The Kicker On Cannabis – Pros and Cons

Courtesy Jim Wells Sheriff’s Office

 

The use and retail possibilities of cannabis in medicine, industry, and to some extent recreational use is rapidly growing more obvious every day. Like every natural medicine, cannabis is being found to have some benefits and side effects. Recreational use assumes nothing done on a heavy daily basis or for a great length of time.

However, there is a kicker – there always is.

First, not a great deal of clinically sound study has been done on long-term effects or dependency. For instance, in some cases elevated heart rate can exacerbate heart conditions and yet in seriously ill patients it has been found beneficial especially over more dangerous, drastic, or synthetic remedies. Second, drug cartels have no plans to lose a “cash cow” that helps fund other activities so they become more prone to rebelling against intrusion by more “business oriented” companies growing or selling cannabis which then escalates into further serious issues.

Information:

Cannabis comes in two varieties.  Cannabis has just as much to do with these industrial hemp products as it does with the recreational drug better known as marijuana or pot.   While marijuana plants contain high levels of THC, hemp contains very little of the psychoactive chemical. CBD. Hemp plants produce more CBD than THC, while marijuana produces more THC than CBD. Interestingly, research has shown that CBD acts to reduce the psychoactive effects of THC, separating hemp further from marijuana.

Both hemp and marijuana are classified as Schedule I drugs under the Controlled Substances Act. The strict laws surrounding both forms of cannabis — hemp and marijuana — makes any research very difficult.  Developments in hemp technology continue to reveal new and intriguing ways that this industrial plant can contribute to society in the future.

C-class Mercedes-Benz automobiles have more than 30 parts made of natural fibers, including hemp. (Courtesy of T. Schloesser, Daimler-Chrysler.)

Hemp: A New Crop with New Uses for North America”- excerpts from paper written and presented by Ernest Small and David Marcus at Purdue, 2002:
Hemp fiber can potentially replace other biological fibers in many applications.  One desirable feature of hemp fibers are strength and durability (particularly resistance to decay), which made hemp useful in the past for rope, nets, sail-cloth, and oakum for caulking. Interestingly the oldest surviving paper is over 2,000 years of age, from China, and was made from hemp fiber. During the early days, Henry Ford constructed a car with certain components made of resin stiffened with hemp fiber.

Molded fiberboard products. (Courtesy of HempFlax, Oude Pekela, The Netherlands).

Recently, researchers at the University of Alberta created a supercapacitor using raw hemp material, making the manufacturing of cheap, fast-charging batteries from hemp a real possibility. Hemp fibre is also being used to develop new forms of renewable plastic, which has made it a common material in the car parts industry. Thermal insulation products are the third most important sector of the hemp industry of the EU. Flax, jute, kenaf, hemp, and wheat straw can be used to make composite board or molded fiberboard products.  Hemp fibers added to concrete increase tensile strength while reducing shrinkage and cracking.

 

 

First Kicker – Studies vs Retail Cannabis Advocacy  

LiveScience by Tia Ghose, January 13, 2015

Medical marijuana advocates tout the drugs’ medicinal qualities to ability to soothe nausea and increase appetite, quiet pain, soothe anxiety and even reduce epileptic seizures. However, because research on the drug is so tightly restricted, few studies have tested these medical claims.

Short-term use of the drug impairs thinking and coordination, and in long-term studies, teens who smoke marijuana have lower IQs later on, as well as structural differences in their brains, though scientists debate whether this is an effect of the drug or a result of habitual pot smokers seeking out less intellectually stimulating pursuits. Marijuana use has been linked to mental illnesses such as schizophrenia, according to NIDA. Marijuana smokers are also likelier to suffer from bronchitis, according to a 2014 New England Journal of Medicine review of marijuana’s health effects.

Numerous states have decriminalized or legalized marijuana, with 23 states currently allowing some form of either medical or recreational use of the drug as of November 2014, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. In August 2013, the Department of Justice stated that while marijuana is still illegal on the federal level, they would decline to enforce federal drug laws in Colorado and Washington state, assuming that these states would set up their own rigorous regulatory schemes.

Cannabis grown for industry is called industrial marijuana, or hemp. Hemp has many uses. The seeds can be crushed for oil, food and beauty products. Hemp fibers can be used for paper, sturdy fabrics and rope. People have grown hemp for millennia. Current U.S. federal law prohibits hemp farming with few exceptions. Hemp products, however, are legal and are imported from Canada, Russia, China and other nations that allow industrial marijuana farming.

