Legalizing Marijuana

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The only point that everyone agrees upon in the efforts to legalize marijuana is the fact that it is a very “hot” topic.  Most “hot” topics create a polarizing effect among the public as the politicians and the media craft powerful, emotionally-charged messages.  Turning on any channel or tuning in to any radio station within Ohio, and you would have heard media buzz about legalizing marijuana as it was on the November 3, 2015 ballot.

 

First…..In the beginning

 

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Marijuana has been around for 10,000 years.  That’s right.  A long time.  Despite it’s tenure, we know little about this potent plant.

Click on the following link to scan Marijuana throughout history:

Marijuana through History

 

What is Marijuana??

 

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Marijuana—also called weed, herb, pot, grass, bud, ganja, Mary Jane, and a vast number of other slang terms—is a greenish-gray mixture of the dried, shredded leaves and flowers of Cannabis sativa—the hemp plant.

Some users smoke marijuana in hand-rolled cigarettes called joints; many use pipes, water pipes (sometimes called bongs), or marijuana cigars called blunts (often made by slicing open cigars and replacing some or all of the tobacco with marijuana). Marijuana can also be used to brew tea and, particularly when it is sold or consumed for medicinal purposes, is frequently mixed into foods (“edibles”) such as brownies, cookies, or candies. In addition, concentrated resins containing high doses of marijuana’s active ingredients, including honey-like “hash oil,” waxy “budder,” and hard amber-like “shatter,” are increasingly popular among both recreational and medical users.

The main psychoactive (mind-altering) chemical in marijuana, responsible for most of the intoxicating effects sought by recreational users, is delta-9-tetrahydro-cannabinol (THC). The chemical is found in resin produced by the leaves and buds primarily of the female cannabis plant. The plant also contains more than 500 other chemicals, including over 100 compounds that are chemically related to THC, called cannabinoids.

Click on the following link to read more:

What is Marijuana

 

Today’s marijuana is a combination of shredded leaves, stems and flower buds of the Cannabis sativa plant.

 

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Marijuana can also be made in a laboratory.  Synthetic (fake) marijuana is made from lab-synthesized chemicals to mimic the effect of THC along with other chemicals found within the marijuana plant.

 

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Synthetic marijuana can be extremely dangerous, as unsafe chemicals may be added.  Dangerous chemicals such as acetone, along with 100 other chemicals may be used to make synthetic marijuana.  Though cheap, the effects from using this “fake” marijuana may result in serious health problems, including death.

 

 

Common ways to use Marijuana:

 

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Now that you know what Marijuana is and that it’s been around a long time; you ask “Is it Safe”?

 

That’s a “loaded question”.……..Loaded with controversy & complication.

 

At the root of the problem is the lack of detailed study and research. Although marijuana has been used for centuries as a medicine and as an inebriant (it’s even mentioned in the Old Testament several times as “kaneh-bosem”), we don’t know a great deal about the health effects of using it.   This is similar to the lack of controlled studies we also see with prescribing long term opioid medication for Chronic Pain.

 

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) classifies marijuana as a Schedule I drug.  Schedule I drugs are defined as the most dangerous of all drug schedules, with “no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.”  By comparison, heroin, ecstasy, and LSD are also Schedule I drugs, but cocaine and meth are considered less dangerous Schedule II drugs.

 

Clinical research with any Schedule I drug like marijuana requires a special license from the DEA along with FDA Study Approval.   Obtaining research-grade marijuana requires access through the National Institute on Drug Abuse.   Lack of compliance would mean one is guilty of possessing an illegal drug.  It’s federally illegal to have marijuana (even in states that have legalized marijuana).  This applies to both private individuals, as well as researchers working in hospitals, colleges, or other institutions.   Conducting such research without these necessary credentials may result in loss of research funding and other criminal and civil charges for possessing marijuana.

 

 

What do we know about Marijuana’s safety?

 

We know that compared to other drugs (heroin, cocaine and powerful prescription opioids), Marijuana Is less addictive or harmful.  It’s possible for people to get addicted to anything that gives us pleasure. While marijuana addiction is real, it is a rarer addiction than other (legal or illegal) substances.

