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Alcoholism in America – Part II: Marijuana: Insanity Hiding in Plain Sight
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Alcoholism in America – Part II: Marijuana: Insanity Hiding in Plain Sight

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In our previous pieces about alcohol and the American drinking experience we covered two distinctly separated phenomena that are often linked or lumped together – heavy drinking and alcoholism.

We noted the following basic points:

  • A person who binge drinks may or may not be an alcoholic. That person is indeed in a dangerous state if he or she binge drinks. Not being in full control of one’s faculties is never a good thing and these people are very out of control in this time. However, most people who binge drink do so only once or twice, and then the experience is bad enough for them to simply stop doing it. For them the experience of such drunkenness is extremely negative and it provides its own reason for not repeating this action.
  • The real alcoholic lives in a bizarrely opposite plane. For many alcoholics, being sober at some point is intolerable, and the only way to escape the pain of sobriety is through drinking. There are also alcoholics who drink infrequently or even very seldom, yet their behavior while drinking is so completely out of control that if their brains were normal and healthy, they would reasonably conclude that they ought to stop. But these people don’t, and often cause great disasters in the lives of others around them as well as themselves.

These two groups of people handle the same substance in radically different ways. That is because when a person becomes dependent on alcohol, their ability to perceive reality is damaged irreparably. For the alcoholic, no rational or psychological approach will help them, because such approaches assume sanity on the part of the alcoholic, but he has no sanity.

We do not really know how the process happens whereby a person passes from being a normal drinker to an alcoholic, but we do know that when it happens there is no turning back. Once an alcoholic, always an alcoholic.

But we do know that one aspect of being affected by alcohol is that the drunk person is more or less unable to comprehend reality. Since the drunken state is a “high” of sorts, the drunk person can no longer think of things and process them rationally. But for the alcoholic, this condition persists even when the alcoholic is not drinking. That is why it is impossible for an alcoholic to stop drinking without a radical spiritual experience that rearranges their whole view of everything in life.  

This aspect of not being able to process reality is extraordinarily dangerous for the individual who suffers from this state. But what happens when that state becomes endemic in a society?

Imagine a whole nation of insane people. Anyone who has ever encountered an insane person knows from experience that it is extremely difficult, if not impossible, to present the reality of like to such a person. The response of the insane is usually 100 percent non-receptive to any information that falls outside their worldview.

But the number of insane is very few, right? Surely the whole population cannot go crazy.

Consider the current situation we face in the United States. Marijuana has been made legal for recreational use in eight states plus the District of Columbia (Washington, D.C.)

Marijuana is an extremely dangerous drug.

At reading this statement, some heads may be exploding with outrage at such a “primitive” statement, because “President Obama said it is no more dangerous than cigarettes.

Alcoholism in America – Part II:  Marijuana: Insanity Hiding in Plain Sight

However the medical facts would suggest that perhaps the President smoked so much of this product that it warped his brain.

The US National Institute on Drug Abuse has this to say about Marijuana and its effects:

How does marijuana affect the brain?

Marijuana has both short-and long-term effects on the brain.

Alcoholism in America – Part II:  Marijuana: Insanity Hiding in Plain Sight

THC acts on numerous areas in the brain (in yellow). - Image by NIDA

Short-Term Effects

When a person smokes marijuana, THC quickly passes from the lungs into the bloodstream. The blood carries the chemical to the brain and other organs throughout the body. The body absorbs THC more slowly when the person eats or drinks it. In that case, they generally feel the effects after 30 minutes to 1 hour.

THC acts on specific brain cell receptors that ordinarily react to natural THC-like chemicals. These natural chemicals play a role in normal brain development and function.

Marijuana overactivates parts of the brain that contain the highest number of these receptors. This causes the "high" that people feel. Other effects include:

  • altered senses (for example, seeing brighter colors)
  • altered sense of time
  • changes in mood
  • impaired body movement
  • difficulty with thinking and problem-solving
  • impaired memory
  • hallucinations (when taken in high doses)
  • delusions (when taken in high doses)
  • psychosis (when taken in high doses)

Look at all these effects listed above. Seven out of nine of these effects have to do with distorting reality.

And delusions and psychosis are not things that just go away when the high is over. That stuff sticks around.

But we’re not done with the assessment of effects of marijuana. Read on!

Long-Term Effects

Marijuana also affects brain development. When people begin using marijuana as teenagers, the drug may impair thinking, memory, and learning functions and affect how the brain builds connections between the areas necessary for these functions. Researchers are still studying how long marijuana's effects last and whether some changes may be permanent.

So, why in the world are we legalizing pot if it is so dangerous?

The answer is probably to be seen in the list of affects above. People that use this drug lose touch with reality during and after the high. They think what they are doing is good, and somehow they manage to convince enough other people with clever arguments that it is okay to legalize.

To be sure, the NDIS does note that rates of marijuana use have dropped or leveled off in students from the 4th through 12th grades. However, the acceptability of using pot regularly is increasing among young people. 

One of the affects of mind- or mood-altering drugs is always the conviction that “nothing bad can happen to me.” And in fact, it is not usually the case that a disaster befalls someone who smokes cannabis once, or even several times. But given time, the disaster does come, and usually when it does, the person so affected shrugs it off as not really all that important anyway.

This can be a real problem when it is failing to finish school, or getting fired from a job, or losing one’s home because they didn’t have money for rent. (That money was smoked away, but for the drug user, stopping that expenditure is not an option at this point.)

So, we legalize this drug because deluded people that have money and a good presentation game manage to get their case heard.

