If You Dislike ‘Big Pharma’, You Should Also Dislike ‘Big Pot’

There is a move in America to legalize marijuana. I don’t know if it can be stopped. I doubt it can. Marijuana is proclaimed to be a miracle cure for everything from headaches to ingrown toenails. Well, it may have medicinal value, but it also has a pretty serious downside. I remember looking at the Sunday paper in California after medical marijuana was legalized. The last four pages were ads from doctors who would prescribe it to cure any ailment. All you had to do was call. The legalization of medical marijuana essentially made recreational use much easier to do legally. So what are the consequences of legal marijuana?

Yesterday Dr. David B. Samadi posted an article at Fox News about some of the dangers of legalizing marijuana.

The article states:

From a health standpoint, why is legalization of another mind-altering drug the right thing to do?  The U.S. is already in the midst of a devastating prescription opioid and heroin crisis.  And individuals from all walks of life struggle with the abuse of alcohol and drugs.

It may be too late, but taking an illegal drug and making it legal needs to be well-thought out, to determine what impact this major step will have on future generations.

…What is especially concerning is the fact that the marijuana of today is not the same as it was back in the 1960s or 1970s. Over the past few decades, the concentration of THC in the cannabis plant has been increasing, making it more potent than ever.

A fairly recent popular method of getting high is smoking THC-rich resins extracted from the plant. Extracts are quite powerful, delivering very large amounts of THC to the body. This has sent many users to the emergency room.

…Researchers are still studying the long-term effects of marijuana. But what is known is that the younger a person begins using pot, such as in the teen years, the greater the declines in general knowledge, impaired thinking, learning difficulties and lowered IQ.

The article discusses the medical claims and research on marijuana:

At this time, treating medical conditions using marijuana is still illegal on a federal level. There is still insufficient data from large, long-term, well-designed studies on the potential risks versus benefits of using marijuana to relieve symptoms of certain medical conditions.

There are however, ongoing studies on cannabidiol, a component of marijuana that does not have the mind-altering effects of THC. That may hold potential promise in helping conditions like drug-resistant epilepsy and some psychiatric disorders such as anxiety, substance use disorders, schizophrenia and psychosis.

The article concludes:

No matter how much fun using marijuana looks like on TV or in the movies, no matter what your friends say about it, no matter how many people tell you it’s harmless, and no matter what laws politicians pass to get votes or raise tax revenue, remember one thing: unless you have certain medical conditions where the drug may be beneficial, you are better off without it.

The campaign to legalize marijuana is not unlike the campaign to encourage smoking that went on in the motion picture and entertainment industries up until recent years. We all saw how well that turned out.

Some Consequences Of Legalizing Marijuana

On April 30, the American Academy of Pediatrics posted a story on their website with the following information:

A new study to be presented at the Pediatric Academic Societies 2016 Meeting found that one in six infants and toddlers admitted to a Colorado hospital with coughing, wheezing and other symptoms of bronchiolitis tested positive for marijuana exposure.

The study, “Marijuana Exposure in Children Hospitalized for Bronchiolitis,” recruited parents of previously healthy children between one month of age and two years old who were admitted to Children’s Hospital Colorado (CHC) between January 2013 and April 2014 with bronchiolitis, an inflammation of the smallest air passages in the lung. The parents completed a questionnaire about their child’s health, demographics, exposure to tobacco smoke, and as of October 2014, whether anyone in the home used marijuana. Marijuana became legal in Colorado on January 1, 2014.

Of the children who were identified as having been exposed to marijuana smokers, urine samples showed traces of a metabolite of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive component of marijuana, in 16 percent of them. The results also showed that more of the children were THC positive after legalization (21 percent, compared with 10 percent before), and non-white children were more likely to be exposed than white children.

The findings suggest that secondhand marijuana smoke, which contains carcinogenic and psychoactive chemicals, may be a rising child health concern as marijuana increasingly becomes legal for medical and recreational use in the United States, said lead researcher Karen M. Wilson, MD, MPH, FAAP, an associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and section head at CHC. Most states with legal marijuana do not restrict its combustion around children, she said.

Smoking pot around your children is not any healthier than smoking cigarettes around your children. Back in the days of dinosaurs when I grew up, parents thought nothing of smoking around their children. I grew up in a blue haze and married a smoker. From the time I was little until the time my husband quit smoking, I had chronic sinus problems. Since I now live in a pretty much smoke-free world, I very rarely get sinus infections. Also, the number of colds my children had decreased noticeably after my husband quit smoking. Second-hand smoke, regardless of its source, is simply not healthy.

On May 10, Today reported:

…A new report by the American Auto Association (AAA) has found that the percentage of drivers who are high on pot during fatal accidents in Washington State more than doubled between 2013 and 2014.

In Washington, only looking at crashes in which at least one driver tested positive for active THC, there were 40 fatalities in 2010, compared to 85 in 2014, according to AAA estimates. However, a large number of drivers were not tested for THC or did not have available blood test results, so THC-related fatalities could be much higher, the report notes.

The AAA report focused only on Washington state, while legalized the sale and possession of marijuana in 2012. It did not track driving while high fatality trends in Colorado, which also legalized pot that in 2012.

But with marijuana on the ballot to become legal in more states, AAA researchers fear that the numbers will rise more sharply.

Is this where we want to go?