By Dr. Kevin Costello
Source: Press Democrat
Marijuana ... what harm can a little dope do? The short answer is: Plenty.
First, is marijuana addictive? You bet it is. About one in eight people exposed to marijuana will become dependent on it. This makes it a little more addictive than alcohol. How do I define addiction? There's a fancy medical definition or a more simple one: If you use marijuana every day you are probably addicted to it, especially if you have been doing this for a few months or more.
--?-- Fancy medical definitions are much more reliable than the hasty generalizations of politically correct society. For some reason, people like to be FUCKED UP. Maybe they have to be fucked up to live in this country that has such FUCKED UP policies? --?--
So, let's say you smoke marijuana every day. Isn't that your business? Maybe yes, but most likely, no. When you are addicted to a substance your relationships in life are with that substance -- not with other people.
--?-- My lover will fuck me sober, she will fuck me high. My band will practice sober, we will practice high. At work I don't feel stupid. At home I get high. Let's say you do No. 4 China White (government heroine of extreme purity released to the ghettos in the 40's) daily, and feel like nothing's wrong with your life? --?--
In addiction medicine we have found that it is often best to ask the family members of the dependent individual how they feel. Frequently, there is a deep resentment and embitterment about the lack of support or the lack of emotional contact and empathy.
A patient of mine was once asked by his wife to stop smoking marijuana for a few weeks, because her father was dying and she needed his support.
He managed to stop for a while, only to return to the addiction after his father-in-law died. It is remarkable how strong the dependency on marijuana can be.
--?-- Funny that this man, who likes to be high, would continue to pursue his recreation. For instance, a pal with me on my bowling league dies. I find a new person to fill in. I continue bowling. --?--
Let's say you don't care about anyone else or that all your friends smoke or your significant other is tired of you and just as happy to have you stoned all the time. What's wrong with that?
--?-- Funny that I don't mind when she's stoned either. I love her stoned. I love her sober. What is this man basing his arguments on? Sarcasm does not make a person look smart. Evidence to back statements makes a person look smart. It seems as though this argument is from a man who freaked out when he tried pot. I guess some people can't handle the buzz. --?--
There was an article in the Journal of the American Medical Association a few years ago, that looked at patients who used marijuana at least daily. The authors found that even 19 hours after stopping marijuana, these chronic users were not able to think as well (or memorize, or calculate, or analyze or perform other mental functions). In other words, if you smoke marijuana daily, you are always affected or ``stoned'' to a certain degree. You will not be able to realize your full intellectual capacity.
--?-- Will people with down syndrome be able to realize your full intellectual capacity, doc? You're so smart. --?--
This is especially important to high school and college students whose futures are determined by how well they do during that critically important eight-year window of academic opportunity.
--?-- Everyone knows that you use everything you learn in college, and don't have to learn anything about they way the company works when you get that great office job to push papers around a plastic laminate desk in a plastic laminate cubicle in a plastic laminate office in a plastic laminate building. Because you've learned so many great things in college, you make your boss more money although it has nothing to do with your job. Or your life goals. The marketing machine of academia is certainly an hallucination more convincing than any visual from smoking pot that i've ever had. --?--
Marijuana can also affect people in mid-career. A former patient of mine who was a Honda mechanic told me that he would read the shop manuals that came out every year seven or eight times. Despite the repetitive reviews, he was still not able to master the material. After stopping marijuana -- which he had been using since high school -- he found he only needed to read the manuals once.
--?-- Of course you can't read when you're high if when you get high it makes you stupid. I am not so intrigued by getting high that my focus shifts only to the high. I am fascinated by the thought patterns that come from doing things while being high. When I'm high and work on a project, I find things that I didn't when I was sober. When I'm sober and work on a project, I find things that I didn't when I was high. The differing thought patterns and ways to go about solving problems help me to understand my work in a much less obfuscated way. --?--
One further caveat: some people seem to function very well on marijuana. They hold responsible positions and continue to perform relatively well. These folks are probably very bright and are able to accommodate the decrease in mental capacity. They may not, however, be the people you want performing brain surgery or negotiating an important contract.
--?-- I guess it comes down to this: I don't want a doctor's "help" when he "decides" to prescribe medicine from a company that he is under contract for endorsement. My "meds" are much nicer than prozac, lithium, celexa, depakote, valium, the list is longer and scarier than you think. I choose to use a natural plant--not a man-made mind control substance. --?--
Let's say you really don't care about any of the things that I've mentioned above. All you want is to smoke a little dope. A recent article, also in the Journal of the American Medical Association, showed that people who were using cocaine and methamphetamine (nasty stuff -- there is a lot of evidence suggesting that these stimulants cause permanent brain injury) frequently followed a pattern of smoking cigarettes at a young age, then drinking alcohol, smoking marijuana and finally, progressing to harder drugs. The authors concluded that marijuana was not only a ``gateway drug,'' but seemed to actually precipitate the progression to the stimulants (cocaine and methamphetamine) and even to heroin, in certain individuals.
