23 February 2006

i think it's less than 1000 words so don't be afraid to dive right in

Marijuana. Do you ever have topics in your life that seem to come in waves? Well mine recently has been Cannabis. This is an issue that’s interested me since my doofus sociology 101 teacher gave his “I’m unabashedly for the legalization of marijuana” lecture. Up until that point I was against the legalization of it but mostly due to the brainwashing done to me by society. However, I wasn’t about to join his pothead cause without knowing some facts. The biggest problem with that is that it’s so hard to trust any “facts” you find because in the end both sides of the debate manipulate the facts (and statistics in particular) beyond recognition. So this search for truth is… tough. Anyway, recently the topic of marijuana has been in my life and I’m not entirely sure why. In general, I think I’m just as much for it as I am against it, however, I’m probably more for it. Now, I’ll go ahead and say that I’ve never tried marijuana, but the prospect of such an action doesn’t really strike me as “the wrong thing to do.” If someone (who knows what they’re talking about and is relatively knowledge in regards to this (not necessarily someone who’s tried it)) can tell me why it’s wrong, I would really like to hear it. In fact, I would really like to hear anyone’s opinion on this, whatever it may be. Please. I’m trying to decide it I want to write my opinion right now. I suppose I have to. Okay:

I honestly think it’s just like anything else: if the use/consumption of it takes the place of something that’s actually important, then it’s wrong. If it gets in the way of the life you should be leading, it’s bad for you. I think it’s the same as drinking too much, eating too much, or even watching TV too much; it’s not good for you when it gets in the way. Obviously there is the whole “but Josh, it’s illegal” thing. Yeah, I know, but why? Does anyone honestly believe that it’s worse that alcohol? At least this doesn’t make people violent. I remember reading a story a while back about it being given to soccer fans at a huge soccer game in the UK to prevent rioting and whatnot. However, on the other hand, alcohol isn’t good for you either, so just because we have one thing that’s not good for you legal, does that mean we should have 2 (or more)? Probably not. But at the same time, this is as much of a victimless crime as drinking (even less than), so how is it the government’s place to step in and tell me what I can or can’t do to myself ? In a way,I think it’s the same thing with seatbelts. Sure they help save lives, but should I be fined for choosing to endanger my life and my life alone? I don’t think so.

So let’s say it is legalized, like a “21 and up” sort of thing, like alcohol: who sells it? The government? Pharmaceutical companies? (yahoo. let's give more money to them.) This was a really good question that was brought up at this debate we went to at Vanderbilt the other day. I had never thought about this, so it struck me as a good question. I mean, what options do we have on legalizing it?

Scott, do they teach you about these drugs?


Anyway, it's hard not to ramble when the topic is such a double-edged sword. Now, understand that I never want to be grouped in with the classic "marijauna smoker." ever. Just like I don't want to be grouped in with the classic "drinker." In fact, that's one of the reasons this whole thing appeals to me. Because just like drinking alcohol, this gives me (another) opportunity to do (insert classic religious taboo here) and not have it ruin my life and actually still be responsible about it. While at the same time clearly not displaying a stereotypical (taboo) lifestyle. For example, drinking. I enjoy the fact that I am a responsible (and with few exceptions, moderate) drinker. So why can't that be the case here?

Seriously though, if anyone actually makes it this far through my 805 word entry, please comment and let me know your thoughts. I'm fairly curious. (Also let me know how you like all the capitalizing. I trying something more... classic.)

And finally, there is nothing that upsets your sense of injustice quite like a speeding ticket. I got one yesterday for going 42mph in an area (Providence) that I didn't even know HAD a speed limit (it was 30mph and the cop was right past the sign). Fortunately, he was nice enough to let me off with a $133 warning.

...aaaannnnnd go.

12 comments:

toddman4000 said...

i didnt even notice the capitalizing unitl i read your plea for input about it... i guess thats an answer.

what you do and why are two different issues. id say dont until it is legalized, just so you dont give anyone room to judge you based on the one thing they heard from a friend of a friend of a friend about you and pot. (as unprofessional as it is, we all know people do that...) now that its established that you "probably shouldnt," discussion as to the health benefits/detriments can ensue.

who knows?

it seems acceptable to me, just like some of the things God asks us to do, to question but not reject the law. two different things - both lead to the answer, but they differ in the impact the answer has on your life.

scott said...

yep we learned about it, and every other illegal drug... but i didnt really care that much about that stuff so i didnt pay alot of attention, but i remember some things.. actually let me just check my pharmacology book... ok... 9THC is one of 60 chemicals found in the plant, and it is the agent that is known to cause most of the effects... clinical uses include glaucoma, chemo-induced nausea, and seizures... so it can help those things... scientists have discovered a specific recptor for 9THC and these are highly dispersed and in high concentrations in the brain. they believe that there is an endogenous chemical (made by your body) that stimulates this receptor but marijuanna and its many different chemicals seem to also... now that they have cloned the receptor, they hope to soon develop drugs that stimulate the receptor, treat the above disorders, but dont cause the large alterations in mood...

