I've got a friend who's got two things going at the moment: fairly recently developed asthma, and fairly recent involvment with marijuana (this is Vancouver. Go figure.).|
Naturally, the asthma is a cause of concern since this is one of my best friends, so I did some research. The results may startle you, but likely only if your brain is made of wood.
|Antonio Calignano, a pharmacologist at the University of Naples, Italy, and one of Piomelli's team, says that the results help to clarify the effects that cannabinoids seem to have on marijuana smokers. Heavy or long-term smokers experience airway muscle relaxation; light or inexperienced users often suffer asthma-style attacks.|
|taken from this article.|
Of course, it's not my place to go telling people what they should or shouldn't be doing, but this is not a happy thing.. it looks to me like the asthma has been induced either by a couple of years of smoking or by marijuana use, and then the marijuana is seriously aggravating it. I imagine that inhaling all of that airborn ash isn't helping, either.
Supporting evidence comes in the form of another friend of my friend, also an asthma sufferer and also a marijuna user.
People say that smoking marijuana is better than smoking cigarettes because it's "all natural." Yes, well, it's still inhaling smoke. What's the number one killer of people trapped in fires? Smoke inhalation. It will kill you. The fire safety people don't say that it's ok to inhale smoke if you're trapped in a forest fire rather than a house fire because the forest is natural. They tell you to avoid the smoke. And whether the smoke comes from a little paper tube or a burning room doesn't make any difference when your lungs are filled with it. So how could anyone think that this would be ok?
I'm not about to criticise.. everyone makes her choice, right? But I just don't get it. I mean, knowing what it will do to you, either mentally or physically, why on earth would you choose to do any drug? And that means smoking, drinking, hard drugs..
The arguments range from stress relief to fun. Some people say that drugs help them to cope.. hello? Whatever the problem, it will still be there when you come down, only you'll be that much less equipped to deal with it because your brain won't be working, so it will be that much worse. So, face the worse problem this time, or hide behind the drugs again? Which do you think most choose? And if it's money you're worried about, drugs are expensive, you know.
Some say it's about fun. So your typical high lasts between one second (like crack) and an hour, depending upon the drug, and the dose(s). And for this you're sacrificing years of your future? Because once your brain is buggered, it's buggered. There's no second chance. And it will hurt more than your brain. I'll illustrate.
It's commonly argued that smoking marijuana is better than smoking cigarettes. Hmm...
Daily use of from 1 to 3 marijuana cigarettes appears to produce the same lung damage and cancer risk as smoking 5 times as many cigarettes.
Ok, but at least it's not addictive, right?
researchers have found for the first time that marijuana can cause withdrawal symptoms in laboratory animals, and that marijuana acts on the brain and nervous system as do other addictive drugs.
To put it another way, I had a friend who's been smoking marijuana for years, and he's such a wreck now that he barely recognises me. He's only 35. Anyone who says that it doesn't have any lasting effects should meet this guy. It's one of the saddest things you'll ever see because he had a sharp mind, he was intelligent and well spoken, and now he's approaching vegetable status. I mean, just read this:
While scientists do not know all of the drug's effects, several studies have established that marijuana interferes with memory and learning. A new study confirms that heavy (daily) marijuana use impairs critical skills related to attention, memory and learning. In this study, "Heavy users could not pay attention to the material well enough to register the information in the first place so that it could be recalled and repeated later," say the researchers in the Journal of the American Medical Association (2/21/96).
Speaking as someone who has to live with symptoms like that as a result of Attention Deficit Disorder, I'm forced to ask "why the fuck would you do that to yourself??"
You've got a choice, you've got a working brain that gives you a fair chance that people like me don't have. Why the hell would you throw that away? You're handicapping yourself, and for what? You're destroying your brain, you're destroying your lungs, and you're not getting anything worthwhile out of it. I'm not criticising.. I mean, if that's the choice you want to make, sure, go ahead. I'm just trying to understand. I can't see any reason that anyone would want to do these kinds of terrible things to themselves. Life is hard enough as it is.. why would you want to make it harder? Because that's what you're doing.. you're voluntarily taking the things that work, the faculties that help you succeed in life, and destroying them. Why?
Mostly, I just don't understand why people need chemical stimulation to enjoy themselves. And why they're so willing to indulge in that sort of amusement at the expense of their future, and their health.
I received this message shortly after I posted this article:
Sent: Saturday, August 31, 2002 11:22 AM
Subject: Little Mary Jane
Near the end of your artical(?) you asked "why the fuck would you do that to yourself??" The answer is read Jack Herer's book "The Emperor Wears No Clothes", a free copy is avaiable at http://jackherer.com/chapters.html.
Do yourself a favor, get informed.
I notice that he sent the message to "Wilson@violently-happy.net"
What was I saying about marijuana messing up your ability to focus? Wilson? It's a single word. Honestly.
Anyway, here's my response:
From: Wildsong [Wildsong@violently-happy.net]
Sent: Tuesday, September 03, 2002 1:26 PM
Subject: RE: Little Mary Jane
That's precisely my intent. To get informed, that is. If you notice, the tone of the article is one of someone seeking answers. I'm looking for information so that I can understand why someone would voluntarily damage themselves, both physically and mentally, for a few moments of dubious enjoyment. I say dubious because mostly what you hear from people talking about when they were stoned is "I was so messed up" and talking about the stupid things they've done. I've never heard anyone say that they feel accomplished or fulfilled as a result of any kind of drug use. However, the book that you have mentioned doesn't answer my questions. It states that there are medical uses for marijuana, a statement with which I have taken no issue, but when it comes to arguing the negative effects, it resorts to conspiracy theory. Well researched, I'll grant you, but still conspiracy theory. No sources that I have found that aren't actively pro-marijuana have published any doubts on the links between cancer and marijuana smoke, for example. By actively pro-marijuana, I mean impartial as opposed to actively looking for justification for marijuana use. The trouble is that this author casts significant doubt on government-sponsored medical research into marijuana, thereby invalidating that research as reference. He then goes on to cite those government-sponsored research results that prove his points. How, then, can you justify a position of opposition to this viewpoint when he has made the claim that all of your sources are invalid as a result of a government conspiracy? His argument has its own defence built into it, just as do the UFO conspiracy people. If you set aside that claim, there are many sources that oppose his views, and they do cite their methods and reasoning.
But medical uses aside, I still don't see why people would use it for recreational value when it has proven harmful side effects. The high feeling alone is a sign that your brain's delicate chemistry is being altered in unnatural ways. I've several friends who are testament to the fact that the long term damage can be enormous. I mentioned one on my site, I think. He's the worst, but there are others who are in pretty bad shape. One of them started using for medical reasons. Of course, this is anecdotal and not admissible as evidence. :) But I'm not trying to convince anyone, just to figure out why. Therefore, my conclusions are based upon my experiences, my research, and information I have gleaned from people who respond to my inquiries as you have done.
He didn't write back.