Legal Cannabis and Morality
#31
Quote:Augustinian wrote:

I wasn't comparing pot itself to abortion, but the logic you were using is exactly the same logic used to push forth incremental change. Its legalized for one very specific use, but soon it's open to general use as a recreational stimulant rather than a medical aid as with cancer patients.

It the principle of hallow-out. A tiny whole or rift is made in the "moral fabric", just big enough for a pen. Then gradually it is made bigger, and bigger until it is totally torn. 

While I wouldn't say that this is a knock down argument against marijuana use, I think that it is a good principle to keep in the back of one's head. Also, though this is admittedly anecdotal, I think it is silly to argue that the push for legalized marijuana use was about anything other than total legalization of recreational use. Most of the people whom I know who are for the legalization of marijuana "for medicinal purposes" are either habitual users or indifferent to its recreational use.
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#32
To be fair to the OP, I think this thread is mostly about his personal concerns about legitimate marijuana use for health and nothing else. I think Paul was the only one in this thread who speculated about the possibility of legalization. I don't think anyone here is seriously arguing for legalization of marijuana as a good thing... at least I hope not.
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#33
Quote:To be fair to the OP, I think this thread is mostly about his personal concerns about legitimate marijuana use for health and nothing else

My primary point for discussion is the delineation of morally legitimate vs sinful use of cannabis in a state where adult use is legal; where the distinctions lay and how we arrive at them.

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#34
(09-17-2019, 06:26 PM)1Faith Wrote:
Quote:But there are other grave sins which tie into marijuana use, particularly scandal.
Correct, that's a very good point. Smoking a blunt at a marijuana festival or social club would without a doubt be scandalous for a Catholic to do. Doing it in the privacy of one's home away from any children would be a different matter.

What do children have to do with this? If it's not a evil thing then smoking marijuana around children is fine. If it is an evil then then you shouldn't be using it.

Further, scandal goes beyond your use. How are you obtaining the marijuana? If through a legal channel, are you not then supporting an industry that promotes recreational use of marijuana? Is that not sinful? Are you not also going to be known to others as a marijuana user? Will than not encourage others to use? Are you known as a Catholic? If they find out you use marijuana, will you not then be effectively telling others it is not a sin, so encouraging them?

Scandal is not just about hiding your activity from others so they are not tempted.

(09-17-2019, 06:26 PM)1Faith Wrote:
Quote:Only puritans or those trying to promote recreational use of drugs will make some equivalence between the bit of caffeine in my morning coffee and a caffeine pill.
So is taking a caffeine pill sinful? That would be bad news for me, i've been taking a caffeine pill every day I work before work for nearly a decade now. I'm a cook at a busy casino, I'm constantly on my feet and moving fast all day long, I'd have a hard time doing that without those caffeine pills.

You've clearly missed the point of that bit, which was not about you.

My point was that breeding plants and extracting psychoactive chemicals to make them more potent is the whole reason we're even speaking about this.

I think the idea of popping caffeine pills isn't sinful, but it's a bit off. Why don't you just have a tea or coffee? The danger of pills is that you can much more easily become dependent, i.e. addicted. Having a coffee takes time and you can't easily chug down 5 cups to get 500 mg of caffeine without some other issues. You certainly can do that with 5 pills.

(09-17-2019, 06:26 PM)1Faith Wrote:
Quote:People smoke and consume marijuana for the high.
That's true in many cases. However, as I've explained, there are high-cbd, low-thc strains of cannabis that are becoming increasingly popular and are not used to induce a high. They are used to induce relaxation and relief of anxiety. I fail to see how mild use of such strains is morally different from having two glasses of red wine in the evening.

The Pontifical Council for Pastor Health Care in 2012 assessed that the intoxicating effects of an average joint, independent of it's other effects is the equivalent of a 1.5 ounces of pure alcohol. It also suggested that one joint causes the damage equivalent to 4-5 cigarettes. So if you want to compare having a joint to taking a shot of Everclear and then sucking down 4-5 cigarettes, fine. I'd suggest that's not normal or good behavior.

