By Roger Morgan

Not that it really matters, but no … it isn’t!  Alcohol isn’t going away, so why exacerbate the social and economic problems alcohol has inflicted on society by adding another harmful drug?  But, the difference?

Alcohol is water-soluble, and consists of one chemical.  One ounce of alcohol is excreted from the body in 12 hours.  In moderation, as with a glass or two of red wine, it can even be beneficial from a health standpoint.  In excess, of course, it has contributed to multiple problems.

Marijuana is fat-soluble, and consists of 483 chemicals that turn into 2,000 chemicals when smoked; contains 61 cannibinoids, all of which are bioactive and some psychoactive; and it contains 50-70% more carcinogens than tobacco.  One half the THC (psychoactive ingredient) is excreted from the body in 3 to 7 days, and the balance remains for a month, compounding with each additional joint.

Pro-marijuana activists, some that have been trying to legalize marijuana for decades, gloss over the fact that today’s marijuana often ranges from 20 to 30% THC content, whereas in the 70’s the potency ranged from ½ to 2%.  The difference is like comparing near beer to grain alcohol.

The travesty … even the treason … rests in the fact that our government, and maybe we collectively, don’t do whatever necessary to protect our youth.  Marijuana is the gateway to all drugs, and the onset of marijuana use on average is at age 12 to 13, when their brains are most vulnerable to harm and addiction.

Kids that start using alcohol and drugs are six times more likely to become addicts.  Addicts can’t work, or work effectively, so they become burdens on every aspect of public services:  crime, mental illness, health care, education, welfare and traffic safety.

Roughly 3,200 Americans die monthly from drug overdose.  None from marijuana, of course.  But 90% of those who do die started their drug journey with pot.  To solve the problem of overdose deaths, one has to at least defer the onset of alcohol and marijuana use where it almost always starts, with kids; on average, age 12 or 13.

So what are the true harms of marijuana that they don’t tell you about?

1)    Adolescent marijuana use can cause permanent brain damage by reducing white matter in the brain by as much as 80%, and shrinking the hippocampus, the learning, memory and cognition center of the brain, and causing an 8 pt loss in IQ by age 38.  Stopping doesn’t reverse the problem.

2)    Marijuana is a causal factor in psychosis, including schizophrenia, paranoia and suicidal depression.  One-third of prisoners are addicted to alcohol and drugs, and jails are overloaded with arrestees waiting months for beds in mental health facilities, which are already overloaded.

3)    Marijuana can cause fatal brain damage to a fetus only two weeks after conception, before the mother even knows she is pregnant.  She can quit using, but its normally too late for the baby.  Even low potency marijuana caused a spike in still births from 12 to 44%.  Babies that survived child birth were often blessed with physical deformities and brain damage.

4)    Marijuana stays in the body for long periods of time, particularly in the 3 lb brain the gonads, the fattiest parts of the body, and it attaches to the fatty linings of every cell in the body, keeping the healthy proteins out and diminishing the immune system.  It is also a major cause of testicular cancer in young males, a major factor in chronic bronchitis, and cause of head, neck and throat cancer.

5)    Marijuana impairment is a major cause of traffic injuries and death, and often used with alcohol and other drugs, which exacerbates the problem. 12% of  drivers who died from traffic accidents tested positive for just marijuana. What’s worse, they have killed many others.

6)    Marijuana, particularly the high potency stuff with over 18% THC called “skunk,” does increase the risk of injury to oneself and others.  Emergency room visits have soared.  Violent crime has escalated (5 to 15% in Sacramento) and shooters such as Jared Loughner, Tucson shooter, or John Patrick Bedell, the Pentagon shooter, have injured or killed many others.

Organizations like the Marijuana Policy Project, and other pro-pot drug dealers, simply lie about marijuana.  What do they hope to gain?  Money, power or they just like to get high.  Who gets hurt?  Our youth, and our country.  All of us!

Legalizing marijuana on the ridiculous pretense that people will quit consuming alcohol if they have access to legal marijuana is a myth to begin with, but calling  marijuana safer than alcohol is simply a lie.  The only benefit may be no hangover from pot, but the hidden harms are as bad, or worse.