 

Statistics show that 9 percent of people (roughly one out of 10) who use marijuana become dependent on it, compared to 32 percent of tobacco users, 20 percent of cocaine users, and 15 percent of alcohol drinkers.

 

By and large, marijuana has been shown to be less dangerous than other substances—over 100 times safer than alcohol—but that’s not to say it is completely harmless. How marijuana is consumed and prepared can make a big difference on its health effects, for better or worse, as well.

 

With that being said……it’s far from “end of story”

 

Marijuana does effect the body; physically and psychologically. 

 

The following is a glance of the effects smoking marijuana; an almost immediate effect on your brain, sense of perception, and heart rate:

 

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Click on the following link to read more about Marijuana effects on the body:

Marijuana Effects on the Body

 

 

Marijuana longterm effects on the brain:

 

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Click on the following link to learn more about how Marijuana effects the brain:

Marijuana Effects on the Brain

 

 

How marijuana affects the mind:

 

Marijuana reaches the same pleasure centers in the brain that are targeted by heroin, cocaine and alcohol.

 

Depending on the quantity, quality and method of consumption, marijuana can produce a feeling of euphoria — or high — by stimulating brain cells to release the chemical dopamine.

 

When smoked or otherwise inhaled, the feeling of euphoria is almost immediate. When ingested in food, it takes much longer, even hours, for the drug to signal the brain to release the dopamine, according to the National Institutes of Health.

 

Other changes in mood can occur, with relaxation frequently being reported. Some users experience heightened sensory perception, with colors appearing more vivid and noises being louder. For some, marijuana can cause an altered perception of time and increased appetite, known as the “munchies.”

 

The impact can vary by person, how often they have used the drug, the strength of the drug and how often it has been since they have gotten high, among other factors.

 

Other effects, according to the NIH, include:

 

•Feelings of panic, anxiety and fear (paranoia)

•Hallucinations

•Increased heart rate

•Trouble concentrating

•Decreased ability to perform tasks that require coordination

•Decreased interest in completing tasks

 

When coming down from the high, users may feel depressed or extremely tired. While marijuana use produces a mellow experience (users are sometimes referred to as “stoners”) for some, it can heighten agitation, anxiety, insomnia and irritability, according to the NIH.

 

Important to note:

 

The intoxicating chemical in marijuana is tetrahydracannabinol, or THC. According to research from the Potency Monitoring Project, the average THC content of marijuana has soared from less than 1 percent in 1972, to 3 to 4 percent in the 1990s, to nearly 13 percent today. The increased potency makes it difficult to determine the short- and long-term effects of marijuana.

 

The video below from ASAP Science explains how marijuana acts on our brains shortly after smoking or ingesting it:

 

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Your Brain on Marijuana Video

 

 

More Marijuana effects:

 

Marijuana these days can cause changes in the brain that impair learning, especially in teenagers as their brains have not finished developing. Brains are not fully developed until the age of 25 or 26. Chronic marijuana use can lead to changes in both personality, judgment, and reasoning skills.

 

Pot damages the heart and lungs, increases the incidence of anxiety, depression and schizophrenia, and it can trigger acute psychotic episodes. Many adults appear to be able to use marijuana with relatively little harm, but the same cannot be said of adolescents, who are about twice as likely as adults to become addicted to marijuana.

 

Much of the marijuana available today is more potent than it was in the past, so the potential exists for it to have more intense deleterious effects on the user. Medical professionals are seeing more emergency room visits with excessive vomiting, and with adolescents, there is greater risk of psychosis and delirium.

 

Smoke is harmful to lung health. Whether from burning wood, tobacco or marijuana, toxins and carcinogens are released from the combustion of materials. Smoke from marijuana combustion has been shown to contain many of the same toxins, irritants and carcinogens as tobacco smoke.

 

Beyond just what’s in the smoke alone, marijuana is typically smoked differently than tobacco. Marijuana smokers tend to inhale more deeply and hold their breath longer than cigarette smokers, which leads to a greater exposure per breath to tar.

