-61 votes

My Argument Against Marijuana

Update:

I'm intrigued by many of the comments.

First, of all, many people have yelled at me for pointing a gun at their head or something. WTF? Did you read what I wrote?

Second, although some people have been pretty comfortable with the point I've made even though they disagree, most people are quite visceral about what I've said.

I have 41 downvotes at the moment. Why? Because I've made a moral argument against the voluntary choice to use drugs including marijuana. It's frankly the same position, if perhaps formulated sort of specifically, as Ron Paul.

I said that Marijuana is not some big demon, and sure, if you've been through hell that sort of thing might help you. I'm not condemning you.

What do you think Ron Paul is all about, why do people worship him? He's a moral man. So, in fact, is someone like Alex Jones. They have a sense of commitment of their duties to themselves, their families, their God. There is a sense of higher moral purpose.

Now, that alone doesn't make marijuana bad, but I'm trying to say that having a 'goodie-two-shoe' 'boy scout' commitment to doing right is a good thing, and we need that attitude. We are awake in that we aren't naive, and we think for ourselves, but we must have that commitment and be proud of that aspect of our character.

Okay, so I also think that this sort of do-the-right-thing morality involves staying away from drugs if you can. Chemicals that alter you mental state. Why's that such a controversial position? The CIA planting drugs in communities, the DOJ putting people in jail for it - can't you see this as a two-pronged attack?

So, you're not evil if you smoke pot. But, if I wanted my kids to aspire to something better in life, to do their duty to God - whichever God - if I was looking for that 'spark' in someone... I'd tell my kids to stay away, and I do grow skeptical of people who smoke pot. Look, I have good friends that are liberal who think that if everything in society isn't circumscribed by law and regulation, then surely everything will go wrong and everyone will die. They are smart and well-intentioned, but they're wrong. They don't think quite right. Likewise, smoking pot is not this guarantee of being something bad or whatever, but I would automatically think something's not right.

And it's the same as if I wanted to go play sports with friends, or board games, or see a show of some kind and they want to get drunk and bang girls they don't care about. I'd have a problem with those people.

Everyone's different and have different tastes, but certain qualities and activities are just of a certain type that borders on that edge of nihilism and narcissism or what have you.

Anyway, some of this is private opinion. But I KNOW that this community is really motivated by the drug issue, and I am POLITICALLY ON BOARD with that issue. However, I thought it would be constructive to bring in a counter opinion. Look, some of us think ending the drug war will save our communities. Others think that spreading hemp plants all over the world like Johnny Appleseed will save the universe. That's deranged, and I was trying to start an adult conversation without relying on sophomoric talking points to say that perhaps drugs are really not a good thing, even if criminalization is a horrific overreach, and so perhaps this community needs to think about how much we want to celebrate marijuana.

I don't get why people get so pissed when you disagree with stuff they do. I didn't call names and presented a rational argument. I DON'T have to accept what you do, and I DON'T have to ignore it because it's what you want. What I can't do is ever force or coerce anyone. But on a public forum - you better damn believe I have a right to piss people off if I think it'll make the world a little better. And my goal isn't to just piss people off, but make an argument in spite of whether people choose to be pissed off.

41 down votes because I said marijuana might sort of be bad - I hate the 'this community is such and such' or 'I might have to quit'. No, not at all! I'm not going there. But I'm a little dismayed that there seems to be a big pothead situation here.

***********************************************************

I have been wanting to do this for a while, I'm finally in the mood.

So, this is basically an abstract/moral argument.

Happiness is the goal of life, not the purpose of it. While we meaningfully pursue our purpose, we are happy. Purpose includes basic material objectives, and abstract spiritual objective. Eating good food can make you happy. Rest can make you happy. Exercise can make you happy. Creating can make you happy. Social activity can make you happy.

Now, there are these 'drug' things. They can be anything from refined sugar (maybe), or caffeine (better argument), to marijuana or coke. I would argue that any drug is a moral negative. That doesn't mean enjoying a coffee is evil, but all else being equal, one would hope to pursue life's goals for their own sakes. This argument will make more sense in a minute. Of course, coffee has utility: alertness, creative brain power, but in this case I'm talking about that warm feeling itself as an end in and of itself.

