Negatives of Marijuana Use

Negatives of Marijuana Use

We live in Buchanan, Michigan, which some have called “The Marijuana Capitol of the Midwest.” Others have dubbed the town “Bucannabis.” I have lost count of how many marijuana outlets there are between Buchanan and Niles, Michigan, but there must be at least a dozen. It has been interesting to see the proponents pushing the supposed benefits while ignoring the negatives of marijuana use.

It is true that the number of drug arrests in our area hasn’t changed much since the legalization was instituted. However, we see a high percentage of out-of-state license plates on cars at these establishments, so our local data may not be meaningful. Commercial sales of marijuana have exceeded 48 million users in the United States, while medical issues are the most disturbing aspect of the negatives of marijuana use.

Medical information is now available in the Journal of the American Medical Association, the British Medical Journal, and from studies done at Columbia University. We know that cannabis has a very negative influence on the outcomes of pregnancy. Recent studies have linked marijuana to bad health outcomes involving the lungs, hearts, brains, and gonads of users. Smoking weed increases the risk of clogged arteries and heart failure. It has also been linked to chronic bronchitis, and cannabis plants bring metal pollutants such as lead into the user’s bloodstream.

The biblical teaching that our bodies are the “temple of the Holy Spirit” (1 Corinthians 3:16) tells us the importance of caring for our bodies. That includes not engaging in the use of recreational drugs as we learn the harm they can cause to our bodies. As the negatives of marijuana use become apparent, we see the wisdom of God’s instructions.

— John N. Clayton © 2024

Reference: Scientific American for March 2024, pages 20-21.

THC Problem with Children

The THC Problem with Children

Discover magazine reported an incident that demonstrates the THC problem with children. A five-year-old Colorado girl ate some gummy bears that contained THC. Recreational marijuana is legal in Colorado and many other states, and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol ) is the psychoactive drug from cannabis. Edible THC products include candy and cookies, which are attractive to children. In this case, the parents and doctors could not awaken the girl, and she remained unconscious for 16 hours.

Hospital-reported cases of THC exposure in children under the age of six increased more than 1,000 percent between 2017 and 2021. About a third of the children were treated and released, but 15% required hospital admission, and 8% were sent to intensive care. The THC problem with children is that it is concentrated in candy, cookies, or brownies that appeal to kids. Children overdose on THC, which remains in their body fat for several days, and there is no antidote for THC poisoning and no reversal agent or special treatment. 

In the Colorado case, the family had no forms of marijuana or cannabis in their home, and they did not know she had eaten the THC-laced gummy candy. They had been on a camping trip where other campers had given the gummies to the girl. This is a new concern for parents and a problem that will grow. The marijuana industry has no supervision or control, and cities that have opted to allow unrestricted marijuana distribution are going to see increasing problems as kids find products that give them a drug high.

We live in an area of Michigan where marijuana retail shops are very active and numerous. As we drive around our community, we see many license plates from surrounding states where marijuana is still illegal, and often, children are in the cars. Even families with no forms of marijuana must be cautious about allowing their children to visit other homes where THC edibles might be present. 

Our society has rejected God’s plan for responsible living. Many of our neighbors and friends cannot give a reason or purpose for their existence. When you see no purpose in life, seeking an escape from problems and finding a way to feel good becomes a priority. The THC problem with children is just beginning to rear its ugly head, and we must make parents aware of the dangers. We must also help people realize that God has created them for a purpose and that life and health are gifts worth protecting.

— John N. Clayton © 2024

Reference: Discover magazine for May/June 2024, pages 20-23.

Marijuana is a Hyperaccumulator

Marijuana is a Hyperaccumulator

One of the tragedies of modern drug use is that scientific research has not had time to study the long-term effects of drugs on the human body. Recent studies have shown that marijuana plants are highly effective at absorbing contaminants without harm to the plants. Marijuana is a hyperaccumulator of pesticides, petroleum solvents, crude oil, and heavy metals such as lead and cadmium. Because of that, growing hemp has successfully removed heavy metals from soils around the Chernobyl nuclear power plant and pesticides from contaminated farms in Italy.

Because marijuana is easy to grow and absorbs lead and cadmium from the soils, those elements show up in the blood and urine of cannabis users. Cadmium and lead stay in the body for a long time and are linked to kidney and lung cancer. There is no safe level of lead, which affects the brain. Studies of cannabis users have shown a 22% higher presence of cadmium and a 27% higher level of lead in their blood than non-users.

Poorly researched recreational drugs are contributing to the increase in cancer in America today. With the relaxing rules on drug sales and use, this problem will get worse. Skeptics point out the increasing rate of diseases like cancer as if that disproves God or that God is to blame.

