Marijuana Is Gateway Drug for Two Debates

Discussion in '420Lounge' started by Knowledge, Jul 20, 2009.

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  1. Knowledge

    Knowledge Guest

    July 19, 2009 page 1 of the New York Times Sunday Styles.

    IT was as if she woke up one day and decades of her life had disappeared. "Joyce" is a recovering marijuana addict who went for rehabilitation over two years ago and is currently not using.

    Joyce, 52 and a writer in Manhattan, started smoking pot when she was 15, and for years it was a pleasant escape, a calming protective cloud. Then it became an obsession, something she needed to get through the day. She found herself hiding her addiction from her family, friends and co-workers.

    “I would come home from work, close my door, have my bong, my food, my music and my dog, and I wouldn’t see another person until I went to work the next day,” said Joyce, who like most others in this article asked that her full name not be published, because she does not want people to know about her past drug use.

    “What kind of life is that? I did that for 20 years.”

    She tried to stop, but was anxious, irritable, sleepless and lost. At one point, to soothe her cravings, she took morphine that she found at her dying father’s bedside. She almost overdosed.

    Two years ago, she checked into the Caron Foundation, a treatment center in Wernersville, Pa. Even there, she said, some other addicts — cocaine and heroin users or alcoholics — downplayed her dependence on marijuana.

    “The reality is, I was as sick as them,” Joyce said. She now attends Alcoholics Anonymous, which is also open to drug addicts, and recently married.

    Smoking pot, she said, “was a slow form of suicide.”

    Marijuana, the country’s most widely used illicit drug, is typically not thought to destroy lives. Like alcohol, pot has been romanticized by writers and musicians, from Louis Armstrong to Bob Dylan, and it has been depicted as harmless or silly in movies like “Harold and Kumar.” And addiction experts agree, marijuana does not pose as serious a public health problem as cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine. The drug cannot lead to fatal overdose and its hazards pale in comparison with those of alcohol. But at the same time, marijuana can be up to five times more potent than the cannabis of the 1970s, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

    And this new more-potent pot and the growing support for legalization has led to an often angry debate over marijuana addiction. Many public health officials worry that this stronger marijuana has increased addiction rates and is potentially more dangerous to teenagers, whose brains are still developing. And officials say the movement to legalize marijuana — now available by prescription in 13 states — plays down the dangers of habitual use.

    “We need to be very mindful of what we are unleashing out of a Pandora’s Box here,” said Dr. Richard N. Rosenthal, chairman of psychiatry at St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital in Manhattan and professor of clinical psychiatry at Columbia University. “The people who become chronic users don’t have the same lives and the same achievements as people who don’t use chronically.”

    More adults are now admitted to treatment centers for primary marijuana and hashish addictions than for primary addictions to heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine, according to the latest government data, a 2007 report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

    Even though alcohol and opiates (which includes painkillers and heroin) are the two leading primary addictions, the percentage of those seeking treatment for marijuana addiction, compared with 10 years ago, has increased significantly to 16 percent in 2007 from 12 percent in 1997. The percentages of those seeking treatment for cocaine (13 percent of admissions in 2007) and alcohol addiction (22 percent in 2007) declined slightly.

    Advocates for legalizing marijuana and some addiction specialists say these concerns are overwrought. The admissions data, they say, is deceiving because it was collected by government agencies that oppose legalization; 57 percent of those admitted for marijuana addiction treatment were ordered to do so by law enforcement. (The percentage of those ordered into treatment was lower for other drugs, except for methamphetamine. For alcohol abuse, 42 percent were ordered into treatment.)

    Advocates and even some addiction specialists say cannabis is an effective treatment for medical and emotional problems, and can even help some battling addictions to harder drugs.

