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February 5, 2014 - 2:16 pm

What does the future hold for California's experiment with marijuana as medicine?

USA Today: Obama: Pot no more dangerous than alcohol

President Obama says marijuana use is no more dangerous than alcohol, though he regards it as a bad habit he hopes his children will avoid.

“As has been well documented, I smoked pot as a kid, and I view it as a bad habit and a vice, not very different from the cigarettes that I smoked as a young person up through a big chunk of my adult life,” he said in a magazine interview. “I don’t think it is more dangerous than alcohol.”

He said marijuana is less dangerous than alcohol “in terms of its impact on the individual consumer.”

“It’s not something I encourage, and I’ve told my daughters I think it’s a bad idea, a waste of time, not very healthy,” he said.

Obama made his remarks in a series of interviews with The New Yorker, which published a story about the conversations in its Jan. 27 issue and on its website.

Marijuana remains illegal to possess or sell under federal law, although Colorado and Washington have adopted state laws making it legal to possess and use small amounts. A number of states have decriminalized the weed and authorized it for medical uses.

Obama said he was troubled by the disproportionate arrests and imprisonment of minorities on marijuana charges.

“Middle-class kids don’t get locked up for smoking pot, and poor kids do,” he said. “And African-American kids and Latino kids are more likely to be poor and less likely to have the resources and the support to avoid unduly harsh penalties.

Bridget Johnson at the PJ Tatler: Obama Praises CVS for Pulling All Tobacco Products from Its Shelves

Drugstore chain CVS got a shout out from President Obama after announcing this morning that it would stop selling tobacco products at its more than 7,600 stores across the country.

“Ending the sale of cigarettes and tobacco products at CVS/pharmacy is the right thing for us to do for our customers and our company to help people on their path to better health,” said Larry J. Merlo, president and CEO, CVS Caremark. “Put simply, the sale of tobacco products is inconsistent with our purpose.”

“As the delivery of health care evolves with an emphasis on better health outcomes, reducing chronic disease and controlling costs, CVS Caremark is playing an expanded role in providing care through our pharmacists and nurse practitioners. The significant action we’re taking today by removing tobacco products from our retail shelves further distinguishes us in how we are serving our patients, clients and health care providers and better positions us for continued growth in the evolving health care marketplace,” Merlo added.

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CNN: How heroin kills you

 The autopsy results aren’t in yet, but police believe heroin played a role in the death of Academy Award winning actor Philip Seymour Hoffman — if not the primary role.

Using heroin can kill you, but it may not be in the way you think. If Hoffman did die from using heroin, his death was atypical in some aspects. Here’s how heroin kills.

Most people die from heroin overdoses when their bodiesforget to breathe.

“Heroin makes someone calm and a little bit sleepy, but if you take too much then you can fall asleep, and when you are asleep your respiratory drive shuts down,” said Dr. Karen Drexler, director of the addiction psychiatry residency training program and an associate professor in Emory University’s psychiatry and behavioral sciences department.

“Usually when you are sleeping, your body naturally remembers to breathe. In the case of a heroin overdose, you fall asleep and essentially your body forgets.”

A heroin overdose can also cause your blood pressure to dip significantly and cause your heart to fail.

Every week day a book excerpt, video, news story or some combination thereof to provoke spirited debate on controversial subjects. Have an idea you'd like to offer up for discussion? Email PJ Lifestyle's editor Dave Swindle: DaveSwindlePJM [@] Gmail.com

Comments are closed.

Top Rated Comments   
It seems to me that drugs should be considered based on how they affect the body and how they affect behavior. Not necessarily in terms of legalization but of forming a mature judgment about what to use and what to avoid, what to advise your kids, how to manage your own life.
Caffeine is a mild upper. It has no known serious health consequences. A lot of it might make a person short-tempered a bit but it won't transform a person's behavior. If the individual is sleep-deprived and using caffeine to mask, the sleep deprivation could cause poor judgment a bit, or slow reactions in an emergency. I'd say caffeine is negligible as a drug, at least in the quantities people actually use.
Tobacco contains carcinogens. Nicotine, the item in tobacco that users crave, is also a mild upper and it seems to be physically addictive. Tobacco does not seem to impair consciousness or motor skills, although nicotine withdrawal can make a person hard to get along with. Health risk but not really a behavioral risk.
Alcohol is highly dose-dependent. A person can enjoy a glass of wine or sherry -- I do, three or four times a year -- and have only a very small sedative effect. It's also possible to become impaired drinking alcohol and not realize it -- in fact it's quite easy and it's happened to me. Alcohol has a sedative effect, lowering inhibitions and impeding judgment while it also affects motor responses. This can lead to bad decision-making, physical clumsiness, aggressive behavior and other quite dangerous outcomes. Alcohol is acutely toxic in high doses, causing death either by strangulation on vomit or by respiratory paralysis. Long-term use leads to damage to brain and liver at the least. Kind of a dicey thing, to be used with great care -- and put aside if you believe you can't be careful with it.
Marijuana is also more-or-less a sedative. It sometimes leads to giddiness, often to a feeling of lassitude and well-being. It seems to rarely produce aggression but it can lower inhibitions. It's not good for motor responses. Marijuana is not known to have short-term toxicity -- I've never heard of anyone dying from THC ingestion or intoxication. Long-term use seems to at least dull the personality. Since its purpose is to get high, I personally avoid it.
Heroin and opiates have medical use but we're not talking about medical use here. Opiates of all kinds have short-range toxicity similar to alcohol -- they can cause you to vomit and then strangle on it and they can stop your breathing. They produce giddiness and considerably impair judgment and motor responses. Absent a medical need, I'd keep far from them.
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (12)
All Comments   (12)
Sort: Newest Oldest Top Rated
"...a drug that made you feel great but destroyed your life without you caring?"

