It’s said that over 100 million Americans have tried marijuana. The list of politicians who have admitted to it includes Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich, Barack Obama and George Bush among others. Gallup Polls suggest that the support for legalizing marijuana increased from 25% in 1995 to 46% in 2010.
In fact, States like California and cities such as Chicago have even decriminalized possession of up to an ounce of marijuana to an infraction, similar to a traffic ticket.
Comparison to Alcohol and Tobacco Use
Objective evaluations of the health impacts of pot indicate that it is significantly less harmful than tobacco usage and alcohol abuse even though those are legal substances. (Marijuana smoking though is not good for the lungs.)
Cigarette smoking is a major contributor to diseases like emphysema, heart disease, lung cancer and strokes. Alcohol is related to drunk driving, alcoholism, some liver diseases and aggressive behavior. It is hard to find deaths attributed to marijuana use. However, alcohol consumption results in about 80,000 annual deaths and tobacco smoking results in about 440,000 deaths each year.
British research in The Lancet stated that not only is marijuana usage less of a threat than alcohol or tobacco, moderate cannabis use has very little ill-effect on health.
Evidence of the medical value of pot is rapidly growing to the point where some states have legalized marijuana for medicinal use. It has been shown to provide relief to people suffering from glaucoma, multiple sclerosis, AIDS and various cancers.
Marijuana has been singled out as a gateway drug. This means it could drive users to try and possibly get addicted to really dangerous drugs like cocaine and heroin. However, in reply, some suggest that people eating snacks and even drinking milk have also become serious drug abusers. In fact, the defenders would also say that alcohol is addictive and may lead to more serious drugs because of that and it’s legal. Tobacco and alcohol are more habit forming and addictive and pot.
While it is true that marijuana can decrease motivation and people can develop a psychological dependency on marijuana, people also get hooked on other legal pursuits like gambling, exercising, web surfing, etc.
The drug laws currently on the books are very similar to the failed laws related to Prohibition that were in effect from 1920 to 1933. It didn’t keep Americans from drinking while wasting an incredible amount of dollars and costing lives.
Prohibition turned many ordinary citizens who like a drink every now and then into criminals. Plus, criminalizing alcohol created a black market for it that was operated by, in many cases, violent criminals. Legalizing pot might also provide some much needed tax revenue for municipalities, states and the federal government.
An addiction to any drug can be tough to recognize and even harder to deal with on your own. At Recovery First, we have the right program to help you through these difficult times. Call the number at the top of the screen now or fill out the insurance verification form that appears to the right on every page if you need help with any drug addiction. We can develop a program specific to your individual needs, but we can’t do anything if you don’t call.