Marijuana has utility, in theory, but the main reason why people use it is for that feeling in and of itself. And this is in fact why I distinguish alcohol from marijuana. It is a matter of intensity. Still, I won't beat around the bush. I think that alcohol is a strong moral negative, and that people drink it way more often than what might be proper. So we can conflate the two. All I'm saying is that mere marijuana use equates to heavy alcohol use. Equivocate with me if you choose, my abstract point remains the same.

The problem, then, with marijuana is that it induces a state of felt happiness. Let's discuss psychological reward mechanisms. Bringing a little science in here, we can say that generally happiness is the result of the sensation produced by dopamine in the brain. Basic survival tasks have been fine tuned and balanced by millions of years of evolution to reward survival achievements: eating, sleeping, sex, social activity with an appropriate amount of dopamine. Apparently, creative thinking, strategic planning is a uniquely human survival mechanism also rewarded.

There's more to it! With memory and conceptual thinking, we can associate these building block reward mechanisms with abstract spiritual successes. When Jesus talks about hunger and the bread of life, he equates the sensation of pure joy a starving person receives from having bread with the abstraction of a spiritual starvation and a spiritual feast.

The point is that this mechanism is real, and physiological, but it's the foundation of all our abstract and spiritual pursuits as well.

I concur that people *can* use marijuana and be functional and purposeful people. However, this is often not the case despite exceptions, and there are downsides not often discussed.

What drugs, including marijuana and alcohol for that matter do is that they induce a dopamine release related not to any act or achievement (that's natural and proper) but rather to the act of usage and using the drug itself. This throws the reward mechanism out of whack.

With heavy drugs, like heroine or cocaine, you see people destroy themselves and those they love because of this interrupted reward loop.

But, even marijuana has a bad effect. A person can still have a purpose while using, but marijuana consumes much more of that reward function than a mere 'thing you do' should. This means that you are wasting 'purpose' resources no matter what when you use.

Granted, let's say you grew up in a crappy household. Psychologically, you might be devoting so many resources to coping with that that drug use might actually free up resources by suppressing the effect of those issues. This isn't a good argument for drugs, if you can't gather.

So drugs interfere with your basic moral purpose and happiness mechanism. And this in turn prevents healthy moral and emotional growth.

Consider the way users act:
1. They are hyper defensive about their drug use. Why is this? Think about how you would feel if a beloved relative died? That person is a source of happiness and being in your life. Marijuana induces an artificial happiness, and so it takes on the role of an artificial loved one. Hence, many (not all) legalizes are hyper defensive. Losing their beloved grass scares them immensely.
2. Lack of self-awareness. It is well documented that marijuana can induce paranoid thinking. This isn't a political comment. I'm just making the point that I know users personally who get wrapped up in unrealistic ideas and have no self-awareness. Yeah, people can indeed lack self-awareness, but marijuana seems to be forcibly, chemically driving a certain lack of self awareness in people. That includes an awareness of the negative effects of using. Linking to point #1, people's state of fear over losing marijuana is chemically induced by the drug's effect on the brain, but people don't realize this. The feeling comes from their brain chemistry, and they act in response to it, but they have no rational, conceptual awareness of their hyper-defensiveness.

Those are just two examples of the sort of effects drugs have on the brain.

It's immoral because the reward process is so foundational to the greater moral purpose of pursuing virtue and a better life.

From a political perspective, the law doesn't have a place using coercive violence against drug users. But that's a general point that is so much broader than the issue of drugs.

Plus, despite my light-handed approach to this issue, drugs do in fact cause enormous harm to people and communities - this is just a fact. I like more foundational abstract arguments, but the basic pragmatic one works pretty well too.

So, that's my argument.

Like I said, we probably drink alcohol too much, but hey we do it. So, if a marijuana user is reading this, I might expect at least someone to think: "You know, he's pretty much right, but of course a vice is a vice and there's no mortal sin in a little smoke here and there." That's all I'm getting at.

