Cannabis For the Holidays Makes SenseBy Lanny Swerdlow, RN
Every holiday season over 1,000 people die due to drunk driving. These figures from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration are sobering to say the least. All the guilt-tripping cajoling from Mothers Against Drunk Driving, the threats from law enforcement and the opprobrium of society does not forestall these tragic deaths from occurring each holiday season.
Alcohol and the holiday season are synonymous. Whether at office parties, family get-togethers or a myriad of other holiday celebrations culminating on New Year’s Eve, alcohol is de rigueur. Consecrated in the Bible and other historic writings of Western civilization, alcohol’s use as a mood-altering substance is encouraged through advertising, Budweiser’s Clydesdales horse teams and the stamp of approval given by our communities’ leaders regularly engaging in alcohol-infused events and celebrations.
It is the worst possible choice that could have been made.
Young adults are particularly vulnerable to the ravages of alcohol. Compared to other age groups, 21- to 24-year-olds have the highest number of alcohol-impaired driving fatalities—one-third of them due to alcohol consumption.
The next group with the highest level of alcohol-impaired driving fatalities is 25- to 34-year-olds with almost 30 percent of their fatalities due to alcohol. As drivers age, the percentage of alcohol-impaired driving decreases significantly due to a decrease in alcohol consumption from people growing older.
The dangers and destructive impact of alcohol on our communities does not end with traffic fatalities. Diseases related directly to alcohol such as pancreatitis, cirrhosis of the liver and cancer account for over 1.5 million hospital admissions annually.
Society needs to understand that humans like to party, and when they party they like to ingest mood-altering substances. We have been doing this so long there is probably a genetic component driving it. The horrors of alcohol prohibition have shown that the drive to alter one’s mood is so pervasive that people will not abstain from its consumption even under threat of criminal prosecution.
Since it is unrealistic and unnatural to expect humans to cease consuming mood-altering substances, then it is incumbent upon civilized society to offer effective alternatives to alcohol. There are plenty of mood-altering substances available ranging from opium to methamphetamines. Although any of these substances would generally produce less damage to the individual than alcohol, the problem with every one of them is that they all have significant negative health consequences.
With absolutely none of the negative health consequences of alcohol or any of the other mood-altering substances, cannabis is the only substance whose mood-altering abilities are strong enough to compete with alcohol. By preventing access to cannabis, governments have blood on their hands—it is akin to genocide.
Multiple studies, like the 2011 report Medical Marijuana Laws, Traffic Fatalities
and Alcohol Consumption by Mark Anderson and Daniel Rees, have documented that when cannabis consumption increases, alcohol consumption decreases. No surprise there—good quality, potent marijuana is far more fun to party with then alcohol. Plus there is the added advantage that the next morning the user wakes up bright-eyed and bushy-tailed.
Far from discouraging marijuana consumption, a rational approach to the problems caused by alcohol would include, as a major component, not just making marijuana widely and easily available, but a major health initiative to encourage people to use marijuana as their mood-altering substance of choice.
The anti-inflammatory properties of cannabis principally benefit society’s older members for treating and preventing cardiovascular disease and cancer. These are age-related ailments. Young adults do not usually have cardiovascular disease and cancer. The major benefit of cannabis for young adults is its psychoactive properties that make it an effective and acceptable alternative to alcohol.
The mindless genuflection of our world’s leaders to the perpetual quest by police for power and money through enforcement of marijuana prohibition laws is directly responsible for the deaths and other debilitating consequences that millions of suffering young adults having to choose between alcohol and nothing.
Fortunately, young adults in California with a physician’s recommendation have the choice to use cannabis. This holiday season make the right choice, the safer choice—choose cannabis.
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