July 19, 2018, 3:58 am
Facebook iconTwitter iconYouTube iconGoogle+ icon

Marijuana risks

WE, humans, must be a naturally masochistic breed, especially in liberal societies, where people abuse democracy and freedom to their own detriment.

The world is already in turmoil, with conflicts and violence in several regions of the globe, killing millions of innocent victims, including the elderly and children, and here we are, making laws to legalize the use of an another addictive substance, marijuana, for recreational use, while the ravages of cigarettes are still widespread wiping out millions of lives prematurely.

According to the US-CDC, “cigarette smoking is responsible for more than 480,000 deaths per year in the United States, including more than 41,000 deaths resulting from secondhand smoke exposure. This is about one in five deaths annually, or 1,300 deaths every day. On average, smokers die 10 years earlier than nonsmokers.”

Of the more than one billion people worldwide who smoke, 6 million die annually (8 million by 2020) from tobacco-related diseases, about one dying every 4 seconds, according to the World Health organization. Tobacco kills almost 12 persons every minute, 720 every hour, 17,200 a day! That does not even include the 600,000 individuals who die from secondhand smoking every year. In the United States, 1,300 persons die each day from chronic tobacco use. In the Philippines, of the 17.3 million who smoke out of the 104,636 million population (as of today, August 6, 2017), 200 die each day.

As a cardiac surgeon, I appreciate and agree with legislation to allow the use of marijuana for medical conditions resistant to current standard medical treatment. This humanitarian applications of marijuana for the management of severe pains among cancer patients and others, and for tragic neuromuscular diseases, are compassionate and justified. 

Any law that legalizes the use of marijuana or any other addictive substance that devastates individuals, families, and societies is senseless, wrong, and unwise, not to mention, obviously unhealthy.

When uneducated or misinformed and irresponsible segment of society is able to pressure legislators to pass laws that are unwise and harmful to the people and the public as a whole, this is what happens: stupid laws, like legalization of the use of marijuana for recreational purposes, gets passed, like in many States in the USA. Hopefully, this tragedy does not occur in the Philippines. 

The Opium crisis and the 2 wars in China (First in 1839-42, the Second, 1856-60) the bloody conflicts that destroy Imperial China, as it ruined the lives of millions and the country as a whole, should be a part of history we should learn from and never forget. Yes, addictive substances, not only opiods which is also becoming rampant in the United States today, among other countries, could destroy a nation. 

What is marijuana?
Also nicknamed pot, weed, dope, ganja, and 402, marijuana is a very addictive drug that comes from dried cannabis sativa hemplant, whose active ingredient is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which causes hallucination. It is usually rolled cigarettes and smoked or smoked through a pipe, or brewed into tea or mixed with food or added to brownie cookies.

In the USA, what states have legalized marijuana?
Today, 26 states, soon to be 29, have some laws that broadly legalize the use of marijuana in some form. Seven states and the District of Columbia “have adopted the most expansive laws legalizing marijuana for recreational use.” Nevada, Massachusetts, California, and Maine have recently also legalize recreational marijuana, and other states could follow suit. It’s crazy but obviously, there are enough people (voters) to persuade lawmakers in these states to introduce and pass stupid laws in order to be politically correct among their constituents to gain their votes comes election time. This is a dangerous weakness of democracy and liberty, especially when the leaders are spineless and don’t give a damn. 

What parts of the brain does it act on?
The cannabinoid receptors in the brain that marijuana acts on are located in the cerebral cortex (concentration), hippocampus (memory), sensory part of the cerebral cortex (perception), and the cerebellum, substantia nigra and globus pallidus (movement). All these vital centers are affected by this addicting drug.

What are the ill-effects of marijuana?
The adverse effects include impaired coordination, skewed time and sensory perception, diminished capacity to think, concentrate and solve problem, reduced alertness, failures in academics, decreased attention span, impaired memory and learning, panic attack, mental distress, increased blood pressure, psychosis, depression, relationship difficulties, more proneness to break the law, failures in careers, suicide-proneness, paranoia, severe nausea, and vomiting. Pregnant mothers who use marijuana severely harm the brain and other organs of the fetus in her womb. For the brief euphoria marijuana provides, why would anyone use it, with all those unhealthy and dangerous effects on the body?

Although the legalization of marijuana is bringing in billions of dollars to those states, the destructive toll on human health and future of millions of users, many of them young people, hardly justifies the permissive laws. The argument that legalization eliminated illegal drug trafficking in some countries and in these states in the USA is like legalizing robbery which will, of course, eliminate the crime of theft and then claim we have zero theft? 

How popular is this abuse?
Marijuana is one of the most popular addictive substances among young people. The World Drug report estimated about 1 in 15 high school seniors in the USA uses marijuana daily or almost daily. This is an epidemic. Occasional users are also in the millions. Marijuana addicts are 7 times more likely to commit suicide compared to their peers who do not use this drug.

What are the withdrawal symptoms?
Some of the more common symptoms of withdrawal among chronic users of cannabis include headaches, loss of appetite, anxiety, depression, insomnia, irritability, nightmares, anger and labile emotion, and craving for the substance. All these are proportional to the degree, severity, and duration of us. Depending on the individual sensitivity, even the use of small dose could cause problems and withdrawal.

Smoking is legal. Inspite of being legal, did its use spare the countless lives lost to deadly heart attack, stroke, cancers, and other related diseases, and tobacco’s disastrous effects on the family and on society as a whole?

So, why allow another toxic drug in our communities where there are already more than enough harmful drugs that are maiming and killing our people?

Be vigilant and pro-active and pre-emptive. Call your legislators and let them know what’s in your heart.

***

Visit philipSchua.com
Email: scalpelpen@gmail.com
Rating: 
No votes yet

Column of the Day

Tomodachi Tangle

Bernard Karganilla's picture
By BERNARD KARGANILLA | July 19,2018
‘Jose Rizal’s life is serialized as a Japanese manga (comics).’

Opinion of the Day

The Departure Lounge

Philip S. Chua's picture
By PHILIP S. CHUA | July 19, 2018
‘Growing old is a great privilege denied many. Let us relish every second we have left.’