In case you hadn’t noticed, there is a bit of a debate in this country over marijuana prohibition. And there are a million reasons to support the resilient plant. Voters in Colorado and Washington have charted new territory by legalizing it outright, and there are medical pot laws on the books in 21 more states (and counting!).
But some of the arguments for marijuana legalization should ring especially true for the LGBT community.
Scroll down for five reasons for gays to get behind legalizing pot:
1. It’s the “same-sex marriage” of mind altering substances.
Let’s look at how public opinion has changed on the subject of legalizing marijuana over time:
Now here’s the graph showing national opinions on gay marriage over time:
Notice anything similar? Now we’re not saying this should be an end-all be-all deciding factor, but gay people know what it’s like to continue having to fight tooth and nail for something even when the majority of the country agrees with us. It’s time for the law to catch up with the times.
2. Marijuana can help people drink less
Not only is weed much safer than alcohol, it can actually help people consume less booze. In states with medical marijuana laws, you can actually obtain a prescription for this reason alone. No one has ever gotten into a bar fight stoned, nobody’s ever overdosed on herb, weed doesn’t lead to domestic violence and pot isn’t physically addictive like alcohol.
It’s no secret that the gay community struggles with binge drinking and alcoholism at higher rates than the general population. It isn’t pretty. But smoking pot has been shown to assist people in drinking less, and that’s something we should get behind. A few beers and a couple tokes beats a handle of vodka any day.
3. Stoned sex
Have you ever had drunk sex? Who are we kidding, of course you have. It’s a sloppy, fumbling mess. Stoned sex is the exact opposite. It’s intense, tingly and intimate. Kind of like this.
4. We know how to see through lies and misinformation
The dangers of marijuana have been distorted and exaggerated for over a century, and we should be used to seeing through fear-based rhetoric. Gay sex, gay marriage and gay adoption have all been attacked with lies from those who oppose them. We know how to call a spade a spade. Nobody is saying it should be available to children, but free-thinking adults should have the opportunity to decide whether to puff or pass.
5. Because reality trumps prejudice
Gay rights have prospered by allowing the truth to speak for itself once the law begins to shift. We’re seeing that in full effect with gay marriage. Once the first wave of states began to legalize same-sex marriage, reality soon showed all the arguments against it to be false. Similarly, there has been no harm in states that have legalized medical marijuana, and everything appears to be going smoothly in Colorado and Washington, where recreational use has been approved.
Bonus: Because Barney Frank lays it all out so well:
I believe ALL lightweight drugs, including marijuana, alcohol and tobacco should be LEGAL. But I also believe that any kind of advertisement should be forbidden and that public campaigns against drug use (or at least informative) should be permanent.
Marijuana can be awesome, but it is dangerous. More than 10% of the people who smoke it develop psychotic symptoms and many times those symptoms evolve to a permanent condition (bipolar, schizophrenia, etc). You may argue that these 10% of the population already had a genetic predisposition towards having these diseases, and that IS correct, but the drug use worsens the symptoms and triggers the onset of the disease.
More then 10% develop psychotic symptoms, causing permanent schizophrenia and bipolar, would like to see all the medical studies on that, what are the web links. I want the facts.
Stoned sex is indeed out of this world assuming you have the right kind of weed (a trippy strain is best IMO). The problem is that it is so good that you might not want to go back to regular sex.
@Billy Budd: I think you’ve got your drugs confused. You’re referring to meth.
The alcohol lobby in Washington DC opposes marijuana legalization. It’s a damned miracle we have medical marijuana here in California for folks who benefit from it.
World Psychiatry Association WPA
Zammit et al 17 reported a 27-year follow-up of the Swedish cohort that also found a dose-response relationship between frequency of cannabis use at baseline and risk of schizophrenia during the follow-up. The relationship between cannabis use and schizophrenia persisted when the authors statistically controlled for the effects of other drug use and other potential confounding factors, including a history of psychiatric symptoms at baseline. Assuming a causal relationship, and given current patterns of use, they estimated that 13% of cases of schizophrenia could be averted if all cannabis use were prevented.
We briefly review the evidence that cannabis use in adolescence and young adulthood is a contributory cause of schizophreniform psychoses, by summarising longitudinal studies that: a) have examined relationships between cannabis use and the risk of psychosis or psychotic symptoms; and b) have controlled for potential confounders, such as other forms of drug use and personal characteristics that predict an increased risk of psychosis. There is now reasonable evidence from longitudinal studies that regular cannabis use predicts an increased risk of schizophrenia and of reporting psychotic symptoms. These relationships have persisted after controlling for confounding variables such as personal characteristics and other drug use. The relationships did not seem to be explained by cannabis being used to self-medicate symptoms of psychosis. A contributory causal relationship is biologically plausible because psychotic disorders involve disturbances in the dopamine neurotransmitter system with which the cannabinoid system interacts, as has been shown by animal studies and a human provocation study. We briefly explore the clinical and public health implications of the most plausible hypothesis, that cannabis use precipitates schizophrenia in persons who are vulnerable because of a personal or family history of schizophrenia.
