The Perilous Problems With PotMar 08
The Dumbing Down and Demonic Infiltration of a Nation Caused by Increased Marijuana Use
By Joe Schimmel
In the last election cycle, the U.S. did not only get a new president, but three more states legalized the recreational use of the drug marijuana. Of the five states where marijuana’s recreational usage was on the ballot, California, Massachusetts and Nevada made smoking cannabis legal.
Incredibly, marijuana is not only the No. 1 illicit drug in America (according to a 2014 National Survey on Drug Use), but the number of pot smokers in the U.S. has nearly doubled in just three years according to a Gallup poll released in August 2016.
(Source #1, Source #2)
If you are a pot smoker, I would simply ask you to say a little prayer before you read the rest of this article, and that you would seek God’s truth and will for your life. The moment I became a Christian in 1981, I was immediately delivered from smoking pot, getting drunk and using other illicit drugs. My studies since that time have only confirmed and deepened my resolve to stay clear of them and to warn others of their harmful and even diabolical effects.
Despite pro pot propaganda, and much of the public’s desire to be inebriated on the drug, it is still classified as a Schedule 1 drug under federal law, which is a designation earmarked for substances with “high rates of abuse and no acceptable medical use.” (Source)
In an NPR article appearing August 10, 2016, we read under the heading, “DEA Rejects Attempt To Loosen Federal Restrictions On Marijuana”:
“The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration recently refused to downgrade marijuana from its federal status as a Schedule I controlled substance. Chuck Rosenberg, acting DEA administrator, stated, ‘This decision is based on whether marijuana, as determined by the FDA, is a safe and effective medicine. And it’s not.’” (Source)
Along with the U.S. DEA, the American Medical Association also fended off challenges to “neutralize” their position on marijuana and issued a Policy Statement on marijuana, which reads in part:
“Our AMA believes that (1) cannabis is a dangerous drug and as such is a public health concern; (2) sale and possession of cannabis should not be legalized.” (Source)
Dr. Stuart Gitlow, Chair-Elect of the AMA Council on Science and Health, issued a strong warning:
“The AMA today reiterated the widely held scientific view that marijuana is dangerous and should not be legalized. We can only hope that the public will listen to science – not ‘Big Marijuana’ interests who stand to gain millions of dollars from increased addiction rates.” (Ibid.)
Despite the hard scientific facts regarding the danger of recreational marijuana, much of the increased usage is owing to propaganda spread by the entertainment industry, popular artists and mass drug pushers who don’t readily share with the masses the drug’s destructive effects on the brain, the family and society.
Former U.S. Drug Czar, William J. Bennett, and federal prosecutor, Robert A. White, outlined much of the scientific evidence showing marijuana to be incredibly harmful in their book, Going to Pot: Why the Rush to Legalize Marijuana Is Harming America.
Bennett and White bemoaned the fact that there is a propaganda war promoted by illicit drug lobbyists seeking to legitimize pot that capitalizes on the ignorance of the nation in regard to its harmful effects:
“Almost all evidence is on our side, the side of science and fact,” said Bennett, former director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy under President George H.W. Bush. “The legalization advocates are winning the debate,” added White, a former assistant U.S. attorney for the District of New Jersey. “They are organized and well-funded. And they are winning because the public is not informed of the harms of marijuana.” (Source)
What California And Other States Can Look Forward To
Dr. Ruben Baler, a neuroscientist with the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), warned:
“Unfortunately, if marijuana does become legal we will have the data to make the comparison in terms of harm on driving, psychosis and relationship to mental illness.” (Source)
Sadly, those days are now here. Both Colorado and Washington provide models for California and other states that have more recently legalized marijuana as to what they can look forward to.
We now know that the legalization of recreational marijuana promotes the drug’s usage among the very young, where it causes the greatest harm. After recreational pot was legalized in Colorado, their youth’s past-month pot usage 2013/2014 “was 74 percent higher than the national average.” According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health:
“Coloradoans of all age groups (12-17, 18-25, 26 and older) rank first in the nation for past-month marijuana use. Before legalization they ranked fourth, third and seventh, respectively.” (Source)
One out of every three Denver high school juniors and seniors surveyed identified as marijuana users; demonstrating a sharp increase of 20 percent from 2013 to 2015. (Source)
Former assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey, Robert A. White, speaking at a Heritage Foundation event in 2015 along with William J. Bennett, pointed out:
“9.4 percent of children have used marijuana in states that have legalized medical marijuana, whereas the average in non-medical marijuana states is at 6.7 percent.”
