The Real Dope on Marijuana

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BY SYD SINGER – If you smoke marijuana you are not going to like what I am about to say. That’s because pot smokers are extremely defensive about their drug, with religious like zeal. They believe it is the best thing that ever happened to them, and wish the entire world smoked weed to end wars, disease, and oppression. When they are not stoned they wish they were, and when they are stoned they worry about their supply. And like religious proselytes, they spread the word of weeds magical powers to get more smokers joining the mellow revolution. Now joining in their spread of the holy herb are agribusiness and the government, each wanting a piece of the pot.

I am sorry that those who use this powerful herbal substance will not hear this message, since they are the ones who most need it. Like the zombie-like people in the movie, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, these people have been taken over by a plant, their minds altered so their reality is no longer the same as unstoned peoples’. That’s because the chemicals in marijuana alter the way the brain regulates itself.

Marijuana contains many types of related chemicals called cannabinoids, which is why marijuana is also called cannabis. Our brain also produces these cannabinoids, and they function by inhibiting the secretion of different neurotransmitters, each cannabinoid have different effects on different neurotransmitters. If the neurotransmitter is something that calms your brain, then the cannabinoid inhibition of this will result in increased stimulation and activity of the functions for which that neurotransmitter was responsible. Conversely, if the cannabinoid inhibited neurotransmitter was something that excited your brain, its inhibition would result in calming.

THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, is one of the best known cannabinoids in marijuana, responsible for the feeling of being high. It has been synthesized in the lab and sold as a drug under the name of Marinol. It inhibits calming neurotransmitters, which is why one’s mind races with this drug. People interpret this as having new insights and creativity. It results from increased brain activity. But too much THC, and the brain can have so much activity that it has a seizure, which is a known side effect of Marinol. The sativa variety of marijuana is high in THC.

On the other hand, there is cannabidiol, another cannabinoid that does the opposite of THC in that it calms the brain by inhibiting neurotransmitters that excite the brain. This reduces seizure activity, and makes you sleepy, and is higher in indica varieties of pot. It is this cannabinoid that is being promoted more now for medical benefits than for getting high.

Clearly, these herbs are powerful with potent impacts on not only the brain but on the entire body. Heart rate increases as blood pressure drops, and in some people this feeling of rapid heart rate gives the feeling of panic. Paranoia caused by the drug is made worse by a rapid heart rate. For some, the low blood pressure can cause light-headedness and even fainting, since less blood goes to the brain. Overall reduced circulation can cause cold hands and feet. Some people get dry mouth and dry eyes.

Of course, studying the chemicals in raw marijuana does not really give you the actual picture of what people absorb when they smoke or eat the herb. Smoking causes varying degrees of oxidation of hundreds of chemicals in the herb, and some of these oxidized products can be physiologically and psychologically active. In fact, the heavy stoned feeling some people desire is from the burned products of the herb and not from the cannabinoids.

The recent surge in the use of vaporizers is due in part to the desire to avoid smoking and the resulting harm breathing in heated and sooty air causes to the mouth, tongue, throat, voice box, and lungs. Vaporizers heat the herb to a lower temperature than that required for burning the plant material, but high enough to burn the crystals of cannabinoids that make the weed sticky. Since the heat of vaporized air is lower than when smoking a joint, it is easier to take a deep breath and hold it in. Seems like a solution for those who want the effects of the cannabinoids but not the harm of smoking.

Unfortunately, since the vaporizing effect is not as “stoney” as smoking for many people, despite delivering more cannabinoid, many people still smoke a joint in addition to vaporizing. This may lead to overdoses.

Of course, the pro-marijuana interest groups will say you can’t OD on marijuana. They say that this herb is powerful medicine, but unlike other medicine, you can’t kill yourself by consuming too much of it. However, overdosing does not always lead to death. People who are incapacitated by eating too much marijuana brownie know what it feels like to be overdosed on this herb. So do people with panic attacks, or exacerbated psychoses, or seizures, headaches, palpitations, or fainting. Weed people think there is no limit to how much weed you can consume. That’s typical of addicts. They have become accustomed to the drug and tolerate it more than neophytes users.