We should not blame God for the tragedies we bring on ourselves. Every plant in the creation has some use that benefits the ecosystem or humans directly or indirectly. Marijuana is a hyperaccumulator of harmful chemicals and can be used for that purpose. However, problems occur when we misuse what God has given us.

— John N. Clayton © 2023

Reference: CNN “Marijuana and the Brain”

God’s Temple Is Sacred

God’s Temple Is Sacred - God's Temple Is You

“Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that God’s Spirit has His home in you? If anybody desecrates the temple of God, God will bring them to ruin, for God’s temple is sacred to Him, and that is what you are” (1 Corinthians 3:16 -17).

If you take the Bible seriously, you must understand that taking care of your body is essential to how you live. In this ministry, we have discouraged using alcohol, nicotine, marijuana, and all recreational drugs because Jesus and Bible passages like this one teach us that God’s temple is sacred.

How does God “bring to ruin” those who do not take care of their bodies? Like most actions of God, it is not by God playing Zeus and throwing a lightning bolt at an offender. God simply removes His protective hand from those who insist on desecrating His temple. When God removes His protective hand, what happens? Look at the evidence in the latest numbers from the Center for Disease Control.

In 2022, the CDC says that 109,680 Americans died of overdoses, over 60% from synthetic opioids. Marijuana use and vaping have climbed to the highest levels ever seen. In the past year, 44% of young adults used marijuana, up from 28% a decade ago. Over 10% of young adults use cannabis every day. Binge drinking for middle-aged adults hit 29% in 2022. As of 2021, 61.2 million Americans age 12 and older have used illicit drugs.

We can see the result of this abuse in the increase in emergency room visits, the rate of accidents, broken homes, and the collateral damage to families. The numbers from the National Center for Drug Abuse are staggering. It is difficult for those of us working with young people and people with mental issues to do any quantitative analysis. Suffice it to say that the number of cases coming to us is much higher than at any previous time.

Jesus said, “Beware of false prophets who come to you disguised as sheep but are really greedy wolves. By their fruits, you will know them…” Matthew 7:15-16. The message of the Bible as to how we should live gives beauty and purpose to life and provides the best measure of good health. God’s temple is sacred, but even people who reject the teachings of Christ can’t deny the destructive consequences of following the teachings of modern secular prophets.

— John N. Clayton © 2023

Reference: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Use of Cannabis by Seniors

Use of Cannabis by Seniors

The use of marijuana to treat chronic pain and discomfort like arthritis has been widely publicized and legalized in many states. So naturally, those of us who are older look for any way to relieve the aches and pains that come with age. Because of that, the use of cannabis by seniors has increased dramatically.

Certainly, we should use anything God has given us to relieve human discomfort as long as it is not harmful. We must understand that one of God’s injunctions is to take care of the body, which the Bible says is the dwelling place of God’s Spirit (1 Corinthians 3:16).

We are responsible for ensuring that what we use to relieve discomfort is good for us and doesn’t harm our bodies. That means we must use caution and listen to research about so-called miracle cures. But unfortunately, new studies of the use of cannabis by seniors have raised a red flag about its safety.

The Journal of the American Geriatrics Society for January 9 reports on visits to emergency departments in California, where marijuana has been legal for any use for several years. Cannabis-related visits to emergency rooms by seniors (ages 65 and older) rose from 366 in 2005 to 12,167 in 2019.

Unfortunately, there is big money in the marijuana business, so cannabis merchants are promoting its use. However, you should use it under a doctor’s supervision. It should not be a matter of simply going to your local marijuana store and accepting all the claims they make for a “miracle cure” for whatever ails us.

— John N. Clayton © 2023

Reference: Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai “Focus on Healthy Aging” for May 2023, page 2

Rapidly Increasing Drug Use Data from NIH

Rapidly Increasing Drug Use Data from NIH

One of the consequences of our culture’s rejection of God and Christian teachings is that people are looking for other ways to deal with life’s stresses. The National Institutes of Health’s annual survey shows rapidly increasing drug use in the United States.

In 2011, 29% of those ages 19 to 30 used marijuana 20 or more times in the preceding year, and 6% said they were daily users. In 2021, 43% had used marijuana 20 or more times in the past year, and 11% indicated they were daily users. In 2011, 3% said they used psychedelics such as magic mushrooms or LSD, and that number is now 8%. Data also shows a significant increase in vaping and alcoholic drinks mixed with THC.

The increasing legalization of marijuana is part of the cause for rapidly increasing drug use. In that case, these numbers should quickly grow in the next year as marijuana legalization continues to expand. This is a complex issue because we don’t know the long-term consequences of using marijuana and the chemicals derived from it.