Of course, if my argument is very valid, people will freak out in defense of their drug use and call me names.

******

I've thought about it just a bit more.

The idea is that morality is thought of in terms of general principles that inspire moral growth in a direction, as opposed to black and white. It isn't about demonization or 'drugs are bad'.

It's about, which direction do you want to go in.

I'm saying we should go in that direction of greater balance. Balance between physiology and spirituality. We have to eat, and sleep, and so forth. It affects our chemistry and therefore psychology. So we should try to be healthy so our chemistry is balanced. This means more spiritual energy to pursue the heights, if you will.

It's very clear that drug use is an unhealthy, unbalancing activity. That's what I'm trying to say.

While, therefore, drugs aren't 'bad' so-to-speak, I think I can legitimately argue for treating them with extreme reservation.

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You misrepresent all the way around. Education is the key.

You said that you didn't call anyone names then characterized those who believe cannabis can save the world as deranged. You also called cannabis supporters potheads.

You've made your mind up about pot and apparently done it without reading a single book on the topic. I'd suggest Marijuana: Gateway to Health : How Cannabis Protects Us from Cancer and Alzheimer's Disease if you decide to educate yourself.

Remember before you knew about libertarianism. Before you knew if Ron Paul. Remember how you came to learn that things weren't the way you thought they were and that you had been flat out wrong on some things? That's the way you will be with cannabis if you take the time to learn about it.

Either way, as long as you aren't supporting any laws to prevent others from using it then you're okay by me.

My friend Ben Harper says it best :
"my choice is what I choose to do
and if I'm causing no harm
it shouldn't bother you
your choice is who you choose to be
and if your causin' no harm
then you're alright with me

if you don't like my fire
then don't come around
cause I'm gonna burn one down"

Different picture

Marijuana is good, healthy and natural. All perspectives to the contrary are literally unsubstantiated by facts and evidence. If the plant were indeed a menace to society then that society would not embrace it. Since our society embraces it, even against violent aggression by the state, it stands to reason that there is more than simply a perceived benefit. If you want enlightenment on the subject then find out everything that you can know about cannabis. The plant and its benefits really speak for themselves.

I hope that you will find the truth about cannabis every bit as refreshing as I have. Because to know cannabis is to know the one true divine herb that was so graciously given our humble species.

Oh yeah, well...

I'm against marijuana too. But I've forgotten why.

God forgives always. Man forgives sometimes. But Nature never forgives.

My argument against people

My argument against people who think they can tell me what I can and can not put in my body.. IT'S NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS!

Jeez. There's bigger & better things to worry about. This way of thinking is over.

ChristianAnarchist's picture

Ok, I vote the OP up one (not

Ok, I vote the OP up one (not that it makes much difference). I also agree that all vice is "bad" and you should not do them. I might tell you so. Where I draw the line is using any force to make you "behave". As long as you don't hurt someone then you have not broken any true "laws" (common law or natural law). Eating too much is bad for you, smoking too much is bad for you, drinking too much is bad for you (there's a really long list here...)

The answer though is not legislation (the use of force to compel behavior modification).

Beware the cult of "government"...

Think of all the music you've enjoyed listening to....

and realize that much of it was written while high.

The same is true of literature you've read and art that you found interesting and beautiful.

I'll smoke it and go to a drawer to retrieve a pencil, decide to clean out the drawer, two hours later, my whole house is cleaned in detail.

One more bong hit and my car is magically washed and waxed.

Then I eat a half-gallon of ice cream.

Your very first statement >>

Your very first statement
>> Happiness is the goal of life, not the purpose of it.
'goal' is a synonym of 'purpose'. The pursuit of happiness is decent enough goal/purpose in life. If you confuse the precepts of your arguments, then you end up in a bad analysis.

Also the negative effects of marijuana are not sufficiently established. There is a great absence of scientific studies on Marijuana because of FDA and DEA interference.

Lastly, think of the alcohol ban of the 1920s. The artificial limit on the supply of liquor resulted in highly concentrated liquor production. The same is the case with Marijuana. Producers have selectively bred the plant to contain a very high concentration of THC to get the maximum profit for the risk that they take. Take away Government from the picture, then such issues or moral dilemmas will reduce or cease to exist.

egapele's picture

Hint: do not use the word "we" as a pronoun

when expressing personal opinions here at the DP.

