one can imagine the great difficulty of fathoming modern Western mores for a person wholly unaccustomed to them.
The deployment of terms such as hate, racist, culture, pride, supremacy, colonization, bigotry, and reprehensiblerepugnant being entirely functions of who/whom. The newcomer would first need to grasp the nearly pristine absence of principle in determining if a speech or action was “good.” Rather only the subject and object of that speech can determine whether it is pure or base. Words are imbued with meaning only by the lips they pass and the ears they reach.
As an example, the site you are reading is HATEHATEHATE 👹, while this site, is not only a reservoir of love 💖, but one enjoying the patronage of many fine corporate sponsors 💵.
The lesson being that before great warriors of social justice 👯 can rightfully know whether to beam or blanch, they must first be advised of who has spoken of whom. And strangely enough this principle of anti-principles seems to apply equally to competing intoxicant flora.
As anyone will recall from prior cultural and legal skirmishes, tobacco is a hate plant. It is directly responsible for 12 million deaths annually in Montana alone. Second hand exhalations cause immediate and permanent addiction in 94% of adults. And its tar liquifies lungs on contact. Though far most importantly, its use has been tied to cowboys, republicans, and pre-diverse America. Quite unseemly.
In contrast, we know that marijuana is a good and vibrant weed, born of noble indigenous roots. Its aerosol ambrosia promotes innovation and imagination. Its leaves said to cool the fevered Earth. Its succulent soot curing everything from cancer to corns. But again, there is something far more important than mere effect. Weed is cool. Cool as the unemployed stoner dudes in ironic t-shirts who fight the fucking white patriarchy. Please let the dippy hippy femis notice! Pot isn’t just good, it’s correct. And when casting about for what burning plant to suckle, that makes all the difference.
So it was a total irrelevance today to read of a new 20 year study on the effects of recreational cannabis use. They weren’t particularly surprising to anyone prone to rational speculation. Here’s a capsule of results.
Marijuana can be addictive. But only for some people. About 10% of all users seem to develop dependence syndrome, and for those who start in adolescence, the number is more like 1 in 6. Withdrawal syndrome is also a real phenomenon, with depression, anxiety, insomnia, and appetite disturbance being the main symptoms, which can often be severe enough to have an effect on daily life.
Marijuana may change brain structure and function. There’s been an ongoing debate about whether marijuana actually changes the brain, but recent evidence has suggested that it is linked to changes in the hippocampus, amygdala, and prefrontal cortex. It’s unclear, however, how long these effects last, whether they’re linked to behavioral changes, and whether they reverse after a person stops using the drug.
Regular use is linked to an increased risk of psychotic symptoms. That marijuana is linked to increased psychotic symptoms (e.g., delusions, hallucinations, disordered thinking) is fairly clear. But again, it’s been a chicken-and-egg problem, since it’s hard to show whether causation is at play, and which way the connection goes. However, it’s likely that the relationship actually goes both ways: Marijuana may lead to psychotic symptoms, and early psychotic symptoms may increase the likelihood that a person will smoke marijuana (particularly if there’s a family history of psychotic disorders).
Marijuana is probably – but modestly – linked to schizophrenia. The study found that marijuana is connected to a doubled risk of a schizophrenia diagnosis in the future. Many previous studies have suggested this connection, but, as always, showing causality is hard. The new study cites a number of well-executed studies that suggest a causal relationship between marijuana and schizophrenia. The authors estimate that marijuana use may double the risk of schizophrenia from 7 in 1000 non-users to 14 in 1000 marijuana users. On the upside, they point out that users who quit using the drug after a first psychotic episode have fewer psychotic symptoms and better social functioning moving forward, compared to people who have a psychotic episode but continue using.
Marijuana may be linked to testicular cancer. Its connection to other forms of cancer is not very consistent, but there’s some evidence of an increased risk of testicular cancer in long-term marijuana users.
Regular users may have cardiopulmonary issues. Regular marijuana users have a higher risk of developing chronic bronchitis. Marijuana “probably” increases the risk of heart attack in middle age, but it’s hard to know for sure, since many users also smoke cigarettes.
Marijuana is linked to lower educational attainment. When pot smoking begins in adolescence, people tend to go less far in school – but again, a causal relationship hasn’t been demonstrated.
Marijuana may (or may not be) be a gateway drug. Regular teenage marijuana users are more likely to use other drugs in the future – but again, researchers don’t know whether the link is causal.
Marijuana use is linked to adverse cognitive effects. In particular, the drug is linked to reduced learning, memory, and attention. It hasn’t been entirely clear whether these effects persist after a person stops using the drug, but there’s some evidence that it does. One study found a reduction in IQ of 8 points in long-time users, the greatest decline being in people who’d started using as teenagers and continued daily into adulthood. For people who began in adulthood and eventually stopped using, a reduction in IQ was not seen a year later.
There’s no brief carried here for any of this, as I haven’t smoked it before and don’t care to indulge the investigation now. Though I do have anecdotal observations on the last two items. In high school I knew many people and several friends who smoked pot–presumably the experience isn’t atypical. And in practically all of those kids I knew well enough to notice changes…they changed noticeably. I watched a formerly good friend grow dumber before my eyes. A conclusion that his tests and grades tended to corroborate. If the study is accurate and an observer even mildly perceptive, 8IQ points is not going to just slip past. That’s the difference between Mike Tyson and a writer at Salon.com. And I doubt it would escape notice if Iron Mike began submitting copy down to the level of Brittney Cooper. Pot negatively impacting intellect (particularly for teens) is wholly consistent with my own lying eyes.
Further, it seems obvious that it is a gateway drug to sterner stuff. Just as alcohol is to pot. Has anyone ever snorted a line of cocaine as their first intoxicant? Aside from say, Joe Biden? Obviously many people don’t pass through those gateways into new frontiers. Though denying it is one is being more disingenuous than what anyone should have to suffer.
Though generally I don’t put much thought into smoldering weeds, other than the desire to keep them out of the mouths of those I care about. And it’s not really that before us to address. But rather The Narrative of which is a Good one and which Bad. For many, that’s the only smoke that matters.