William J. Bennett later added:
“We know we have a problem, and we have not managed to keep those things from kids. Colorado was supposed to eliminate the marijuana black market, but it did not.” (Source)
Candi CdeBaca, an education and community activist who lives next to a commercial marijuana growing operation in Elyria-Swansea, CO., told Politico Magazine:
“One of the things that we thought was going to happen when [recreational] marijuana was legalized was that drugs would be taken out of our community. What happened was that the drugs stayed—and the drug dealers changed.” (Source)
Marijuana’s Effect On Deadly Driving
After marijuana became legal in California, one of my concerns was the synergistic effect that mixing marijuana with alcohol would have on drivers. Though simulated studies confirm that driving while intoxicated while under the influence of marijuana compromises every skill that is needed for driving, drunk drinking is still worse than driving while stoned on pot.
However, this is not the end of the story! Several studies have also concluded that driving while intoxicated with both pot and alcohol is far worse than driving drunk. Since millions of people party with both alcohol and marijuana, the synergistic effect of these two drugs will prove to be a dangerous devil’s brew for drivers.
After marijuana became legal in my home state of California, I was able to ask Simi Valley Chief of Police, David Livingstone, how this would affect driving while intoxicated in the community. The picture he drew was sad and grim. He stated that “polydrugs” (the admixture of drugs) would pose a serious problem. He pointed out that one can be high on pot and under the legal limit with regard to alcohol intoxication, but be a danger on the road. However, law enforcements’ hands would be tied. This of course would be owing to the fact that law enforcement does not have a legal standard for the amount of THC that can be in a driver’s system.
Add to this the sad reality that Colorado Hospital Association reported “marijuana-related emergency room visits increased from 8,197 in 2011 to 18,255 in 2014” and “the percentage of Colorado vehicle operators who were found positive for marijuana increased from 7.88 percent in 2006 to 24.03 percent in 2014.” (Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS), 2006-2013; CDOT, 2014)
These statistics represent real flesh and blood people whose lives are affected by the legalization of recreational marijuana. A Kaiser study revealed that regular marijuana use results in a 30 percent higher risk of injuries! Colorado marijuana-related traffic deaths almost tripled from 2006 to 2014. (Source)
After recreational marijuana was legalized in Washington, the number of drivers with active THC in their blood between 2010 and 2014, who were involved in fatal driving accidents, increased by more than 122 percent (Source: Washington State Traffic Safety Commission). A study of 1,023 emergency room trauma patients in Baltimore discovered that over 34 percent were under the influence of marijuana when involved in an accident. (Source: Soderstrom CA, et al, “Marijuana and alcohol use among 1023 trauma patients. A prospective study.” Arch surg. June 1988, 123(6):733-737. National Center for Biotechnology Information: PubMed)
Marijuana, A Gateway To Harder And More Destructive Drugs
Marijuana is also known as a gateway drug to harder and more destructive drugs among many young people. My friends and I all started with marijuana and it took little time before almost all of us opened the door to drugs like speed and LSD. Nearly everyone you ask, almost without exception, who shoots heroine or uses methamphetamine (aka “Meth”), etc., will tell you they started on marijuana. Tragically, countless children have died from overdoses who started their downward slide on marijuana because they were deceived into believing their drug addiction would stop there!
Dr. Cardwell C. Nuckols, who has devoted his entire life to studying drugs and is a Clinical Consultant to American Addiction Centers, states that studies reveal:
“Exposing adolescent rats to THC (the active ingredient in marijuana) can lead to molecular and behavioral alterations in the next generation of offspring, even though progeny were not directly exposed to the drug. Male offspring showed stronger motivation to self-administer heroin during their adulthood. Damage in the glutamate pathway, which regulates synaptic plasticity, has been linked to disturbances in goal-directed behavior and habit formation.” (Citing study by Henrietta Szutorisz, PhD, et al., Neurophychopharmacology, January 2014; Source)
However, we don’t need to look at rats to note this effect all around us. Tragically, states which have legalized marijuana have seen an increase in illicit drug use. Washington ranked sixth and Colorado ranked second in the nation for illicit drug use other than marijuana after legalization! (Source)
The Dumbing Down Of America
The stereotype of pot potentially causing serious brain damage, like the popular pot heads Cheech & Chong appeared to exhibit, is a sad reality that would-be pot smokers should heed. One of the most alarming reasons that young people should be taught to run (and not walk) to the nearest exit when offered marijuana by their peers is because marijuana causes brain damage. Studies have shown that pot use leads to permanent lowering of one’s IQ and cognitive abilities.
