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Marijuana, America's most dangerous illegal drug

By buseman, Jun 21, 2010 | Updated: Jun 22, 2010 | | |
Rating:
3.5/5,
  1. buseman
    Hastings, Minn. — Methamphetamine, cocaine and heroin may be America's most addictive and destructive drugs, but marijuana is the most dangerous illegal drug in our nation.

    The reasons for this conclusion are many. First is that marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug in America. Almost 2 million persons began using marijuana last year in the United States, and marijuana use starts at a younger age than most other illicit drugs.

    Early marijuana use is associated with drug dependence as an adult. The younger the age of first use, the higher the likelihood of such dependence as an adult.

    More than 4 million Americans are estimated to be dependent upon or abusers of marijuana, more than any other illegal drug. Treatment admissions for marijuana abuse have been higher than for any other illegal drug in our nation since 2002.

    Marijuana is not the harmless substance many would like us to believe. Marijuana is an addictive drug that poses significant health risks to its users.

    Short-term effects of marijuana include memory loss, distorted perception, trouble with thinking and problem solving, and loss of motor skills. Long-term adverse impacts include loss in muscle strength, increased heart rate, respiratory problems, loss of appetite, trouble sleeping, impaired ability to fight off infections and risk of cancer (marijuana contains 50-70 percent more carcinogenic hydrocarbons than does tobacco smoke).

    Marijuana is far more powerful today than it was 30 years ago. THC levels have increased from the 1 percent potency level in the 1970s to more than 13 percent today (on average), with some samples containing THC levels of up to 33 percent.

    Even more troubling is that marijuana serves as a gateway to the use of other illegal drugs. Most people who use methamphetamine, heroin or cocaine started their illegal drug use with marijuana.

    A recent study on addiction and substance abuse showed that teens who use marijuana at least once a month are 13 times more likely than other teens to use other drugs like cocaine, heroin or methamphetamine, and are almost 26 times more likely than those teens who never used marijuana to use another illegal drug.

    Another study showed that 12- to 17-year-olds who smoked marijuana were 85 times more likely to use cocaine than those who did not. Sixty percent of adolescents who use marijuana before age 15 will later use cocaine.

    Last, but certainly not least, there are strong links between marijuana use, violence and other criminal activity. Young people who use marijuana weekly are nearly four times more likely than nonusers to engage in violence.

    Nationwide, 40 percent of adult males arrested for crimes tested positive for marijuana at the time of their arrest. Marijuana is in fact the cash crop that drives the illegal drug trade, not just here in Minnesota but across our country.

    Marijuana use provides a significant part of the demand side of the equation that brings drug dealers onto our street corners and into our schools and neighborhoods -- drug dealers who bring with them other crimes and violence.

    The connection between marijuana use and gang activity and violence is inescapable. Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak recently commented about middle-class Minnesotans who are buying marijuana with a wink and a nod, thinking it has nothing to do with anything when in fact these persons are literally paying for the bullets that kill people.

    I agree with Mayor Rybak that any person who buys marijuana in this region is directly or indirectly giving money to gangs. Recreational users of marijuana may not think of themselves as criminals, but they are in fact the biggest contributors to the illegal drug trade in America.

    We would be wise as a society not to underestimate the destructive nature of marijuana. It is a powerful and addictive substance that is a gateway drug to other controlled substance abuse.

    Marijuana use finances in large part the activities of gangs and drug dealers. It is by far the most frequently used illegal drug in America and its use is directly connected to crime and violence in our communities.

    For all of these reasons, in my opinion marijuana is America's most dangerous drug. We need to recognize the threat it represents and continue our efforts to control it, prevent our youth from starting to use it, aggressively enforce our laws against those who illegally cultivate, distribute and possess it, and effectively treat those who have become addicted to it.

    by James C. Backstrom
    June 21, 2010
    http://minnesota.publicradio.org/display/web/2010/06/21/backstrom/

Comments

  1. Meow Tse Dung
    Might I say BS. This seems misunderstood, and also made to make things look much worse then they really are... Here in France, many people are Cannabis consumers and will never do any more then that.
  2. Veksul
    The whole discrepancy with marijuana being responsible for the most 'treatment' admissions is mostly the causation of law breaking issues. How many people go through marijuana drug treatment from free will alone, NOT counting those that do for legal charges?

    Think traffic school, but instead ganja school.