Clearly, this herb has potential medicinal uses. It needs to be better dose adjusted since the potency of herbs are not reliable. And the variety of herb determines its cannabinoid content, so different varieties have different impacts. Also, the cannabinoids are fat soluble chemicals, which means they are not easily excreted from the body but instead are stored in fat cells and slowly released. It takes months to get these chemicals out of your body, and there may be times when you feel stoned weeks or months after stopping the use of the herb as the chemicals are released, especially when you are fasting and fat cells are mobilized. So this is a drug, like other drugs, that needs to be taken cautiously.

Unfortunately, there is the recreational side of marijuana that is being promoted. Opiods, stimulants, and other drugs are used recreationally, as well, in addition to their medical applications. Such use is harmful to the mind and body, and can cause real problems in one’s relationships, work, and overall life.
At first, marijuana gives a sense of euphoria and well being. But that effect is short lived, and requires more and more herb to achieve that feeling, leading to fatigue and low energy. It can make you feel manic for a while, but you pay for that by feeling depressed later. And it gives you a different sense of the world that is paranoid, distrustful, alienated, and antisocial. It changes your personality and the way you perceive the world and those around you. Sometimes this can be therapeutic, to give you a different perspective of the world. But once you get lost in your stoned state, you lose perspective again and no longer see the real world.

Our culture encourages and profits greatly from selling mind altering drugs. We are born into a world not of our own choosing, with economic and environmental realities we may not like. Drugs are used to offer a temporary escape from reality. But once you are addicted to that drug, you can’t escape the false sense of reality it has created for you.

It’s not just marijuana that serves this function. Nicotine, alcohol, and caffeine are our culture’s most common mind altering drugs. They all have medical uses, and are all used recreationally, as well. All have had histories of government prohibition at one time or another. And like our current cultural flirtation with legalizing recreational marijuana, all these prohibitions have failed.

There is something seductive about these drugs. We can’t change reality as easily as we can change, through our use of them, our sense of reality. But in the long run, this makes us slaves to these drugs and those who produce them, and disempowers us in making the changes to that reality from which we have chosen to instead escape.

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16 COMMENTS

  1. "If you smoke marijuana you are not going to like what I am about to say. That's because pot smokers are extremely defensive about their drug, with religious like zeal."

    Whoever wrote this is a self centered, dangerous type… 'on a personal mission of spite' comes to mind.

    'Pot heads' tend to get 'defensive' because they don't want to have their kids taken away, or lose their job, or spend their life in prison, because some other mental midget (who 9 times out of 10 is a drunken idiot) simply 'doesn't like it'.

    The laws we have are based on lies and the big money and politics it takes to maintain such a lie (over 1.5 trillion dollars since 1973 when Nixon by executive order decreed grass the most dangerous drug in existence and created his DEA and no knock warrant BS).

    If you don't like grass don't smoke it. But calling middle sophomoric names (pothead? Really, what are you 10?) names and trying to pin the extremist tail on the LEAST dangerous and LEAST toxic drug on the entire planet, is a fools mission,. An expensive, illogical, foolhardy, dangerous, deceptive and well financed fools mission. Or in this case, just another prohibitionist blathering as loudly as they can as they know they have to at one point soon, be held accountable for all the lies they told.

    Nothing more than a modern day witch hunt.. EXCEPT this silly prohibition on a plant has cost far more lives, broke up far more families and has invoked far more hysteria in what SHOULD BE rational people..

  2. "But calling middle sophomoric names (pothead? Really, what are you 10?) names and …"

    Ooops.. Blame it on the new device, small keyboard, big old clumsy fingers.. If I had some weed, that would of been a good excuse too.. heh.

    • The "War on Marijuana" has been a complete and utter failure. It is the largest component of the broader yet equally unsuccessful "War on Drugs" that has cost our country over a trillion dollars.

      Instead of The United States wasting Billions upon Billions more of our tax dollars fighting a never ending "War on Marijuana", lets generate Billions of dollars, and improve the deficit instead. It's a no brainer.

