Hey everybody, I got into a heated argument with a so-called "therapist" or mental health expert. (She's in a humanist group I belong to, not that I need a therapist.) She said that mj was physically addictive. I jumped on this unfounded assertion. Perhaps there is some psychological possibility (anything can be psychologically addictive, video games, cigs, TV, anything) but definitively not physically—there’s no nausea or DTs.

To support her argument she emailed me an article by doctors at UW-Madison. Please click here for my rebuttal which I posted here on A/N.

I'd love to hear some opinions on this. I believe you'll find the article educational and informative, if your into grass.

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Good post. I certainly agree. Added to the above is the fact that kids aren't stupid and learn to mistrust and even hate the government. Look at the condition of things during the Kent State atrocity. The country was so polarized, it couldn't have gotten really violent on both sides.

We just added the 14th state this week. Medical mj is exactly repeal but at least it's a step toward rationality.
My point wasn't that weed addiction is anywhere as bad as a meth or heroine addiction. The original post said there is NO physical addiction and I was just refuting that claim.

As for the hard drugs, I think we need a lot of reform there as well. Our society really needs to stop looking at drug addiction as a criminal justice problem and start looking at it from a medical perspective. That makes me think of the great comedian, Mitch Hedberg. He has a joke about addiction being a disease, but it's the only disease you get yelled at for having. "Damnit Otto you're an alcoholic. Damnit Otto you have lupus. One of these doesn't sound right."
The original post said there is NO physical addiction and I was just refuting that claim.

Which was something that, in all fairness, needed to be addressed. I felt the need to bring up other drugs because too often addiction is treated like a black and white issue. Once something is lumped into the addictive category its easier for the anti camp to take it out of context.

That makes me think of the great comedian, Mitch Hedberg. He has a joke about addiction being a disease, but it's the only disease you get yelled at for having. "Damnit Otto you're an alcoholic. Damnit Otto you have lupus. One of these doesn't sound right."

LOL! Your are right though, addiction isn't a crime and punishment issue its a medical issue.
I have been a marijuana user for a little over a year now, and I've been on and off. Never noticed any withdrawal symptoms other than imagining myself smoking during class... other than that, there has never been anything else.

I am still recovering from an addiction to hydrocodone, I was up to around 50-60mg a day, and quit cold turkey - which caused a good deal of nausea and sickness for days on end. Why isn't this stuff illegal? :P
Try quiting processed foods! When I went to Nicaragua, in 1988, to help harvest coffee in a war zone, our food consisted of rice, beans (poco rojas little red chili beans) and a corn tortilla, 3 times a day. No potato chips, chocolate bars, pop, canned food, etc. It drove me nuts with cravings, and my body had a hard time adjusting. The beans I never got used to, and made me very sick. My weight dropped from about 180lbs to about 130lbs! There are many things that we in rich countries consume that are addictive, and not all are drugs.
Mac, I know what you mean. All the corporate state cares about is having contented, hyperactive, easy-to-program consumers of all the junk—food and stuff in Wal-Mart. How about coffee? Addictive as hell. That's okay because you become a frenetic, insatiable consumer.

With grass you get mellow, and you say to yourself, "do I really need that German luxury cars with the genuine Corinthian leather?" Grass is bad for the economy; that's why it's illegal. Does that piss you off? Does me. And the poor working snooks that make the sacrifice don't even get to see the money.
Oh ya, I forgot to mention the addictiveness of coffee. When we (me and my fellow international comrades) went up to the mountains, we were warned not to eat too many of the coffee cherries, as they were so addictive that we would have to pick at least a sack a day just to keep up with the addiction. Most of my life (I turn 48 this summer), I have drank coffee every morning, and usually during the day. If I do not drink it first thing in the morning, no one wants to be near me, as I go through withdrawal systems with headaches, mood swings and sluggishness. Hell, after tobacco, coffee is one of the hardest things I've tried to quit!
LOL I am way more addicted to caffeine then pot. I go days without pot and don't care, I can't make it through the morning without a cup of joe.

I actually have to manage my caffeine addiction, sad but true.
Right on, Jay. And I bet the coffer urge even comes at the same time every day—that's how predictable it is. When you get up in the morning.
Tim, I too had an addition to this legal crap. But it was a stronger pain killer called Tylox, which I needed to cope with a terrible bone disease I have called Paget's d. I hated taking it because it was worse than wasting away in Margaritaville; it was couch-potatoville. There was no high at all, just numbness.

Grass and these opiates, (oxys) are in two different categories, like wine and beer. Even more so, because one is a euphoriant and the other a soporific (sleep inducer).

The only answer to your question I can think of is: Big Pharma wants it that way. The Lobby System in this country is nothing more than legalized bribery. Mj is bad for business.
I just read through the original article and your rebuttal again and I just don't agree with a lot of what you said in your rebuttal. I would be willing to lay money down that the majority of people that read your rebuttal never read through the UW-Madison article. I'm going to go through your major points and give my view of the article.

But just because addiction doesn’t occur in all users, or even most users, doesn’t mean that addiction doesn’t happen to any user.

You jumped on this statement claiming the same argument could be made to outlaw alcohol, cigarettes or "motor cars." Well, at no point during the article did the writer ever make a mention of his opinion on the legality of marijuana. That was not the intent. I gathered the intent of the article was only to educate about the possibilities.

Addiction to marijuana has the same features as addiction to other substances.

