The 2017 National Academy of Medicine (NAM) report says there is substantial evidence that cannabis is effective for the treatment of chronic pain. But the studies cited were small and only compared to placebo. So is it more effective than Tylenol? The NAM does not say. Certainly Tylenol does not cause paranoia, psychotic murder or DUI; nor does it cause liver or renal failure in proper doses; it actually is safe. More importantly, a large four-year prospective Australian study published in the Lancet in July of 2018 found “no evidence that cannabis reduced pain severity or pain interference, and no evidence that cannabis use reduced prescribed opioid use or increased rates of opioid discontinuation.” In sum, marijuana is good for nothing, except getting high. And that is the point and that is why people want it – in ever higher doses. A drunk self-medicates with alcohol until “he feels no pain.” The same with a stoner. Unfortunately the effect wears off once sober.
The legal and black markets in marijuana have responded to consumer demand by increasing the concentration of psychoactive THC. At minimum today’s marijuana cigarette is 10 times stronger than that of the Woodstock generation when about 50% of young adults were using marijuana (1975) and about 28% were using cocaine (1979). But now you can smoke and satisfy the munchies at the same time with a marijuana brownie coated with highly-concentrated THC icing, all provided at the local legal dispensary, or delivered to you by your friendly local drug dealer. Psychosis is dose related and psychosis causes violence. Violence is increasing at rates far above the national average in the states that have legalized marijuana. In those states the price of marijuana on both the legal and black markets has declined, and as a result use has increased. This has already had a major impact on Emergency Rooms. Nationwide, ER visits for marijuana-use complications rose from around 400,000 in 2006 to 1,100,000 in 2014; and ER visits for psychosis as a primary or secondary diagnosis increased from 1,260,000 to 2,100,000. Add cannabis-related DUIs , cannabis-related depression, suicidal ideation, etc. and the burden upon the medical system quickly becomes obvious. Moreover, marijuana use has been associated with testicular cancer, and with leukemia and brain cancer in the children of mothers who use heavily. It does not help with ALS, Parkinsons, dementia, glaucoma, or irritable bowel. Again, it is worthless – and burdensome.
Drug use waxes and wanes in a society. American historians believe that an ordinary man in the early 1800s drank about ten times as much alcohol as a modern American male. This led to the rise of the temperance movement and ultimately to Prohibition. However, we now have more options than our ancestors. Some are so dangerous that they rise and fall quickly such as LSD, PCP, K2, and heroin. About one-third of one-time heroin users become addicted. Yet it seems that each generation must learn its own lessons in this regard. Bismarck once wrote, “Most people like to learn from their own mistakes, but I prefer to learn from the mistakes of others.”