An in-depth, 30-year study revealed, “Persistent cannabis users show neuropsychological decline from childhood to midlife.” (Source)
The study found that frequent marijuana smokers more often suffer serious deficits in memory, concentration, and the ability to adjust to problems, as well as deficits in overall IQ.
Part of the tragedy of this study’s findings is that intelligence deficits set on by marijuana appear irreversible! The most dramatic effect on IQ is on those who used marijuana heavily before the age of 18, when the brain undergoes the greatest development.
The study is significant because the findings are immune to the argument of “which came first, the chicken or the egg?” It was a longitudinal study, where subjects were studied from birth to age 38, so no one can make the argument that the IQ of pot smokers in the group were lower because people with lower IQ’s smoke pot.
Thus, the study was able to document the lowering IQ ratios of subjects in relation to their habitual marijuana use over a course of decades. Dr. Nuckols stated:
“If you start smoking at 11 or 12, and smoke pretty continuously through adolescence, the data shows about an 8 point drop in your IQ … if you’ve got a normal IQ of 100, that’s devastating. You’ve lost a lot of firepower, and you may not be able to get it back.” (Source)
The study found that profound brain damage causing the lowering of one’s IQ had a permanent effect on those who stopped using marijuana later in life and did not see gains in their IQ. Our brains develop until we reach the age of about 25-years-old and marijuana causes brain damage to the very pathways that would otherwise develop and assist us in thinking.
Another study revealed that continuous use of marijuana from one’s youth rendered habitual users incapable of processing and applying information on the fly. The study revealed that when games were played and the rules were changed midway through, the marijuana smokers were unable to pick up and follow the new rules.
We should also consider the effect that dropping 8 percentage points in one’s IQ can have on your life. Travis Bradberry points out:
“An 8 point reduction in IQ is enough to have a significant, negative impact upon your life. To put it into context, consider that individuals with an IQ of 110 have an average net worth of $71,000 and individuals with an IQ of 120 have an average net worth of $128,000. It looks like smoking pot can lower your tax bracket.” (Source)
Dr. Nuckols said that heavy marijuana use can hinder the development of the brain’s prefrontal cortex — which is the part of the brain that administrates complex cognitive behavior, decision making and social behavior.
“Without a well-developed prefrontal cortex, it’s going to be very difficult for you to hold a job or a family.” (Source)
Former Assistant U.S. Attorney, Robert White, further cautioned:
“In addition to a lowered IQ, those with a family history of mental disorders are two to five times more likely to develop mental disorders.” (Source)
If you are under the impression that you have to be a chronic marijuana user to end up with brain damage, and therefor can use marijuana just a couple of times a week and emerge mentally unscathed, you are sadly mistaken.
A study published in The Journal of Neuroscience revealed that even casual pot smokers displayed substantial abnormalities in vital brain regions pertaining to both motivation and emotion. Thus, pot does not only effect your IQ, but your EQ (emotional intelligence). The study found that those who smoked marijuana only once a week showed significant brain abnormalities.
Hans Breiter, M.D., who is a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, co-authored this study and stated:
“Some of these people only used marijuana to get high once or twice a week. People think a little recreational use shouldn’t cause a problem, if someone is doing OK with work or school. Our data directly says this is not the case.” (Source)
Church Of The Poisoned Mind
One of the more devastating developments with marijuana usage today is the ever-increasing degree of toxicity on the brain. This is owing to both new and more affective delivery systems of pot into the bloodstream like “vaping” and “dabbing,” as well as the increased concentration and dangerous potency of THC (tetrahydrocannabinols) in today’s marijuana!
