When interviewed recently by the New Haven Register, Vasilis Vasiliou, a professor at Yale, served a platter of swiss cheese with the word sauce he cooked up. The article, entitled “Yale prof raises concerns about potential health hazards of recreational marijuana” supplements the campaign of the anti-cannabis crusade by generating more fear surrounding the mystery of marijuana. He raises some decent concerns:
“So far there are indications that it could be harmful,” said Vasilis Vasiliou, a professor of epidemiology at the school. He’s especially concerned about the combined influence of alcohol and marijuana, cannabis’ effect on the developing brain and its potential harm to pregnant women and fetuses.
Vasiliou’s concerns are not based on anecdotal evidence but on scientific studies published in medical journals such as the Journal of the American Medical Association and the Journal of Medical Toxicology. But studies have been limited, he said, because the federal government lists cannabis as a Schedule 1 illegal drug, in the same category as cocaine and heroin.
But Vasiliou worries about abuses, such as combining alcohol and cannabis.
“The marijuana inhibits alcohol metabolism,” he said.
Vasiliou cited research by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration done in the Netherlands that found cannabis had a multiplier effect on blood-alcohol levels. Subjects with 0.04 percent blood-alcohol content, when given a high dose of marijuana, showed the effects of someone with more than triple the blood-alcohol level, 0.14 percent.
That’s fantastic. When people consume cannabis and alcohol, they get more drunk. And pregnant women might want to reconsider sparking up for at least 9 months. These are small subsectors of society that are either in one case – consuming a recreational drug and facing the consequences of it, or on the other hand, changing their life and body immensely.
Why can’t cannabis be legal for recreational use again?
It’s funny how the professor focuses on the facts and figures for blood-alcohol content, cause if you flip the script and look a the numbers for pot – it paints a different picture. In a study released by the AACC in 2015, they found that participants who vaporized “high-dose” 6.7% THC cannabis also got higher when they were drunk. The stoned participants had an average of blood concentration of 42.2 µg/L THC, and by comparison their stoned and drunk compatriots had an average of 67.5 µg/L THC.
So the more you drink and smoke, the drunker — and higher you get. At first to the conservative perspective, it may seem like a terrible concoction. However, the increase of THC to counteract the heightened levels of alcohol allows the individual to make better decisions. In repeated studies, cannabis has shown to lower a driver’s potential to get into an accident due to their more conscious and caring nature.
It’s an effect that any stoner can attest to, the ever conscious presence behind the stoned veil. Despite being absolute baked, you’re fully conscious of the process, and the only difference in your mental state is an addition of compassion and sensitivity. You may get so stoned you start slurring your words, but you’re completely conscious of it, you can hear it happening if you pay attention — and that ability gives stoners the clarity to sit their stoned ass back down instead of driving. It’s a stark contrast to the bravado displayed by the irritable alcohol infused variety.
And let’s talk about smoking during pregnancy. Women have been and still are smoking cigarettes while pregnant, even while acknowledging the studies that actually do confirm there is damage from tobacco use. We take away the freedom of choice by demonizing the substance completely and making it illegal. There are countless legal substances available that women shouldn’t eat while pregnant, from simple foods like raw meats, fish, and eggs, to even recreational drugs like caffine and alcohol. One google search of “stuff pregnant women should avoid” reveals a plethora of publications citing that pregnant women should stop their daily ingestion of Starbucks, and refuse the booze at the bars and restaurants they like to frequent. Despite all these warnings by society, and even on the labels of some substances, they’re all legal for purchase by anyone — even the pregnant.
He even starts discussing a topic that is classic stigmatization of cannabis, claiming that it causes “schizophrenia” or “psychosis” — and then joining it with another standard mantra belted by the prohibitionist brigade – “think of the children!”:
“My major concerns are the damaging effects [marijuana] can have on the brain of the adolescents and the young kids and the mothers,” he said. “The brain … develops until the age of 25.” And heavy use of marijuana, he said, has been shown to be responsible for schizophrenia and other forms of psychosis.
Despite being a man who stands by scientific studies and not anecdotal evidence, and even going as far to claiming there “aren’t enough”, the professor fails to find studies I’ve seen pop up on quite a few occasions. It’s been found that schizophrenic patients tend to consume (and often abuse) cannabis to appease their psychological symptoms. It’s a common form of self-medicating, particularly for some, in an organic way. These factors tend to show an uptick in schizophrenic cannabis users, which are misconstrued as cannabis as the causation – and not medication.
He goes on to say:
“We need a lot of research,” Vasiliou said. “People need to be educated; people need to know. The general population does not know what we’re talking about.”
Something that we can finally agree on! We need more data about this dank herb, and we need to disseminate it to the sober and stoned masses. As more scientific studies are released that reveal the true nature of the cannabis plant, we can start to develop educated legislation around the recreational drug that make sense (wouldn’t be the first time we amend recreational drug laws). And of course, websites like this and others, will have plenty of articles like I mentioned before discussing the benefits, and even dangers, of cannabis when used improperly.
The professor did have some positive statements to say about cannabis, I don’t want to make it seem like he’s against it or anything. Dude just needed to Google about ganja a bit more. What really got me was simply the framing of the article, and the spin that these publications apply to further perpetuate the fear surrounding cannabis. I can’t stand for it, especially when they’re not just trash sources (EverydayBritishFakeNews and ThatOtherFakeBritishNewsSource).
People can and will be educated, just legalize the plant and give a bigger chance in Connecticut