Heroin and meth?
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
If marijuana is so harmless, why was it made illegal in the first place? Part of the same social engineering that led to Prohibition? The idea that it was a "gateway drug" that inevitably led to harder drugs and addiction? Its association with lower-class undesirables like...heavens to Betsy!...black jazz musicians?

Frankly, I don't care whether they legalize marijuana or not, as long as the dumba$ potheads stay out of my way - on the road, on the street, at work, everywhere. The last dedicated toker I met was useless for anything except sitting around stinking with red eyes and a stupid look on his face. Don't need more of him in my life.
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
Another way they can kill you...

"Fatal Car Crashes Involving Marijuana Have Tripled"

http://seattle.cbslocal.com/2014/02/04/study-fatal-car-crashes-involving-marijuana-have-tripled/
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
A cup of coffee in the morning and a glass of red wine in the evening may be good for your health. Smoking is clearly bad for your lungs, but it's possible to deliver nicotine and THC other ways. Probably possible to regulate their recreational use. Drinking alcohol is somewhat self-limiting because you feel sick and vomit if you drink way too much with a headache the next day to reinforce the learning experience. Most people quickly figure out that light to moderate drinking is more enjoyable than heavy drinking.

Heroin and other opiates are in a different category. They're dangerous drugs that serve a useful medical purpose of providing short-term relief from severe pain. They clearly need to be controlled substances under medical supervision to get the dosage right because too much can kill you.
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
give them iv ports like chemo patients and let em die.
save money on disability and welfare
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
A misleading headline unfortunately.
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
So if you're gonna do heroin you better use a C-Pap machine so you remember to breath....llike sleep apnea sufferers.....OR, with heroin addicts dying every 22 seconds maybe drug dealers will run out of customers and put them out of business....OR, make it a death penalty offense for selling this $hit...
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
As long as human nature stays the same, drug dealers will never run out of idiots to sell heroin to.
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
It seems to me that drugs should be considered based on how they affect the body and how they affect behavior. Not necessarily in terms of legalization but of forming a mature judgment about what to use and what to avoid, what to advise your kids, how to manage your own life.
Caffeine is a mild upper. It has no known serious health consequences. A lot of it might make a person short-tempered a bit but it won't transform a person's behavior. If the individual is sleep-deprived and using caffeine to mask, the sleep deprivation could cause poor judgment a bit, or slow reactions in an emergency. I'd say caffeine is negligible as a drug, at least in the quantities people actually use.
Tobacco contains carcinogens. Nicotine, the item in tobacco that users crave, is also a mild upper and it seems to be physically addictive. Tobacco does not seem to impair consciousness or motor skills, although nicotine withdrawal can make a person hard to get along with. Health risk but not really a behavioral risk.
Alcohol is highly dose-dependent. A person can enjoy a glass of wine or sherry -- I do, three or four times a year -- and have only a very small sedative effect. It's also possible to become impaired drinking alcohol and not realize it -- in fact it's quite easy and it's happened to me. Alcohol has a sedative effect, lowering inhibitions and impeding judgment while it also affects motor responses. This can lead to bad decision-making, physical clumsiness, aggressive behavior and other quite dangerous outcomes. Alcohol is acutely toxic in high doses, causing death either by strangulation on vomit or by respiratory paralysis. Long-term use leads to damage to brain and liver at the least. Kind of a dicey thing, to be used with great care -- and put aside if you believe you can't be careful with it.
Marijuana is also more-or-less a sedative. It sometimes leads to giddiness, often to a feeling of lassitude and well-being. It seems to rarely produce aggression but it can lower inhibitions. It's not good for motor responses. Marijuana is not known to have short-term toxicity -- I've never heard of anyone dying from THC ingestion or intoxication. Long-term use seems to at least dull the personality. Since its purpose is to get high, I personally avoid it.
Heroin and opiates have medical use but we're not talking about medical use here. Opiates of all kinds have short-range toxicity similar to alcohol -- they can cause you to vomit and then strangle on it and they can stop your breathing. They produce giddiness and considerably impair judgment and motor responses. Absent a medical need, I'd keep far from them.
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
'Everything in moderation' - it's a very very old truism. As well as: 'everything has it's place and time'. Trouble brews sooner more than later when these simple common sense maxims are disregarded.
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
I think the problem comes down to how many people become addicted easily.
What if there was a drug that made you feel great but destroyed your life without you caring? That synthetic drug may be developed some day. I don't know the answer, but humans are frail and it seems that a decent society would protect its citizens.
Drawing lines is hard, wisdom is rare.
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
"... it seems that a decent society would protect its citizens." But generally not from themselves, to take a liberty-loving position.
I understand your position and it's one of the views that led to drug regulation -- it wasn't all blue nose. The eternal problem -- as you say, wisdom is rare -- is knowing where to quit drawing lines for other people.
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
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