*The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the East Coast Current.
There’s been a great debate brewing over marijuana for decades, and it’s finally coming to a head as 10 states have now legalized both recreational and medicinal marijuana, and another 23 states have legalized medical marijuana only. It’s about time the dominoes have started to fall in the ridiculous war on pot. Don’t get me wrong, I’m absolutely in favor of the war on drugs; however, by my standards and definition, marijuana is not a drug. Let me explain…
The Definition of a Drug
Hippocrates, over 2,000 years ago, said, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” Food is plants, fruits and animals, right? Marijuana is an edible plant; therefore, it is, by default, also medicine. Medicine does not necessarily have to be a drug. A drug, by definition, is a medicine or other substance, which has a physiological effect when ingested or otherwise introduced into the body. This definition creates a conundrum.
If marijuana is a drug, then I proclaim that kale, loaded with its phytonutrients (substances found in certain plants, which are beneficial to human health and help prevent diseases), is also a drug – along with spinach, lettuce, carrots, beets… you get the point.
I guess I’ve always had this perception of drugs in my mind as substances that are manmade by people wearing lab coats in factories. This applies to pharmaceuticals as well as recreational drugs that require chemical refinement such as cocaine, crack, heroin, meth, etc. I never envisioned drugs growing naturally on plants in the wild.
Legalizing Marijuana – Pros and Cons
So, that begs the question of why marijuana was illegalized in the first place. Aside from a brief period of prohibition, alcohol has been legal and easily accessible in America since the country’s inception. But alcohol, at least by our drinkable standards, requires human intervention and processing. Tobacco, a plant, has been a huge cash crop in many states for hundreds of years and is legal in all 50 states. Yes, tobacco contains nicotine, a substance many consider a drug; however, it was added by nature, not man.
I bring up alcohol and tobacco because they are “close cousins” of pot. All three can be considered recreational; however, except for the topical antiseptic properties of pure alcohol and a few cardiovascular-related benefits of red wine, only marijuana can truly claim “medicinal benefits.”
When comparing the recreational benefits with the negative side effects, pot is the winner as well. Personally, I’ve experimented with all three at various times in my life and I’ve encountered thousands of people that have dabbled with one or more as well. I think few can argue that the addictive properties of alcohol and tobacco far exceed that of pot. I’ve personally watched alcohol wreck the lives of many and increase the waistlines and deteriorate the physical and mental health of many more. A plethora of studies show that tobacco can shorten your lifespan faster than almost anything else you can ingest. So, why is marijuana the one that’s been illegal while alcohol and tobacco have been legally commercialized and widely available?
Some will say that pot is a gateway drug. I call B.S. on this. I can bring many witnesses to testify that one can use marijuana without even indulging in alcohol or tobacco, let alone harder drugs like cocaine, crack, heroin, etc. Most people I know could quit pot cold-turkey with no withdrawal or side effects, and no one is robbing banks or pawning their belongings because they’re fiending for pot!
I’ve had two friends get addicted to opioids (oxycodone) when they were legally prescribed – one after a knee surgery and the other for chronic back pain. The immediate change in their personality and productivity as well as how rapidly they became co-dependent on the legal pharmaceutical was mind-blowing – not to mention the detrimental side effects in regard to their intestinal health and immune system.
On the other hand, I had a friend go through an intense shoulder surgery, during which the doctor inserted a post-op morphine drip tube into the shoulder. Three days later, the tube was removed, and my friend didn’t take another pharmaceutical, opting to take oral CBD supplements for inflammation reduction and smoke pot for pain relief instead. He suffered none of the side effects or addiction that my other two “law-abiding” friends did from the pharmaceuticals.
Naysayers may say, “But marijuana has psychoactive properties that can impair your ability to drive or make good decisions.” Well, so does alcohol. That’s why cannabidiol (CBD) oil has become so popular for medicinal purposes; it lacks the tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) that causes the euphoric “high” often associated with marijuana use.
The bottom line is that it’s 2019 and we need to get with the times and stop fighting a war against a plant whose every part has beneficial properties. From hemp rope to paper, to fuel oil – as well as medicinal relief from seizures, inflammation, pain, nausea, migraines, depression, anxiety, muscle spasms, insomnia and more; pot is nature’s gift to the world, not an illegal drug.