Times have changed. Cannabis, pot, marijuana, weed, grass has moved along with cultural evolution in America.
My hips, knees, and thumbs suffer the abuse of decades of bike riding, bike racing, karate and aikido, and walking and working. My kidneys and liver appreciate CBD taken to extend my body for more years at it. The orthopedist favors CBD over NSAIDs and was cautionary about ibuprofen and the kidneys. There is long evidence about acetaminophen and its impact on the liver. My wife’s fibromyalgia rheumatologist has told her “no more ibuprofen” after too many years of the stuff. Oral CBD and crème works well for her controlling the pain on bad days. Here is a good summary of CBD if you are thinking about it yourself or for someone in your family.
And, what about the THC, the psychoactive chemical in cannabis in all of this?
I quit drinking ten years ago and have not once missed it. My health is much better and diet and exercise more productive as a result. Coming from a family of alcoholics and addicts I have seen, up-close-and-personal the poison and destruction of alcohol. But, each and every one of us have cautionary tales about alcohol in our lives and the lives of our friends and family, no need for any further examples. Marijuana is much more benign, and used responsibly is like that moderate glass of wine with dinner or the beer at the ball game without the nasty side effects associated with going beyond moderation.
Being smart about cannabis is on you. The product today is far stronger than the dreck of the 1970s that I grew from bag seed with purple fluorescent grow lights from K-mart and tin foil curtains in my closet. Back then it was 6% THC at best. Today’s marijuana pushes 30% THC, and there are concentrates like oils, waxes, peanut brittle-like shatter, and tinctures that are basically pure THC. You can still make your grandmother’s recipe Alice B. Toklas brownies, but the cannabis edibles available today will get you into trouble double quick. The first time you eat too much, and everybody does, will get you way too high and feeling way too bad, but unlike alcohol you won’t get sick or possibly die from it—and you won’t be hung over the next day. You may well feel “thick and clunky” in the morning though. You won’t want to do it again! The sick and hung over diversion from being drunk never seems to work that way. I wonder if that has been studied?
Which leads to the reality of marijuana today: we are on the “drinking from a fire hose” steep learning curve and far to go.
Don’t buy the “cures cancer” hype, cannabis is no magic cure, but can help patients to eat more and maybe have a better mood. It does have very real medical benefits for pain and inflammation, and there are early studies showing promise for disorders like epilepsy and depression. It’s only a modest benefit to glaucoma treatment, but shows promise for diverting addicts from opiates and treating PTSD—and keeping PTSD suffers off more problematic and expensive psycho-pharmaceutics. Maybe it has other mental illness and disease treatment benefits too. UCLA Health has begun a new cannabis research imitative with the 2018 legalization of recreational marijuana in California, as do other institutions. You can find the UCLA link here.
Good information is already coming out of analysis of data from states that have legalized recreational marijuana before California. Early studies show alcohol sales after legalization are down by as much as 13%, here—a great public health benefit if it holds true. What about addressing binge drinking college students? Who knows, but let’s find out.
Driving stoned is stupid. Let’s not go back to the days before M.A.D.D. when it was cool and tough to drive drunk and kill people, shall we. Government data indicate unsettling trends, here. There is no reliable cannabis test for DUI, here, but sure needs to be. (BTW, in California the smell in your car while driving is probable cause for DUI.)
Some data show reduced teen marijuana usage after legalization, here. Youth use of marijuana is not good for developing brains, here.
Snopes says that an increase in violent crime after marijuana legalization is: false.
Much more needs to be known and managed. Unfortunately, until the federal government removes the asinine classification of cannabis as a schedule 1 drug, akin heroin, studies are kneecapped. Sadly, Congress must rewrite an arcane and twisted morass of existing laws to remove marijuana as a schedule 1 drug and legalize it. Sigh.
Legalization most everywhere will happen, including at the federal level, but as it does we are in for 30-some years of cultural changes not unlike those after prohibition ended. It may come to weedshiners in hot rod Teslas roaring around the blue highways using GPS to deliver Mason jar aged, homegrown Master Kush and Jack Herer. “Step on it, Skeeter! It’s them Revenuers!”