why is it illegal? i would argue because it causes a pretty big shift in your mental state. cigaretts... they dont really do that to the same extent... alcohol?- yeah its legal if you are 21 but there are extreemly strict laws about its use with motor vehicles... i.e. you cant even have an open can in your car, if you were drinking or not... and i would argue that to cause the same shift in mental alertness and mood it would take much more alcohol than it would marijuana- i mean take yourself for example... for many it would take an entire evening of casual drinking to cause the same effects... i dont know if he was smoking it or not, but Nate, our second RA at Reese, reminds me of the stereotypical stoned person... i dunno... and i've known a couple pretty sharp kids that i grew up with that hit it pretty hard and now really come across as well... not so sharp... but thats another story...

i think the crappiest side effect of the drug in question is that it seems to cause profound memory loss. I worked with a pharmacist who smoked it for 20 years and i tell you, he would really forget things that happened 5 minutes ago... i mean he didnt like have a short attention span, i mean he literally had no idea about some things that happened to him only several minutes earlier... i think he asked me what my major was every time we worked together, and when it came time for him to write me a letter of reccommendation, i had to write down information about myself for him to use because he didnt remember much, even though we would talk for hours about stuff... they teach us in school to think about patients like they were our grandmothers... like...
"what dose would you give your grandma if you wanted her to get over this infection"
with the obvious answer being "JUST THE RIGHT AMOUNT! enough to cure her but not so much that you would hurt her..."... so from what i know about it, i'd probably not want my grandma to smoke weed... so thats my take on it... some interresting things i learned from a plant physiology class is that many of these active agents found in plants are believed to be natural defense mechanisms, caffeine is believed to be something that should deter animals from eating ummm... coffee beans? or whatever... and i think the active agents in mary-j are put there evolutionarily by the plant so that animals recongnize it and dont want to eat it because they know it will impair their mental state... and they might be put at some reproductional disadvantage...

Josh said...

Alright sweet. (First off, thanks for the input, guys.) Secondly, I kind of have to agree with both of you. (thirdly, and I meant to write this in my entry, but don’t you find it odd that we make a plant illegal? That there is this plant in our world that we say should not be legal? A plant. Nothing done to the plant. No synthesizing, no chemicals added. Just straight up from the earth. I find this whole issue a tad odd when I think about it in those terms.)

Todd, I think the legal aspect of it is the biggest stumbling block. I mean, it’s one thing to do something that some Christians think is wrong; it’s another to do something that like 60% of country thinks is wrong. But it still comes back to, if you think they’re unjustified in their opinion, where do you draw the line on what’s acceptable? Are there acceptable instances? For example, a good friend of mine from church had nothing against drinking alcohol. In fact, had it not been for his fear of causing others to stumble by drinking in public, he certainly would have drank (moderately of course). I mean, this is a perfectly understandable case of not wanting to cause others to stumble. However, what if he drank in his home or around another Christian friend who held the same position as him on the topic? Should the issue of marrijuana be looked at the same way? I mean, is that even a fair comparison?

Thanks for all the info, Scott! Yeah, like I said, I would never want to end up like someone like Nate or any other “pot smoker” (and yeah, Nate totally smoked). Just from listening to this debate the other night you could clearly hear the difference in the continuity of the two guys talking. One (opposing) obviously spoke with ease like you would expect, while the other had a few more pauses in-between words. (of course the guy who was “pro pot” had also done numerous other drugs over the course of his life). I do think that continuous use over the years has lasting effects on you memory and “quickness”. I can’t even remember things now, so I suppose I don’t need to stack that handicap any higher. But I do think that those effects you seen in people are from years of serious smoking. (Maybe your pharmacist also had a lot on his plate daily. i know i have trouble remembering things because i have so much to remember. But I'm sure the pot didn't help him either.)

I don’t know if it’s possible to compare the amount of alcohol vs. marijuana and the effects they have. A) People are too different. 2) I mean, I have no idea how to compare alcohol with chemicals from a plant. I would have to say that the effect of alcohol on people is worse than that of marijuana. In fact, I’d say that too much alcohol has probably the worst effect on people possible: it leaves them totally uncoordinated and without any reasonable judgment whatsoever (and on top of that, violent and irritable). At least marijuana’s effects are… well, peaceful. Probably just as bad for judgment, but peaceful (I don’t know for sure so you’d have to ask someone).

In end though, my question is still this: is it wrong? I think we can all agree that, under normal circumstances, you’re better off without it (like many things we consume). But what do you think? And if it is, is it under all circumstances? And by which law are you basing your conclusion on?

Corey said...

Josh,
all I can say is that I'm so excited to be a house guest in the Hunter Apartment next month!!!

Josh said...

corey, if you're just looking to score some weed... you're lookin' in the right place! WOOOOOOOO!

...but yeah, look forward to seeing you.

scott said...