To this must be added that since CBD and THC are fat-soluble thus enter brain tissue much more easily, their principle effects last for 6-8 hours even in moderate use of marijuana, their long-term effects can last for weeks, so their effects can be cumulative, and thus a second joint can have more of an effect. There are also other toxins that are released and pass into the brain, so these toxic effects are cumulative, unlike alcohol.

Alcohol, on the other hand has little to no effect in moderation for most people up to about 3 standard units. It is only beyond this point (which can vary in some) that longer-term effects can be seen, and usually only when abusive use occurs are effects in the 6-8 hour range seen. In moderate use the effects of alcohol are not cumulative.

Having said that, someone who has two glasses of wine every evening is not, in my mind, using alcohol moderately. He may not be an alcoholic or drunkard, but such regular use will in at least some generate a dependence. The Mayo Clinic, for instance, defines "moderate use" of alcohol as the equivalent of one drink per day.

So, we're not comparing apples and oranges here.

(09-17-2019, 06:26 PM)1Faith Wrote:
Quote:Legitimate medical use would involve extracting the chemicals which are beneficial and using those separately, not smoking.
There's a major problem with that line of thinking. The cannabinoids in Cannabis work together synergistically; this is referred to as the "entourage effect". I use a full spectrum cbd tincture daily, which is a whole-plant extract derived from hemp flower. It includes all the cannabinoids in the plant, with thc constituting less than .3%. These preparations work better than isolated preparations because the cannabinoids work more efficiently in the presence of each other. As an example lets consider a cancer patient suffering from extreme nausea. If you were to give them a pill of pure thc, it would relieve the nausea but could induce strong anxiety. This has been often reported by patients who take Marinol, which is pure synthetic thc. However, if that same patient takes a balanced extract of cannabis containing a proportionately high quantity of cbd, the anti-nausea effects of the thc would be in place, but the anxiety-inducing effects of the thc would be mitigated by the presence of cbd. Long story short, your presumption that isolated cannabinoids are more effective is demonstrably erroneous. All of that said, I will agree that smoking is not a good idea, and there are countless varieties of whole-plant extract that eliminate the need to smoke cannabis flower.

Firstly, 0.3% THC levels can be extracted from industrial hemp. No need for marijuana.

Secondly, I didn't say that "isolated cannabinoids are more effective", nor did I suggest giving pills of pure THC. I said that legitimate medical use will involve extracting the effective chemicals to minimize side-effects and harms. CBD oil is an extraction. One is not eating or smoking marijuana in such a case, he is using an extract, and by reducing THC levels to 0.3%, eliminating or at least minimizing any psychoactive effects.

There are a myriad of ways to do this: Synthetic cannabinoids, extractive oils, pills of cocktails of those that show the proper effects, but my point was that there is no legitimate medical use in smoking marijuana.

CBD oil or tincture is not what I'm talking about here. I know of no one who says this is sinful. We're speaking of marijuana use, which is a in itself mortal sin, admitting of circumstances which might reduce its sinfulness (very low grade stuff, once in a blue moon use, etc. Note, I did not say eliminate sinfulness, but reduce.

I would say that the culture that surrounds marijuana is itself an occasion of scandal and sin.

(09-17-2019, 06:26 PM)1Faith Wrote:
Quote: But, no one is going to smoke or consume hemp.
You must not be aware of the booming hemp-flower industry then. Since the 2018 farm bill that descheduled hemp, smokeable hemp flower has become very popular. Why would anyone smoke that? Because the hundreds of cannabinoids in the plant induce relaxation, just without the head high and euphoria induced by thc. I've smoked hemp flower before and it does have a noticeable psychoactive effect, just without being in any way intoxicating. Its like being very relaxed but with a completely clear head.

And yet it has a psychoactive effect, and, I am sure many of the detrimental effects of smoking as well.

And again, where do you find said flower ... at the shops which sell marijuana and promote marijuana use ... so again, we're back to the same scandalous subculture.

(09-17-2019, 06:26 PM)1Faith Wrote: I highly recommend watching the CNN documentary series "Weed". Its available for free on YouTube. There you will find countless stories of people who have suffered debilitating diseases and have found tremendously relief from the use of (whole-plant) cannabis. This whole notion that whole-plant medicine is somehow not medicinal is a product of a blind faith in the Pharmaceutical industry. Often times plant medicines work much better than pharmaceuticals do, with far fewer side effects. After all, God gave us the plants of the earth for food and medicine.