      The Prohibition of Marijuana has also ruined the lives of many of our loved ones. In numbers greater than any other nation, our loved ones are being sent to jail and are being given permanent criminal records which ruin their chances of employment for the rest of their lives, and for what reason?

      Marijuana is much safer, and healthier to consume than alcohol. Yet do we lock people up for choosing to drink?

      Let's end this hypocrisy now!

      The government should never attempt to legislate morality by creating victim-less "crimes" because it simply does not work and costs the taxpayers a fortune.

      Marijuana Legalization Nationwide is an inevitable reality that's approaching much sooner than prohibitionists think and there is nothing they can do to stop it!

      Legalize Nationwide! Support Each and Every Marijuana Legalization Initiative!

  3. My article is not about the criminalization of marijuana use. In my opinion, its use should be decriminalized, but also discouraged. And people should know its negative side effects. Promoting a medicinal substance for recreational use can be harmful to health. Its recreational use is a symptom of a deeper cultural problem. Why do people want to escape their realities? This is what we should address — the motivations for drug use. People need coping skills that do not require chemical substances, which includes more than just marijuana.

    • No one is promoting medical grass for recreational use. Why would they, recreation stands on it's own footing.

      Why do people need to escape their realities? Heh, I WISH grass did that.. It doesn't. Man o man, I wouldn't mind escaping the realities of what can be a really crappy world at times.. One thing is certain, if one is to use a drug recreationally to help them relax, there is not any safer than marijuana.

      No one is going to solve the worlds problems and just saying 'people should be able to handle it'.. well hell, a lot of people simply can't. 'Just Say No' was the biggest piece of shill ever. This world has changed so fast and so furious and in such a short time.. I was born before Color TV.. heh, now I have a gadget to control all my gadgets.. This is NOT what mankind was supposed to be tethered to, I am almost certain,. BUT, if smoking or eating a bit of grass helps some one shrug off the fact there are simple things like politicians actively trying to cut their nads off as we speak, well, smoke a bit of grass.. Much better for someone than a beer or a cigarette and usually much better for the people around them.

      Or a little bird once sang 'whatever get's you through the night'.. None of my business until one makes it my business. TO date no grass smokers have made anything my business in my entire life, except they want to smoke some grass if and when they want to.. Now bankers on the other hand.. don't get me started.. *S*

    • @ Sydney Singer

      So, you wrote this self proclaimed -"article" and now have the audacity to attempt to further your agenda on the message boards below it, eh?

      Name calling and stereotyping. It's all that prohibitionists have left to offer society since virtually every piece of marijuana propaganda out there has been thoroughly debunked and completely dismissed by a smarter than prohibitionists thought public.

      Nobody can provide a real reason to continue the "War on Marijuana" because there isn't one.

      You know, a little live and let live goes a real long way in ensuring a long, stress and anger free life. If you don't like marijuana, then by all means don't use it. Allow others to make their own choices about marijuana.

      The government has no business attempting to legislate morality by creating victim-less "crimes" because it simply doesn't work and has already cost the taxpayers over a trillion dollars.

      Also, just so you can clear up and "tricky smoke and mirrors" you might be trying to purposely leave behind within the minds of the comment readers here, lol:

      Don't be fooled by "decriminalization" because citizens are still going to be treated like common criminals for marijuana. This is what Kevin Sabet wants.

      Citizens will STILL be forced to the dangerous black market and a shady illegal street drug dealer to purchase their marijuana. Getting caught buying it is STILL a crime they will arrest and jail you for. Then, they will also FORCE you to mandatory rehab, and if you don't comply, guess what? JAILTIME!

      No thanks!

      Also, we will still be wasting our tax dollars sending police around to ticket marijuana users and wasting police manpower and resources.

      Instead of allowing our police the time, manpower and resources to protect us all from real, dangerous criminals who actually commit crimes with victims and pose a real threat to society.

      Why else do you think they are so EAGER to "decriminalize", instead of LEGALIZE?

      Don't Let'em Fool You!!!

      DEMAND FULL MARIJUANA LEGALIZATION NATIONWIDE!