    The risk of addiction, they say, is less problematic than for alcohol and other drugs. For instance, of the people who had used marijuana, only 9 percent became addicted, according to a 1999 study by the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies, a nonprofit research organization on science and health. Of those who drank alcohol, 15 percent became addicted. For cocaine, the figure was 17 percent, and heroin, 23 percent. (These are the latest figures from the institute; advocates and addiction experts said there were no more recent data available.)

    “The word addiction is so fungible in our society, and cannabis just doesn’t fit that tidy definition, though it can be abused,” said Allen St. Pierre, executive director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, a legalization advocacy group. “Science really has proven, if anything, that cannabis is likely one of the safest substances we can interact with.”

    Many people can smoke marijuana every day without ill effects, advocates say, just as many casually drink wine in the evening.

    These marijuana users do not meet the clinical definition of addiction, which includes an inability to stop using the drug, an uncontrollable obsession with it and increased tolerance. Javier V., a 24-year-old supervisor in an industrial park in Miami, said he has smoked pot regularly, without a problem, since he was 14. “After a busy day at work,” he said, “I come home, roll up a J and — I mean, it’s stress relief.”

    Then there are people like Milo, 60, who recently attended his first Marijuana Anonymous meeting in Los Angeles. He said he started smoking pot at 13, and has struggled to quit.

    He is also an alcoholic, he said, but has not had a drink since the early 1980s.
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  2. Knowledge

    Knowledge Guest

    “I’m a pothead, a marijuana addict, a stoner, we call ourselves a million things,” he said. He is trying to quit, he said, because his girlfriend is threatening to leave him. Besides, the drug no longer alleviates his depression and anxiety.

    “I’m losing things and people,” Milo said after the meeting. “I’m estranged from my children. I’ve lost two houses, and I’m living in my R.V., basically homeless.”

    He added, “There are a whole lot of pieces, and I can’t get them together.”

    Many addiction experts would say marijuana abuse has, at the very least, added to Milo’s problems. And the drug’s new potency has made the likelihood of addiction that much greater, public health officials say.

    “It’s like drinking beer versus drinking whiskey,” said Dr. Nora D. Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, a government agency and a strong opponent of legalizing marijuana. “If you only have access to whiskey, your risk is going to be higher for addiction. Now that people have access to very high potency marijuana, the game is different.”

    A 2004 study in the Journal of the American Medical Association suggested that the stronger cannabis is contributing to higher addiction rates. The study, conducted for the National Institute on Drug Abuse, compared marijuana use in 2001 and 2002 with use a decade earlier.

    While the percent of the population using the drug remained stable during that time, dependence or abuse on the drug increased significantly, particularly among black and Hispanic men. Higher concentrations of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, known as THC, the study said, was the likely reason for the growing dependency.

    Dr. Volkow, who spearheaded federal research into treatment for marijuana withdrawal, had studied cocaine in the 1970s and early 1980s. Back then, she said, she was unsuccessful in winning grants to study cocaine addiction.

    “People thought cocaine was a very benign drug,” she said.

    Government statistics show the number of emergency room visits linked to the use of marijuana, which can lead to psychotic episodes and was cited in other medical emergencies, has risen significantly.

    With marijuana, “it’s going to take some real fatalities for people to pay attention,” Dr. Volkow said. “Unfortunately that’s the way it goes.”

    Only after the basketball player Len Bias died of a cocaine overdose in 1986, and the crack epidemic began, did the government start a campaign to warn of cocaine’s dangers.

    Like any addiction, quitting pot can be daunting. Jonathan R. has been a member of Marijuana Anonymous in Los Angeles since the early ’90s, shortly after the 12-step program was founded. He has seen many members in meetings say they would rip up their medical marijuana cards, available in California and used to fill prescriptions for problems ranging from severe pain and discomfort from cancer, to headaches and insomnia.

    But then, inevitably, he said, they secure another one, much like “an alcoholic who pours booze down the drain and then goes out to get another bottle.”

