Conservatives, led by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, are trying to ramp up the war against marijuana again. Their inane attempts to re-energize reefer madness have been a setback for advocates this year for sure. However, ultimately there is very little chance that there will be any stopping this train. Cannabis legalization is merely a waiting game at this point.
New studies are coming out nearly every day, and they prove all the standard arguments against cannabis legalization false. Now that the dominoes have indeed started to fall and as some states have legalized, studies are currently being conducted, and the news is good for patients across the country. Every single argument against legalization has been found to be false or unfounded.
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Every. Single. One.
CANNABIS TO BATTLE THE OPIOID EPIDEMIC
Dr. Mehmet Oz went on Fox and Friends recently and nearly shook the rafters when he came out in support of medicinal marijuana to help combat the opioid epidemic. At the end of a segment the hosts were trying to close out the show, and Dr. Oz interrupted them and said;
“The real story is, is the hypocrisy around medical marijuana.”
The looks of disbelief by the hosts were staggering and hilarious. Dr. Oz carried on by saying, “Medical marijuana, people think it’s a gateway drug to narcotics, it may be the exit drug to get us out of the opioid epidemic.”
The hosts had no idea what hit them.
Say what you will about the man, but Dr. Oz is the last in a long line of mainstream celebrity doctors who have come out in support of legalization.
TYPICAL CONSERVATIVE ARGUMENTS
There are many arguments conservatives like to use when discussing marijuana legalization. Many of them are even valid. Correction. Many of them WERE valid. Concerns about driving impairments, children having access to it, and others are all typical arguments against legalization.
Now that some states have legalized, even on a recreational level, studies are finally being conducted on a scale we could only dream of before. Following is a guide to some of the current research, and what they have shown so far.
Next time a conservative wants to argue against legalization, with this post, you will be ready to debate with ease.
BUT WHAT ABOUT THE CHILDREN???
Conservatives like to say that children in states where marijuana is legal will have greater access and will ruin the youth. They say that legalizing it will increase the chances that kids can get their hands on it. It’s certainly a valid concern.
However, more than a few studies have now shown that this is not the case at all. Entirely the opposite is true. Across the board, use amongst teens is down in states that have legalized cannabis.
The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, for example, did a study where Federal Investigators from the U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse and the Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration studied usage rates among young people aged 12 to 17 between 2001 and 2014.
They found that the prevalence of use during that time among that age group fell 17 percent. There was an even more substantial drop after 2011. The authors wrote:
“In the United States, compared to 2002, even after adjusting for covariates, cannabis use decreased among youth during 2005-2014, and cannabis use disorder declined among youth cannabis users during 2013-2014.”
HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE?
You might wonder just how it’s possible that fewer teens are using marijuana, even though access is seemingly unlimited.
The main reason is that the black market is drying up in states where marijuana is legal. With no dealers on the streets slinging weed, kids can’t get their hands on it anymore. There are security guards at every dispensary that check I.D.s and kids have no access.
And they know it. In a study from Boston University, the University of Texas at Austin, the University of North Carolina, and St. Louis University, they have determined that the percentage of young people who believe they can readily access marijuana has sharply declined.
The study concluded that:
“Despite the legalization of recreational and medical marijuana in some states, our findings suggest that perceptions that marijuana would be very easy to obtain are on the decline among American youth.”
WHAT ABOUT TRAFFIC CONCERNS AND PEOPLE DRIVING WHILE STONED???
The news here is good as well. The American Journal of Public Health published the results of the analysis they did on traffic safety in states that had legalized marijuana. They found that the law’s changing did not affect traffic violations or fatalities.
“We found no significant association between recreational marijuana legalization in Washington and Colorado and subsequent changes in motor vehicle fatality rates in the first three years after recreational marijuana legalization.”
So, again, those concerns and fears are ungrounded.
MARIJUANA MAKES YOU STUPID, RIGHT???
Of course, an individual can overdo it and can abuse marijuana, but they could overdo Oreos, too. That said; however, marijuana has been deemed to have no discernible effect on a person’s brain at all.
So, no, marijuana doesn’t make you stupid. On the contrary, many would argue that our cannabinoid receptors quite like it.
In a study done by the University of Colorado, Boulder, and the Oregon Health and Science University they positively identified ALCOHOL as being the drug that changes the structure of an individual’s brain, not marijuana. They used neuroimaging data and found that marijuana use did not affect the structure or the pathways of the brain.
“Alcohol use severity is associated with widespread lower grey matter volume and white matter integrity in adults, and with lower grey matter volume in adolescents,” they wrote. “No associations were observed between structural measures and past 30-day cannabis use in adults or adolescents.”
This research was the follow-up to a study from The Journal of Neuroscience in 2015.
IT’S NOT REALLY MEDICINAL
Frankly, this one is so ridiculous I considered not even including it in the piece. However, as a Representative from Arizona named Trent Franks said the following, I decided to go ahead and add it here:
“The current debate to legalize marijuana is not based on medical need. Rather, it is nothing more than a ruse being used by a clandestine few, who prey upon those groups who believe the debate centers only upon marijuana as a potential medicine in order to create a language that will ultimately become leverage to legalize hard drugs across the board, and wreak complete havoc on our society.”
Yeah. He actually said that. So, is marijuana medicinal?
By now, nearly everyone has seen one of the hundreds of videos circulating on the internet showing adults with seizure disorders, Parkinson’s, Tourettes, and other neurological conditions who experience instant relief after using Marijuana or CBD oil. There are even more stories of children with epilepsy who typically have hundreds of seizures a day that medicate with marijuana and have their seizures decrease radically or even stop. Sanjay Gupta did a special on CNN documenting the success of marijuana therapies for seizure disorders.
Nervous conditions, diabetes, cancer, Muscular Dystrophy, and autism have all had positive results in one way or another with cannabis.
And let’s talk about pain for a moment. Marijuana helps reduce pain for patients with chronic pain as well as incidental episodes. For most of these patients, doctors prescribe opiates, which contributes to the epidemic that faces this country today.
In states where it is legal, statistics consistently show that opiate abuse and overdose deaths are down. Like Dr. Oz pointed out on Fox and Friends, it is highly likely that cannabis could be the ONE thing that could help curb the opiate epidemic.
ISN’T IT A GATEWAY DRUG, THOUGH???
There was even a study as early as the 1930s that proved the “gateway theory” was bullshit. However, thanks to reefer madness and the propaganda machine it is a theory with some serious legs. Even Jeff Sessions recently cried gateway drug and called cannabis as dangerous as heroin.
The research that gave us the theory that pot is a gateway drug was debunked as junk science. Further studies have shown the causation wholly implausible. The causal relationship between weed and harder drug use is as ridiculous as the causal relationship between beer and hard liquor. In reality, it all comes down to personal preference.
TO PUT IT BLUNTLY
Marijuana is more popular than ever. Pot as medication and recreation is becoming more mainstream daily. Patients around the country are starting to make their voices heard. Every study listed above proves time and again that they have been lying to us all these years.
The DEA still refuses to budge on rescheduling cannabis from schedule 1, and that continues to be a massive roadblock to getting the laws changed federally. However, over half the states in the country now have some sort of marijuana legalization on the books. It has almost gone beyond a point where the federal government will be able to do much to stop it.
With all these studies confirming that their fears are unfounded, even conservatives are starting to notice. Add to that the massive influx of cash from the taxable income in legal states and common sense legalization is starting to catch on, even in the most conservative of areas.
So next time your Aunt Judy from Arizona wants to talk about how nasty “the pot” is and how bad it will be for the country, remember what you learned here and school her right out of the discussion.