 

Secondhand marijuana smoke contains many of the same toxins and carcinogens found in directly inhaled marijuana smoke, in similar amounts if not more.

 

Read more about Marijuana effects at the following link:

What Marijuana actually does to your Brain and Body

 

 

Worth repeating: Marijuana and teens:

 

When marijuana use begins in the teen years, it can have a significant impact on brain development, including decreased brain activity, fewer neural fibers in certain areas and a smaller than average hippocampus, which controls learning and memory functions.

 

Click on the following link to learn more:

 

Marijuana Effects

 

Medical Marijuana

 

What is Medical Marijuana?

 

The term medical marijuana refers to using the whole unprocessed marijuana plant or its basic extracts to treat a disease or symptom. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not recognized or approved the marijuana plant as medicine.

 

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Because the marijuana plant contains chemicals that may help treat a range of illnesses or symptoms, many people argue that it should be legal for medical purposes. In fact, a growing number of states have legalized marijuana for medical use.

 

The public overwhelmingly approves the use of Medical Marijuana.  Stacks of undisputed facts prove that certain chemical components of the marijuana plant called cannabinoids (THC and CBD are 2 key cannabinoids) provide relief from many chronic diseases and disorders with fewer negative side effects compared to opioid pain medications.   Hundreds of thousands of adults and children who suffer from chronic pain would be able to manage their pain more effectively without suffering the ill-side effects of expensive prescription medications.

 

FDA Approved cannabinoids:

 

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The FDA has approved just a few drugs that contain THC: marinol, dronabinol and nabilone to name a few. They treat nausea caused by chemotherapy and help to increase appetite in patients with extreme weight loss caused by AIDS and other serious medical disorders.

 

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The United Kingdom, Canada, and several European countries have approved nabiximols (Sativex®), a mouth spray containing THC and CBD. It treats muscle control problems caused by MS.   The United States is conducting clinical trials for its safe use in treating cancer pain.

Although it has not yet undergone clinical trials, scientists have recently created Epidiolex, a CBD-based liquid drug to treat certain forms of childhood epilepsy.

 

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Click on the following links to learn more about the development of drugs from Marijuana:

 

Marijuana Medicine

 

Drugs from Marijuana

 

 

Marijuana…..Society’s Predicament: Medical Use Only or Recreational for ALL?

 

One of society’s biggest concern over marijuana is when someone chooses to drive a vehicle while under the influence of marijuana; just the same as alcohol and prescription pain medication (opioids).

 

This concern is shared when one is under the influence of marijuana (alcohol & opioids as well) on the job or in school.

 

This is usually the point in the narrative where many that support legalizing Marijuana for Recreation choose to ignore some essential facts; shutting down the dialogue.

 

Consider these following facts and then reach your own conclusions concerning as to the smartest & safest Marijuana decision for society:

 

  • Fatal crashes involving marijuana use tripled during the previous decade, fueling some of the overall increase in drugged-driving traffic deaths
  • One of nine drivers involved in fatal crashes would test positive for marijuana
  • Drugged driving accounted for more than 28 percent of traffic deaths in 2010, up from more than 16 percent in 1999.  Marijuana proved to be the main drug involved in the increase, contributing to 12 percent of 2010 crashes compared with 4 percent in 1999
  • If a driver is under the influence of alcohol, their risk of a fatal crash is 13 times higher than the risk of the driver who is not under the influence of alcohol.   But if the driver is under the influence of both alcohol and marijuana, their risk increases to 24 times that of a sober person.
  • Every day, almost 30 people in the United States die in motor vehicle crashes that involve an alcohol-impaired driver. This amounts to one death every 51 minutes.  The annual cost of alcohol-related crashes totals more than $59 billion. Drugs other than alcohol (e.g., marijuana and cocaine) are involved in about 18% of motor vehicle driver deaths.
  • According to the National Center for Statistics and Analysis, the fatality rate for teenagers is four times that of drivers age 25 to 69, and drivers under age 25 account for a quarter of all traffic fatalities.
  • The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported that in 25% of all motor vehicle crash fatalities, the driver had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.01 g/dL (one eighth the legal limit) or greater, and in 21-year-old drivers, that figure rose to 39%. Drivers with a previous DWI (“Driving While Impaired”) conviction were responsible for 7.2% of all crashes involving alcohol.  In comparison, the percentage of road traffic accidents in which one driver tested positive for marijuana ranges from 6% to 32%., In one study, 9.7% of cannabis smokers reported having driven under the influence in the previous year; those who did drove while intoxicated an average of 8.1 times during the year. Among those who seek treatment for cannabis problems, more than 50% report having driven while “stoned” at least once in the previous year.,
  • A new report from the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) shows that nationally drugged driving is increasing at a time when drunk driving is decreasing. Drugged driving now rivals drunk driving with roughly 40 percent of fatally injured drivers testing positive for drugs.

