This is oriented to the US at the federal level, but can apply for other countries that also ban marijuana. I am pro legalization (with the normal reasonable restrictions) and think that any licensed retailer should be allowed to sell to people of age (18 or 21 I really don’t care). It seems like every time I point alternatives to marijuana of the harms (the same way most marijuana sites discuss safe use), people start justifying their use by citing a bunch medical benefits and terrible studies that go as far as claiming that marijuana cures cancer. With that out of the way, here’s the opinion:
I think arguing for legalization of marijuana based on the medical benefits does a disservice to the pro legalization movement. We should just call it like it is, most people use marijuana for recreational purposes with the intention of getting high. This is fine in a controlled environment where externalities are minimized and dispensing of safe drugs is well regulated. In terms of medical benefits, much of the anxiolytic and pain relief properties can be derived [from CBD oil, which avoids the high](https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/10/181024163625.htm), but smoking (getting high) remains the [preferred method.](https://www.royalqueenseeds.com/blog-the-most-popular-methods-of-cannabis-consumption-n982) Additionally, there are many different ways of treating chronic pain and anxiety. I can think of at least 3 other therapies that I would recommend before even thinking about marijuana and none of them have an intoxicating effect like THC. In the demographics where marijuana use is most common ([18-29](https://www.statista.com/statistics/737849/share-americans-age-group-smokes-marijuana/)), recreational is likely much more common than medical use. Studies that say marijuana is primarily for medical use are bullshit with heavy reporter bias because people aren’t going to admit to illegal drug use. At the same time, recreational drugs are used as self treatment for mental health issues, which is fine, but should not substitute professional help and getting high is not necessary.
I’m also tired of seeing poorly designed studies trying to prove marijuana prevents or cures cancer while ignoring the risks of long term inhalation of heated free radicals. [There honestly isn’t enough research either way,](http://rc.rcjournal.com/content/61/11/1543) but if tobacco smoking has taught us anything, it’s that the long term effects won’t be seen for 40 years. In the end, none of this justifies smoking marijuana to get high, which is the goal of the the vast majority of users. The sooner we establish this, the easier it is to push a better narrative, which is to compare marijuana use to a legal recreational drug, alcohol. If we compare safety profiles of marijuana vs alcohol, one can point out the ridiculous politics behind the continued prohibition of marijuana.
I would love to hear your thoughts, but I will not entertain arguments about cancer risk reduction or any claims that there is no risk to smoking.
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