:)

I am for diapers and baby food being

taxed the same rates as soda, alcohol, and tobacco.

Perhaps when I think about the sheer volume of ignorant kids who grow up to be violence condoning statists ... I am thinking the tax for all baby items should be triple the rates of soda, alcohol, and tobacco.

It is said if you tax something you get less of it. Since I am for less ignorant kids being produced by ignorant parents who grow up to be tyranny enablers I say tax the hell out of all baby needs so there are less of them.

Perhaps children should be taxed directly as a liability to liberty assumed by any legal parent or guardian. I don't want to offend any constitutionalists so I further propose children are taxed in a direct manner that conforms to article 1, section 8 based on the census, etc.

LOL I'm glad I read your

LOL I'm glad I read your diatribe. you've put a lot of thought into it, I guess. Is cannabis really a drug? do you really equate marijuana usage with heavy alcohol usage?

I'm vascilating

on whether this is linear thinking, or tunnel vision.
Might be both.

Here's number 57

Religions is also a drug IMHO

Religions is also a drug IMHO and I have seen it have all the same negative affects as any other drug. I really don't care about your moral arguments as long as you aren't arguing to have your morality instituted by force.

"In reality, the Constitution itself is incapable of achieving what we would like in limiting government power, no matter how well written."

~ Ron Paul, End the Fed

I love

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and I'm not immoral.....much.

When a true genius appears in the world, you may know him by this sign: that the dunces are all in confederacy against him. ~J. Swift

All of your points are valid, but..

...what most people here will believe is that you wish to use force (prohibition)to prevent people from using a drug. Each and every one of your comments goes hand and hand with alcohol, another drug. If you say marijuana is bad, then you also agree that alcohol is bad, based on your arguments. If you ever drink to the point of getting a buzz or more, then you are guilty of everything you mentioned above. But to me that is okay. You see even though I smoke and drink, I agree that doing such things is not really good for my health, but I enjoy it anyhow. I also control myself, meaning I get my shit done.

Being fat and lazy is most likely worse than smoking too much weed (unless you are fat and lazy and smoke too much weed). Again the fat lazy man will have many of the undesired traits you mention above.

But with all that said, as long as you do not promote the use of government to try and get your "way", then there is nothing wrong. But as soon as you say that the government should promote not using drugs or that they should fund projects such as D.A.R.E. then you have crossed the line from your opinion to using force. At this point you become the enemy of many people.

Who cares what you think about marijuana?

If you don't like it, then don't smoke it, buy it or sell it? "God " created it for a reason. Actually many reasons. It's hundreds of beneficial uses have a history going back thousands of years.

Maybe for you it was just to confound you. And no, I didn't read the 1,943 words you wrote trying to figure it out.

"A vote for the lesser of two evils is a vote to keep things the same", Buckminster Fuller..
A choice for liberty is always a choice for liberty.

Morality?

Are you even serious?

So Thomas Jefferson and George Washington were immoral?

Do you smoke pot? Have you ever?

Im always amazed at the do-gooders. Why stop there? We can ban tobacco, alcohol, prescription pain killers, paint, glue, gas..........

Take it from this self professed lover of great weed.. what I do is none of your business. I receive way more benefit from weed than I do your tyrannical (in nature) post.

Take care!

'Peace is a powerful message.' Ron Paul

Don't forget coffee

cola, and chocolate.

Let us learn the source of this herb. Let us define our terms.

Mark Twain, a man of letters.

hemp n. [L. cannabis. ]1. A fibrous plant constituting the genus Cannabis, whose skin or bark is used for cloth and cordage. Hence canvas, the coarse

hemp-agrimony n. A plant, a species of Eupatorium.

Source: Webster's Deictionary, 1828 Edition.