Keywords: Cannabis, psychosis; schizophrenia; adolescents; dopamine; educational interventions
Regular cannabis use and psychotic disorders (such as schizophrenia) are associated in the general population 1,2, and heavy cannabis users are over-represented among new cases of schizophrenia 3-5,. These findings, and rising rates of cannabis use among young people in many developed countries, have prompted debates about whether cannabis use may be a contributory cause of psychosis, that is, it may precipitate schizophrenia in vulnerable individuals. This hypothesis assumes that cannabis use is one factor among many others (including genetic predisposition and other unknown causes) that together cause schizophrenia.
The paper is from the WPA journal, not from the government.
Guys, don’t be ******. Marijuana can be awesome, pleasurable, delicious and great for sex. But it IS dangerous for many people. You are being NAIVE.
@Billy Budd: Edit..”for some people”. No one I know has ever been sent to the crazy bin for smoking pot…and that’s allot of people. Someone predisposed to Schizophrenia absolutely should be careful.
@Desert Boy: It is but we need something more like what WA has. No need for a doctors prescription. However, you can only buy one ounce at a time. For a big pot head probably not the best deal. For me it’s perfect.
@Stache99: 13% is a very significant fraction IMHO.
@Billy Budd: It’s considered one factor in many. The biggest one is having a family history of it.
The reason I brought up meth was that I’ve seen normal people turned into Schizophrenics.
Hmmm, how bout no.
@Billy Budd, I think you misunderstood the result. They refer to is 13% OF CASES OF SCHIZOPHRENIA, not 13% of pot smokers.
Schizophrenia affects about 1 in 10,000 of people each year. So 13% of that means one person in 77,000 each year MIGHT get schizophrenia from marijuana use.
That would still suck for that one guy in 77,000 who gets schizophrenia, but whether there is a causative relationship is unclear – it may simply be that people who live in environments where drugs are more accessible are more prone to schizophrenia because of other stresses caused by that same environment, which you may well imagine. Or it may be that personality traits that may precede schizophrenia may also coincidentally cause kids to experiment more with drugs.
*Just to be clear, that one EXTRA guy in 77,000 who gets schizophrenia, …
@Stache99: Well, I WAS going to make the snarky observation that if you need even one reason to vote in favor of marijuana legalization it’s because you’ve not used it enough.
However, now that you guys have taken all the fun out of being snarky and have taken a quasi-serious bend to this conversation, I agree with people who say it is associated with mental illness for some people. And yes, it is one of quite a few possible factors — heredity being the strongest. [A recent study found that 8 different patterns of genes, taken together, are more strongly associated with schizophrenia than are single genes. This finding has led headline writers to speculate that schizophrenia is not one but is 8 diseases.]
I asked a psychologist about this. The easiest — simplest, and ultimately wrong but still best — explanation is that marijuana has two psychologically-active sets of chemicals. One set interacts with your mind’s chemistry create that mellowed-out, munchified feeling; and the other does similar stuff to create those paranoid sorts of responses. Some of us are more sensitive to (i.e., respond more) to one over the other.
He had no good answer as to why drivers feel the need to focus and maintain on weed.
IMHO, there is only one thing to do: breed the stuff until the paranoid chemicals are gone.
Until then, eat brownies sensibly.
OK, but only 1.1 percent of the population has Schizophrenia, so even if it is true (which I doubt, I have heard counter arguments made by people much smarter than I) a 13 percent increase in the chance of Schizophrenia is still TINY. It like saying “blah blah increases doubles your risk of cancer” to make it sound dire, ignoring the context that “double” means an puny increase from .01 to .02 (for example).
I am fully supportive of legalizing marijuana for both medical and recreational uses. But I also think that its recreational use should be regulated as we do with alcohol. Younger brains are still developing and should not use it on a regular basis. We certainly should regulate driving or operating heavy machinery while impaired, as we do with alcohol. And I support strong restrictions on the advertising and promotion of it.
But it’s not for me. I had to abstain from alcohol for three months due to medications I temporarily had to take that taxes my liver. During that period, I occasionally took medical marijuana edibles when I went out with friends. I didn’t care for the high. I felt foggy and withdrawn. I just wanted to sit down by myself and observe. Really didn’t want to talk to anyone, friend or stranger. It’s not a very social drug for me.