:jester:

CNN ... really?

That documentary is typical of political pieces. It starts from a fine premise (that there are some legitimate medical benefits from cannabis) and then goes on to try to blur the lines between the beneficial effects which can be had through extractives and pharmaceutical preparations to smoking marijuana.

It follows the same bait-and-switch tactic as the "medical marijuana" crowd : push for medical marijuana, not medical research and the production of safe extractives and pharmaceuticals, then once people are convinced to allow "medical marijuana" claim it is safe and push for full-on legalization for recreational use. In doing so compare with alcohol and cigarettes, neglecting to make the necessary distinctions of effects ("its safer than cigarettes, and no different than a glass of wine")

Sort of like what we read above ...
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#35
Quote:If it's not a evil thing then smoking marijuana around children is fine. If it is an evil then then you shouldn't be using it.
For the same reason you (hopefully) don't smoke a cigarette or a cigar around children. You don't want them exposed to the smoke and you don't want to encourage them to smoke by your actions. But let me be clear off the bat that I think smoking cannabis is almost always a bad idea. In a legal market there are far better ways to consume the plant, like tinctures and other extracts.

Quote:How are you obtaining the marijuana? If through a legal channel, are you not then supporting an industry that promotes recreational use of marijuana? Is that not sinful?
As i've said elsewhere, the legal marijuana industry sells cannabis, and people use it for a variety of reasons; some therapeutic, some recreational. The industry simply distributes cannabis, people either use it legitimately (therapeutic purposes) or sinfully (recreationally). The industry itself, inherently, can't be sinful because it distributes a product that can be used legitimately or illegitimately depending on the choice of the consumer. Alcohol businesses are not sinful in themselves just because many of their customers drink to excess and thereby commit grievous sin. It would follow that marijuana businesses are not sinful in themselves just because many of their customers use cannabis as a recreational drug rather than as a substance to treat medical issues. That all being said, I personally would prefer cannabis just be legal for medicinal purposes. It should be a schedule 3 or 4 drug federally, and it should be up to the states to determine qualifying conditions and regulatory regimes. I definitely fail to see how the medical marijuana industry can be construed as sinful in itself, just because some customers abuse it.

Quote:but my point was that there is no legitimate medical use in smoking marijuana.
Fair enough. The only reason it is sometimes smoked for legitimate medical reasons is that the onset of effects (like suppression of nausea or stimulation of appetite) happen much more quickly than other methods of ingestion. But that being said vaporization is always an option, which has the same rapid onset without the harmful carcinogens contained in smoke. So i agree smoking the stuff is not a good or rational way to use the substance therapeutically.

Quote:And yet it has a psychoactive effect, and, I am sure many of the detrimental effects of smoking as well.
The psychoactive effect isn't sinful because it doesn't cause intoxication or any impairment of reason. Granted the harmful effects of smoking do apply, but no Catholic will say tobacco use is sinful in itself, and this would fall into the same category morally. A non-intoxicating smoke may not be good for you but its not necessarily sinful.

Quote:And again, where do you find said flower ... at the shops which sell marijuana and promote marijuana use ... so again, we're back to the same scandalous subculture.
No. You can legally buy it online and have it shipped directly to your door in all 50 states. Hemp and all its extracts and formulations is federally legal in the United States since the 2018 Farm Bill.

Quote:CNN ... really?
Yeah they're terrible, but the documentary series is actually very good. And many of the patients they examine do not in fact smoke the stuff. One is a little girl who suffers from debilitating and life-threatening seizures up to 75 times a day, and a specific strain of low-thc cannabis made into a tincture reduces them to almost zero. This is the real face of medical cannabis. Just because a lot of people abuse it does not change the fact that it is of tremendous therapeutic benefit for a lot of people.

