Sorry, But Marijuana Isn't The Miracle Drug

Sorry, But Marijuana Isn't The Miracle Drug

It isn't the end-all-be-all of medical breakthroughs like you think.
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Everywhere you look these days marijuana is being legalized and praised. Whether it's for medicinal or recreational purposes, states have been legalizing in quick succession over the last few years.

Most recently, Arizona, Connecticut, Hawaii, Kentucky, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas, Wyoming, and Washington, D.C. all have policy makers who are pushing for legalization by the end of 2017.

Medicinal marijuana isn't without its benefits: It can be used to treat glaucoma, may help reverse the effects of long-term tobacco use (and therefore improve lung function), it can control epileptic seizures, stop cancer from spreading, decrease anxiety, and so much more.

But here's my unpopular opinion: I don't think marijuana is the miracle drug everyone claims it is. I think that the actual benefits are shadowed by the belief that there even are benefits.

While I think that there are a ton of incredible uses for medicinal marijuana, I also believe that the prescription drugs that have been developed by the "evil" Big Pharma aren't as disastrous and dangerous as they're made out to be. Trust me, I dislike Big Pharma as much as the next guy, but there are tons of cogs in that machine who truly care about the people they're developing drugs for.

I'm not the only one who has this view. Penny Whiting and her colleagues did a study analyzing 79 randomized trials over the medical effects of medical marijuana, and found that "most of the studies showed improvements among the participants taking the cannabinoid products over those using placebo, but in many, the scientists admitted that they could not be sure that the effect wasn’t simply due to chance since the association was not statistically significant."

This is concerning on its own, as the claims being made by marijuana activists aren't necessarily accurate.

This is what concerns me as someone who is going into the medical field. The rhetoric of activists is that anything produced by Big Pharma is toxic and dangerous, while marijuana is natural and will be better than anything Big Pharma produces.

This rhetoric is so incredibly dangerous. There are going to be people who drop the medications they HAVE TO HAVE for illnesses they cannot control in favor of something that is "natural" like marijuana (spoiler alert: it isn't always natural).

I know Big Pharma has done a lot of questionable and horrible things, but they have also produced life-saving things, such as insulin, chemotherapy, and beta blockers; the list goes on.

I worry that as marijuana becomes legalized across the country (and it will, eventually) public health will suffer rather than thrive. More people are going to suffer rather than there be this incredible medical revival that activists are claiming.

Cover Image Credit: Huff Post

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Bailey Posted A Racist Tweet, But That Does NOT Mean She Deserves To Be Fat Shamed

As a certified racist, does she deserve to be fat shamed?
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This morning, I was scrolling though my phone, rotating between Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube and Snapchat again, ignoring everyone's snaps but going through all the Snapchat subscription stories before stumbling on a Daily Mail article that piqued my interest. The article was one about a teen, Bailey, who was bullied for her figure, as seen on the snap below and the text exchange between Bailey and her mother, in which she begged for a change of clothes because people were making fun of her and taking pictures.

Like all viral things, quickly after her text pictures and harassing snaps surfaced, people internet stalked her social media. But, after some digging, it was found that Bailey had tweeted some racist remark.

Now, some are saying that because Bailey was clearly racist, she is undeserving of empathy and deserves to be fat-shamed. But does she? All humans, no matter how we try, are prejudiced in one way or another. If you can honestly tell me that you treat everyone with an equal amount of respect after a brief first impression, regardless of the state of their physical hygiene or the words that come out of their mouth, either you're a liar, or you're actually God. Yes, she tweeted some racist stuff. But does that mean that all hate she receives in all aspects of her life are justified?

On the other hand, Bailey was racist. And what comes around goes around. There was one user on Twitter who pointed out that as a racist, Bailey was a bully herself. And, quite honestly, everyone loves the downfall of the bully. The moment the bullies' victims stop cowering from fear and discover that they, too, have claws is the moment when the onlookers turn the tables and start jeering the bully instead. This is the moment the bully completely and utterly breaks, feeling the pain of their victims for the first time, and for the victims, the bully's demise is satisfying to watch.