Today, many smoke marijuana through a vaporizer (vape) pen, insuring greater THC intake, whereas “dabbing” involves heating THC over an open flame until it turns to smoke.
Before coming to Christ, when I was still a young teenager, we often smoked ”home grown,” “bunk weed” and “commercial,” which contained low contents of the active psychotropic ingredient of THC. We would try to get “Columbian Gold” and “Sinsemilla” because they contained higher levels of THC than other marijuana.
However, we especially looked forward to getting our hands on hashish (stalked resin glands, etc., of the cannabis plant) because of its incredibly high THC content. However, while hashish is found with wide ranges of THC (from nearly zero to 65%), the modern marijuana of today often has a higher THC percentage than much hashish.
Federal prosecutor, Robert White, blamed misinformation as the reason that marijuana use is growing and warned, “[THC] Tetrahydrocannabinol, the psychoactive drug in marijuana, has risen from 5 percent to an average of 13 percent as a part of marijuana. In some medical dispensaries in Colorado, it now makes upwards of 30 percent of the drug.” Former U.S. Drug Czar William Bennett warned, “This isn’t your grandfather’s pot.” (Source)
Dr. C.C. Nuckols stated that THC content can even be as high as 90 percent in some marijuana today and that the increase of THC toxicity comes at a relative increase in brain damage for pot smokers. Dr. Nuckols stated:
“The marijuana we have today is so much more potent, we’re seeing a new range of psychiatric problems and psychotic episodes. It’s really a new game.” (Source)
The Oxford Treatment Center goes on to state, “At double-digit percentages, the standard THC content in marijuana today many times what it was in the 1960s.” (Ibid.)
Nuckols continued, “Add to this the long and getting longer list of synthetic cannabinoids, and it is no wonder crisis centers are seeing so many problems such as psychosis, mania and extreme anxiety.” (Ibid.)
But Isn’t Marijuana Good For Anxiety And Other Ailments?
One of the ironic problems with “medical marijuana” is that it often exasperates and tracks the very condition it was supposed to alleviate. One study revealed that high doses of cannabis actually increases pain. Marijuana compromises the immune system and, like cigarettes, causes lung cancer (more on this later). Marijuana not only damages your DNA, but also quadruples the risk of a heart attack in an hour after smoking. Those who smoke marijuana while having chemotherapy have a host of other safer drugs available to them. Actually, there are several medical researchers who do not see any medical benefits from smoking marijuana in the overall context of the bigger picture – that accounts for both side effects and the fact that there are better drugs available that are more effective, with less notable side effects.
In a talk given by former Simi Valley Police Chief, Mitch McCann, at Simi Valley Hospital/Adventist Health, he stated that the hospital we were meeting at provides pills for those who are truly seeking medicinal properties associated with cannabis, yet without the harmful affects of marijuana inebriation.
After stating that those who want to legitimately use marijuana for medical reasons could do so without getting stoned, he made the salient point that he believes about 99 percent of those who smoke “medical marijuana” do so as an excuse “to get high.” While the number may not be that high, most people are aware that most of the medical marijuana phenomena has been way overblown and has been a way for druggies to legally get their drugs.
There are several drugs which effectively eliminate enough THC, the psychoactive ingredient which produces the harmful “high” in patients. In fact, the non-psychoactive cannabinoid in marijuana is known as CBD.
Medical researchers are now claiming that the non-psychoactive CBD cannabinoid in marijuana is the real hero in marijuana, stating that it can potentially be helpful with “epilepsy, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, antibiotic-resistant infections, alcoholism, PSTD, cancer, and neurological disorders, without causing one to be ‘stoned’.” We still await to see the veracity of these claims, but the reality is CBD has made huge gains on THC, yet without the nefarious side effects.