    Ah, this argument never gets old does it? I don't completely agree nor disagree with this statement, everyone has their own reasons. But to say marijuana use is a gateway drug is like saying a person starts smoking marijuana without ANY idea of it being a drug. If someone smokes marijuana, they usually are aware it is psychoactive, thus doing it due to curiosity of brain altering substances, OR some other reason.

    ie
    It isn't "smoke marijuana, then you'll do harder drugs."
    It's more like "if you smoke marijuana because your looking for altered states of conscious in any way, you will probably smoke marijuana first on your PRE-determined curiosity to alter the body & mind; if you smoke marijuana because you are looking for the exact effects it has (relaxation, creativity, /any other desired effect), then in no way can anyone come to a conclusion that this person's motive will lead to other drug use."

    REASON -> Cause -> Effect

    Assumption -> Ignorance

    Just my two cents, interesting article buseman
  3. greentoker26
    Perhaps if marijuana was legalized then the consumers would not be funding the gangs that have control of the trade of marijuana, we would be strengthing our economy with more tax funds also if it were legalized less minors would be able to get their hands on it since marijuana is easier to obtain then alcohol (no need for an id).
  4. Euthanatos93420
    Correlation=/=Causation. Gateway theory has been long ago debunked as statistical ninjitsu where far more probable explinations than causation account for the trends that we observe.
    Use=/=Abuse. More statistical ninjitsu and propagandastic false statements.

    More risks than tobacco, alcohol...or say...asprin? Nope.

    When you smoke weed, you get high. NO SHIT SHERLOCK??? LOL

    Marjiuana doesn't need to be smoked. Moot point.

    Bad science, this has been disproven.

    See my sig. This is called idolization. The idea that a drug has control over your behavior. Not only does this statement have absolutely no evidence to support it but it has been, as I have said above (is this record broken?) been debunked.

    There's the scratch. *skip*

    /me shoots the damn broken record like a skeet.

    Same statistical ninjitsu bullshit as the gateway theory.

    Prohibition causes crime, not drugs. Drugs are a natural part of human existence and suppressing that not only doesn't work but makes any problems just that much worse.

    It's not REALLY a crime. They're just calling it that and witching hunting with the pitchforks and torches when it's none of their goddamn business.

    Once again blaming a drug for crimes of humanity. It wouldn't pay for bullets if it were legalized, regulated and taxed...oh wait...yeah it would. Fucking war machine.

    Prohibition contributes to the illegal drug trade. The penal system prevents people from having any other option for living after being hit with minor, non-violent drug charges, where they are educated and transformed into real criminals.


    We would be a wise society to tell you where to shove your bullshit.

    Tautology 101.

    [/quote]

    Because that has been SO effective at eliminating 'the problem' in the past. <sarc>

    @OP thanks for that. Shit like this really depresses the fuck out of me, though. Sometimes I get to feeling like people are actually waking up and starting to see things for what they are and cut through the lies and bullshit and then some dipshit like this starts preaching age old debunked lies and rhetoric and I fear the worst because I know stupid people who believe whatever the fuck they hear.

    Incidentally and with a sick ironic twist Swim is truly not a violent person but people like this really stimulate the bloody shit he struggles with in his mind on a constant basis and smokes weed to get rid of.
  5. drix
    Swim just finds it remarkable that time and again these prohibitionists use the problems that have been predominately caused by prohibition as an argument in support of prohibition.
  6. surfergirl1983
    I think the whole thing was bullshit. Yes, my hamster has issues with drugs, they are an addict. they came to this site for support. The catch is they are an addicct of opiod narcotics (morphine, fentanyl, oxys, hydros), not of the pot that they occasionally smoke. they became addicted to pills before, during, and after having had three back surgeries. they never became addicted to pot even though they've been a smoker for 25 years!

    they started smoking pot when they were 13 and like someone mentioned earlier (up on the posts) they chose to try it then for two reasons: 1. most of the kids they knew either had tried it or were active users. 2. because they were curious about the relaxing part and really wanted to know what it felt like to sit and laugh their ass off at nothing in particular. Later when they tried other substances like meth, coke, and x, they did so again because they wanted to experience them. they had their fun with them and ended that part of their life. Pot is a completely different thing. they rarely drink alcohol, so they compare my occasional marijuana smoking to that of a person who maybe drinks a beer when they eat fish or someone who has a glass of wine when they go out to eat. they choose to smoke because they like the relaxation and believe it or not the reducction in pain in their back. It is prescribed for chronic pain you know.

    i dont care how long you preach or how long you had to dig to find all that (ahem..)scientific data, bcause i too have done my own research. Everyone i know that smokes and many whom my hamster has smoked with in the past, all claim that you can't get addicted to weed. They all agreed that they can turn it on or off. No matter who you want to place blame on for folks escalating up the drug chain, it cant be placed on marijuana but rather on the individual who makes that decision and inhales the smoke. No one makes them do it. They enjoy the relaxation and disassociated feeling that usually accompanies the high.