While we'd all like to believe that the ideal is somewhere in between, in a happy medium where her racism is penalized but she also gets sympathy for being fat shamed, the reality is that the ideal is to be entirely empathetic. Help her through her tough time, with no backlash.

Bullies bully to dominate and to feel powerful. If we tell her that she's undeserving of any good in life because she tweeted some racist stuff, she will feel stifled and insignificant and awful. Maybe she'll also want to make someone else to feel as awful as she did for some random physical characteristic she has. Maybe, we might dehumanize her to the point where we feel that she's undeserving of anything, and she might forget the preciousness of life. Either one of the outcomes is unpleasant and disturbing and will not promote healthy tendencies within a person.

Instead, we should make her feel supported. We all have bad traits about ourselves, but they shouldn't define us. Maybe, through this experience, she'll realize how it feels to be prejudiced against based off physical characteristics. After all, it is our lowest points, our most desperate points in life, that provide us with another perspective to use while evaluating the world and everyone in it.

Cover Image Credit: Twitter / Bailey

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Increased Popularity of E-Cigarettes Among Students Sparks Change

Featuring Cami Kidder, 19, who takes her Juul with her everywhere.

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With the increasing popularity of e-cigarettes among high school and college students, especially the brand "JUUL," there has been country-wide concern about nicotine addiction and the health effects brought on by vaping.

According to Google Trends, Oxford, Ohio (the location of Miami University) is currently the most popular city in the state for the Google search "Juul." Related topics that are frequently googled along with the keyword "Juul" are pods, electronic cigarette, popcorn lung, flavor and nicotine.

Camryn Kidder is a sophomore at Miami University who has been using an e-cigarette device since her freshman year of high school and has recently purchased a Juul. She uses the device as a social tool and finds that she can't go out without it.

"I bought my first Juul because they were really popular, but then I got really into it and got hooked," she said.

She also acknowledged that when she first started vaping, she used a very low nicotine level, but as she used it more, she kept buying higher levels because she didn't get the same buzz with the lower level.

"It's just so easily accessible, and it's so widely accepted on campus," Kidder said.

Juul devices and flavored pods have even been sold by local bars Uptown. Brick Street Bar advertises "Juul Pods Sold Here" on the front area of their bar just before students walk in. This creates easy access for students to buy a new pod while they are inside the bar instead of leaving to go to one of the many other places where pods are sold Uptown.

According to Truth Initiative, the use of e-cigarettes has increased from 0.6% in 2011 to 3.3% in 2017 for middle school students and from 1.5% in 2011 to 11.7% in 2017 for high school students. This increased use of e-cigarettes is a huge concern for parents due to the negative health effects that the chemicals and nicotine can have for people at such a young age.

The recent ban of flavored Juul pods is due to the public backlash over the increase in teen vaping. According to the New York Times, Juul Labs announced they would "suspend sales of most of its flavored e-cigarette pods in retail stores and would discontinue its social media promotions" in hopes of steering advertising away from teens.

On the Juul website, their mission statement says, "...We envision a world where fewer people use cigarettes," as well as stating, "...We believe that these alternatives are not appropriate for people who do not already smoke."

Although they advertise their product as something for smokers who want to quit using cigarettes, there is an ongoing investigation on claims that Juul was purposely marketing their product towards young people through social media after the device became popular in 2015.

"Our intent was never to have youth use Juul," said Kevin Burns, chief executive of Juul Labs, in a statement emailed to the New York Times reporters.

However, on Juul's official website, a quote from Men's Fitness magazine is advertised saying, "JUUL: The iPhone of E-Cigs," which is something that could appeal to younger people.

Along with the revocation of flavored Juul pods, the age to buy nicotine e-cigarette products has been raised to 21 in many cities, including Cincinnati. This age raise has been in process for a couple of years, but with the recent concern about teen vaping, there has been a lot more emphasis on it.

"Even if they raise the age and take away flavored pods, people are going to find a way to get around it," Kidder said.

She mentioned how there are many other types of e-cigarettes on the market with flavored juices that students could switch over to after the ban of flavored Juul pods. She also brought up that in Oxford "the age to buy nicotine products is still 18," meaning that most students at Miami are not affected by the recent age raise.

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