  4. There is absolutely no doubt now that the majority of Americans want to completely legalize marijuana nationwide. Our numbers grow on a daily basis.

    The prohibitionist view on marijuana is the viewpoint of a minority of Americans.. It is based upon decades of lies and propaganda.

    Each and every tired old lie they have propagated has been thoroughly proven false by both science and society.

    Their tired old rhetoric no longer holds any validity. The majority of Americans have seen through the sham of marijuana prohibition in this day and age. The number of prohibitionists left shrinks on a daily basis.

    With their credibility shattered, and their not so hidden agendas visible to a much wiser public, what's left for a marijuana prohibitionist to do?

    Maybe, just come to terms with the fact that Marijuana Legalization Nationwide is an inevitable reality that's approaching much sooner than prohibitionists think, and there is nothing they can do to stop it!

    Legalize Nationwide!…and Support All Marijuana Legalization Efforts!

  5. The reason for any one person wanting it to be legal is not the point. The point is that the law was a sham on people as a whole on all levels. From the cancer patient to the farmer to everyday smoker. Who are you to say what is right and what is wrong? We could get into name calling I suppose, but I'm pretty sure that is what you are looking for. We are done coming up with reasons the law is unlawful. You come up with one good reason that apply only to this substance and no other that is already legal that holds ground. This is just a last grab to hold on to all the garbage they forced into your mind.

  6. SI suspect that any pressure you feel to consume pot is a product of your own mind. Please stop trying to blame others for your problem.

  7. I couldn't agree with Syndy any more than I could! You know, I’ve heard that there are people who abuse their own naughty parts! What kind of society would we have if that were legal?!? There would be people doing that when they’re driving! Their cars would be bouncing up and down like those hydraulic hot rods that are driven by our Country's unregistered guests! I don’t want to see people playing with their privates in public places either! It makes people go blind! I've known lots of blind people and every one of them abused their own naughty parts before they went blind! If we legalize that then we would have to let people marry their hands for crying out loud! Ooooh, I’m so excited! I asked for my hand in marriage today and it said yes! Where the heck does someone get a wedding dress for their hand? ’nuff said!

  8. Duncan, that is a wonderful post. You put a big smile on my face.

    On a more serious note, the article above looks like something I would have written five years ago. I am not as gullible, now.

    When age related degeneration occurs and conventional medicines fail, we do our own research. Thanks to the internet, I overcame the illnesses that had me disabled. I thank cannabis and all the people who grew this plant in the face of adversity and at great risk to their freedom.

    Thank you Syd Singer for allowing me to better understand the prohibitionist mindset. People can be addicted to many things, some are addicted to controlling the behaviour of others.

    • Eva, you have made some assumptions about my position being prohibitionist. There is nothing at all in the article that promotes prohibition. It is a discussion of the effects of this powerful herb and its impact on some people. But as I said in the beginning, people who use marijuana will not want to hear what I have said. They seem to think in black and white terms, perhaps as a result of an oppressive criminalization of growing and using this herb. Maybe they just can't concentrate long enough on the article to get its point when they are stoned. In any event, I am glad you have found a medicinal substance that helps you. But that does not mean there are no side effects and that it is good to use that medicine for recreation.

      • Real simple question for you Sydney.

        ARE you against marijuana, marijuana legalization, marijuana use, and/or marijuana users?

        Go ahead, astonish us with your reply.

        Just gotta love it when prohibitionists are too ashamed to admit they are prohibitionists, because society now understands what a silly, non creditable view point prohibitionists have.

        It is so unfashionable to be considered a marijuana prohibitionist, that they they will deny being one in order to earn "brownie" points and perhaps gain a slight edge creditably. Hilarious.

  9. The article incorrectly states that using a vaporizer and then smoking a joint could lead to an overdose. In 3,000 years of recorded history there has never been a single overdose of marijuana. The article correctly states that the best method for inhaling is with a vaporizer. It would be interesting to see the study the author is referencing when states that a vape high is not as stoney as a joint high. Many would beg to differ.

  10. This post is nothing but someone's opinion. Opinions are like butt-holes… everybody's got one. Free country, you're entitled to yours. I'm entitled to mine.

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