It can be argued that THC has been effective as an antiemetic in dealing with nausea from chemotherapy or intraocular pressure associated with glaucoma. However, studies have shown that one who takes THC for glaucoma must be “high” 24/7 to derive relief from the drug. Other studies have shown that up to 81 percent of those who took TCH for nausea reported negative side effects. (Source: Sallan SE, et al, “Antiemetics in patients receiving chemotherapy for cancer: a randomized comparison of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol and prochlorperazine.” N. Engl. J. Med., January 17, 1980, 302(3):135-138. National Center for Biotechnology Information: PubMed)
Thankfully we have far more effective antiemetic drugs that utilize Serotonin 5-HT3 receptor antagonists that do not come with the psychioactive effects of THC, and no one dealing with nausea or glaucoma needs to resort to marjauna for relief! For those who insist on THC, the active ingredient in marijuana that causes one to get “stoned,” but sincerely desires it for the medicinal purposes, there are now a number of drugs available. One need not smoke marijuana if one wants what are claimed to be medical benefits of THC, as new drugs regulate TCH delivery in such a way that they preclude hallucinations, lethargy, mental slowdowns and distortions, which are staples of marijuana inebriation.
Add to this the reality that marijuana is categorized as a narcotic and designated as addictive. It is also toxic to your cells, including blood, sperm, lung and brain cells. It can cause serious long-term damage to one’s immune system and has been linked to autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis, as well as chronic inflammatory diseases like bowel disease (Myla Moretti, et al., 2014). There is a 2.0 increase in the risk of psychotic disorders and users are up to six times more likely to develop schizophrenia and significantly increase mania symptoms if previously diagnosed with bipolar disorder (Source: Gibbs M, et al., “Cannabis use and mania symptoms: a systematic review and meta-analysis,” J. Effect Disord., January 15, 2015, 171:39-47. National Center for Biotechnology Information: PubMed).
No one can study human DNA and escape the biblical truth that we are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14). We need to remember that we belong to God through creation and redemption. We are the temple of the Holy Spirit and our bodies belong to the one who made us and redeemed us through the gospel:
“Flee immorality. Every other sin that a man commits is outside the body, but the immoral man sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.” –1 Corinthians 6:18-20
“Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If any man destroys the temple of God, God will destroy him, for the temple of God is holy, and that is what you are.” –1 Corinthians 3:16-17
What About Medical Marijuana And Anxiety?
Ironically, the same studies that have shown that marijuana can diminish anxiety have shown that continued use of the drug, paradoxically, increases anxiety. Studies have also shown an actual increase in anxiety even after initial relief, causing depression and paranoia.
In a 2014 study authored by Vanderbilt University professor of Psychiatry and of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics, Sachin Patel, M.D., Ph.D., found that rather than reducing anxiety, chronic use of the drug “down-regulates” cannabinoid receptors and actually increases anxiety! The study, which was published in the medical journal Neuron found:
“While marijuana’s ‘exogenous’ cannabinoids also can reduce anxiety, chronic use of the drug down-regulates the receptors, paradoxically increasing anxiety. This can trigger “a vicious cycle” of increasing marijuana use that in some cases leads to addiction.” (Source)
The Lord God has revealed in His word that the proper way to deal with anxiety is to place our trust in Him and rest in the peace that He alone can give. Jesus, as our Creator and Redeemer, declared that He gives genuine peace that the world could never give us:
“Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.” –John 14:27
God’s Word reveals that we are to deal with our worries and anxieties by bringing them to God in prayer and that He will give us a peace that surpasses human comprehension:
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” –Philippians 4:6-7
Jesus commanded us:
“Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.” –Matthew 6:34
The Scriptures reveal that if we keep our minds focused on the Lord, He will give us perfect peace:
“You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.” -Isaiah 26:3
The Scriptures reveal that if we have fears and are downcast, the Lord is our deliverer:
“I sought the Lord, and He heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.” –Psalm 34:4
“Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him, my Savior and my God.” –Psalm 42:5
Sadly, millions seek peace in places, persons and substances where they will never find it. They forfeit the peace they could have if they simply and sincerely seek the Lord. The author of “What a Friend We Have in Jesus” said it well:
What a Friend we have in Jesus,
All our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry
Everything to God in prayer!
O what peace we often forfeit,
O what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry
Everything to God in prayer!
I find it very instructive that one of the passages that encourages us to give our anxieties to the Lord also warns that we need to remain sober minded, lest we open the door to the devil.
