Thoughts on economics and liberty

Drug policy: The question of marijuana – the bane of society or a miracle drug?

Came across the following video on FB and spent 50 minutes watching it. You might be aware that I'm exploring the drug policy question on this blog post. Haven't formed a view yet. In the meanwhile, it appears that marijuana is a special and different kind of drug, and deserves a separate page of its own. Happy to receive links to useful articles on this topic, or any opinions you might have formed.

Also see this (10 minutes), early 2011:

The full 1 hour documentary here.

My experience with Marijuana

I've only had this once in my life, when I was in school. I had gone to the birthday party of a school friend, Sanjeev Bhatnagar. In that party his parents (his father was an income tax officer) had provided pakoras made of some leaves. Not having any clue about what this was, I ate the pakoras along with other treats. While returning home (by bicycle) I felt a bit giddy, but managed to reach home. At home I became a kind of a nut (I think), laughing, chattering about like a crazy drunken film star. Everything became big for some reason. Anyway, by morning this was over. A great relief. 

Marijuana is therefore perhaps widely and readily available in India, and I know of at least one well known writer who smokes it daily in big quantities. It is called bhang or charas (don't know which is what). It is definitely mixed in drinks in holi by some families (thandai). I notice from this article that it is technically illegal in India but is available in government approved shops.

Marijuana in Auyurveda

Here's an article that is not particularly positive (in Ayurveda) about marijuana.

Here's a description of its use in Ayurveda.

Here's an another article on its medicinal properties

Here's something about its use in ancient India.

Here's a description by an Ayurvedic "consultant"

Studies in the West

THC (marijuana) helps cure cancer says Harvard study (2007) (also here)

Marijuana Use in Supportive Care for Cancer Patients (National Cancer Institute, USA)

The risks of smoking marijuana (Marijuana smoke contains 50% more carcinogens than tobacco.  In 2006 marijuana was responsible for 16% of all admissions to treatment facilities in the U.S.)

Anyway, that's a lot of time spent on this for now. More later if time permits.

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5 thoughts on “Drug policy: The question of marijuana – the bane of society or a miracle drug?
  1. jesvin

    I guess those pakoras were meant to make a full-sized adult "slightly cheerful"! They should have been careful around kids.
    There are lots of such intoxicant substances in nature. Even a saffron infusion can get you high. So can distilled cough syrup. Coca leaves (cocaine traces) are the choicest flavor in Latin America. Poppy seeds (eat enough crusted buns!) can set off drug tests. There are Amar Sabhas which involve watered down concentrates. Puffer fish dishes have tongue-tingling toxins, but some servings can get fatal.
    Hope you dont consider anything too specially. Traditional infusions and recipes (ganja rice?) are mild doses which just make you happier. Distilled versions of these (like marijuana in electric inhalers) can deliver it in controlled doses without harmful smoke particulates.
    But that better be under medical supervision. A person who seeks entertainment to the extent that he is willing to alter/lose his consciousness has serious well-being issues. 

  2. Sanjeev Sabhlok

    Thanks, Jesvin.

    I suppose if people consume a marijuana drink only very, very rarely – like on holi days – that too responsibly, then the no harm is caused to others. Medical uses is what I’m intrigued about. I guess the medical fraternity will provide a judgement after further studies.



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