"[Mark Twain] is still the rough, awkward, good-natured boy who swore at the deck hands when he was three years old. Thoroughly likable as a good fellow, but impossible as a man of letters." -Willa Cather

Disclaimer: Mark Twain (1835-1910-To be continued) is unlicensed. His river pilot's license went delinquent in 1862. Caution advised. Daily Paul

You wasted your time...

...and now mine.

Leave others alone and get to work on yourself...it's far more productive. Or if you like...try a moral argument against watching football...I'm sure you'll get more takers.

Wha? .....hey....who stole my country?

"Unconditional Love"

The Act of Expressing Love Regardless of the Condition (or a Person's "High" Condition).

If you don't understand THAT fundamental teaching of the Faith you are quoting, then there is much to be learned.

"We are not human beings having a spiritual experience; we are spiritual beings having a human experience"—Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

Hey that's my line

Far too many of all faiths disregard this rule. Thank you for sharing it.

If I disappear from a discussion please forgive me. My 24-7 business requires me to split mid-sentence to serve them. I am not ducking out, I will be back later to catch up.

Odd, isn't it? That so many Faiths disregard THE Truth.

I wonder what motive they have to do so? Hmmmm?

"We are not human beings having a spiritual experience; we are spiritual beings having a human experience"—Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

If the effect of MJ for a

If the effect of MJ for a sub-set of users is paranoia, does that change your argument for those users?

Paranoid of what?

Going to jail or prison? Having the government steal everything you've ever worked for? Never once was I paranoid in Holland while enjoying the buds.

Paranoia is normal in America. Try driving on any road in America. There are highway men everywhere look to export their tolls. Try starting a business or home schooling.

Time to consider the real source of paranoia.

"A vote for the lesser of two evils is a vote to keep things the same", Buckminster Fuller..
A choice for liberty is always a choice for liberty.

They probably just need to try a different strain.

Just like booze, there are varieties of MJ that have different effects, physical and psychological. Ingesting MJ has completely different (and often more intense) effects as well.

Beer hurts my stomach and heavy booze gives me back pains. It also makes me act like an idiot and say dumb things and affects my mobility and ability to keep food from coming up my throat. Don't have to worry about any of that with MJ though.

"We are not human beings having a spiritual experience; we are spiritual beings having a human experience"—Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

Stop trying to live my life

Stop trying to live my life for me. I don't care what you think about what I do with my life when I don't hurt anyone else.

I'm not a "pothead," but you are trying to control people like an authoritarian. Fine, if you don't like it, but DON'T TREAD ON ME.

Mencken defined Puritanism as the haunting fear that somewhere

someone might be happy.

So, marijuana is bad. Fine. Don't use it. Tobacco is bad. Don't use it. If you do use marijuana, you can expect a predawn raid from the local SWAT team and have your property forfeited. If you use tobacco, you can expect to contract one or more debilitating diseases.

You can recommend people not use marijuana. You can recommend people not use tobacco. I think we can all agree with that. Persuasion is valid way to achieve the non-use of bad things by those around you.

The problem arises from using the state's monopoly on coercion to enforce your conclusion that smoking marijuana is bad.

Someone I know is all for getting groped by the TSA before getting on an airplane. He believes it makes him safer. I asked how it made him safer. He said it kept terrorists off the plane. I asked how did his getting groped keep terrorists off the plane. That sounded magical to me. I pointed out was he was willing to surrender his fourth amendment rights for nothing since he was no threat to the plane. What he really wanted was everyone else to surrender their right as well in order to make him feel safer. This he had no authority to do.

So it is with marijuana. If it is illegal to use, it gives the police an excuse to raid your home, shoot your dog, terrorize your family, destroy or confiscate your property. This can happen even if you do not use it. All the police need is an informant to lie to a judge.

Marijuana is bad. Police state terrorism is worse. So your neighbor or kids don't use marijuana because it is bad. That does not protect them from a raid as long as it is also illegal. In the end state terrorism keeps your kids straight. That is the benefit. What is the cost?

It recalls Jesus' question: What profiteth a man who gains the whole world, but loseth his soul?

That is why it should be legal because keeping it illegal is worse than having the state allow other people use it.

[F]orce can only settle questions of power, not of right. - Clyde N. Wilson

Good post.

