This public health announcement for how to not die on weed is so cute, and so wrong
We say this all the time on Rooster because it's true and universal, and we're going to say it again now — no one's ever died from weed.
Sure, people may think they're dying — just ask emergency room doctors who are dealing with record numbers of pot panic attacks or Maureen Dowd — but, nope. No dying here. No one's getting addicted, either.
That's because while weed does have its fair share of unwanted (yet temporary) side effects for some people, it's actually one of the safest substances known to man. Tit-for-tat, no other recreational drug has lead to less death and addiction ... let alone helped cure user's mental and physical ailments while making them feel like cotton candy at the same time.
However, that hasn't stopped people from trying to create guidelines on so-called safer weed usage. Canadian researchers recently published a new set of "science-driven public health guidelines" in the American Journal of Public Health which aimed to educate pot smokers about how to use marijuana safely. As IFLScience reports, the 10 guidelines were "created by an international team of experts and have already received the blessings of key public health organizations" ... which means they're being taken as the Word of God by people whose job it is to regulate marijuana.
That's kind of a problem, because the tips on the list are passé and full of misinformation. The whole thing comes off as being in the same vein as a poorly designed abstinence-only slide in your health teacher's PowerPoint presentation — if you have sex, you're gonna get a blister-y dick and die! Given weed's relative innocuousness, it's almost funny, like a public health advisory against orange juice. So, we thought we'd break it down and clear a couple of things up.
First, take a look:
1) The most effective way to avoid cannabis use-related health risks is abstinence.
2) Avoid using cannabis at an early age, specifically before the age of 16 years old.
3) Choose low-potency tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) or balanced THC-to-cannabidiol (CBD)-ratio cannabis products.
4) Abstain from using synthetic cannabinoids, such as “Spice”.
5) Avoid smoking cannabis and opt for non-smoking use methods, such as edibles.
6) Avoid deep or other “risky” inhalation practices.
7) Avoid high-frequency use, that includes both “daily and near-daily”.
8) Never drive under the influence of cannabis.
9) Avoid cannabis use altogether if you are at risk for mental health problems, such as a family history of them.
10) Avoid combining these previously mentioned risk behaviors as much as possible.
Couple of things, here.
First off, we can get down with #8: don't smoke and drive. People suck at driving when they're dead sober, so there's no question that adding pot to that mix makes it less safe. Even though people's ability to drive stoned is heavily contested — marijuana doesn't intoxicate all people in equal or predictably measurable ways like alcohol does and it stays in your system far beyond the point where it's intoxicating you — it's always best to not drive on anything at all.
That's pretty much the only thing that's right with this, though.
Take #5, for example: opt for edibles.
Clearly, these people have never heard of our good friend Maureen Dowd, who's mentioned twice in here for being the prime example of how to do pot wrong. Edibles are a complete shit show if you don't know what you're doing — since weed is still federally illegal, research on standardized THC dosing is almost impossible to conduct, meaning that the amount of THC or CBD your edible packages advertises may be wildly different than what's actually in there. For that reason, with edibles, it's way too easy to take way too much and completely sideline yourself. Although it's inarguably less healthy for your lungs, smoking or vaping it allows you to take smaller, more precise doses and figure out what your own tolerance is.
Recommending someone always stick with edibles is almost like recommending they completely gamble with their time, money and well-being: if you don't know how much to take or how much you can handle, edibles will make your experience with weed very, very unpleasant.
Then, there's #4: Spice.
Spice isn't weed. Spice is potpourri sprayed with an often fatal blend of chemicals. So ... what's it doing on a list of ways to make smoking weed — an entirely different substance — safer? Rounding out the list from 9 points to 10 points so there's an even number of suggestions? Being that weed is a perfectly safe, healthy and non-deadly substitute for spice, point #4 reads more as "For a good way not to die from weed, smoke it instead of spice." Will do!
Next up: "risky inhalation practices." We really don't know what a "risky inhalation practice" is, but we're taking bets over here in the office. So far, we've got "David Carradine erotic asphyxiation bong rip" and ... that's it. Submit yours today.
Moving on: "Avoid cannabis use altogether if you are at risk for mental health problems, such as a family history of them."
Not only has marijuana been proven to ease depression, insomnia and PTSD, it's also been shown to improve social anxiety and symptoms of addiction to other, more harmful substances (particularly opioids). There are some mental illnesses — like bipolar disorder — that don't do so hot with pot, but, to suggest that people avoid a healthy, safe and non-addictive treatment for mental illness is dangerous, especially considering that pharmaceutical interventions such as Prozac, Xanax and Ambien have a high potential for addiction, negative side effects and even increased suicidality.
Here's the bottom line: too much of anything is a bad thing. Drink too much milk, and you'll die. Eat too many pretzels, and you'll die. Weed is no exception ... except for the glaring difference that you won't die. Given that marijuana has been show to improve people's lives, health, and local economies, it might be high time (literally) to update our user guidelines on how to use it safely ... otherwise no one's going to use it at all.
... Except us. Pass the joint?