The following command to give our anxieties to the Lord precludes the usage of marijuana, which causes inebriation, because it commands us to be sober minded. Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the apostle Peter wrote:
“Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you. Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world. After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you.” –1 Peter 5:6-10
God’s Command To Be Sober And Marijuana
If we claim to be Christians we need to acknowledge that smoking marijuana not only causes disobedience to God’s warnings against poisoning the mind and body, but causes disobedience to God’s clear and repeated commands to be sober minded. The New Testament Greek words translated “sober” (“nepho” and “sophreno”) refer to being in one’s right mind, sober and unaffected by alcohol or other mind-altering inebriates.
The apostle Paul uses the Greek verb “nepho,” (sober) twice in contrast to drunkenness in 1 Thessalonians 5:6, 8. Nepho is a compound of two Greek words: “ne” meaning “no” and “pino”, which means “drink”. The Greek word literally means, “drink no wine” and the word applies to being sober minded or not intoxicated.
Biblical scholars, however, recognize that the New Testament range of meaning of “nepho” goes beyond prohibitions against drunkenness, but means to be in one’s right mind and not to be under the influence of any intoxicating influence, which of course would apply to drugs like marijuana.
In the Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, we read of the Greek verb nepho:
“The concept which underlies the verb nepho ‘to be sober’ and the whole word group is formally negative. It is the opposite of intoxication, both 1. in the literal sense of intoxication with wine, and 2. in the figurative sense of
states of intoxication attributable to other causes.”
Marijuana is not only listed as a dangerous Schedule 1 narcotic by the Federal government, but is also considered a hallucinogen that distorts one’s mental perception of reality, significantly undermining sobriety! Most marijuana users readily admit that they encounter several alien thoughts; they are frequently unable to concentrate and often have panic attacks induced by paranoia while on the drug.
While we will examine marijuana under “pharmakeia” (sorcery) in Part 2 of this series (Galatians 5:19-12; Revelation 9:20-21; 18:23; 21:8; 22:14-15), I would like to point out that marijuana is an effective tool in Satan’s arsenal to wage chemical warfare against humanity. We are called to be sober minded in the context of resisting Satan, who prowls about as a roaring lion seeking someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8-10), because those who are compromised through an altered state of consciousness are easy targets for demonic oppression and even possession. There are countless testimonies that I have read of such phenomena by pot users who now live in spiritual despair.
Christian biblical sobriety has everything to do with not being under any intoxicant or influence that hinders clear thinking and right-mindedness.
Even leading marijuana enthusiasts recognize that marijuana usage destroys sobriety while one is under its influence. The pro pot group known as NORML dedicates a portion of their website to Principles of Responsible Cannabis Use, which underscore principles that were “Adopted by the NORML Board of Directors.” (Source)
Note that their second point relates to not smoking pot and driving because of their knowledge that marijuana affects driving and destroys sobriety:
“II. No Driving: The responsible cannabis consumer does not operate a motor vehicle or other dangerous machinery while impaired by cannabis…. responsible cannabis consumers never operate motor vehicles in an impaired condition. Public safety demands not only that impaired drivers be taken off the road, but that objective measures of impairment be developed and used, rather than chemical testing.” (Ibid.)
“But Marijuana is Natural”
Ironically, the most popular argument justifying marijuana usage among cannabis enthusiasts is also the weakest. Despite all the evidence that marijuana is very destructive to the body and brain, many claim that smoking marijuana must be good because it is a plant and therefore natural.
The truth is that just because something is natural does not mean it is healthy to eat, smoke or even touch. The golden poisonous frog (aka “the terrible”) is perfectly natural, but just one of these frogs happens to pack enough toxins to kill 13 adult humans, and “just touching this beautiful frog can be deadly” (Source)
Lead is natural but it’s not to be ingested. Lead poisoning in Flint, Michigan became a prominent story in 2016 after Donna Brazile, who was working for both CNN and the Democratic Party simultaneously, unfairly gave Hillary Clinton a heads up that she would be asked about lead poisoning in her upcoming debate with Donald Trump. Lead is natural, as we get it in ins rawest form straight from the ground, yet it is a natural killer! Nobody in their right mind would argue that it is good to eat brownies laced with lead because lead is natural.
Plants are also natural, but smoking plants and even eating or touching many of them can be disastrous to one’s health. Let’s take a brief look at a few natural plants that are absolutely deadly when ingested:
Hemlock is perfectly natural, but was used in Greece as a method of execution and used to kill the philosopher Socrates.
