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pandaemonaeum ([personal profile] pandaemonaeum) wrote2010-03-09 09:51 am
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Writer's Block: 420 friendly?

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1. I am in the UK, not the US. This doesn't even apply to me.

2. In the course of my degree, we examined the effects of various psychotropic substances, both at the cellular level and upon the whole body. I find marijuana a particularly thorny issue, as two of my friends at school committed suicide after imbibing a large amount of marijuana (one threw himself off a roof, another took a whole bottle of painkillers and died in agony). Several more progressed to hard drugs. It's all very well to look at marijuana as a recreational drug from the viewpoint of the occasional user from a nice home; the reality is vulnerable people in the worst areas. I have seen the actual, peer-reviewed, scientific papers on the effects of marijuana, and it's not easy reading. I have never touched the stuff and have no intention of doing so.

Besides which, if we're working on banning one kind of smoking, what point is there in encouraging another?

I should probably point out that there is no worse trigger for my asthma than marijuana smoke...

Although, the one thing it would do is deprive organised crime of an income stream. That's the only positive I can think of right now.

If a government legislature must legalise it, then controls must be rigorous. It's an individual's choice and I don't agree with the state dictating what we do to our own bodies, but I do think that some substances need to be controlled.

[identity profile] 2010-03-09 10:14 am (UTC)(link)
Hello, I found you from the writers block thing - is there any way you could point me towards the scientific papers on the effects of marijuana on the body? It's remarkably hard to find decent information on what the actual risks are.

[identity profile] 2010-03-09 10:26 am (UTC)(link)
I'm afraid that they're the kind of thing you are unlikely to find online. I read them in my University library, in things like the BMJ (British Medical Journal) and various other scientific research papers. It's possible to find extracts online, but you then have to apply for, and often pay for, the paper itself, and without a knowledge of the terminology used they may baffle you.

The UK has a government sponsored website which is largely aimed at young persons and their parents, but which has good, common sense advice for people.

Basically, the psychotropic element of marijuana can, like any other psychotrope, have a negative effect on the human brain, leading to paranoia, mood swings, violent outbursts, delusions, and even long-term mental illness (the brain recovers very slowly from any chemical imbalance perpetrated upon it). Although not in and of itself addictive, the effects upon the body encourage further useage, and a tolerance can build up, meaning that people require more of the drug to get the initial effect (also seen with psychociliban (sp?), the active ingredient in 'magic mushrooms'), which can lead them to seek out hard drugs, or stronger forms of marijuana.

Your best bet might be to Google the active psychotrope (you know, I just can't recall what it is, but I'm pretty sure it's on the talktofrank site!) and look at the extracts of science papers which come up, this will give you a very good place to start.

If you're already at Uni, you will be able to look the scientific papers up in your library.

Good luck!
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[identity profile] 2010-03-09 10:39 am (UTC)(link)
Oh, pharmaceutically, it has its uses as a painkiller, apetite inducer, etc. More research is definitely needed on this. But whilst the waters are muddied with the issues surrounding it as a recreational drug, very little actual pharmaceutical research can be done, as no-one wishes to tarnish their reputation with papers about it, unfortunately.

[identity profile] 2010-03-09 10:31 am (UTC)(link)
"Besides which, if we're working on banning one kind of smoking, what point is there in encouraging another?"

Yes! This always has me stumped too. I truly think that the main reason smoking is legal is complacency. Smoking was a global habit before the effects were truly known, by which point it may have been almost impossible to make illegal. But everybody knows that it is so very bad for your health (and the health of those around you).

Further, it *does* alter people's behaviour. Any addiction does. My mother has had various doctors tell her that quitting nicotine is harder than quitting other (supposedly more dangerous) drugs due to the way the addiction works in your brain. She began smoking as a social thing after smoking marijuana in her early twenties. She grew out of using marijuana (which, as I understand it, is very different now to then), but nicotine has been a lifelong companion and will, likely as not, kill her. I can see no rational reason why smoking should be legal at all, or why it is seen as "less bad" than other drugs.

[identity profile] 2010-03-09 10:44 am (UTC)(link)

This is a huge rant of mine. There is a lot of propaganda from the anti-smoking lobby. Whilst smoking is a FACTOR in many diseases, like heart disease and cancer, it is not the ONLY factor. And passive smoking has such small effects as to be considered negligible.

If you don't smoke, but drink lots of alcohol, eat fatty foods, and don't exercise, you will still be prone to heart disease and cancer.

Many of the diseases blamed on smoking are complex, multi-faceted diseases which require holistic (as in whole body) approaches to treatment.

As to the cancer thing, I have a massive rant about this which basically goes like this - if you have a genetic pre-disposition to cancer (cancer is a genetic disease, one of my final year specialities was cancer and oncogenes at the Beatson Institute in the Western Infirmary, Glasgow) then there is literally nothing you can do which will prevent you getting cancer. Nothing. That's the ugly truth no-one wants the public to face. The health campaigns, the anti-smoking, anti-drinking campaigns, are a panaceae to placate the masses, to obscure the real issue - that unless we spend a lot more money on cancer research, these things are like using a tyre repair kit on the Titanic - far too little, and far too late.
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[identity profile] 2010-03-09 11:05 am (UTC)(link)
Yep, your age and the type of cancer you developed are a huge indicator of one of the first genetic markers for cancer to be discovered (BRC1 or 2). In the UK, if you have a history of certain types of cancer in your family, you are given genetic screening, and are offered preventative treatment.

The only 'cure' for cancer is a 'cure' for genetic disease as a whole. Everything else is a treatment.

[identity profile] 2010-03-09 10:57 am (UTC)(link)
You forgot:

3. Self-righteous potheads. You never seem to see smackheads going on about how if you don't think drugs are awesome you're just sheeple.

4. Personifying a drug. I can't help but lose a bit of respect for someone when I see they have some kind of paraphernalia featuring a weed leaf & some slogan about how the Maaaaaan is keeping them down.
Edited 2010-03-09 10:59 (UTC)

[identity profile] 2010-03-09 11:11 am (UTC)(link)

I know exactly what you mean :) The number of people who've try to force me to take drugs with the "You'll love it!" excuse...

Also, avatar love :D