--?-- Well, aren't you the good little researcher? Isn't this attack on marijuana a little overused? You people are so great at finding what kind of buzz you like and what kind of buzz you dislike. Personally, I dislike a buzz when I don't even know it's there, because when it's gone I feel stupid (prozac, celexa, mind control, pocketbook control, doctors making money for doing nothing). Get rich quick! Make money sitting on your ass! Go to Med School! --?--
So, you still don't care. Well, I've saved the worst for last. The following is a partial list of the complications associated with the chronic use of marijuana: toxic psychosis (in susceptible individuals), increased heart rate and pain, decreased lung function, impaired fetal growth and development, decreased immune function (important for fighting infections and cancers), weight gain, bronchitis, and more.
--?-- Toxic psychosis for those susceptible individuals. Those susceptible individuals are exactly those people who you don't invite to your house for tea regardless of how much they like drugs. Those "susceptible individuals" are the people who steal things from you to go get drugs. You find out who they are very quickly, and choose to not spend your time with them. I find this very easy to do. All other problems are also associated with the smoking of tobacco, a fucking obvious flaw to smoking anything. Vaporizers are available, and have been proven very effective at reducing the carcinogens thereupon making your herbal use more healthy. McDonalds serves food more carcinogenic than vaporized THC. Weight Gain? Being a lazy ass causes you to gain weight, not smoking bud. --?--
Finally, a brief word about ``medical marijuana.'' The medical marijuana initiative passed by California voters, basically provides for the legalization of marijuana.
--?-- When you use words like "basically", it hints that there's a lot more to what you are saying and that you are just giving us hasty generalizations. Basically, glaucoma is a disease of the eyes that when treated with smoking marijuana a patient can lessen the effect of the disease, basically. --?--
This is because the initiative states that in addition to several serious illnesses, marijuana may be prescribed for ``any other illness for which marijuana provides relief.'' There was also no restriction on the age of the patient. Many physicians have no problem with the administration of marijuana to a patient with a terminal illness -- but did the people of California really intend (as one United States Supreme Court justice put it) that marijuana be used for ``anyone with a stomach ache'' or for any reason at all?
--?-- I smoke when I feel well. I smoke when I feel ill. This is simply not a factor, unless you feel that putting a doctor in control of prescriptions is a bad idea, unless, of course, all medicinal marijuana comes from pfizer and they pay bonus checks to doctors who endorse their product. --?--
I, for one, am not willing to sacrifice the one in eight individuals who are now at increased risk for developing an addiction to this drug due to its significantly increased availability.
--?-- I do not foresee any increase in availabilty when each of my neighbors' fourteen year olds sell it themselves. This may even provide for a tax opportunity to help cut our burgeoning budget deficit due to starting wars over causes that don't even exist. Fifty for an eighth of an ounce. Legalization brings that price down to probably twenty dollars, ten of which I see no problem as tax to the government to help educate, and not force small countries into democracy that has no benefits beyond creating capitalist society. America is proof that capitalist society is an evil never imagined by the brilliance of our forefathers. Where are the freemasons when you need them? --?--
I know that this article will raise deeply felt issues with some people. It is not my intention to offend anyone. I have attempted to provide factual information that can be reviewed, and hopefully, help you formulate an opinion about the use of marijuana. If you think that you have an addiction to marijuana, or you have further questions about it, the folks at Marijuana Anonymous can be an excellent source of information and assistance. You could also consult with a specialist in chemical dependency or one of the many local chemical dependency programs.
--?-- We're not offended, sir. We just disagree. If you want to change our minds, you'll have to put together a more convincing argument. But, since we've all been brainwashed so completely by magical marijuana, we'll never be convinced, eh? If this is so what is the use saying what you're saying? Is it satisfying to tell a brick wall to stand still? Do you feel like you're doing your good service to society? Is this your ticket to heaven, telling the masses to go get a perscription to valium and stop smoking pot, an easily grown herb? Factual information that's not backed by any citation is not factual information, it's opinion. You should have learned this under your great academic opputunity. You think you're so right, yet you don't even care to show that you are right. --?--
Dr. Kevin Costello is the chief of the medical division of Chemical Dependency Services for Kaiser in Santa Rosa.
--?-- Am I a psychologist working in chemical dependency? No. Therefore I do not work with only susceptible individuals to toxic psychosis. Doctor, there is a reason I'm here. Either a parole officer sent me here as a way out of jail, or I am too fucking psycho to be able to keep any sense of composure in the capitalist society I am forced to breed in. --?--
Source: Press Democrat, The (CA)
Author: Dr. Kevin Costello
Published: August 9, 2004 - Page B9
Copyright: 2004 The Press Democrat
Edited with Questioning Statements by:
Samuel Fetters, August 20, email@example.com