(just as a preface, my opinion is is in the context of one christian giving his opinion to other christians... so i'm kind of assuming the background of my audience... which considering who reads your blog is probably a fair assumption)

well, i default to the "render unto ceaser what is ceaser's..." argument, that according to the Jesus we are to be submissive to our governing body(s)... i dont think that questioning it, or legally leading protests, discussions, or sending letters to senators is wrong, but smoking it when the govment says not to makes it wrong in my book... concerning if the government didnt comment on smoking it- well thats a different story... of course moderation, and not elevating it above the things that we are christians are supposed to keep first in our lives... thats a given i think, as you stated earlier... THEN you get into the whole area that says our bodies are temples for the holy spirit (I Corinthians 19-20: 19Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body."

so from that point... i glean the principal: "Do your best to avoid doing unhealthy, unclean, and unmoral things with and to your body" thats just how i read it... OBVIOUSLY there are things that are bad for your body that you could argue "candy has too much sugar and you could get cavities" "running is bad for your knees" "caffeine is bad for your heart (yeah it kinda is)"... those in my mind fall into a grey area in which, well... i dont think its really wrong at all to do those things but you could ARGUE that they are marginally bad for your body... and carry that logic back to the scripture... so i think there is a line somewhere, different for different people, of things that would be bad enough for your body that you would do something alittle more tame, but definitly not more severe... but that i think can be such a grey area... some people would interpret that "dont get tattoos"... and so on and so forth... the context of those verses is sexual immorality... verse 18 says "Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body."... so that could be sort of a strict interpretation, but i feel that it partains more than to just sexual things... for ME, i think the negative effects of smoking (well just about anything really) are reason enough for me to avoid those things... just because something makes us feel good doesnt make it OK or right... i would argue that pre-marital sex would probably still "feel good" but it is something we are told not to do... but thats just me, and i would probably ONLY disagree with someone who took a really strong opinion on this WITHOUT considering both sides...and i think Corey makes a good point... and speaks for us all... hehe

scott said...

let me add something more... i think one big distinction when considering if what you are doing to your body would be a SIGNIFICANTLY bad thing or not... maybe a good rule of thumb would be that if that thing alters your mental status enough that it prevents you from being your full potential for God and isnt for say medically necessary reasons (like anesthesia for a surgery), that might be a bad thing... i mean... if my precher smoked himself stupid on weed and was less able to use the talents that God gave him for evangelical persuits, we could probably agree that that was a bad thing... and so on and so forth, i can think of many examples where someone selfishly seeking a "high" feeling over a long enough time could diminish their potential, so to speak... the precher example is an obvoius one, but it could really extend to anyone... if i smoked myself retarded and couldnt participate in medical missions to central america as a pharmacist, i'd say that be a shame, and by shame... i mean sin.... drkinking Coffee wouldnt really do that, smoking cigarettes might if you died of cancer prematurely (and if anyone wants to know WHY smoking causes cancer, i can give you the biochem of that, its pretty interresting when cancer isnt just this big scary monster and it actually is broken down into logical reasoning... i think its pretty neat really...)
ok... thats all i got...

jesse said...

Hearyea~
Anyone who stays in the Hunter home will leave with a goodie bag, which includes a healthy, pot-fed kitten.

jesse said...

jessica from work said that hair follicle drug tests can find traces of cannabis from up to 6 months ago. that's a long time!

Josh said...

yeah i've heard that before, jess. kind of scary. glad we already have jobs!

yeah scott i think i pretty much agree with all you said. especially the part about "smoking myself retarded." i definitely don't need any of that.

the reason a lot of this came up was because our neighbor (a real nice guy in his late 20s-early 30s) asked me the other day if we smoked. this was really interesting since jess and i had been discussing this topic for quite some time. anyway, it's been a few weeks since then and his brother and fiance were over last saturday night and i asked them what they were up to and they said they were about to partake. they invited us over and after a bit of deliberation, we decided to hang out with them. anyway, we hung out and talked for a couple hours about anything from pot to politics. they smoked, we didn't. but it was still a lot of fun (i think mostly because we rarely just get to hang out and have beers with people). part of me thinks that there has to be more value to me supporting "the cause" while not having tried "the cause". i dont know.

while i haven't decided whether to try it or not, i think i've come to the conlusion (more like back to where i started) that it, just like many things thought to, is not going to hurt your relationship with God... unless you let it. and while i think that drinking is perfectly acceptable, when drinking around others, you're always going to run the risk of hurting your ability to witness. (however, you could also argue that it might open up you witnessing possibilities with people who would be turned off by the "typical" witness. but that's a bit much "justifying".) so i think it's definitely something that takes a lot of consideration beforehand.

jesse said...

Hey Bscott-if you're serious about that whole medical mission work thing, I motion for you to form a posse and let's do the thing!

Anonymous said...

yeah... i'll have the drugs and you can have the fresh water for them to wash the pills down with...
ITS PERFECT!
i'll let you know... definitly wont be THIS semester... - Scott