wasn't enough for Mr. Aslinger who was going to clean up our country. He did this by working to make marijuana illegal on every level. He did that by using racism and violence to get everyone's attention. It always does doesn't it?
Aslinger read something called the "Gore Files" at the time and it actually said in these files and this is a direct quote:
“There are 100,000 total marijuana smokers in the US, and most are Negroes, Hispanics, Filipinos, and entertainers. Their Satanic music, jazz, and swing, result from marijuana use. This marijuana causes white women to seek sexual relations with Negroes, entertainers, and any others.”
“…the primary reason to outlaw marijuana is its effect on the degenerate races.”
The "Degenerate races"...get that?
Okay, so Aslinger, the hate monger has an agenda. And Americans in the 30's were not the sophisticated, educated, intelligent people they are today. Yes, well, these are people who believed the government never did anything those "other governments do" and everything you read in the paper was true. Aslingers job was not going to be that difficult.
And as additional insurance to that end, he had Mr. William Randoph Hearst and his newspapers to help him out - and Hearst had good reason to help, he hated mexicans first of all and on top of that he was heavily invested in timber to support his chain of newspapers. He didn't need the development of hemp paper as competition. And lying and telling racist stories of Mexicans using weed and becoming violent sold those newspapers of his. This was a match made in heaven.
So Hearst and Aslinger strolled together through Yellow Journalism, racism and lies and oh, how could I forget, with the Help of the Pharmaceutical companies and their money, fighting the evil devil marijuana was a breeze. Why would the pharmaceutical companies care? Because they already knew by the use of cannabis based (legal) drugs in the early 1800's that this could become a problem for them.
So with all that money, legal pull and racism and lies, Aslinger managed to get the bill to illegalize marijuana in August 1937. Another little known fact was that the AMA was against it. But Aslinger, in his brilliance, managed to misconstrue the AMA's opinion on marijuana and use it to his advantage. Based on the lie that the AMA was FOR the bill to make marijuana illegal, he got the bill passed.
Oh yes, and the simple fact that Americans were the greenest people on the planet.
And the bull goes on....
The propaganda machine continued to churn into the 1960's. But in spite of that the college students didn't seem to be detered. By 1965 an estimated 1 million Americans had tried marijuana. However, by 1972 over 24 million Americans had tried marijuana, maryjane, weed, pot, smoke...clearly marijuana was gaining in popularity.
And then along came Nixon and his "war on drugs". People actually started getting arrested in droves for smoking, selling or just carrying marijuana.
Did you know about Don Crowe? He was a Twenty-five year old Vietnam veteran. Don Crowe was convicted of selling marijuana to an undercover cop. It was his first offense and the amount of marijuana was under an ounce. He was sentenced to 50 years in prison. No that wasn't a type-o, I didn't accidentally add a 0. 50 years! Nowadays you commit murder and you are out in less than 10.
In 1972, The National Commission on Marijuana and Drug Abuse released a report which would be the most comprehensive study on marijuana ever done. The commission took the position that smoking marijuana in one's own home should not be criminalized. Nixon threw the report in the garbage can without ever reading it. Let me get this straight Dick, watergate good, marijuana bad...hmmm...
The DEA is coming!! The DEA is coming!!
In 1972 the scawey, scawey Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) was born. They were allowed to enter homes without knocking, gather intelligence, so called, on anyone, and do illegal wire tapping too!!
By the time Reagan became President middle class American adults were pot smokers and were fighting against the "machine" to get the truth out. But Reagan was just as ignorant about it as Nixon.He was going to be the big drug super hero. But he got about as far as Nixon did. No real strides were made in stopping the drug machine.
To date the DEA and the US Government has spent well over 30 billion on their "war on drugs" and needless to say, it hasn't helped much, at all. This is a war this country is losing and with good reason. The efforts are based in the wrong place. Instead of chasing down marijuana plants and proudly declaring how that farmer won't be growing pot for a long time, why aren't we stopping the cocaine, heroin and LSD? Why are we running after a plant instead of the drugs that actually kill people? Drugs that truly destroy lives and much faster and more thorough than marijuana ever could. Truly addictive drugs with no positive purpose whatsoever.
Wouldn't our tax dollars be better spent on, oh I don't know, chasing real drug lords instead of pot dealers on Main street? Finding ways to get farmers to grow hemp and use it as it was used in the beginning? Continue research to discover the many medicinal and constructive uses of marijuana?
Judge Francis Law, a DEA administrative law judge, held hearings on the medical benefits of marijuana. He found that marijuana has a clearly established medical use and recommended that it be reclassified as a prescription drug. However, no action was taken to reclassify marijuana based on Law's findings. But that was the 70's.
In 1996, California passed Proposition 215, the first U.S. medical marijuana law. Today Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington have passed medical marijuana laws. Several other states are also considering legalizing medical marijuana.
Currently marijuana activists are working for marijuana reform and fighting for medical marijuana laws. The U.S. National Institute of Health spent $1 million on medical research to investigate the therapeutic effects of synthetic chemicals that mimic the effects of smoking marijuana. At Temple University, research is also being done on synthetic marijuana.
Meanwhile, the U.S. government, which supposedly has no horse in the medical marijuana race, has patented medical marijuana. US Patent 6630507 was assigned to the United States of America, as represented by the Department of Health and Human services on October 7, 2003 and protects "Cannabinoids as antioxidants and neuroprotectants."
The Whole Truth and Nothing but the....
Truth. Such a rare commodity these days, well I guess always really, judging by the research I have done. I am exhausted at all the propaganda I came across during this research. They are still telling the "makes you unable to learn and retain information" nonsense and could affect your growth.
D.A.R.E. to keep kids off drugs. In my area they go school to school and talk to children about the evils of drugs. Well, mostly pot and alcohol. They went to my 11 year olds school to talk to him and his 5th grade peers.
They said drug could stunt your growth and causes cancer. My son raised his hand to protest these lies and said outloud that Pot does not cause cancer but actually can help cancer patients. They shut him up quickly and would not allow him to speak again.
He slammed the car door and immediately began to talk when I picked him up that day.
"Well mom" he said "They're still lying to kids about pot".
"Who is 'they' honey?"
"Those stupid cops that do the D.A.R.E. stuff. They talked to my class today and they wouldn't even let me talk, I was trying to correct them and they wouldn't let me say anything".
I laughed "Oh my God honey, they're not going to let you tell the truth to a bunch of 5th graders, they tell them whatever they can to keep them from doing drugs."
"But do they have to lie?"
"No, but maybe they think they do. I am sure in their minds, they think they are doing what is right".
I must say there was a great deal I could not write regarding the complete history of marijuana as this hub would have gone on forever. It was never my intention to give the pro's and con's or to reiterate the nonsense that has been circulating for decades. It was my intention to oppose the majority of inaccurate stories about marijuana in addition to the facts that no one ever talks about as to why it is illegal in the first place. I just thought it would be nice to get the "other side", you know, the one with some truth in it.