Whenever large sums of money are involved, greed, profiteering, and unsavory practices are sure to follow. We’ve seen this in legitimate industries like big Pharma which has gouged consumers for years with high-priced drugs or preys on consumers with opioids knowing full well of the addictive properties while steadfastly denying it to the providers they campaigned. When Oxycodone first came out it was touted as a “wonder drug” with little if no addictive effects. Sadly, years later we all now know that’s not true. It’s no wonder people seek out “alternative medications” to get mental or physical relief.
Unfortunately, now that marijuana has gone “mainstream” it’s more likely than not, going to follow the same footsteps as other “wonder drugs” and elixirs before it. Let’s compare marijuana with “Big Tobacco” heroin, cocaine, and alcohol. The common thread is all these potions can temporarily numb, dull, distort, or distract the user from reality. Is marijuana a cure for anything that ails you? More likely, it is not as history has shown us before repeatedly.
- Heroin at one time was legal and used as a cough suppressant, cocaine was in the earliest version of Coca-Cola as a revitalizing tonic, and we all know about the history of tobacco use in this country. What was once advertised as good for us, it now seen as “bad” mostly through experiences that many users have faced battling addiction and tried to wean themselves from these addictive substances. Does that mean every person who tries or uses marijuana will become addicted to it? No more so, than alcohol most likely. Still, we have the problems of alcohol and alcoholism, and most substance abusers are “poly-users” meaning they usually use more than one drug of abuse in combination with other drugs. The idea that marijuana is a “gateway drug” is not such a stretch. Most users of hard drugs of heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine readily admit that either tobacco, alcohol or marijuana was the first drug they tried and were addicted to before they went on to harder drugs.
- Big Tobacco wants to get in on the act. Ever since the 1970’s, Big Tobacco has been waiting for a comeback. While you can only buy ashtrays and cigarette smoking accessories in antique stores these days, vaping supplies and e-cigarettes are sold in the same novelty stores that cater to drug paraphernalia. Big Tobacco has been studying marijuana both as a competitor to their products and as a possible product to sell. It’s no different than Coca-Cola deciding to add bottled water and juice to their product line when soda went out of vogue. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24890245
- Early advertising for cigarettes included endorsements from physicians. Right now, if you go on-line, you can find hundreds of physicians who are able and willing to write a “recommendation” for their patients for marijuana. Especially in states where marijuana has not been legalized for “recreational use”, some physicians can be genuinely sketchy and willing to Skype online for a few dollars ($50.00) so the user can procure a medical marijuana card. Little or no oversight of these physicians has been done in most cases and the doctors who do recommend cannabis may do so at their own peril.
- Tobacco during the early advertising days was touted as “safe” a “pick-me-up” a way to “lose weight”. What they patently forgot to mention is you would lose weight during your chemotherapy for cancer. While much is known about the dangers of smoking now, Big Tobacco suppressed that knowledge from their buying customers for many, many years. The long-term studies that have been done on tobacco have yet to be done on those who smoke marijuana. While we do know that there are unregulated pesticides being used to grow marijuana and people are getting nauseous and sick from use, there is little long-term studies to know the true overall effects. Again, when there is big money at stake the same back door and under-the-table deals will be dealt in Washington DC to try and buy influence. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-04-11/ex-speaker-john-boehner-joins-marijuana-firm-s-advisory-board
- Big Tobacco targets the next generations of users. A sad sick secret is that when tobacco was finally recognized as the danger it is for adults and warning and labels were put on the product, they tried to shift their market to the next generation. The cartoon “Joe the Camel” and other like cartoon characters came out as a direct appeal to kids. Worse, they went to third world countries who had less than strict advertising rules to further expand their poisonous market. I would expect that marijuana, while it’s always appealed to teenagers, will try and go this same route down the road. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/article-abstract/393811