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View Diary: Legalize Pot? - I'm Not So Sure (71 comments)

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  •  None of the examples you gave have a thing to do (0+ / 0-)

    with smoking pot. You are starting with the premise that pot is bad for people's brain functioning, much like smoking cigarettes is bad for one's singing voice.  (And Joni's later albums certainly indicate that the years of tobacco did have a negative effect on her voice.) Just because Coltrane became a better player after kicking heroin and alcohol doesn't mean that the same would have been true if pot had been the substance in question - pot is not alcohol or heroin and its effects are very different from the effects of those drugs. Personally, a few years ago I tested 9 points higher on a comprehensive IQ test than my high school IQ testing. This despite 30 years of daily pot smoking. By your reasoning I should be a complete waste case after smoking all that pot, I certainly shouldn't be any smarter or more capable of complex reasoning.

    How do you know whether Sagan did or did not reach his full potential? You seem to be suggesting that he did not due to his pot smoking.  The point I was trying to get you to see is that just because someone smokes pot doesn't mean that it will make them a fool. If that were the case then it should be true in most if not all instances. It is not.

    Free: The Authoritarians - all about those who follow strong leaders.

    by kbman on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 06:31:51 PM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  Look. I didn't know - and don't care about - (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      alain2112

      Sagan.

      You, and every other defender of the "pot is harmless" nonsense frequently appeal to him as an arbiter of the ridiculous assertion that pot has marginal or no effects on one's intellect.  

      That pretty much defines my main reason for ever discussing the guy, and trust me, science is definitely one of my passions.

      I have passing familiarity with his scientific work, but he is certainly not one of the more important scientists of the 20th century.   He was pretty good on television, despite getting stuck on repeating the word "billions" from what I hear, and good at the popular gesture, but was a truly great or important figure?  

      Hardly.

      His search for spacemen, I note, didn't turn out all that well.

      You criticize, with some validity, that I don't know what Sagan's potential was.    However we might turn this argument on its head.  Do you have information that Sagan reached his full potential?   Are you a Sagan family member?   A personal friend?   His ex-girlfriend's cousin's uncle's neighbor's dog sitter?

      I am merely suggesting that it seems not only possible, but likely, that he was not, um, "all that he could be," but I am not claiming that I knew him, or his ex-girlfriend's cousin's uncle's neighbor's dog sitter.   This suspicion that he may not have reached his full potential on my part based on the long experience of my life with other people who I personally did know and observe.    I stand by the claim that they were, in general, fools.

      I had a friend in high school who could get "A's" on calculus tests while drunk, and sometimes, for that matter, stoned.   He was dead before he hit thirty.   He was a fool, especially when one realizes how he wasted his fine mind.

      As for Sagan, he was, frankly, from what I can tell, more like a rock star than a scientist of critical import, but no matter.

      To the extent that he promoted pot - which seems to be in your view, an important legacy - he was, in my view, a fool.

      There are millions of scientists who do good and important work - much of it of far greater import than anything Sagan did - who don't smoke pot.

      There are also impressionable people who might be encouraged to use pot because of silly rhetoric about a moderately famous scientist - no Seaborg, no Gell-Mann, no Fermi, no Bohr, mind you - who smoked pot and became famous, not necessarily for scientific originality, but for the ability to address popular audiences in such a way as to provide decent television ratings.

      Big deal.

      Is that all you got?

      You seem to have failed to grasp what I was saying by the examples I gave.   You are providing an example of a person who took a drug - and still managed to achieve something, no matter how marginal.   I have merely provided similar examples that could be made for any dangerous drug as being benign and asserted that any such claim is an attempt, a weak attempt to cite a specific example and thus claim a general rule.   To my mind, Coltrane was much more seminal to American culture than Sagan ever was, but no, that doesn't imply that if I want my kid to play great saxophone, I'll buy him a syringe and drive him to a bad neighborhood to meet new and interesting people who can sell him white powders.

      I regard pot as a dangerous drug inasmuch as it degrades ones intellect, this claim based on my personal experience.   There may be, there certainly are, worse drugs that are more dangerous than pot, but the existence of these drugs does not render pot benign, nor does it make pot use desirable or useful.

      None of my arguments mean that I approve of the drug "war" or even drug laws or drug prison sentences.   I have merely objected - and nothing in this conversation serves to dissuade me - to the claim that drugs  used for self medication are, um, "good for people."

      If you wish to assert that drugs used for self medication are good for people, whether tobacco, heroin, alcohol, pot, ...,whatever, then, in my view, you are being a fool.

      Have a nice Sunday.  

      •  you actually (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        alain2112

        Tried to reason with him? Wow. Kudos.
        Great comment.

        We consume the carcasses of creatures of like appetites, passions and organs with our own, and fill the slaughterhouses daily with screams of pain and fear. Robert Louis Stevenson

        by Christin on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 08:09:41 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  There are these things in life called distinctions (0+ / 0-)

        There are many, many attributes which distinguish pot from alcohol, from heroin, from tobacco. For you to lump them together as you do is simply a reflection of your blindness on this issue.

        Here's one distinction - mortality ...

        Alcohol linked to 75,000 US deaths a year.