And to make it clear yet again, I am not in favor of recreational use. There is an argument to be made for legalizing general adult use, but I personally lean more toward a policy of permitting and facilitating cannabis for medical use only. That said I don't think the qualifying conditions need be overly restrictive, because it has therapeutic potential for a whole lot of symptoms.
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#36
(09-17-2019, 10:09 PM)1Faith Wrote:
Quote:If it's not a evil thing then smoking marijuana around children is fine. If it is an evil then then you shouldn't be using it.
For the same reason you (hopefully) don't smoke a cigarette or a cigar around children. You don't want them exposed to the smoke and you don't want to encourage them to smoke by your actions.

If smoking is not a bad thing that what is the problem with exposing children to smoke. What is the problem with even encouraging them to smoke by your example?

If it is a bad thing then why should it permitted (except by tolerating an evil that is not able to be eradicated), or why is it moral?

(09-17-2019, 10:09 PM)1Faith Wrote:
Quote:How are you obtaining the marijuana? If through a legal channel, are you not then supporting an industry that promotes recreational use of marijuana? Is that not sinful?
As i've said elsewhere, the legal marijuana industry sells cannabis, and people use it for a variety of reasons; some therapeutic, some recreational. The industry simply distributes cannabis, people either use it legitimately (therapeutic purposes) or sinfully (recreationally). The industry itself, inherently, can't be sinful because it distributes a product that can be used legitimately or illegitimately depending on the choice of the consumer. Alcohol businesses are not sinful in themselves just because many of their customers drink to excess and thereby commit grievous sin. It would follow that marijuana businesses are not sinful in themselves just because many of their customers use cannabis as a recreational drug rather than as a substance to treat medical issues. That all being said, I personally would prefer cannabis just be legal for medicinal purposes. It should be a schedule 3 or 4 drug federally, and it should be up to the states to determine qualifying conditions and regulatory regimes. I definitely fail to see how the medical marijuana industry can be construed as sinful in itself, just because some customers abuse it.

But that industry started in order to provide and encourage recreational use.

If pot shops were to stock only what was medically useful, then clearly they could have an argument that they were just providing for some legitimate medical use, even if some people, like myself would argue that there is no legitimate un-extracted whole plant use. They would have strains which were not high THC. However the industry sells high-THC strains, grows these and cultivates them for the purpose of providing people the ability to get high. They might happen to sell things which there could be some medical use for, but they provide a large number of things which have no legitimate moral use.

By your line of argument argument an "adult "store is not sinful in itself because some of their items could be used by married couples in the context of normal marital relations. Sure they sell porn, and various other items whose purpose is nothing except sinful use, but they are not responsible for the sins of their customers.

Planned Parenthood does provide women's health checkups as well. That some women decide to take contraceptives from them or have abortions, that's not on them.

Jack's pharmacy right next to the adult store might make most of its money from condoms, contraceptives and RU-486, but since they also sell Tylenol, it's morally neutral. They're not responsible for people using their products immorally, since some of them might possibly have, like, some legitimate use, man.

(09-17-2019, 10:09 PM)1Faith Wrote: Yeah they're terrible, but the documentary series is actually very good.

One wonders if it is "good" because it coincides with your conclusions.

(09-17-2019, 10:09 PM)1Faith Wrote: And many of the patients they examine do not in fact smoke the stuff. One is a little girl who suffers from debilitating and life-threatening seizures up to 75 times a day, and a specific strain of low-thc cannabis made into a tincture reduces them to almost zero. This is the real face of medical cannabis. Just because a lot of people abuse it does not change the fact that it is of tremendous therapeutic benefit for a lot of people.

And that piece from CNN intentionally highlights the benefits of people who do not smoke marijuana, and use extractives, just like I have suggested above. The problem is that it's taking those legitimate uses, then gently extending it to smoking, with the intent of open legalization. It's bait-and-switch.

If extractives are so good, then why was "medical marijuana" mostly about providing the plant itself for smoking, and not about legalizing extractives?

At some point the "fruit of the poisonous tree" enters the picture.
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#37
(09-17-2019, 10:51 PM)MagisterMusicae Wrote:
(09-17-2019, 10:09 PM)1Faith Wrote: Yeah they're terrible, but the documentary series is actually very good.

One wonders if it is "good" because it coincides with your conclusions.