The Castor Oil Plant (Ricinus communis) holds the Guinness Book of World Records for world’s most poisonous plant.
Just rubbing up against the plant known as the Little Apple of Death (Hippomane mancinella) is enough to cause great harm and has claimed countless lives from ingestion.
The Suicide Tree (Cerbera odollam) is a natural born killer. According to a team of French forensic toxicologists it is at the top of the list of plants used to commit murder. Between 1989 and 1999 there were 500 cases of fatal Cerbera poisoning in Kerala India alone.
The Devil’s Helmet (Aconitum) is so toxic it was rubbed on the tips of spears and arrows to assure the death of those who were pierced.
Just a single leaf of the deadly Nightshade (Atropa belladonna), which is totally natural, is enough to end your life.
A mere touch of the Hogwood Plant can cause permanent blindness if some of its sap gets into your eyes and is deadly if ingested! (Story)
Just one seed from the Rosary Pea (Abrus precatorius) is fatal when swallowed! Its beans are said to contain a poison nearly 100 times more deadly than ricin!
White Snakeroot (Ageratina altissima) produces “milk sickness,” and is responsible for the deaths of thousands of people in the 19th century alone, including the death of Nancy Hanks Lincoln, Abraham Lincoln’s mother!
God obviously did not intend that we eat or abuse these plants and suffer harm! No one in their right mind would claim that they should be used for food. Moreover, smoking pot is actually unnatural and ruins one’s capacity to enjoy God’s natural creation and order. Ironically, studies have shown that pot smokers have a harder time enjoying the natural wonders of creation and pleasure. Studies have shown that the natural pleasures of food, sex., etc., are in time diminished with chronic pot smokers, which is true of drug abuse in general.
Marijuana, like many other plants, is destructive to one’s health. A Mayo Clinic study revealed that marijuana smoke causes lung and respiratory tract cancer because it contains 50 to 70 percent more carcinogenic hydrocarbons than tobacco smoke.
Researchers estimated that a whopping 30,000 pot smokers die annually from lung cancer in the UK alone. The British Lung Foundation says smoking only three joints does the same damage to the lungs as a pack of 20 cigarettes.
Professor John Henry, a leading British authority on marijuana stated, “Cannabis is as dangerous as cigarette smoking” and “Even if the number of deaths turned out to be only a fraction of the 30,000 we believe possible, cannabis smoking would still be described as a major health hazard. If we add in the likely mental health burden to that of medical illnesses and premature death, the potential effects of cannabis cannot be ignored.” (Source)
Dr. William Oldfield from St Mary’s Hospital, said: “Cannabis and nicotine cigarettes have a different mode of inhalation. The puff taken by cannabis smokers is two-thirds larger, they inhale a third more and hold down the smoke four times longer. All these factors could contribute to illnesses of the heart and respiratory system, particularly as the chemicals in cannabis smoke are retained in the body to a much higher degree.” (Source)
Twisting Scripture to Justify Smoking Pot
One of the saddest things regarding the marijuana epidemic is to see God’s Word being twisted to justify getting “stoned”.
Some go so far as to claim that drug dealers, or those using marijuana who are prosecuted, are in fact suffering for Jesus and righteousness sake. One Internet article actually states:
“For those people harassed and imprisoned for using cannabis rightfully, Jesus offers these words of comfort, “Blessed are those persecuted for righteousness’s sake: For theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.” (Source)
There are also so-called “Rastafari Bible verses” used to justify pot smoking. Here are many used by Rastafari’s and others:
- Genesis 1:11: “And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth; and it was so.”
- Genesis 1:29: “And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb-bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you ot shall be for meat.”
- Genesis 3:18 “…thou shalt eat the herb of the field.”
- Psalms 104:14 “He causeth the grass to grow for the cattle, and herb for the service of man.”
- Proverbs 15:17 “Better is a dinner of herbs where love is, than a stalled ox and hatred therewith.”
While not one of the above verses contextually refers or even applies to smoking marijuana, this has not stopped thousands from twisting them to justify smoking the harmful drug.
The most popular verse used is Genesis 1:29, because it specifically states that God gave us plants. First of all, it should be noted that most of those who seek to use Genesis 1:29 use the King James version of the bible because they think the KJV’s use of the word “herbs” lends itself as a special reference to marijuana.