    The difficulty in quitting has spurred psychologists and psychiatrists to debate whether “Cannabis Withdrawal Syndrome” should be in the next edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

    Yet, marijuana withdrawal is not nearly as severe as withdrawal from most other drugs. Giving up drinking can cause fatal seizures. Heroin users vomit and sweat for days; sudden withdrawal can be fatal.

    In fact, some doctors specializing in treating addicts would rather prescribe marijuana for anxiety and insomnia than sleeping pills or Valium and Xanax, which are highly addictive.

    “I see people every day dying from alcohol, stimulants and opiates,” said Dr. Matthew A. Torrington, an addiction specialist and clinical researcher at the University of California, Los Angeles. “Marijuana may be an up and comer, it may be transforming into something that will become a bigger problem in the future, but at the moment I don’t see that.”

    Still, even one of Dr. Torrington’s patients, Jonathan James, has concerns about his own marijuana use. Mr. James, 50, a former choreographer, has been a regular pot smoker for 35 years.

    He said smoking marijuana helped inspire some of his most original ideas. But Mr. James is afraid to stop smoking, even after kicking heroin and cocaine. When he stopped the harder drugs, he stayed off pot for six months. When he started again, he planned to smoke only a few times a week.

    After a month or so, “I started smoking it more,” he said. “Two months later, I was smoking it in the morning, and four months later I was smoking all day.”

    He said he would be more successful without pot.

    “It keeps me back — from engaging in the dreams and aspirations I have,” he said. “I would like to feel I don’t need to take anything to feel better.”
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  3. Hardkore

    Hardkore Blunts@TheBeach

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    i can easily see how marijuana is a gateway drug. here is the list of drugs and how many times i did them:

    - marijuana (probably smoked about a thousand blunts since i started smoking @ age 14. i'm 20 now).
    - LSD (i did this once and will probably only do it once a year)
    - ecstacy (i did this twice and i doubt i'll ever do it again)
    - mushrooms (i did this twice and i doubt i'll ever do 'em again)

    now...

    ...it all depends on the person and how much self-control he or she has. a person who has been through a lot of shit in his life will more than likely depend on drugs to make him feel better. when one is "high" off any drug, he or she usually feels way more comfortable around people and more "free". unfortunately, when that high wears off, that person is back to square one and either does more of the drug or feels like shit without the drug.

    the thing i don't understand is how alcohol products and tobacco products can be legal and they kill thousands of people each year. it is simply hypocritical in my eyes. a person cannot overdose on marijuana and there have been studies done that show marijuana can help alleviate pain, nausea, and other health-related issues. cigarettes and alcohol don't really do that.

    no president will speak out about outlawing tobacco and alcohol products because they bring in so much money. since they're legal and regulated, they don't really cause too many crimes, either. they just cause sickness and death which puts more money into the pockets of surgeons and doctors.

    it just frustrates me. reading articles like that makes me realize that marijuana will never be legal on a national scale in the united states. i just hope medical marijuana becomes legal in more states and the people who need it will be able to use it.

    sorry for the long essay, but one more thing. rappers who buy turkey bags of weed and smoke 20-30 blunts a day aren't really helping the stigma that pot smokers have inherited. there is no fucking reason to go through a whole ounce of weed in one day. i don't care how long a nigga been smokin'.

    the end. hopefully some muhfuckas reply. i think you should have posted this in AEH, knowledge.
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  4. toker

    toker My Money Grow On Trees

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    whats the 1st article have to do with mj and gateway drugs.. they only mention morphine n she only went to that to kill herself..

    2nd.. like how they make it out to seem like MJ was the reason for all the problems yet offer no clear evidence for it being the actual cause.

    yes pot is stronger in a sense.. but lets be real not every person smokin has access to that 20+%thc.. why not bring up that bammer?? that stuff is on the opposite end..


    sorry but this is just more of the typical BS
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  5. KNoXvillE

    KNoXvillE Str8 MAjor LeAf FuNKy!