“Although marijuana may be addictive for some, 91 percent of those who try it do not get hooked. Further, marijuana is less addictive than many other legal and illegal drugs. In glaucoma patients, it can reduce the dangerously high eye pressure that can lead to vision loss.  Pot can provide relief from chronic pain, reduce nausea and vomiting from cancer chemotherapy, and limit the severe weight loss that results from AIDS and other diseases.  Scientific American  (Obviously I assume this is not laced with any other substances such as cocaine.)

Benefit and Pitfalls Articles (of which there are many according to what one wants to hear vs studies):

Stroke, Heart Failure Linked to Marijuana by Agata Blaszczak-Boxe, March 10, 2017
Marijuana Compound Shows Some Potential for Treating Opioid Addiction by Agata Blaszczak-Boxe, February 2, 2017
Can Marijuana Treat MS Symptoms? by Thorsten Rudroff, Colorado State University, January 17, 2017
Cannabis Use in HIV for Pain and Other Medical Symptoms – Abstract April 2005
Patterns of Marijuana Use Among Patients With HIV/AIDS Followed in a Public Health Care Setting – Abstract, January 1, 2004

Second Kicker – Cartels 

Cartels however are in it for the immediate gratification of filling their pocketbooks. They don’t have a problem with functioning as a shadow group raking in tons of money that is until someone ticks them off, then their heavy-handed “cartelness” comes out. Nor can one envision them going legitimate with quality control standards, laws, rules, transportation fees, and taxes cutting into their profit. They are known for their “additives” which move users over into more “profitable” avenues like cocaine and designer drugs. Just as they are known for eliminating competition or terrorizing smaller growers because the profits are reduced.

This past week, Breitbart reported on huge plantation of Marijuana in Texas. Members of the Los Zetas Cartel managed to establish a series of large-scale marijuana plantations in east Texas. Authorities have been able to locate 15 marijuana plantations and seize 77,000 plants with an estimated worth of more than $101 million.

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So the big kickers are the cartels and the pesky abuse of weed for “recreational” purposes. Remember the old drug advertisement where the frying pan holds a cooking egg? It really is that simple. People can and will indulge beyond common sense on anything that they see as “illegal” or “against establishment” or “self-gratifying” to the point of stupidity.

As old as I am, I have had a long time to observe the effects of long-term use by people around me. Granted most went on to more dangerously addictive and destructive drug use, still a few did not but did continued the “illegal use” of weed over the years. Their cognitive abilities may have been reduced (these were back country folk who had no need for highly tuned skills) but the slowing of thinking and muscular skills were still evident. Since no studies had been made following them from childhood to late in life, there is no evidentiary means of firmly establishing if the weed did in fact create the issue or if circumstances, heredity, and environment were the real culprits.

This issue is one that is now in the hands of Jeff Sessions, DoJ, FBI, and congress to handle. On the one hand many potential investments have been made in the retail and growth end in states where it has become legal. On the other is federal and most state laws that maintain a Class 1 drug restriction.  Then there is the organized crime and cartel element. Rival gangs and anger at losing such a potentially profitable crop could easily be seen as further escalation of gang violence and an uptick in more dangerous sales items.

I find it odd that we can in essence buy hemp from out of country sources but can’t legally grow or sell from within most of the US.  Still for third world countries the growth and sales of hemp for industrial use could become a viable means of income which is a boon for them. The problem with any new or reintroduced product is the same – weigh the benefits against the kickers and consider the utter lack of common sense on the human user side to decide.

–Uriel–

About Uriel

Retired educator and constitutionalist
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17 Responses to The Kicker On Cannabis – Pros and Cons

  1. This information is misleading, at best. They’ve been studying this since the 1800’s. The worst side effect I’ve ever heard of was paranoia and a sever case of the munchies. But that was with the old stuff, back in the 70’s and 80’s.
    This new “medical weed” is way over the top and, indeed, needs to be studied.
    Last time I tried it, some 4 years ago, all i got was a mild buzz where I appreciated the wood critters (we were camping out) and that was only after 2 hits (short drags). Where I’m also a cig. smoker, I can’t handle it. But that was what’s called “commercial grade”, not that medical crap.
    Honestly, I smoked my way through junior and high school but if this new stuff was around, I wouldn’t touch it.
    As I said, it’s been 4 years since the last and it’ll probably BE my last. I do, however, plan on growing some as it’s a nice plant and I’ve had good luck growing it before; just never smoked it.
    Some make a “tea” out of it and that’s a far different buzz than smoking it. It’s a milder and more opiate effect. Very relaxing, not intoxicating or delirium-inducing or euphoric. Just a calming, slightly drowsy effect. Much better than any OTC Sleep Aid with far less contraindications, too.
    But that’s just my opinion…

    • Uriel says:

      Thanks. For the added information. I only tried it once in my life and hated the feeling of not being in control. As you said, the stuff needs study. According to one comment only 40 groups in the US or maybe elsewhere have been given limited clearance to study. If you read sites wanting someone to buy it of course they are shouting about curative powers but so do other sites on natural products. Eventually those products are removed. It’s very hard to ramble through all the sites and information and receive any definitive answers. Personally I think with study maybe it could help in a few cases. I know long ago it was a possible for my mom’s cancer at one stage. Still recreational with all their hype and glitzy ads seems dangerous to me. But I see things like driving and machine operation as potential problems if not fully engaged.

