I have job security. Big-time. How can I be so sure of this? Because medical marijuana is legal in California, other states are soon to follow. As of this writing, 22 states have legalized marijuana, meaning one can have a certain amount on their person and grow a certain number of plants. All one has to do is go see a doctor at one of the many dispensaries and get a card.
Pro marijuana people (mostly people who run dispensaries) tell us that it’s pure, no pesticides are used, it is grown under strict conditions, and one can choose from different strains that have different levels of THC potency.
I know many people who quit cigarettes but smoke marijuana because it is more ‘natural’. This may be true to some extent, but like any drug, there are side effects.
For starters, marijuana burns HOT. And depending on where you buy it, you can’t be sure what all is in it.
When I used to see burn patients, there were 3 things to consider: The smoke inhalation, the chemical inhalation, and the heat factor. Smoke contains carbon monoxide, which takes up space on the red blood cells preventing oxygen from being transported to the vital organs and the cells. Depending on WHAT was burning, those chemicals get inhaled and can cause damage. Think plastics or carpeting, or even treated wood burning. Some substances burn hotter than others, causing a physical burn. Those factors are also present in cigarette smoke, but at least cigarettes are filtered and most tobacco is low in tar.
Marijuana , on the other hand, is almost never filtered and contains resins. This gooey, sticky resin makes it’s way down to your air sacs and literally glues them together. Every air sac that collapses is a little less oxygen that can get to your brain, heart, liver, and kidneys, the vital organs. Over time, glue a whole bunch of your air sacs together, and you can’t breathe.
What about cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy? Short -term use for relief of relentless nausea from cancer treatments is common. Those patients need to eat, after all, and most stop the marijuana when chemo and radiation treatments stop. Short-term use hasn’t proven to be too detrimental.
But what about long term use? In the 1980′s and 90′s, Dr. Donald Tashkin at UCLA Medical center did a landmark study comparing pulmonary function tests of marijuana users. That was back when marijuana was relatively mild, compared to the THC content of marijuana today. Back then, marijuana did cause changes in lung function. And I am sure it does today, too.
Think twice about this ‘all-natural’, legal substance before smoking or ingesting it. You will need your lungs later in life, I promise!