I thought the arguments you made were sensible and indicated that you have given the question some thought. From personal experience I know that using drugs and excessive amounts of alcohol prevents the pursuit of a virtuous life which is the foundation of any happiness.

As you say, happiness is a consequence and therefore not to be pursued as something in itself. This is supported by the Beatitudes in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew chapter 5 and in the description of the wise man in Psalm 1. This shows us that blessedness or happiness is predicated on avoidance of certain behaviours and the embrace of certain heart attitudes. In other words our happiness depends upon personal morality that must follow, at a minimum, the revealed law of human nature given to all men everywhere that is summed up in the Golden Rule. The highest standard of virtue to which men are called is the one revealed by the Lord Jesus Christ, the Law of Life, Love and self sacrifice that can only be followed in His Spirit, i.e. when one has been born from above.

It seems that America as a culture, from what I have read and witnessed, came to believe that the pursuit of happiness meant the pursuit of material success measured in the amount of material possessions and money that one could accumulate. Having such a material goal in life is specifically mentioned by Jesus, once again in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew chapter 6:19-34. He says that such a pursuit actually results in anxiety.

In Luke 12:15 Jesus says: “Watch out and guard yourself from all types of greed, because one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” His teaching on this subject is clear: "But above all pursue his kingdom and righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. " (Matthew 6:33) The spiritual must precede the physical and material. In the spiritual realm we find the meaning of our lives and direction for them.

Given the actual direction taken by American culture in this regard it is not surprising that stress became a leading cause of death and that many sought relief in alcohol and drugs, whether illegal or legal. The pursuit of short term pleasure became the substitute for the pursuit of genuine happiness and this was also reflected after 1913 in the build up of debt as the people sought to counterfeit "success" through credit. This merely added to their anxiety and stress and brought about the collapse of many marriages and the consequent creation of generations of fatherless children. These conditions gave rise to an increase in alcohol and drug abuse, sexual promiscuity and an intensifying of the alienation in personal relationships. As it says in scriptures "because lawlessness will increase so much, the love of many will grow cold". (Matthew 24:12)

The use of mind altering drugs, among which is cannabis, is specifically mentioned in scripture as being destructive to the human personality. They were used at one time as adjuncts to the ancient "mystery" religions to facilitate the possession of individuals by daemonic spirits. The word for sorcery and the use of drugs in Greek is "farmakiah" from which we acquire our word pharmaceutical. This applies also to legal drugs many of which today would fall into the mind altering category. On the other hand the moderate use of alcohol as wine, beer or spirits is not frowned upon although the abuse of these is treated in the same way as drugs.

Sorcery, the use of drugs, is mentioned by the apostle Paul in Galatians 5:19-21 as one of the works of the flesh one must avoid amongst which are idolatry, sexual immorality, impurity, envying, murder, carousing and drunkenness.

So it would seem to me that the use of any drugs, including legal drugs, affecting mental function, should be eschewed as you have indicated. Speaking from personal experience the use of cannabis can cause paranoia and schizophrenic episodes although this may not be applicable to everyone. Nevertheless the ill effects of such substances have been well documented and they should be avoided.

Having said this I agree with Ron Paul that any such education on and regulation of drugs should be dealt with at State level and all Federal legislation in this regard should be repealed and all non-violent drug related offenders in Federal custody should be released.

"Jesus answered them: 'Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin. The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.'" (John 8:34-36)

The Four Reliances

First, rely on the spirit and meaning of the teachings, not on the words;

Second, rely on the teachings, not on the personality of the teacher;

Third, rely on real wisdom, not superficial interpretation;

And fourth, rely on the essence of your pure Wisdom Mind, not on judgmental perceptions.

If I disappear from a discussion please forgive me. My 24-7 business requires me to split mid-sentence to serve them. I am not ducking out, I will be back later to catch up.

I'm not here to judge you but

I'm not here to judge you but only hopefuly to offer observations.

You may want to do a more thorough analysis of morality itself before you jump into the morality of using a particular substance.

Do you have personal experience with the use of this substance?

Have you attempted to find cases/examples of people using that do not align with your expected outcome?