Author: Francisco Arias Fernández
January 24, 2018 22:01:42
A CubaNews translation.
Edited by Walter Lippmann.
A young Canadian with untidy blond hair and faded blue eyes walks back and forth between both ends of a boulevard in downtown Ottawa, the capital of one of the world’s richest countries, begging for money to buy marijuana. In Montevideo, Uruguay, a crazy-looking young man of about 25 offers to work as a car parking attendant for a pittance, enough so he can buy a joint. In Central American capital cities, car drivers waiting for the traffic lights to change get besieged by children eight or nine years of age performing as fire-eaters or simply holding out their hands to beg for charity on behalf of their parents, who lie hidden nearby as they wait for the “prize” to buy drugs and food.
Back in December, Brasilia’s political center was all but occupied by security forces and foreign journalists, all waiting for the arrival of a new president who would take office the following day. A few meters from the Foreign Ministry, one of the venues of the inauguration, a taxi driver warned his passengers not to roll down the windows to take pictures because of the gangs of “dope-smoking” teenagers could appear out of the blue to mug tourists.
These are personal stories, not hearsay or exaggerations. Besides, they are not isolated cases in today’s world or in the countries where I witnessed them.
Felipe met his Spanish wife through a friend who rents out his apartment in Havana. He moved to Barcelona, leaving behind his eight-year-old daughter and his parents. In his new country, he started to consume and smoke synthetic marijuana or whatever he could get his hands on. After some time, while on a visit to Cuba and a week before his return trip, he was caught in possession of small amounts of the narcotic that he had got from a dealer. He ended up in prison, which also brought a lot of suffering and trauma to his child and loved ones.
Cuban internationalist doctors cry as they share stories of children in Paraguay, Brazil, Bolivia or other South American nations who show symptoms of marijuana consumption from an early age, and others who died in their arms because they could not get any marijuana and decided to sniff paint thinners, gasoline or strychnine.
A Uruguayan psychologist, who provides therapeutic services to slum areas in Tijuana, on the U.S. border, described in his doctoral thesis, which he defended at the University of Havana, how his patients take advantage of the legalization of marijuana in southwestern U.S. states to cross the border and get a marijuana prescription for stress treatment, a sure way to maintain their addiction as they get gradually worse, both physically and mentally.
Far from tackling your ailments or bringing you benefits, he remarked, making that drug legal has boosted its use and multiplied health problems in those regions.
Similar findings were disclosed last October in a study by the French National Institute for Advanced Studies in Security and Justice (INHESJ) and the French Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Addiction (OFGT) about the impact of cannabis regulation on U.S. states and in Uruguay.
According to the study, “the regulated sale of marijuana in special pharmacies has led to a nationwide rising trend in all indicators for use in Uruguay and has had no significant effects on the black market”. Legalization in the U.S. has brought forth a noticeable rise in consumption, particularly among occasional and regular users aged 25 or over.
Also underlined in the study is “a major rise in hospital admissions related to presumed cannabis intoxication in two North American States” (Colorado and Washington State).
The World Health Organization (WHO) came to the conclusion in 1948 that the consumption of cannabis (marijuana, hashish and hashish oil) was dangerous from every point of view, be it physical, mental or social. More recently added to the list are the so-called synthetic cannabinoids (synthetic or laboratory marijuana), even more harmful.
Experts remark that the symptoms of marijuana intoxication appear more slowly and take longer to go away. Not only that, but that it can trigger very serious mental disorders. Its most common and socially detrimental effect is the so-called affective or amotivational syndrome, characterized by severe detachment from reality, not unlike the kind related to serious forms of schizophrenia.[Marijuana use] impairs our thoughts, causes memory and concentration problems and tampers with learning. It also delays reaction time with visual and auditory stimuli, disrupts time perception and hinders coordination. It also causes bronchitis and lung cancer in a much larger proportion than smoking. Moreover, it is known to affect our sex life and reproductive capacity, not only because of the resulting dissociation but also the reduction of our hormonal level and sperm motility that it brings with it. Marijuana consumption also has catastrophic consequences on addicted mothers, such as congenital deformities and premature births.
Furthermore, it paves the way for lack of coordination and balance, tachycardia, conjunctival injection (bloodshot eyes), dry mouth and throat syndrome, and drowsiness, as well as death by heart arrhythmia.
Marijuana is young people’s gateway drug and a springboard to the abyss of other even more dangerous substances.
In Europe there has been evidence since the 1970s of a consumption cycle that starts with marijuana and then leads to other more harmful substances like LSD, heroin or morphine. None of them bring a happy end, for they either blow you out or kill you.
FIVE FACTS ABOUT MARIJUANA:
Source: Interview granted to journalist Lisandra Fariñas xcby Dr. Ricardo A. González Menéndez, a consultant with the Integrated Addiction Treatment Service of Havana’s Psychiatric Hospital and chairman of the National Medical Ethics Commission.