You wrote, "Definitely not." You have written that your opinion is just based on your personal experience and elsewhere you have made quite definitive statements. You can't jump to the conclusion that because it doesn't happen to you, it won't happen to anyone. Even with my personal experiences (which are considerable), you wrote them off as being caused by something other than MJ or an anomaly. Well, MJ DOES cause addiction in some people and this article that you're rebutting clearly states that what they are describing only happens in a small segment. The UW writer wrote, "Substance dependence, as mentioned above, is not common among pot users." That statement does away with nearly your entire argument. You fall into his category of an average pot user. He wasn't describing you. He was describing a pot user like me - the minority.

After a period of regular controlled use, users gradually develop an inability to consistently use within the limits that they have set for themselves.

Again, you position is, "Not true." That's another quite definitive answer. My position is that it is true in many cases. My personal experience tells me that it is entirely true. You may hold yourself to the couple hits and that's fine for you, but most of the smokers I know keep the bowl loaded. As they increase their usage, they need a few more tokes. This just seems like common sense to me, but I am around this behavior on a daily basis. My friends that are addicted would argue, just like you, that there is no addiction, but an individual is terrible at analyzing themselves.

Use won’t just result in “fun” or “getting high”; it will lead to problems with job performance, school performance, interpersonal relationships, or even health.

Ok, here you just went on a diatribe about that short statement that the writer followed by saying that IT DOESN"T OCCUR IN MOST SMOKERS. You're entire rebuttal is against the minority of smokers that addiction does happen to. At no point in the article did he ever claim that alcohol was good for a person or that marijuana is as bad as cigarettes. Smoking marijuana is bad. You're right, cigarette smokers do inhale a lot more during the day, but marijuana smoker take long, deep hits that they hold in their lungs for long periods. I suggest reading this and read up on the study out of Cambridge that the article references regarding how healthy smoking weed is.

Abuse, which involves continued use despite legal, occupational, or academic problems (e.g., recurrent use after an arrest for impaired driving, or after a drug-related work suspension) is more common.

You argue this would be a mute point if it were legalized, but even if it's legalized it will still be against the law to drive on it and people would still be getting suspended for being stoned at work. The writer was just pointing out the most common social problems with marijuana. He didn't seem to be making a point about legality and again pointed out that it doesn't happen to most smokers.

People who have used marijuana as a way to control underlying anger may also experience irritability, increased mood swings.

You made a nice little analogy of putting Novacaine on a toothache and blaming the Novacaine when the pain returns, but it didn't fit. The writer was referring to the many people that smoke to fix their anger, but experience mood swing during withdrawal. Again, this is a fact and as the writer says, "it is not common among pot users.

Your entire rebuttal made it seem like the article was written about the majority of pot smokers, when it was written about the minority. His article seemed to be saying to young students, "This can happen." In Las Vegas, some people win fortunes, most people just have a good time, and some people lose their life savings. Only a few people lose all their money, but don't you think everyone should know the risks when they go? It's the same with marijuana. It's not addictive to most people, but it is to some. The UW writer was just making the students aware of what CAN happen. My grandfather used to say that the most important day of his life was the day that he learned that he did not know everything and I have grown to agree with that statement.
Razor, thanks for you comment. I’m always glad to discuss the issues that I write about.

We all see the world in different ways, that’s for sure. I’m perfectly aware that one can’t generalize, especially when it comes to controversial issues like mj. I just wanted to present an alternate read to the UW-Madison researchers. These people probably never inhaled cannabis in their lives and are in no position to be determining policy, especially since there are no health issues. You can’t learn how to swim by reading a book. Did you listen to the Dr. Grinspoon radio interview? Who are you going to believe, the Dean of Harvard Medical School, or minor BBC functionaries who are pressured to assume the party line?

I gathered the intent of the article was only to educate about the possibilities.

I disagree here. The tone of the essay was definitely negative to the point of propaganda. With mj illegal the smoker is at the mercy of unscrupulous street hustlers, so they make assertions based on this bias. If the majority of people smoked, all their claims about job performance, school work, interpersonal relationships, etc, would be entirely inappropriate.

Remember, the original point of the rebuttal was that mj is not physically addictive— psychologically perhaps, depending on the mindset of the user.

About the BBC link,

The study also showed little difference in the concentrations of a range of chemicals, including chromium, nickel, arsenic and selenium.

Where the heck did they get the grass from, the worst slum in London? Ar, Se, Ch in cannabis, I don’t believe it. And even if it were true, don’t you think toxins could be engineered out, as they do with corn or grapes? Again we get down to the old issue of pouring paraquat on the crops and then claiming it makes you sick.

The health impact of cannabis is often over-looked amid the legal debate. "Evidence shows it is multiplied when it is cannabis compared to tobacco.

This is ludicrous. What evidence? Absolutely absurd. Nobody ever got lung cancer from smoking pot responsibly and correctly.

"Tobacco from manufacturers has been enhanced and cleaned whereas cannabis is relatively unprocessed and therefore is a much dirtier product.

This proves the point I made about the paraquat. The DEA “dirties” the product and then claims if makes you sick.

My grandfather used to say that the most important day of his life was the day that he learned that he did not know everything and I have grown to agree with that statement.

I hope you don’t think I’m a know-it-all. I’m been called that a few times. Carl Sagan was my mentor. A line of his is, paraphrased, “the more educated we become, the more aware we are of how little we know.”



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