The Christian concept of the body as the dwelling place of the Spirit of God means that Christians should take care of the body. Recreational drugs have no value for the well-being of the physical body but can have value in particular situations. Proverbs 31 states the wisdom of leaders not drinking but suggests using strong drink to help at the time of death. “Give strong drink to him who is ready to perish and wine to those that be of heavy hearts. Let them drink and forget their poverty and misery” (Proverbs 31:4-7). In 1 Timothy 5:23, Paul tells Timothy not to drink the contaminated water prevalent in that day but use a little wine to avoid illnesses from the water.

James 5 encourages Christians to rely on each other and on God to handle life’s challenges. Using drugs as a social lubricant or an antidepressant will have long-term negative consequences. We are only beginning to see the collateral damage of rapidly increasing drug use in the world around us.

— John N. Clayton © 2022

Reference: National Institutes of Health

Chemical and Medical Side Effects

Chemical and Medical Side Effects

We live in a time of incredible advances in chemistry and medicine. However, we face the problem of chemical and medical side effects from modern drugs and food additives. Therefore, a medication designed to address one problem will often create other unexpected issues. I can give personal testimony to that.

I have blood pressure issues that are hereditary and a product of my age. For two years, doctors tried various medications to lower my blood pressure, but nothing worked. Finally, a doctor found a new drug that does work. My hypertension is under control, and I am thankful for that. This new drug, in conjunction with some previous medications, together with my new regime of exercise and eating habits, has greatly reduced my risk for a stroke.

The problem with this new medication is that it has side effects that were unknown when I started taking it. It affects my vision, balance, breathing, and sleep. When I complained to my doctor, who likes to be a comedian, he said, “Well do you want to die of a stroke or the side effects?”

We also have chemical and medical side effects from food additives and drinks. People in Christ’s day used fermented grape juice because the water was unsafe to drink. The “wine” available then had a very low percentage of alcohol, around 4%. Today, distillation processes allow the alcohol percentage to be vastly higher, and alcohol poisoning is a significant issue. Recently in Missouri, 19-year-old Daniel Santulli suffered severe brain damage after being forced to drink alcohol as part of hazing during a pledge reveal party for the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity. When I was a fraternity pledge at Indiana University, my fellow pledges were forced to drink alcohol until they could no longer walk. Then they were then driven to a remote country road and dropped off.

Now the college drug of choice is marijuana. Modern marijuana has levels of THC (the drug responsible for psychoactive effects) 15% higher than in the 1970s. British studies show that these high THC levels increase the probability of addiction. We are now seeing fatal accidents caused by marijuana, as Newsweek reports that car accident rates have risen in states after legalizing marijuana sales. Science has not adequately studied the long-term side effects of marijuana.

In addition to drugs, people use food additives and supplements without scientific studies exploring their long-term side effects. God has given us plants and substances such as alcohol that we can use to alleviate human suffering. However, chemical and medical side effects are likely to increase suffering when we use them as untested recreational drugs or food additives.

— John N. Clayton © 2022

References: KOMO Mid-Missouri News, Newsweek, The Week August 12, 2022, page 22, and AP in the South Bend Tribune 6/2/22 page 6A.

Life Issues from Beginning to End

Life Issues from Beginning to End

The media have recently reported on several life issues from beginning to end. Here are some examples:

The German Euthanasia Association has announced that those seeking euthanasia must produce proof of COVID vaccination
to legally end their lives. This is apparently to protect healthcare workers.

In Poland, the government has passed a law requiring doctors to report all pregnancies and miscarriages to a government database. The apparent reason for this is to make sure that all pregnancies end with a birth. Unfortunately, Poland has a shortage of workers, and this seems to be the government’s solution to the issue.

Research has shown that women who use marijuana during pregnancy are more than twice as likely to have aggressive, hyperactive children with heart rate and immunity issues.

Babies have a fragrance that comes from an organic compound called hexadecanal. It is found in human skin but is abundant in a baby’s scalp. Research shows that females exposed to the fragrance become more aggressive and strong defenders of their babies. On the other hand, men exposed to it become more gentle and speak with softer voices. Evolutionists claim that this is an evolutionary survival mechanism. We would suggest this is part of God’s design of the human reproductive system.

Research on adopted children shows that some traits are common to adopted children that do not commonly appear in children who are not adopted. In the nine months of pregnancy, there is a “primal bonding that happens by biological design.” Those of us with adopted children can attest to some behavior issues that may be related to the adoption process.

God gave us the ideal arrangement for family–one man and one woman in love with each other produce children they love and care for. Unfortunately, that arrangement is not always possible. Understanding the stress and feelings involved can go a long way toward making adoption a good experience.

As we examine life issues from beginning to end, we know that every child needs a loving family, and every senior adult needs someone who loves them.

— John N. Clayton © 2021

The above information is from a series of articles in The Week for December 10 and 17, 2021.

