Is Marijuana Bad For You?

The very fact that mainstream media outlets like The Week are asking the question means we’ve come a long way since the days of Reefer Madness, but needless to say their conclusion is predictable:

How does marijuana get users high?
When marijuana is smoked or eaten, a chemical called tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, is absorbed into the bloodstream, activating proteins in the user’s brain and spinal cord. This produces short-term psychoactive effects, including euphoria, a heightened state of awareness, and a sharp appetite. It’s a high many Americans enjoy: One in three admits to having tried marijuana, and 5 million use it almost every day. Already allowed for medical use in 18 states, marijuana has just been legalized for recreational use in Colorado and Washington state. But even as pot moves toward mainstream acceptance, questions persist about its long-term effects on the mind and body. “We know surprisingly little about marijuana, given its widespread use,” said Jonathan P. Caulkins, a policy expert at Carnegie Mellon University.

Hasn’t pot always been considered harmful?
Not at all. Marijuana, the dried form of the plant Cannabis sativa, was used as an herbal remedy for centuries in China, the Middle East, and Asia. William O’Shaughnessy, a physician for the East India Tea Company, brought it west in the 1830s as a treatment for rheumatism, tetanus, and rabies. It was commonly prescribed as a pain reliever in the U.S. until the 1930s, when its growing popularity caused such concern that the newly founded Federal Bureau of Narcotics reclassified it as a narcotic…

[continues at The Week]

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  • anechoic

    the link between cannabis and schizophrenia has already been debunked several times – please stop spreading FUD?

    • Calypso_1

      Link? No, that has been proven.

      • anechoic

        no actually it hasn’t been *proven* – there seems to be a correlation but a definite causation has not been established – the study you are referring to is riddled with all sorts of statistical anomalies that haven’t been worked out yet

        • Calypso_1

          You didn’t say causation, you said ‘link’, which is a correlation. Correlations have been proven. I referred to no study.

          • DeepCough

            “Reefer Madness,” or cannabis-induced psychosis, has never been proven, just as no standard cause has ever been established for schizophrenia, so that’s that.

          • Calypso_1

            I made no statement to indicate that it was a causative factor. It can be an inductive factor, but that was not being addressed.

          • DeepCough

            Well, if cannabis can “induce” psychosis, then it would by that logic, but even if delta-0 THC did cause psychosis, you are more likely to get it from the use of dronabinol (brand name “Marinol”), since it lacks the other cannabinoids that would mitigate the effect of the THC, but, you know, I’m just speculating here.

          • Calypso_1

            That could very well be correct, though I was not specifying cannabis as an inductive agent for psychosis outside of those who have predispositions or suffer from schizophrenia. Rather that it can induce the onset and development of schizophrenia or worsen the prognosis. So can many other things.
            The antipsychotic properties of cannabidiol are documented and will continue to be studied. Hopefully they will yeild advancements in the understanding and treatment of schizophrenia.
            I don’t believe that any of this should help or hinder the legalization debate as it is dealing with the treatment and mechanisms of a specific disease and has no bearing on usage or rights of the general population.

          • VaudeVillain

            Don’t you see that you’ve implied cannabis might not be 100% safe and good for you, and thus you are an evil Drug Warrior out to take away everyone’s pot and throw them in prison?

            Holding nuanced, informed opinions is SO 1700s, get with the times and entirely embrace or shun everything. It’s a really swell way to live.

            And don’t forget, there can’t possibly be any ill-effects from directly inhaling the high-temperature concentrated smoke of incinerating organic matter unless that organic matter just so happens to be tobacco. Nope, definitely not. Personally, I like to hold my head over wood fires and breathe deeply to get as much of that delicious, non-tar-containing wood smoke as I possibly can… maybe toss some leaves and pine needles in there, it’s fantastic!

          • Calypso_1

            I’m more of a Chaotic Neutral Drug Warrior.

          • anechoic

            #1 – your statement of “Link? No that has been proven.” implies you think there is causation & not a correlation btwn the two

            #2 – correlations are NOT proven – they are uncovered

            #3 – the ONLY *correlation* that has been uncovered to date between cannabis and schizophrenia (and the study that showed this was since been shown to be flawed) is for the *age of onset* and NOT *incidence*

          • Calypso_1

            wrong X 3

          • Bill

            Any way, according to you it has been debunked several times and I wouldn’t mind reading more about that. Can you give a few URLs where we can read more ?

    • Roger Mexico

      I’ve personally observed the effects of pot on two schizophrenic people. It’s a little scary–like flipping a switch that sets them off on an irreversible cascade of agitation and psychotic rambling. One guy had been on meds and in recovery for months, succeeding at being as “normal” as he ever gets, then he stood in the doorway of a bedroom where people were smoking, got a contact buzz, and went on a 30-minute rant about how his professors won’t accept papers about this extremely racist “theory”–that everyone in Southeast Asia is inbred and mentally disabled (the guy is Korean; *shrug*)–because they’re being paid off by a conspiracy to conceal it.
      Definitely something people with the condition should avoid.

      That said, wasn’t there just something on here a few days ago about how there’s a “genetic marker” in some people but not others that predisposes them to having psychosis triggered by THC? (And, from my own anecdotal sample of two people, I would tend to suspect that those markers predispose people to psychosis in general.)