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    I couldn't have said that any better. Nice!
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  6. Hardkore

    Hardkore Blunts@TheBeach

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    well. i'ma say this.

    almost every person i know who has smoked weed has tried another drug.

    and if every person who responds to this discussion has either done the same or knows people like that, then the argument is pretty freakin' valid.

    i'm not gonna say that trying weed first and trying other drugs afterward necessarily ruins people's lives, but it just shows that weed is the "beginner" drug for most people and people become curious.

    s'all i'm sayin'.
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  7. KNoXvillE

    KNoXvillE Str8 MAjor LeAf FuNKy!

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    ^^^ That's dumb. You can say Advil and Tylenol are more of a gateway drug than weed. I'm sure more people have takin meds before they smoked weed and then moved on.

    I've tried just about every drug you can think. All before I turned 18. & I smoked a cigerette before a joint. So there's my gateway.

    The only reason it's considered a gateway drug, is because the way the government made it illegal. When your a kid you get a outlaw feeling for smoking it, when in reality, it's not that bad.(not a class 1 or 2 narcotic) Then when people start doing REAL drugs and come clean they always resort to the first time they tried a ILLEGAL drug. & 9 times out of 10 it was weed. but out of those 9 people, I bet 7 to 8 of them tried alcohol or tobacco before weed.



    FACT : Alcohol and Tobacco are a WAY bigger gateway drug then weed.
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  8. zyclon B gas

    zyclon B gas sososerious

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    nobody will ever win an argument against weed enthusiasts because they can't get past their own addiction to see the downside of weed.

    let's legalize it, watch the mortality rate for pot-smokers increase by 300% in 2 years, then try to make it illegal again. i bet everyone will still say "it's not as bad as alcohol or tobacco!"

    no, it's not as bad because no independent studies have been done on it for the length they have on alcohol and tobacco, and the only time you hear about people dying from alcohol is from drunk drivers - though drinking in moderation and adhering to a certain amount can actually be beneficial to you. no amount of smoking helps you at all.

    tobacco is bad all around, but it doesn't get you fucked up like smokin a joint or blunt does.

    stop defending it, it shouldn't be legalized period. alcohol & tobacco aren't gateway drugs. you could go your whole life drinking and smoking cigs and never get offered to try another drug, whereas with weed, it's a gateway to people who do other drugs and will more than likely try to get you to do another drug.
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  9. KNoXvillE

    KNoXvillE Str8 MAjor LeAf FuNKy!

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  10. Hardkore

    Hardkore Blunts@TheBeach

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    ^ as much as i love smoking weed, i agree with this dude.
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  11. zyclon B gas

    zyclon B gas sososerious

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    good retort.
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  12. toker

    toker My Money Grow On Trees

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    proof? or is this what they taught u in dare? last time i checked aint 1 case out there of MJ killin somebody and shits be round for 100s/1000s of yrs

    wrong again.. u can die from goin cold turkey on the bottle.. and that drinkin in moderation.. pretty sure they r talkin bout wine and not all alcohol..

    u could say the same thing bout alcohol.. ill smoke 10 blunts u drink 10 mixed drinks.. lets see who has a harder time driving or even functioning.. plus tobacco fucks u up in diff ways.. u ever read the shit they put in that crap?

    lmao @ alcohol/tobacco not being gateway drugs.. how does that make sense when more than likely one led u to the other..

    u skip HS or sumthing?
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  13. zyclon B gas

    zyclon B gas sososerious

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    right, weed has never been directly linked as the sole reason someone has died, hence why i used 300% increase (due to driving high, walkin around fucked up, etc. etc.). and you can only bring up case study since case study began, which for weed has been....never?

    yeah, you can die from goin cold turkey, though it's extremely unlikely...pretty much 1/1,000,000. and yeah, they are talkin about wine, hence why i used the words "can be" as to not assume all alcohol is beneficial. also, i've gone cold turkey on weed, and spent a year on anti-anxiety meds, couldn't sleep more than 1-2 hours a night for 2 months straight and gained weight like a motherfucker.