However, the truth is that Genesis 1:29 is referring to plants as food not marijuana for smoking. The Scripture states:
“Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the surface of all the earth, and every tree which has fruit yielding seed; it shall be food for you…” (Genesis 1:29, emphasis added)
Thus God provided plants and herbs for eating, not for smoking.
We have already noted that there are thousands of poisonous plants, many of which will kill or harm you if you ingest them or try to smoke them; so to try to justify ingesting something that is harmful by claiming it is natural or scriptural is sheer folly.
It also needs to be pointed out that when God created certain plants for food, it was before the fall of humanity into sin and rebellion against their Creator and the consequent perversion of nature.
It is true that when God created the earth, everything was good (Genesis 1:31), however after the fall, many plants became harmful.
Before the fall, humanity could partake of the “fruit” (not smoke) from every tree in God’s garden with the exception of the tree of knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 2:17). However, after the fall of humanity, nature was cursed and thorns and thistles came up and many plants became dangerous:
To Adam He said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate fruit from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat from it,’ Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat food from it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field.” (Genesis 3:17-18)
To use Genesis 1:29 as justification for “getting stoned” when it has nothing to do smoking pot is to ignore both the immediate and broader context of the verse, especially when we see that creation has been cursed from its state of perfection.
In its present condition, creation groans in a state of entropy, as made evident through the second law of thermodynamics, awaiting its deliverance from its cosmic state of bondage:
“For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21 that[h] the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God. We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies.” (Romans 8:21-23)
Thankfully, God in His goodness and grace promises the creation of a new heaven and a new earth, wherein righteousness dwells:
“But according to His promise we are looking for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells.” (2 Peter 3:13)
The truth is that a vice list of the workers of iniquity will be excluded from the new heaven and the earth, and this list includes those who partake of pharmakeia (ilicit drugs and the occult):
“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.” And He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” And He *said, “Write, for these words are faithful and true.” Then He said to me, “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give to the one who thirsts from the spring of the water of life without cost. He who overcomes will inherit these things, and I will be his God and he will be My son. But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers [pharmakeia] and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.” (Revelation 21:1)
We will examine marijuana as prohibited by God as sorcery or pharmakeia in Part 2 of this exposé.
The Way Out
In conclusion: marijuana is harmful to the body, soul, and mind. It attacks God’s glorious creation as it assaults the central nervous system, producing horrific dysfunction in the brain’s neurons. The results are paranoia, increased anxiety, memory loss, inability to learn and eventually permanent brain damage.
Marijuana usage not only reveals disobedience to His prohibitions under warnings against pharmakeia (Galatians 5:19-21; Revelation 9:20-21; 18:23; 21:8 and 22:14-15), but also breaks God’s repeated commandments to be “sober minded” as cannabis inebriation opens one’s heart and mind to oppression and possession by demonic forces (1 Peter 5:8-10).
Besides the many reasons given above, marijuana usage also breaks God’s many commands not to cause brothers to stumble (Luke 17:1-4; Romans 14:21; 1 Corinthians 8:13; 10:32). Since marijuana is a proven gateway drug to even more harmful ones, those promoting it are causing great harm to countless people.
If you don’t know your Creator, and have a drug problem, I would like to share with you something about the Person who delivered me, along with millions of other people, from drug addiction. His name is the Lord Jesus Christ. He not only created you, but as God in the flesh, He became a man to die on the cross to pay for your crimes against Him and humanity. He rose from the grave and conquered death. If you turn to Christ He promises to deliver you from the powers of Satan and darkness and bring you into His eternal kingdom (Colossians 1:11-13). He promises that if you come to Him and place your faith in Him, He will not cast you away, but will forgive you; give you eternal life and set you free from the penalty of sin, which includes death and eternal damnation:
“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed.” (Luke 4:18)
“He that commits sin is of the devil; for the devil sins from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.” (1 John 3:8)
“So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free … So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.” (John 8:31-32, 36)
We encourage you to cry out to the Lord in repentant faith for forgiveness now and you will be saved. “For everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved.” (Romans 10:13)
If you have turned to Jesus as your Lord and Savior we would like to welcome you into the eternal family of God. May the Lord richly bless you as you seek His face!