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Jewish World Review
June 15, 2012/ 25 Sivan, 5772
More Bright News from the Centers for Disease Control
Remember the "good news/bad news" jokes? Here's one that is definitely no joke. According to a study from the Centers for Disease Control, the good news is that tobacco use among teens continues to decline. The bad news is more teens are smoking pot than are smoking cigarettes. Now I realize that there are undoubtedly lots of totally cool dudes who will read this and think, "Hey, man, that's not bad news. Nothin' wrong with smokin' a little weed, man." Well, to all those who think this way, stay tuned. But first, back to the CDC study.
The study surveyed over 15,000 teens across the country in 2011. While only 18 percent of teens reported smoking a cigarette in the past 30 days, a higher percentage - 23 percent - say they smoked marijuana in the past month. One kid, Tianda, a high school junior in Philadelphia says she's not surprised by the findings and says students are rarely warned about the dangers of marijuana. "I just hear a lot of dangers of cancer and cigarettes and I think that's why a lot of teens look to marijuana."
Tianda says she doesn't smoke pot, but guesses that's why other students do. "You don't really get cancer, it's less than a cigarette would be, and I think that's why a lot of teens do it." Teens don't stop to consider that although it isn't tobacco they're inhaling, it's still smoke and taking smoke into your lungs might not be the smartest thing to do for your health. And schools aren't making the case that pot is just as bad as tobacco.
In order to get high, most pot smokers have to inhale really deeply, much deeper into the lungs than does the average person who smokes a cigarette. Then the pot smoker has to hold it down in the lungs for an extended period before finally blowing out whatever is left. Common sense tells you that breathing smoke, any kind of smoke, deeply into your lungs and holding it down there can't be good for you.
A registered nurse that was quoted regarding the survey says that many teens think like Tianda, "but it's a myth kids tell each other. They don't know the real facts." The nurse says teens should be warned of marijuana just as much as they are about cigarettes. "Absolutely, I think there should be just as much emphasis on that."
A study from the University of Michigan supports that, with researchers there saying teens have been taught cigarettes are bad for you, but they seem to feel marijuana is less harmful. And get this, according to a Medical Review Board associated with The New York Times, the link between smoking tobacco and lung cancer is undeniable, but smoking marijuana causes lung cancer, too. Pot supporters used to say that not only didn't pot cause lung cancer, but it had a protective effect against it. Yep, puff the magic weed. Well, in reality recent studies do appear to link smoking marijuana with lung cancer.
Another study found that long-term use of marijuana increased the risk of lung cancer in young adults, with the risk increasing in proportion to the amount of marijuana smoked. Seems many of the carcinogens and co-carcinogens present in tobacco smoke are also present in smoke from marijuana.
Add to that these other wonderful benefits you get from pot:
Marijuana smoking causes inflammation and cell damage, and it has been associated with pre-cancerous changes in lung tissue.
Marijuana has been shown to cause immune system dysfunction, possibly predisposing individuals to cancer.
Marijuana likely increases the risk of testicular cancer, prostate cancer, cervical cancer, a type of brain tumor, and the risk of leukemia in the offspring of women who use it during pregnancy.
And as reported from Harvard university: "The main respiratory consequences of smoking marijuana regularly (one joint a day) are pulmonary infections and respiratory cancer, whose connection to marijuana use has been strongly suggested. The effects also include chronic bronchitis, impairment in the function of the smaller air passages, inflammation of the lung, the development of potentially pre-cancerous abnormalities in the bronchial lining and lungs, and, as discussed, a reduction in the capabilities of many defensive mechanisms within the lungs.
"Marijuana smoke and cigarette smoke contain many of the same toxins, including one which has been identified as a key factor in the promotion of lung cancer. This toxin is found in the tar phase of both, and it should be noted that one joint has four times more tar than a cigarette, which means that the lungs are exposed four-fold to this toxin and others in the tar.
"It has been suggested that marijuana is at the root of many mental disorders, including acute toxic psychosis, panic attacks, flashbacks, delusions, depersonalization, hallucinations, paranoia, depression, and uncontrollable aggressiveness. Marijuana has long been known to trigger attacks of mental illness, such as bipolar (manic-depressive) psychosis and schizophrenia.
"In the short term, marijuana use impairs perception, judgment, thinking, memory, and learning; memory defects may persist six weeks after last use. Mental disorders connected with marijuana use merit their own category in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) IV, published by the American Psychiatric Association. These include Cannabis Intoxication (consisting of impaired motor coordination, anxiety, impaired judgment, sensation of slowed time, social withdrawal, and often includes perceptual disturbances; Cannabis Intoxication Delirium (memory deficit, disorientation); Cannabis Induced Psychotic Disorder, Delusions; Cannabis Induced Psychotic Disorder, Hallucinations; and Cannabis Induced Anxiety Disorder.
Otherwise, smokin' pot is totally cool, man.
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JWR contributor Greg Crosby, former creative head for Walt Disney publications, has written thousands of comics, hundreds of children's books, dozens of essays, and a letter to his congressman. A freelance writer in Southern California, you may contact him by clicking here.
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