America is Becoming a Land of Intoxicants

America is Becoming a Land of Intoxicants

The dictionary defines an intoxicant as “that which produces feelings of pleasure or happiness in a person.” America is becoming a land of intoxicants. The enormous success of science and technology has given our culture a comfortable lifestyle and a sense of security. The illusion of self-sufficiency is constantly reinforced by Hollywood, Madison Avenue, and even many churches.

In the meantime, our culture is rejecting the words of Ephesians 5:15-18 despite the evidence that they are true: “Look carefully how you walk. Do not act thoughtlessly, but like sensible men. Make the most of your time, despite all the difficulties of these days. You can not afford to be reckless but understand what the will of the Lord is. Don’t get your stimulus from wine but let the Spirit stimulate your souls.”

America is becoming a land of intoxicants lagging behind other countries in recognizing the destructive nature of substance abuse. The American entertainment industry pushes alcohol. Even country music, which used to emphasize the negative effects of alcohol, is now saturated with promoting it as a way to pleasure and happiness. The destructive nature of alcohol is astounding. Biotech Investor’s Journal for September 2021 published a research report on the harm caused by alcohol compared to 20 other recreational drugs. Alcohol ranks # 1 in harmful effects, far beyond LSD, Meth, Crack Cocaine, and Heroin.

Some countries have recognized the serious consequences of alcohol and have passed laws to control it. For example, Scotland and Sweden have passed stringent laws to mitigate the use of alcohol. In America, the maximum blood alcohol content allowed for a motorist is 80 mg of alcohol per 100 ml of blood or .08%. In Scotland, the limit is .05%, with penalties of the automatic loss of license, fines up to $7000, a criminal record, and possibly a prison sentence. In Sweden, the limit is .02%.

Alcohol’s impact on humans is well documented. Negative effects on reaction time, perception, and balance are outward products of alcohol use, as are inhibition and impaired decision-making. Now the accepted use of marijuana is adding more pain to the human experience.

For some who claim to be Christians, their religious experience may be an intoxicant. The desire to find an intoxicant in Church has led to the prosperity gospel, which teaches that God will supply wealth (materialism) to His children. Other intoxicants for some religious people are emotional experiences of speaking in tongues or even out-of-the-body experiences.

The Bible’s description of successful Christian living involves recognizing that Satan controls activities on Earth (1 John 5:19). If we are looking for heaven on Earth, we are in for disappointment and pain. The Bible indicates that the influence of Satan is all around us. (See 1 Corinthians 15:33; James 1:27, 4:4; 2 Peter 1:4, 2:20; 1 John 2:15-17.)

As America is becoming a land of intoxicants, people learn that using intoxication to find pleasure and happiness doesn’t work. However, being a light in a dark world (Matthew 5:14; Philippians 2:14-15) brings contentment and satisfaction that not only leads to a meaningful existence on the Earth but ultimately to eternal joy and happiness with our Lord.

— John N. Clayton © 2021

Tolstoy and Stupefacients

Tolstoy and Stupefacients

One of the most famous authors on the world literary scene was Leo Tolstoy. He is probably best known for War and Peace but is well respected for his other novels. In 1890 Tolstoy wrote an essay titled, “Why Do Men Stupefy Themselves?” For Tolstoy, “stupefacients” were anything that interfered with the rigorous application of a person’s conscience, and he believed they caused most human problems. Tolstoy’s list of stupefacients included wine, beer, spirits, narcotics, and tobacco.

The Bible agrees with Tolstoy. Numerous Old Testament passages tell of trouble coming from the use of alcohol. (For example, see Genesis 9:20-24, Leviticus 10:9, Deuteronomy 29:6, and Judges 13:4-7.) The condemnation of alcohol use in passages like Proverbs 20:1 and 23:21 make it clear this is not God’s will for us to stupefy ourselves with alcohol. There is no product of humanity that has caused more misery, ill health, disruption, and violence than alcohol.

So here we are in 2021, legalizing another stupefacient. We already see the ill effects of the use of marijuana, and yet 70% of all Americans support the legalization of recreational pot. Nearly 80% of people in the 18-29 age category support it. Celebrities like Willie Nelson, Cheech and Chong, Woody Harrelson, and Bill Maher have promoted marijuana as a way to find peace in a confusing world.

People made similar claims about alcohol when prohibition was the law. The promoters of alcohol won, and the result of the legalization of alcohol brought in tax dollars. At the same time, it has cost far more in alcohol-related accidents, broken homes, and broken lives. The legalization of marijuana is also riding on the claim of increased tax dollars.

Tolstoy was a Russian writing in the late 19th century, and he was unsuccessful in turning Russia away from the use of stupefacients. The Russian Republic was destroyed and replaced with Communism with dictators like Lenin and Stalin. The question is, “Will America survive our 21st-century involvement with stupefacients?”

— John N. Clayton © 2021

Data for this came from an article by John M. Crisp titled “We’ll Survive Legal Weed.”