This whole thread seems to me just to be an example of perceived good versus objective good.
"The Heart of Jesus is closer to you when you suffer, than when you are full of joy." - St. Margaret Mary Alacoque

Put not your trust in princes: In the children of men, in whom there is no salvation. - Ps. 145:2-3

"For there shall be a time, when they will not endure sound doctrine; but, according to their own desires, they will heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears: And will indeed turn away their hearing from the truth, but will be turned unto fables." - 2 Timothy 4:3-4
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#38
(09-17-2019, 07:27 PM)piscis Wrote: To be fair to the OP, I think this thread is mostly about his personal concerns about legitimate marijuana use for health and nothing else. I think Paul was the only one in this thread who speculated about the possibility of legalization. I don't think anyone here is seriously arguing for legalization of marijuana as a good thing... at least I hope not.

In an ideal world, no, but that's not the one we live in. Drug prohibition hasn't worked, and has created far worse corruption among the police, far more crime among sellers and users, and the use of hundreds of billions of dollars to lock up people for years whose only crime was getting high. Maybe it's not good in an absolute sense, but, to me, the 'good' choice is legalisation. Maybe I'm wrong. I suppose with so many states legalising marijuana, we'll see what happens.

I'm still not convinced that low-THC strains are sinful, but then, I don't have any experience with any of that. Even if it's intoxicating, there's still legitimate medical uses. Nobody would say using anaethesia during surgery is sinful, even though it's a substance that makes you completely lose consciousness. If it's being taken as a sleep aid, not with the intention to get high, and not feeling the effects of being high (since you're asleep), that seems like double effect applies. It would be better if the research could be done to see if THC really does have medicinal properties, and if it can be turned into medicine, but with the way the laws are currently, that sort of research can't even be done.
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#39
The stuff they had back in the 1920s (when marijuana was outlawed) was nothing compared to what they have now, but the same could be said for tobacco, too, right? (Poor Sir Walter Raleigh if he'd only known). I dont see any wisdom in legalizing it but on the other hand where was the wisdom in banning it in the first place? Funnily (& sadly) it once was referred to as the gateway drug, meaning marijuana use may lead to hard drugs, (horse and mojo &c., to use the hippy parlance), so it wouldn't be much of a stretch to suggest cannabis, (hipster parlance), may only still be the gateway to the legalization of harder drugs.

Personally, whenever I'd try to do a project inspired by pot, it would have to be done over the next day.
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#40
I don't know anything about "hemp" vs. "marijuana," the THC levels of either, extracting CBD oils, the efficacy of various cannabis strains and various forms of ingestion on medical conditions, etc., but I know that CBD oil is supremely expensive while planting some seeds and watering them costs nothing. As a pain patient whose doctor -- like the doctors of millions of other pain patients -- has been terrified into undertreating pain/not treating it at all, I'd love to try CBD oil, but no way could I afford to. I can fully understand someone putting up with a marijuana high to be eased of pain, and I say this as someone who does not like the sort of high grass gives (I mean, I really don't like it).*


* As said, though, I have no idea if smoking grass eases pain in any way similar to the ways using CBD oil is said to (anyone know?). But *if* it does, I can see why pain patients would smoke it.

Something else I'm wondering about reading this thread: there's been talk about "the culture" of marijuana: I think there are a gorillion sub-cultures in play here, and while someone raised on the North side, the ritzy side of a town, might have an idea of "that culture over there" where people might sometimes "use drugs" after work is a "culture" associated with losers, hippies, ex-hippies, children of unmarried ex-hippies, folks who don't have books in their homes, people who fight over the colors red and blue, etc. -- while someone raised on that other side of town might know lots of respectable people who go to church, raise their kids decently, go to the library, and may occasionally have a few tokes of grass they grew themselves after planting a few seeds between the rows of corn in their garden, thereby having nothing to do with "the drug culture" per se, or drug dealers, or Mexican cartels, and all the Hollywood stuff. Just something to keep in mind, which leads to a bigger point about the world of traditional Catholicism: I think that, too often, what is seen as the True, Good, and Beautiful can be too exclusively bound up in cultural specifics and personal aesthetics. The "1950ism,"  "neo-Victorianism," and "pseudo-Amish thing" we sometimes see in trad circles -- things that strike me as larping rooted in anomie -- can be really off-putting to a lot of people.
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