      • With respect to driving and machinery, personal responsibility is the key to its use. Like any other medication or intoxicant, common sense has to prevail. There’s a time and place for everything and work isn’t one of them for ANY drug use; and alcohol IS a drug.
        Testing is another issue Maine has had to contend with; especially for DUI’s (Driving Under the Influence). They decided to, like alcohol, rely on blood/alcohol/THC levels to decide whether one was under the influence as THC remains in the system for up to 30 days. The immediate levels, by weight, is what defines intoxication.
        They’ve also decided to use the same regulations for alcohol to control weed and I think that’s a great start in normalizing it’s recreational use.
        I know many who work all day, come home, and imbibe; nothing wrong with that and no different than hitting the bar or having a beer or glass of wine. It’s in the timing and prioritization that will decide whether it’s going to work or not. Again, personal responsibility.

  2. vonMesser says:

    Back when I was a DAPA (Drug Alcohol Programs Advisor) in the Navy we used to say “Only 5% of those who use marijuana go on to stronger drugs…..but 98% of those who use strong drugs start with marijuana”.

    • Uriel says:

      Now that IS interesting!

    • I’m glad you posted those figures – they’re accurate and true. You’re right about some moving onto other drugs via marijuana’s initial trials. But that’s also true of many other drugs composed of chemicals which few understand. LSD is one of them; opium is a bit different as it’s a “natural base chemical”, meaning it require no actual processing except for gathering and some passive drying.
      This, however, is true of anyone who has an addictive personality. They’ll smoke or drink anything, no matter the compound, to get their high so those who blame drag addiction, solely on weed, are misleading the public.
      Marijuana, like any “naturally grown “toxin” or drug, has it’s benefits. It also has its downfalls, too. “Abuse” can be attributed to anything, including food, entertainment and a myriad of other life-experiences where the goal is to detract from reality.

      • Uriel says:

        That it can Hadenough which is why the Bible constantly talks about sloth and the risks of overindulgence. I know from family experience that it is hard for everyone when one has an addictive nature.

  3. Terry says:

    My 1st experience with pot was in Viet Nam. It was Thai stick laced with opium.
    Everything since was a disappointment.
    If medical marijuana can help people’s suffering, I’m for it. But it HAS to be rigidly controlled somehow. I don’t have the answer.

    • Uriel says:

      That is the $64k question.

      https://youtu.be/FDMEXos2-yQ

      Check out the Colorado store

      • Terry says:

        Well, that was an interesting tour. The interviewer sounded like he had tested a few samples. Love the music though.
        I really don’t think they are too focused on the medical end of the market.

        • Uriel says:

          Lol nope sure wasn’t the deal to me is that these people act like it’s a candy store but who is checking ingredients?

        • Frightening as the thought might be, I have to agree with you, Terry. Their focus seemed to be limited to those few jars in front of them and failed to adequately describe the other products available or their purposes.
          I concur – I, too, think they’ve been sampling far more than they’ve been selling. Perhaps, for the price of a “lid”, you and I could do a better expose` with our phone cams….

    • I got a chance to try Thai stick a long time ago and it was great. Way different than anything I tried before.
      As I see it, if the Almighty put it on this earth, it’s up to us to chose how we use it. That goes for coca, too. Unrefined, it was used eons ago to perform brain surgery by the Incas and Aztecs.
      It’s our modern day scientific approach that tried to find that one component in every plant that has brought us to this high-powered drug problem.
      Weed has over 400 components and they balance each other. Taking one or two and concentrating them removes the controls that are naturally built into that plant’s make-up.
      Take Aspirin, for example: herbalists have used a Black Willow bark decoction (a tea) as an anti-inflammatory / analgesic remedy. Today we make a synthetic version without all the “stops”. Where some can’t take Aspirin, I’d be willing to bet they’d have no issues drinking to original decoction.

  4. Hardnox says:

    I never touched the shit. All my dead classmates did though. That’s where their journey began.

    I’m all for medical pot though if it helps people cope with their suffering.

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