    pretty sure i could function better on 10 mixed drinks than anyone after 10 blunts. i've done both, and driving/functioning is much easier after drinking. and you don't think weed fucks you up in other ways? i guarantee you find someone who smokes just weed, and someone who smokes just cigs, and do a study on them and they'll both get almost equally fucked up. i understand the chemicals & shit in tobacco, but you can get organic tobacco if you want. regardless, they both have tar, are both addictive, but you can function very well after 10 cigs as opposed to 10 blunts.

    again, i said you "can go" an entire lifetime smoking & drinking and never be exposed to another drug, you can't go 1 month smokin weed without bein exposed to at least 3 other drugs. not to say 90% of people are, but they certainly don't open the doors the way weed does.

    i went to HS, spent the better part of it high or drunk or both. really wish i never smoked weed.
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  14. toker

    toker My Money Grow On Trees

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    exactly.. u kids have no proof of anything.. just a bunch of lies being spread by companies with shit to lose..

    and the chances u die from MJ are millions of times smaller.. not to mention u can die from alcohol poisoning.. never heard of any my boys having to have their stomach pumped cus they smoked to much

    and how do u know MJ caused those?

    lmao @ this BS.. u kids r hella sloppy when u on the bottle.. after 10 mixed drinks u kid r ready to puke n head to detox.. at worse ill be passed out..

    MJ isnt addictive.. ur just weak minded..

    and most those "chem" in MJ r found in the plant matter.. lucky for us there r other ways of using this plant besides smokin its flowers..

    u ever see tobacco edibles?? how bout tobacco rubbin balms? pills? strips?



    lol.. i guess so.. im out west.. got exposed to everything @ a young age.. was introduced to shit like pcp n acid b4 i started fuckin with dank.. still dont agree with ur opinion on ciggs/alcohol.. whats the new thing kids r into.. alchol n pills
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  15. zyclon B gas

    zyclon B gas sososerious

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    i don't pay attention to companies against legalization or promoters of the legalization of weed. i use personal experience because there hasn't been a study. until there is, promoters of the supposed "benefits" of weed will always apparently have the upper hand.

    you bring up the worst-case scenarios of alcohol. i bring up the argument that moderate alcohol consumption will not cause you to get drunk, stomach pumped, throw up, etc. etc. again, no studies on weed so there's nothing to base it against. although a recent study has shown that amongst people getting pulled over for DUI's, alcohol-related DUI's has dropped (along with deaths), yet weed-related DUI's have increased to 12%. seems a lot more people can't drive straight while high than what used to be the case.

    because i had none of those symptoms before hand, and they stopped after i stopped. simple mathematics.

    who's a kid? i'm 25 and have done way more in my time than i'd like to admit to. after 10 drinks i'm drunk, yeah. but i can drive and stay alert and end up just passin out at the end of the night. again, i've smoked a qp in a night, 2 ounce blunts, 10+ blunts in a night and been wayyyyy more zooted than 10 drinks will get me.

    um, your arguments are great until this. this is just a retarded statement which i'm guessing you threw in there to make me slip-up or something.

    i said the chemicals in cigs. and i don't disagree cigs aren't more unhealthy. all i said was they don't get you high, therefore you can smoke 10 of those and be sober, whereas you smoke 10 L's and you won't be.

    eh to each their own. i was drinkin early, smokin weed early, in gangs early, fucked with weed and then just saw everything from there on. my brother was into all that shit and i just chose not to be around it. then i made the wrong decision to be around it. addictive personalities...sucks.

    east coast/west coast. doesn't matter where you grow up you're exposed to the same shit. what coast someone grows up on doesn't dictate whether they're more knowledgeable in life or experience a completely different environment.

    i approach this shit with an open mind, but i like to present the view that maybe weed isn't as good as everyone thinks it is. everyone knows someone that's bugged the fuck out on that shit...imagine allowin a lot more people like that to legally smoke, then puttin them on the road. *cringe*
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  16. Hardkore

    Hardkore Blunts@TheBeach

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    toker, man...