I do have one friend who has psychotic episodes on marijuana. He’s had to be hospitalized when on it, and the hospital did blood tests to confirm he hadn’t done PCP or anything else. But that’s one friend out of probably hundreds of people I know who’ve done pot. And for all I know, he might have specific neurological issues that may be exacerbated by marijuana, rather than pot simply causing it all by itself. No idea. But like all things, individual results may vary (just like I tend to get anti-social where other people I know become much more gregarious).
@vive: “Or it may be that personality traits that may precede schizophrenia may also coincidentally cause kids to experiment more with drugs.”
It is true that undiagnosed/untreated schizophrenics very often try to self-medicate through drugs and alcohol, so I could see how there could be a mistaken causation assumption there. I haven’t read any of these studies to see if the researchers studied or tried to control for that.
@MusicEsMiVida: In WA State SSM and the MJ initiative 502 were held at the same time. Both were contributing factors in each others success so it is kind of a gay issue.
@Billy Budd: “More than 10% of the people who smoke it develop psychotic symptoms…”
As other people have pointed out, this is a COMPLETELY WRONG interpretation of this study.
WHO DO YOU KNOW WHO HAS DONE POT?
That phrasing fucking slays me.
As I don’t like to be next to a drunkard I think it’s awful to be with a drug user. I can’t stand the user’s attitude when under the marijuana’s effect and the smell of it. I think someone that uses pot is pitifull: Kinda thing for low life people. Who likes a dry mouth ?
So who would rather deal with the consequences of a belligerent violent drunk in public, which is a scourge on our society now, our jails are filled with them daily, or a pot smoker chilling in their own home? Alcohol does more hard then all other drugs combined history and data shows. I do not suggest drug use is a good thing at all, but really i would rather have to sit next a pot head over a drunk any day
Unless with the development and promotion of the e-cig where the ammounts could be controlled i could not encourage legalisation of M.J…. It has been known to lead to severe depression.. I personally saw my uncle loose out in med school due to M.J he is still using it tho.. And on more than one ocassion i saw my cuz walk around completely nude due to M.J it is sad
Clin Toxicol (Phila). 2009 Jul;47(6):517-24. doi: 10.1080/15563650903074507.
Chronic toxicology of cannabis.
“…..An authoritative review found an elevated risk of psychosis in many studies, with an odds ratio of about 2.3 . A similar meta-analysis from the Netherlands found a pooled odds ratio for psychosis of 2.1 .”
Guys, the odds ratio being 2.2 means pot smokers have 2.2 times the odds as non smokers at developing psychosis.
Do you undertand? TWO times the odds!
Please understand. it is NOT a harmless thing.
@Billy Budd: “Guys, the odds ratio being 2.2 means pot smokers have 2.2 times the odds as non smokers at developing psychosis [from chronic marijuana use]”
Assuming that is correct AND assuming that it is a causative association (which it might not be), then still, only (roughly) 1 in 5,000 chronic marijuana smokers would develop psychosis per year.
That sucks for that one in 5,000, sure, but I think alcohol has worse toxicology and we don’t ban that.
@Billy Budd: I’d love to see your source here since I actually study diagnostic criteria for a living and have never seen this listed as a cause even once. In fact, the issue with marijuana and alcohol in regards to diagnosis is normally that those that are using it on a regular basis are using it as a self-medication.
@Billy Budd: They would be full of it if they said that. Schizophrenia is a biological disorder. Either you carry it or you do not. It can lie dormant forever because it requires a trigger, but it has to be there.
@tdx3fan: Besides, as a researcher, you can NEVER proof causation. You can prove a strong correlation, but not causation. You can also try to control your study for everything, but that never really happens because you are still studying uncontrollable subjects. There could easily be some unknown factor that causes both Schizophrenia and marijuana usage that people are not willing to report (such as severe trauma).
@Stache99: Normal people can never be turned into schizophrenics. It just does not work that way. There also has to be a biological trend. Now, normal people can develop schizophrenic like symptoms and those symptoms may or may not go away after they are off the drug, but they are more likely to exist when the drug is being used. That is not the same (at all) as schizophrenia. Actually, psychotic symptoms run a great deal of mental diagnoses not just schizophrenia. Prolong alcohol abuse can also cause psychotic symptoms.
@Billy Budd: Dude, you really should give up on trying to interpret studies. You clearly fail at it. Post the actual study and allow someone to point out the loop holes. What you also fail to realize is there are a great deal of studies done that are done for a specific purpose. Forgive me if I believe most meta-analyses pick and choose the studies they want to include for very obvious reasons. For that reason, they are rarely worth the paper they are written on, and trying to quote them as a source for any actual paper you would ever write is a very, very bad idea.
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