We also legalize it because the basis we formerly had in our culture – of Christian moral traditions – has been largely discarded. One of the essential aspects of Christianity, Judaism and other ancient religions is the need of being in and dealing with reality.  This is particularly evident in Christianity. But with the cultural re-writing and discarding of many of Christianity’s basic points of faith and life, the need of being in reality is also laying on the scrap heap somewhere.

In that vacuum of truth, anything may flow in to replace it.

This means that many people who probably are not using drugs still feel like something is wrong with drug legalization, but they no longer have the principles to stand on in their arguments. And the other side is stronger and more passionate about what they have to say (because they want their next fix without getting arrested, probably) and one thing about drug-users and alcoholics is that they know how to make a convincing sell. They learn this when lying to cover their misadventures.

What evidence do we see that this is true?

The effects of this increased legality of cannabis is already evident.

For example, the state of Colorado is among the nine locales in the US where cannabis has been made legal for recreational use. The premise there was that this drug was far too harmless to be in need of control, and the concurrent promise was that the State of Colorado could raise tax revenue through the legalized sales of pot, ostensibly, to supplement the state’s public school systems’ budget needs.

However, the reality in the state became far less than the promise, though very few people in the United States are actually aware of this.

I saw the damage inflicted on the state personally during a vacation I took there in the spring of 2018. Colorado is my adopted home state, and its major cities along the Front Range, Denver and Colorado Springs, were both markedly different in character.

One hotel I stayed in, a Motel 6 not far from the Denver Technology Center district, had probably only one definitely sober guest that night… Me. The rest of the people, including the night staff, all appeared to be drug-users. One young man actually did tell me that he was from Mississippi, and that he was in Colorado for “the weed.” He remarked about this as he got in his car to drive back. He looked like he needed to sleep his high off for about four days though, and he was probably a danger on the road.

The local residents of Colorado and the local radio stations both were full of reports about the seizure of “illegal marijuana grows”, a term for an unauthorized cannabis farm. After the legalization of pot, lawlessness did not decrease around the drug; it increased, with the Colorado Rockies really becoming sources of “Rocky Mountain High” in the most serious of terms.

In 2018, Colorado’s worst wildfire was centered in Huerfano County. Called the Spring Creek Fire, it burned more than 108,000 acres, taking 141 homes with it. The man who started the fire, Jesper Jorgenson, is pictured here:

Alcoholism in America – Part II:  Marijuana: Insanity Hiding in Plain Sight

Yep, he is shown here smoking a joint. That is cannabis, not a home-rolled cigarette. The report of his capture stated this:

Jesper Joergensen initially told officials that he had been burning trash before the fire began, an arrest warrant says, but then “quickly changed his statement and (said) he had a permanent fire pit and had been grilling.”

“Jesper’s hands were shaking and he seemed nervous or scared,” the warrant said.

Joergensen is facing arson charges in connection with the fire. The arrest warrant says he handed a passport from Denmark to local authorities and that immigration officials reported he was in the U.S. illegally, as his visa expired.

A Massive Cover-up is in play

However, the relationship to cannabis in this incident was never mentioned. Why?

Many concerned Colorado residents believe it is because the pot lobby is so strong that they can effectively censor the press and prevent them from reporting this situation honestly. To that end, many people in the press in the US appear insane too, so who knows what they are smoking?

It is, admittedly, wildly speculative to say such things, but they need to be said. The talk on the street is that this is in fact exactly what is going on, and that pot-legal states like Colorado and California are really having a lot of problems because of legalized drugs, but following the alcoholic model, they are loath to admit the connection. They may not even be able to see it, due to the prevalence of drug-use and denial over its problematic aspects. But there is plenty of evidence.

Denver’s downtown district had its share of homeless people during my years of residence (2011-2015), but these people were usually not seen in the city’s picturesque 16th Street Mall area in the real downtown proper areas. However, reports show they are there now, and not only that, they defecate on the streets and create unsightly situations for tourists. They also risk their own lives when cold weather strikes the high-altitude city.

San Francisco made news headlines repeatedly with the announcement of apps to report human excrement on the streets of this once phenomenally beautiful American city. Cannabis tends to have a further effect where people who use cannabis progress into more and harder drugs like cocaine and speed, and some progress to IV (intravenous) use, with cocaine and heroin being the headliners. These people leave their needles all over the city in San Francisco, along with their bodily wastes.

This situation did not exist before cannabis was legalized in either of these places.

Where does this leave us?

Since the social structure has changed in the United States now, with marijuana being spoken of inaccurately as a “gateway” drug, we also must put forth an inconvenient truth: Marijuana, like all illegal controlled substances, introduces elements with its use that vastly increase the chances of a user being or becoming unable to control their use.

This is not a popular idea, because drug use is considered a social illness rather than a medical illness, and when something is socially aberrant, a recent move taken is to change society in an attempt to legitimize that which is seen as socially aberrant. With marijuana, we have a very effective test case, open to observation and analysis by anyone who wishes to find the truth out for themselves.

The attempts of well-meaning people to “normalize” drug use does not make drug use less dangerous. In fact, it makes it far more dangerous because there is an instinctive sense of conscience with many, if not all, of these substances that tells us that using them is wrong.

However, with nine states and the District of Columbia all existing as legal pot zones, it is easy to begin to understand why the craziness in American government is as it is, and also why it seems unstoppable, even though anyone with common sense would stop it in two seconds flat.

But when there is no more common sense…

Author: Seraphim Hanisch