 

Click on the links below to learn more specifics:

 

Marijuana Car Crash Study

Marijuana Impaired Driving

Cannabis compared with Alcohol on Driving 

Stop Drugged Driving

 

Medical Marijuana“has a pulse”

 

Despite years of support from some of the medical community and the “patient” public, Medical Marijuana was literally “stuck” in debate.

 

Results from states allowing Medical Marijuana for certain medical conditions was slowly gaining some traction.  Twenty-three states and the District of Columbia have legalized medical marijuana in the U.S. Four of those states have made recreational pot legal for adults 21 and older. Nine states have marijuana legislation or ballot measures in the works this year: Alabama, Florida, Iowa, Missouri, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas.

Click on the following link to learn more:

Marijuana Legalization Ballot Initiative

 

Many patients are reporting Medical Marijuana to be an effective alternative to powerful opioids to manage chronic pain along with many other diseases and conditions.  In some cases, the pain relief was superior with much less harmful side effects.

 

However, the Federal Government still classifies Marijuana as an illegal Schedule I drug offering no medical benefits.  As a result, the desperately needed research remains idle and most Doctors had no choice other than writing prescriptions for opioid pain medication to treat Chronic Pain.

 

One would think that the clamor to bring Medical Marijuana as a desperately needed and prudent alternative to those suffering with Chronic Pain would find it’s way to our election day ballot on it’s own merit.

 

To further support this effort is the fact that our medical community would add a beneficial layer of safety as they would also manage the care of their patients they prescribe Medical Marijuana for.

 

Gathering outcomes of the Medical Marijuana efforts from the increasing number of states voting to approve Medical Marijuana would be invaluable to establish proper safety guidelines regarding the larger controversial topic of legalizing Marijuana for all.

 

If you think this, then……well….…..you would be wrong.

 

Marijuana Legalization was on the ballot in Ohio, and slated for many states to follow.

 

Here is the ballot:

 

Ohio Marijuana Legalization Initiative, Issue 3 (2015)

Who could use marijuana?

  • Anyone 21 years or older with a license purchased from the Ohio Marijuana Control Commission, similar to a fishing license, could use, possess, grow, cultivate and share up to eight ounces of homegrown marijuana and four flowering marijuana plants.
  • Anyone 21 years or older (with or without a license) could purchase, possess, transport, use and share up to one ounce of marijuana.
  • Anyone with a certified debilitating medical condition could use medicinal marijuana.

Ballot

 

Legalizing Medical Marijuana as the first step at the Federal Government Level would seem to be the logical first action for society.

 

Well…..once, again, you would be wrong.

 

A Quinnipiac University poll released in April shows support for medical marijuana in Ohio is overwhelming — 84 percent percent of respondents said they favored legalization, according to the poll. However, support for allowing Ohioans “to legally possess small amounts of marijuana for personal use” was only 54 percent.

 

Wait……say that again:

 

  • 84 percent of respondents said they favored legalization of medical marijuana 
  • 54 percent of respondents said they favored legalization to posse small amounts of marijuana for personal use (recreational use)

 

What?