    Weed doesn't control a person the way opiods and other schedule I and schedule II drugs do. A friend of the hamsters who used to run dope (inject meth in a vein) told him after she was clean that "you don't run dope, dope runs you". She was very clear when she told them about smoking weed for over 20 years and never not being able to live without it. someetimes days would go by, like when all her weed connecctions were dry, and she wouldn't smoke at all. When she first tried meth (airplane method) progressed to snorting, then smoking, then shooting it, she said she did it due to curiosity never imagining where it might lead her. She couldn't live w/o getting at least one bump (shot of meth) a day. it controlled her and not the other way around like marijuana.

    In all my perusals of literature on the subject of smoking marijuana i ddiscovered that marijuana is less harmful than once thought to be and that is how individual states were allowed to make it legal in one form or another. With all the true qualitative and quantative research the Surgeon general, FDA, numerous laboratories and universities as well as the DEA have made public it is easy to see that occasional marijuana smoking is less harmful than say a 1-2 pack a day nicotine habit.

    WHY IS IT BEING MADE LEGAL IN SO MANY PLACES IF IT IS SOOOO BAD?

    Either you've never been a real smoker or you're a drug counselor of some sort because most of what you wrote is BS.
  7. Coconut
    Maybe this is a sign of desperation as they cling onto their delusions for dear life. Prohibition is under threat, at least in some US states.
  8. drix
    Swim likes to hope that as the next generation makes it into positions of influence and power there will be change for the better. Although the influence of corporate power etc on governmental legislation may make this a pipe dream, swim hopes that with the changes in perception and legislation that are already taking place regarding cannabis use he may see it legalised, or at least decriminalised, in his lifetime. Something he never would have thought even ten years ago.

    But Swim also thinks that the scientific arguments in favour of cannabis become insignificant beside the political reasons for prohibition. The facts are becoming so well known that for people to contradict them, they must be on a different agenda.

    The arrogance of politicians never ceases to amaze swim though, people with no medical or scientific background or experience contradicting the research and opinions of scientists and doctors. Hell, even cops and judges think cannabis legislation is obsolete and causes many more problems than it solves.

    Swim also thinks that there is a perception that as soon as anything is made legal the entire population is going to start using it like never before and the country will become an unproductive nation of stoners all running (slowly) about going 'wow man, look at those flowers' and not doing any work or taking any showers, thereby bringing about the downfall of civilization. Complete bullshit of course, for swim and a lot of people he knows, it is actually easier to get and cheaper than booze and most of us work full time, have kids, etc.

    There's nothing wrong with appreciating the flowers now and again!
  9. blink1989
    What a stupid article...

    Just like drix said, They use problems caused by having the drug made illegal as arguments to criminalise it... And its like they dont even care :confused: they wont listen to anything they dont want to hear.

    Cannabis simply isnt very harmfull.. Far less so than tobacco or alcohol, far less addictive too. But do people care?? No, bann it anyway... and waste so much money enforcing it

    Hmm.. lets make McDonalds illegal 'cause it may make people fat. :confused:

    Or.. Lets make crisps illegal because they havetoo much salt...
  10. Raoul duke420
    Wow that was alot of BS crammed into one article!
  11. Balzafire
    Swim just wonders why, when they are looking for what was a users "gateway" drug, they always seem to be satisfied and stop the conversation when prior marijuanna use is revealed.
    For swim (and he suspects many others), his "gateway" drug was alcohol. Closely followed by nicotine.
    Not that this is a great argument, but the hypocrasy just needed pointing out...
  12. KingMe
    swim always says his internet connected pc was a gateway to a whole bunch of fun experiences. he could ehave been considered an addict at one point.

    but seriously, the gateway drug argument is popular because people like to see things simple, so that they can understand things and feel in control.
  13. Euthanatos93420
    Finding a way to put a positive spin on this, Coconut? You're fucking amazing dude. I could fucking kiss you for that.
  14. drix
    This is true, swim doesn't think it's about the perceived harmfulness of lack thereof though. Swim really feels that what facts there are are so well known that anybody arguing against them should be seen as some sort of twenty first century luddite. So, the obvious conclusion swim draws is that the reasons for prohibition lie elsewhere, as we already know they do. Partly swim is sure to appeal to 'red neck' voters, can't be seen to be soft on the druggies etc. But there is a lot more to it then that. The reasons for prohibition were political and economic and still are.
    The argument that pot is comparatively harmless, while very true, seems somewhat irrelevant in relation to the continuance of prohibition, these people haven't made a mistake they have intentionally misled and lied and are not guided by good intentions.

    The same arguments only become relevant in relation to the ending of prohibition, as they will expose these lies and the truth behind prohibition. Cannabis isn't illegal for the good of society, it's illegal for the good of the people that made it illegal.
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