Marijuana Use Has Consequences

Marijuana Use Has Consequences
Drug promoters, politicians, and even stockbrokers have flooded the media with claims about marijuana, and almost everything they have said about marijuana use is wrong. When you read the scientific studies about marijuana, they contradict what the promoters of the drug have said. Here are some factual data from scientific sources and from the National Academy of Medicine for you to consider:

“Cannabis use is likely to increase the risk of developing schizophrenia and other psychoses; the higher the use, the greater the risk.”

Marijuana use as a pain killer is too weak to work for people who truly need opiates such as terminal cancer patients.

Marijuana does not reduce opiate use. The United States which is the western country with the most cannabis use also has by far the worst problem with opioids. The January 2018 issue of the American Journal of Psychiatry carried a report showing that people who used cannabis in 2001 were almost three times as likely to use opiates three years later.

Teenagers who smoke marijuana regularly are three times as likely to develop schizophrenia.

In 2014 there were 90,000 cases of “diagnosable cannabis use disorder,” which is triple the number in 2006.

A study published in June of 2018 in Frontiers of Forensic Psychiatry showed that over a three-year period men with psychosis who used cannabis had a 50% chance of becoming violent. That is four times higher than those with psychosis who didn’t use cannabis. A study of 1600 psychiatric patients in Italy showed a 10-fold increase in violence in those using cannabis.

A 2007 paper in the Medical Journal of Australia on 88 defendants who had committed homicide found that two-thirds were misusing cannabis — more than alcohol and amphetamines combined.

The Journal of Interpersonal Violence in 2012 reported a study of 9,000 adolescents which found that marijuana use doubled domestic violence, and a Chinese study found a fivefold increase.

States that have legalized marijuana have had a 37% increase in murders and a 25% increase in aggravated assaults.

We want to emphasize that studies on the medical uses of marijuana are ongoing. If marijuana use can be beneficial for medical purposes over the long haul, it certainly should be used. However, the legalization for recreational use is a recipe for disaster.
–John N. Clayton © 2019
For more on this, see the excellent article by Alex Berenson in the January issue of Imprimis Monthly available from Hillsdale College, 33 E. College St., Hillsdale MI 49242. It is available online HERE.
We have posted before about the consequences of marijuana use HERE, HERE, and HERE.

Opioid Crisis and Faith

Opioid Crisis and Faith
Between 2001 and 2016 there was a 345% increase in opioid-related deaths in the United States. In New Hampshire, opioid deaths exceeded highway deaths. We cannot overstate the magnitude of the opioid crisis in the United States. Why is this happening, and what can we do about it?

Not everyone starts using opioids for the same reason. Doctors prescribe the drugs for many people due to pain from an accident or surgery. Some never manage to get off the drugs, adding more and more to achieve a level of comfort they feel necessary. Many get opioids by raiding someone’s medicine cabinet or buying them on the street or from a friend or associate who is selling the drugs.

The bottom line in all of this is what a person believes to be necessary to achieve a state of comfort or well being. Education and psychological help seem to be the greatest need for younger people to avoid the opioid crisis. Dr. Joseph Lee who is the medical director for the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation Youth Continuum points out that genetic predisposition can be an issue. For that reason, teens need to know if other family members struggle with addiction. Dr. Lee also says that teaching children how to relate to the people and the world around them is critical.

Having a strong faith in God is not a guarantee that a person won’t have an opioid addiction problem. However, churches do have a unique opportunity to provide education about opioid addiction to a broad cross-section of society. People with strong religious faith also can be agents to help others get out of addiction.

Christians Against Substance Abuse (CASA) offers courses and a nationwide list of halfway houses. They also provide a directory of Faith-Based Substance Abuse Recovery and Support Groups in the United States. They have an extensive prison ministry that we work with in our own apologetics prison courses. You can see more on their website at kingscrossingprisonministries.org.

Another good source on the opioid crisis is a special issue of Citizen magazine in August of 2018, available from Focus on the Family 8605 Explorer Drive, Colorado Springs, Colorado 80920, phone 800-232-6459. You can also find information online HERE.
–John N. Clayton © 2018

Human Suffering Human-Caused

Human Suffering Human-Caused
There is a constant flow of books, articles, television shows, and blogs dealing with the question of why God allows human suffering. All religions deal in one way or another with this issue, and atheists have attempted to dance around it by denial or avoidance.

We have suggested over the years that Christianity offers the only rational solution to the issue because:
1) The question is only for this life and in the context of eternity is of extremely short duration.
2) Suffering allows ministering to others that Christians are uniquely called to do.
3) To be human there has to be choice, otherwise love is impossible, and choices can have consequences.

Most logical people would agree that if you jump off a bridge, you can’t blame God when you hit the bottom. The fact is that massive amounts of human suffering are because we refuse to live as God calls us to and we do things that bring suffering upon ourselves. God doesn’t cause wars and human actions that cause droughts and famines. God also does not cause us to make bad choices that lead to our own suffering and the suffering of others.

Science News in their last issue for 2017 gave a summary of the latest data in four areas where human suffering is human-caused:
1) 13.4 million U.S. adults misused or abused opioids. (Data from 2015).
2) 19 children die or are medically treated for gun-inflicted wounds every day.
3) 9 million people died directly from pollution.
4) 46% of U.S. adults have high blood pressure largely due to poor diet and lack of exercise.

It isn’t 100% of the pain and suffering issue, but a vast percentage of the pain in this world we bring on ourselves. It is not caused by an angry or malicious god who likes to see us hurt.
–John N. Clayton © 2018