Marijuana Use and Abuse
Colorado’s only certified adult burn center has logged 10 people being treated for serious injuries from making hash oil since early this year, according to a report on Yahoo! News.
Since the state officially legalized the use of recreational marijuana, there has been a rise on scorching explosions and a notable increase on reported injuries accompanying these explosions as pot users attempt to make their own hash oil at home.
Fire marshals and other law enforcers are at a loss on how to respond to this dilemma as the legality of the process made it impossible to punish the rising number of amateur chemists. The production of hash oil is being protected in the new legal pot law.
The unscientific home-based procedures performed by amateur chemists can produce hash oil that is far cheaper than store-bought finished products, but are hazardous to the one extracting the oil. The castoff leaves and stems of marijuana being packed into a pipe are poured with highly flammable butane to heat the concoction. If the makeshift laboratories are not properly ventilated (as is the common case in the reported explosions), butane fumes can linger in the room, making it susceptible to explosions.
According to the Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area, the state’s firefighters have responded to a good 31 explosions this year due to butane hash oil procedures although the number of explosions may be higher but only unreported.
Brian Vicente, a Denver attorney and co-author of the Colorado pot law, said that fires will decline if pot users realize the hazards of producing crude hash oils instead of getting it from authorized pot shops.
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Marijuana has been classified as a Schedule I Substance together with most dangerous drugs, but this claim seems to lack medical facts. Even President Barack Obama said in the past that he doesn’t think marijuana can be more dangerous than alcohol. However, alcohol is readily available to the public while the ban for marijuana hasn’t been lifted by the POTUS despite his favorable statement.
A Yahoo! Finance article recently revisited the discussion of famous neurosurgeon and CNN chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta, who admitted he was wrong to ignore and not acknowledge the many benefits of medical marijuana. He even wrote an article against it on 2009.
In his travels, he had convened with medical experts and marijuana patients which led to his realization that the advantages and benefits far outweigh the disadvantages of marijuana for medical purposes. He conducted his investigation and research, and got to meet real people treated with medical marijuana. He stayed long in laboratories to study and analyze the controversial plant.
Gupta said the world had been misled for the past 70 years that marijuana is harmful and addictive. Recent research and studies prove otherwise, he adds.
More and more patients are looking for cannabis because they want to try it for their respective ailments. In some medical instances, marijuana seems to be the only medication that works. Some claim that it is safer to use than most prescription drugs.
Marijuana advocates suggest using its medical name cannabis to further establish its rightful role in the society as an effective medicine.
The State of Kentucky is now embracing the legalization of medical marijuana through the passage of senate bill 124, which will allow the utilization of cannabidiol (marijuana oil) as treatment for children suffering from severe chronic seizure disorders.
The bill forwarded by Republican State Senator Julie Denton was unanimously voted in the Kentucky House judiciary Committee last March 19, allowing the treatment under the supervision of Universities of Louisville and Kentucky Medical Schools who are conducting research study for the pediatric seizure patients.
Sen. Denton said in a news release that the bill is centered to help those children whose life is being threatened by the disease and to give support to the families who are most affected by their children’s fate. She is concerned for those families who are desperate in finding medical treatment for their patients and even consider transferring residency in the state wherein use of medical marijuana is legal.
The bill is now in the House for final deliberations as Speaker Greg Stumbo expresses his support of the bill, with the assurance that this could be signed into law due to popularity of support from his colleagues.
Some 30,000 epileptic children will be benefited in this law with 10,000 of these group are suffering from severe seizures according to the Epilepsy Foundation of Kentuckiana.
If the bill will be approved and signed into law, the state of Kentucky will be included in the 21 states that legalized the use of medical marijuana.
Twenty U.S. states and the District of Columbia have already passed their respective medical marijuana laws, but local implementation seems to be going through a tough set of loops.
The Christian Science Monitor reported that a residential neighborhood in Phoenix has lobbied for the ban of marijuana use within the area, despite the approval of medical marijuana use in Arizona. Tom LaBonte, a resident of the unidentified neighborhood, shared his frustration over the homeowners association’s plan to ban cannabis use. Because of the protest from the area’s residents, the association decided not to push through with the ban.
LaBonte, a cancer survivor, said that the association encroached on homeowners’ rights not only in the issue of medical marijuana use, but also in other personal and private matters. “They’re there to dictate things about house callers and make sure that nobody does car repairs in their front lawn and have cars up on jacks, things of that nature,” he shared.
This conflict is just one of the many confusions across the states that have just approved laws for medical cannabis. For instance, some Michigan cities were planning to ban medical marijuana, but the state’s highest court revoked the ban on grounds that it clashes with the state law.
Amidst the approval of medical pot, many people are still opposed to legalizing marijuana use. Most of the opposition groups include Republicans and senior citizens.
A recent study has linked psychological disorders to a higher risk of engaging in vices.
Researchers from the University of Southern California and St. Louis’ Washington University School of Medicine jointly looked into the susceptibility of people diagnosed with psychotic disorders to a number of addictive activities such as drinking, smoking, and use of drugs.
Study co-author Dr. Sarah M. Hartz of Washington University said that contrary to popular belief, people suffering from severe mental disorders do not die because of suicide or drug overdose. “They die from heart disease and cancer, problems caused by chronic alcohol and tobacco use,” said Dr. Hartz in a news interview.
The study, published in the JAMA Psychiatry journal, monitored more than 9,000 patients with psychiatric illnesses such as bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. The cases were then compared with people without diagnosed brain disorders, and performed an assessment as to the degree of use of alcohol, drugs and nicotine.
Results showed the following findings:
- Thirty percent of people with mental disorders were engaging in binge drinking, as compared to only 8 percent for normal-minded patients.
- In terms of smoking, 33 percent of the people without psychotic issues were identified as smokers. In stark contrast, the figure for mental patients shot up to above 75 percent.
- Marijuana use was also higher in psychiatric patients, registering 50% of the study population. Meanwhile, only 12 percent of the people without mental disorders used marijuana.
To top it off, Dr. Hartz added that “these patients tend to pass away much younger, with estimates ranging from 12 to 25 years earlier than individuals in the general population.”
Colorado has been marked on the world map as one of two U.S. states to pass a measure to allow personal use and possession of marijuana for adults, including growing and selling them. It may seem that the Centennial State is loose when it comes to marijuana use, but this recent news item from Bloomberg revealed that not everyone is pot-loving.
Satellite TV supplier Dish Network Corp. fired one of its customer service agents, Brandon Coats, for drawing positive to a random drug test. The firing happened despite the fact that Coats lives in Colorado.
What made this bit of news more viral was that Coats is a quadriplegic who takes medical marijuana prescribed by his doctor to address muscle spasms. The fired agent figured in a car crash, resulting to his health condition. Coats himself was surprised with the company decision. “I had a doctor’s permission to do something I need to help me get on with my life.”
Despite the measure passed in Colorado, a particular case in the past involved the state court supporting a company’s rule to fire one of its employees for drug test failure based on federal law. The same ruling applied to Coats’ case, even through the appeals court.
Princeton’s National Workrights Institute president Lewis Maltby said that marijuana users should not be discriminated against. “Employers ought to reconsider their drug testing policies in states where medical marijuana is legal,” Maltby added.