    ...nobody is saying weed is killing people left 'n right. but you're crazy to think that weed isn't a drug that makes people curious to try other drugs. most people start off smoking weed and try the harder drugs. i don't have any drug addicts in my close circle of friends but every single one of 'em have tried a drug other than weed. it's just the way it is.
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  17. LiQuiD6

    LiQuiD6 Left hook Justice

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    almost any person who has tried another drug has drank alcohol...or had tylenol...or advil...

    the number one key is accessability....Marijuana use in teens has dropped over the years because most are directly jumping to pills...so thats your new "gateway" drug..


    the real "beginner" drug is really whatever is accessible to you at the moment...

    I for one dont smoke cigarettes...dont see the need too...i drink alcohol because i like the taste of wine and beer...especially with food...i dont drink to get drunk...defeats the purpose...and i dont wanna fuck up my liver...i vape weed...i refuse to smoke it cause i know it will fuck up my lungs...not everyone has the mentality of using weed as a party drug...now people who do smoke weed to literally party and bug out have tendencies to try other shit..cause they are purposely chasing a high to escape....cases of mental effects of marijuana are mainly a published scare tactic...people have been smoking marijuana for many years...it is the most widely used illegal substance..you dont think there would be plenty of schizophrenic fucked up mentally unstable older people walking around because of weed..If that was the case then cases of mental disease and instability would rise and fall with marijuana use frequency..guess what it DOESNT...because there is no correlation....instead you have pharmacutical companies push anti-depressants to docs to prescribe to patients..over prescribing and improperly diagnosing mental illness and getting people stuck on pills is a bit more dangerous than any marijuana use...

    and on another note there are articles on small towns completely decimated by the spread and use of oxycontin...maybe you should focus your efforts on spreading info on that....because marijuana isnt destroying communities of people

    a lot of you are buying into propaganda
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  18. Hardkore

    Hardkore Blunts@TheBeach

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    i feel you on the "buying into propaganda". it's like this, though...

    ...i don't believe weed impairs people nearly close to the level of other substances, such as alcohol and harder drugs like ecstacy and cocaine. from the outside looking in, it seems like people smoke weed and just become curious of trying other drugs. that's simply my personal opinion. there may have not been any studies but the only experience i can speak of is mine. every person in the NORML club i was a part of in college did other drugs.

    i would be the first one to say that marijuana is probably the most harmless substance that is classified as a drug. maybe that's the biggest downfall of weed. it wears off too quickly so people tend to try other things to suppress their pain or "reality".

    i 'unno. maybe i'm diggin' into this too much. i love this discussion, though.
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  19. zyclon B gas

    zyclon B gas sososerious

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    well as far as weed declining in use, that's not true. it's actually increased substantially over the past decade. but yeah, everyone seems to be going to pills ever since early 2k's and cocaine has been huge recently. i mean it's making a gigantic comeback which is annoying.

    everyone seems to be focusing so much on getting rid of weed they bypass the harder, worse shit on the market. but, weed needs to have a few studies done on it besides some short term shit because nobody will "attribute" anything to weed like it gets a free pass, you know?

    like they'll say "smoking increases your chances of lung cancer" etc. etc. well, you could not smoke and just the city you live in could raise your chances. i've tried vaporizing weed, and you're still inhaling smoke, just not with the by-products (papers/blunts). eating or drinking it is probably the best way to have it without harmful effects, but in the end, who knows? studies need to be done on it before we legalize it.
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  20. toker

    toker My Money Grow On Trees

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    why do studies need to be done b4 legalization??


    even if they did prove it to be harmful, how would it be any different than other legal drugs?
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