        "Alcohol abuse kills some 75,000 Americans each year and shortens the lives of these people by an average of 30 years, a U.S. government study suggested Thursday.

        Excessive alcohol consumption is the third leading cause of preventable death in the United States after tobacco use and poor eating and exercise habits."

        ----------------------------------

        CDC Fact Sheet - Tobacco related mortality

        "Cigarette smoking causes about 1 of every 5 deaths in the United States each year.1,6 Cigarette smoking is estimated to cause the following:1

            443,000 deaths annually (including deaths from secondhand smoke)
            49,400 deaths per year from secondhand smoke exposure"

        ------------------------------------

        Heroin / Opioids

        "There can be no doubt, however, that fatal opioid overdose, long a chronic health problem in the United States, is now a rapidly growing one.71 National surveillance data suggest that almost 83,000 Americans died from this form of overdose between 1999 to 2005, with over 16,000 fatalities in 2005 alone.72 Opioid overdose death has seen a sharp increase over the last decade, especially in the category of overdose from prescription medications.73 Because of gaps in the surveillance system, the actual figure is likely to be substantially higher."

        ----------------------------------------

        Marijuana [pdf warning]

        From a study at OREGON.GOV looking at data covering 1997-2005, marijuana as cause of death - ZERO, marijuana as contributing to death 279 - an average of 35 per year.

        --------------------------------------------------------------------

        Another distinction - personal safety

        For some reason, people who have recently smoked pot - within the previous 6 hours in one study - end up in the emergency room only about 1/3 as often as sober people. By contrast, people who have consumed alcohol in that same time frame are 3 times as likely to end up in the ER. This relationship has been found to be dose-dependent, and has been observed in three different studies which set out to prove the opposite.

        -------------------------------------------------------------

        Another distinction - protective effects

        While I'm not familiar with any reported protective effects from the use of tobacco, alcohol, or heroin, I'm willing to keep an open mind on the topic.

        Regarding marijuana ...

        Marijuana may help to delay Alzheimers symptoms

        "As marijuana has strong anti-inflammatory effects, researchers from Ohio State University predicted a link to the progression of Alzheimer’s disease, which is associated with chronic inflammation.

        According to researcher Gary Wenk, Ph.D., “inflammation in the brain is part of aging. It happens to almost all of us. But in some cases, this inflammation gets out of hand and causes serious damage.”

        The team gave WIN-55212-2, a synthetic drug similar to marijuana, to rats and found it improved memory and helped to control inflammation both in young and old animals. However, it could still trigger a high, so the team are trying to find a compound that isn’t psychoactive. The findings were presented at October’s annual Society for Neuroscience meeting in Atlanta.

        There is some evidence to suggest that people who regularly smoked marijuana in the 1960s and 1970s rarely develop Alzheimer’s disease, but Wenk does not recommend that Alzheimer’s patients start using marijuana. "

        ----------------------
        Neuroprotective effect of cannabidiol

        " Our results indicate that cannabidiol exerts a combination of neuroprotective, anti-oxidative and anti-apoptotic effects against beta-amyloid peptide toxicity, and that inhibition of caspase 3 appearance from its inactive precursor, pro-caspase 3, by cannabidiol is involved in the signalling pathway for this neuroprotection."

        ----------------------------------------------

        There are many other factors which distinguish these substances as well. People high on pot don't lose their coordination like sloppy drunks, they don't zone off into their own space like heroin junkies, they simply relax more and feel a shift in consciousness. Many pot users find that caffeine is a nice complementary drug - helping them to not relax TOO much. I found this combination provided an optimum head-space for writing term papers and computer programs - things which I did exceptionally well.

        I feel badly for you. I know you well enough from your writings to know how intensely serious you are about things you consider important. I greatly admire this intensity in you. I also know how you adore your kids, something else you've written about often enough. And the odds are that at least one of them will try pot. One or more may even become regular users. You have far less control over this than you believe. Intellectual curiosity quite often trumps authoritarian admonitions. Plus, rebelling against parental authority is as old a story as you will find. And what better issue to rebel against than one that the old man is outspokenly righteous about? And here's the saddest part, if/when it happens it will only be a big deal in your mind. You needn't be "shattered". It's not the end of the world if this happens. Really, I promise you.

        Free: The Authoritarians - all about those who follow strong leaders.

        by kbman on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 11:10:31 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Oh, and BTW (0+ / 0-)

        Those millions of scientists you claim don't smoke pot? Of the physics, chemistry and biology majors in my time at college, roughly half of them were pot smokers. Several of the engineering majors smoked pot as well. One chem major I knew carried a 4.0 while smoking more than most potheads at school. It sounds corny, but it really was fun to be in a stoned discussion regarding the physical manifestations related to a partial differential equation which described drum head dynamics, edge effects, tension effects, location/duration/energy of the impulse, etc.

        Free: The Authoritarians - all about those who follow strong leaders.

        by kbman on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 11:53:38 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  lol (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      alain2112

      Such utter ignorance and utter nonsense.
      Surreal ignorance like no other. Lol!!!!!

      We consume the carcasses of creatures of like appetites, passions and organs with our own, and fill the slaughterhouses daily with screams of pain and fear. Robert Louis Stevenson

      by Christin on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 08:07:51 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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