      • DeepCough

        Oh, yes there was a story about yet another study redundantly establishing a link between cannabis use and schizophrenia, but, as usual, that study tried to establish numbers proclaiming an “increase” in schizophrenia without establishing what parts of the brain would be affected and what the relation of this “genetic marker” was with delta-9 THC and relative cannabinoids.

        As for your personal experience, well, lest I get chastised by fellow users, I’m just gonna say that I strongly doubt it, especially since studies have shown that cannabidiol (CBD) mitigates and alleviates “psychotic symptoms.”

        • Calypso_1

          Think about what happens when you alleviate the negative symptoms & not the positive ones.

          • DeepCough

            Um, symptom is generally a negative term as it implies a characteristic of a problem, mm’kay.

          • Calypso_1

            Um…you don’t even have basic knowledge of psychiatric medicine yet regularly & vehemently proffer an opinion.
            Positive and Negative symptoms are the two broad catagories of symptoms in schizophrenia.
            Positive symptoms are an excess of and distortion of normal function including: delusions, hallucinations, disorganized speech & behavior, etc.
            Negative symptoms are a deficit of function and include: flat affect , avolition (lack of initiating purposful behavior) & alogia (restriction in production of thought & speech).
            The underlying neural mechanisms for the different categories appear to be distinctly different and most antipsychotics primarily affect positive symptoms.
            Cannabidiol alleviates negative symptoms but few positive. THC can aggravate positive symptoms.

          • DeepCough

            You certainly like to vehemently assert that Cannabis indeed causes psychosis, but even in the age of human genome, there is no definitive answer as to why, and you also don’t seem to take into account that “psychiatric medicine” fails to name which “neural mechanisms” cause any symptoms relative to any psychiatric disease whether they are positive or negative. And you seem to forget that you yourself showed me in past posts that what appears to be a “psychiatric problem” is really a neurological one.

          • Calypso_1

            I have NEVER made any claim nor do I hold the opinion that cannabis is a causal agent for psychosis.
            I have no desire to discuss what is known of the mechanisms (and there is a great deal) when you cannot even demonstrate fundamental knowledge of the topic and instead fall back on irrelevant attempts to hash out the semantics of the naming of medical fields.

          • DeepCough

            By “no desire” you mean “can’t?” Thought so.

          • kowalityjesus

            lol, [deep, reverent bow]

  • Nunzio X

    The answer is: no.

    No, it is not bad for you.

    Now that we’ve settled that, what other fairy tale shall we tackle, hmmmm?

  • Tchoutoye

    The most decisive factor in increasing the risk of mortality is the occurrence of being born. Perhaps we ought to ban it.

    • MeeMan

      There have been sterilisation programmes in the USA for nearly 100 years.
      Know your history or you’ll be doomed to repeat it.

  • eklipz330

    i know a guy who knew a guy who smoked the hashish before. 5 years later BAM. aids.

    • scarednshoeless

      i was in the same house as a guy who smoked pots once and i was later hunted and and visciously attacked by a pack of wolves. They stole my shoes, drugs kill.

  • Kevin Leonard
    • DeepCough

      “Mr. Mackey, my parents beat me–and you’re gay.”

  • BuzzCoastin

    > When marijuana is smoked or eaten,
    a chemical called tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, is absorbed into the bloodstream

    the same thing happens when you meditate
    maybe they can outlaw that next

  • Illuminaughty

    I used to smoke the stuff every day, about four joints. I got panic attacks, then I wasn’t able to enjoy it, so I occupied the small space in time that I exist in with other things…. Mainly Sex. Point is that with alcohol, tobacco, and guns legal… no one can make any common sense argument about locking pot smokers up. Nuff Said.

  • marvin nubwaxer

    i’ve never looked into it but i wonder how it became illegal in every country?

    • Bill

      Medical industries, who just started selling their synthetic drugs, didn’t like the competition of natural drugs and started sponsoring movies like “Reefer madness”. Since medical “experts”, who were holy as priests in those days, told it was dangerous (actual scientific research started much later) loads of people immediately believed them.

    • DeepCough

      A U.N. Convention promoted by Harry J. Anslinger, the original Drug Czar, made narcotics illegal all over the world, and Anslinger worked for the American government, too. Talk about promoting freedom across the world, huh?

  • frambles

    I feel that the overconsumption of any substance will lead to side effects

    • frambles

      and yes Americans love to over consume!

  • Anomaly_of_Anomie

    COOL PIPE.

  • MeeMan

    Some of the cannabinoids found in Cannabis (hence the name, cannabi-noids) have been found to alleviate many ailments in humans, including fighting off Cancer cells (the ONLY cells in the human body that are attacked and killed off).
    Many of these same cannabinoids have been found to be the natural ingredients in human breast milk (and thousands of various life forms around the world) which were accidentally also found to destroy cancer cells (by a cancer researcher some decades ago), as well as, grow brain cells and brain stems, regulate mood and organ functions and stimulate the auto-immune system; amongst other things.
    So… the cannabinoids in Cannabis are as “dangerous” to humans as breast milk is to babies.
    “Is Marijuana bad for you?” STFU
    (OK… high levels of THC, especially pharma-manufactured synthetic THC, without the complimentary anti-psychotic CBD and/or CBC, can bring on deep depression to the point of suicide. This was found out from a USA manufactured THC-only pharma drug test trial where nearly half committed suicide. Skunk which is high in THC but low in CBC or CBD is not particularly good for you, mentally/emotionally.)
    There you go. Facts versus scaremongering propaganda. Now, run along.