 

Yes you’re reading that right.  Far majority of the Ohio public says “YES” to legalizing Medical Marijuana.  The smaller group, by comparison, wants Marijuana legal for recreation.

 

Most pollsters agree that what “goes for Ohio goes for the country”.  This means that it’s fair to take these percentages and apply them nationally.

 

Now….take another look at the Ohio Ballot:

 

Ohio Marijuana Legalization Initiative, Issue 3 (2015)

Who could use marijuana?

  • Anyone 21 years or older with a license purchased from the Ohio Marijuana Control Commission, similar to a fishing license, could use, possess, grow, cultivate and share up to eight ounces of homegrown marijuana and four flowering marijuana plants.
  • Anyone 21 years or older (with or without a license) could purchase, possess, transport, use and share up to one ounce of marijuana.
  • Anyone with a certified debilitating medical condition could use medicinal marijuana.

 

Did you catch it? 

 

Legalizing Medical Marijuana is tied to Legalizing Marijuana for Recreation on the Ohio ballot.

 

But Why?

 

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Good question…..

 

This is where our media becomes the dynamic force behind the effort to Legalize Marijuana.

 

Have you heard these celebrity endorsements:

 

Oscar Robertson

 

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Oscar Robertson Endorsement Video

 

Nick Lachey

 

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Nick Lachey Endorsement Video

 

 

It’s hard to find legitimate disagreement with their viewpoints.

 

So…..Where’s the Beef?

 

These effective, attractive public service announcements do not share ALL the facts.  They are successful in shaping public opinion based upon emotion.

 

Sadly, many of our voting public refuse to obtain & weigh all the facts.  Far worse, are those who choose to ignore some of the most important facts and “go all in” with the celebrity 60 second endorsement.

 

Any way you slice it the public is basing important decisions on what our leaders and celebrities choose to say.  Most times, what they choose to say fits a narrative to insure the resultant they want.  What’s best and safe for the public falls to a much lower priority.

 

Here are a few facts as we know them:

 

  1. Marijuana is a drug with real benefits to those suffering from Chronic Pain along with other medical conditions.
  2. Marijuana is not harmless.  As with other drugs like opioids, along with alcohol and tobacco, marijuana holds potential to inflict damage on the user, their families, friends and the public
  3. Proper Marijuana study and research is needed ASAP
  4. Almost overnight, many states are taking Marijuana, a Schedule I Drug which is classified the same as Heroin and LSD and making it available to all.  That means it’s on par with over-the-counter medications.  Marijuana with it’s minimal study and research, which has been classified more dangerous than most opioids like Morphine, Oxycontin and many other Schedule II drugs, is all of a sudden safe for all adults to use recreationally?  This is what Oscar Robertson and Nick Lachey want us to believe…
  5. Both Oscar Robertson and Nick Lachey happen to be 2 of only 10 Ohio Landowners approved to grow Marijuana.  These anointed 10 landowners stand to make $100 millions on the sale of Marijuana.
  6. I find it disingenuous for both Oscar and Nick to have not disclosed their personal interest and potential financial gain from the outcome of OH Marijuana Legalization ballot in Ohio.
  7. Under U.S. federal law, marijuana is defined as having no medical use. So then why does the government own one of the only patents on marijuana as a medicine?
  •       The patent (US6630507) is titled “Cannabinoids as antioxidants and neuroprotectants” and was awarded to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in October  2003.

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This adds more confusion and raises more questions as to what direction our society is going with Marijuana and for what reasons.

 

Maybe, our Government will become the newest and largest member of illustrious Big Pharma??  It’s possible Legalizing Marijuana in the US creates a customer base of 100 million people using Marijuana with the sole source of the drug being the patent holder-The US Government.

 

This would certainly fill in some of the blanks intentionally being hidden from our view.

 

 

November 3, 2015 Ohio Marijuana Legalization Ballot Results:

 

 

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Ohio voted with a large, loud & clear NO to Legalizing Marijuana.

 

 

mypainweb.com will continue to monitor developments of Legalizing Marijuana.

 

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