Don’t Confuse Us With Facts, Please

I’ve found I LOVE tag surfing. Fun!  And last week, I saw a blog about Representative Tom Ammiano’s proposal to legalize marijuana sales, so the State of California could tax it and increase their revenues.  Ahem.

While I am definitely in support of de-criminalizing marijuana, I have my reservations about giving another pipeline of tax dollars to the same fine folks who have led us onto the Planet of Insolvency.   Some restructuring would have to be done there, for sure.

What really concerned me, however, was the chorus of voices opposing legalizing marijuana at all.  The reasons cited are not well researched or even terribly factual.  Marijuana works on the serotonin in the brain (as does alcohol), NOT on the dopamines (as do hard drugs– and websurfing, as it turns out).  It doesn’t, as a result, automatically produce “addiction”.  If an individual has a brain chemistry organization such that addiction is a possibility, certainly any substance ingested can tip the balance.  But given its’ chemical constituents, marijuana is not going to be a dead bang “gateway drug”.  To say that it is, just is not true and does not lend credence or validation to what might be an appropriate comment.  Which is: Given the epidemic of addiction in this country, how can marijuana, which clearly has many positive uses, be productively handled?

There is, in fact, extensive research on the medical uses of marijuana.  These uses are many and varied and powerful.  It is an anti-inflammatory, anti-tumor, anti-bacterial substance when used medicinally.  Medicinal use can include smoking, which activates the psychoactive properties due to the heat of burning.  In these cases it is quite powerful for nausea, anxiety and depression, and pain. But the medicinal uses of marijuana extend much, much farther than that.  Not burned, the plant releases its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory actions very powerfully.   Such uses include fresh leaves in juice, or in tinctures, or ground up in teas or in butters.  People with GI problems can benefit greatly from drinking the tea, or cooking their vegetables in the butter.  This use can be quite helpful for many anxiety issues as well, since the GI tract has the major portion of serotonin receptors in the body.    The tincture has powerful anti-bacterial actions.  The essence made from the flowers themselves is also an extremely powerful anti-inflammatory ingredient, that can be very helpful to people with leg problems due to diabetes, heart conditions, or other chronic illness.

A discussion should ensue about how to use this valuable plant.  It should be based on facts, and not a legacy of fear-mongering.  Medicinal marijuana should, indeed, be allowed everywhere, in my humble opinion.   The discussion must be based on facts, however, and they are indeed available.  As a planet, I don’t think we have time to waste on rejecting things that might help us.   This is a wonderful opportunity for cooperation, learning, and productive use of one of nature’s great gifts.

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