Every now and then, a conscious website will feature a piece on the potential downsides of cannabis use.
These websites, like any other, post a constant stream of pro-cannabis articles that argue for its legalization, describe in detail its countless medicinal, industrial, and spiritual benefits, and discuss it favorably in pretty much every way.
Because of this, they occasionally find it appropriate to explore the other side of the debate in the interest of truth and openness.
They share the research behind how smoking marijuana could affect mental, physical, and spiritual health for the worse, and they try to shed light on the potential harms of daily marijuana use as well as the fact that smoking it is much less healthier than consuming it as food or applying it as oil.
The Debate Is Intense
When I read these articles, I’m always quick to head to the comments section and see what other people think.
The author always gets a few supporters, a few people who are neutral, a few people who favor cannabis but are open to their point of view, and a lot of angry advocates who feel that the author turned his or her back on the truth movement.
The cannabis debate is intense, and sometimes, well-meaning people who just want to see the full picture are dismissed as shills or corporate sellouts for representing an unpopular point of view.
I suppose some advocates feel that since the cannabis plant is just beginning to recover from a century of suppression and propaganda, any information about its downsides is an injustice to the movement.
Some will blame the website the article is posted on and consider it to no longer be a genuine truth-seeking site because of information they feel is biased or inaccurate, but in my opinion, this is unnecessary.
Approaching the Issue from Every Angle
I highly doubt any of these websites or writers have turned their backs on the truth movement. My opinion is that like any conscious writer, researcher, or website owner, they want to approach the issue from every angle in an honest and balanced way.
These articles are usually upfront about the benefits of cannabis. In fact, the authors seem to go out of their way to mention the benefits before, during, and after explaining the potential downsides, and they’re quick to point out when certain research is flawed or proven false.
They try to present what’s currently “known” about the plant in a completely objective way: “Here’s what’s good about it, here’s what the research says is bad, and here’s what we can conclude from all of this”. Despite this, many of them are accused of having an agenda.
What Good Is Truth?
I’d imagine they feel that as truth-seekers, speaking on every aspect of the issue is exactly what they should do. After all, what good is truth if we let our biases get in the way when information surfaces that goes against them?
These writers probably prefer to approach every issue, including cannabis, from a multifaceted point of view so they can learn everything about it as opposed to what one side has to offer.
One side may hold the most truth in some cases, but the other side can still have valid points. In any case, openness helps a great deal in reading oppositional information and considering it before rejecting it or criticizing the author.
Lack of Genuine Research
There’s only one problem with learning about the negative side of cannabis: there isn’t much genuine research or information on it. A lot of genuine information is emerging about its benefits, but most of the information you find about its downsides is indeed biased, outdated, or attached to a corporate agenda.
Most people know that cannabis became illegal in the first place to protect corporate interests, and many of the so-called studies of its dangers in the past century have been flawed or manipulated to produce results the government and their corporate masters want.
A genuine truth-seeker is faced with the dilemma of being open to this likely falsified information if they want to explore both sides of the issue, so they can only do their best and present information they feel is the most genuine.
I think this is what these writers have done, and again, I doubt they bear any ill will toward the cannabis culture or the legalization movement.
Does It Make You Defensive?
Despite that I feel this way, as an advocate I notice how uncomfortable these occasional anti-cannabis articles from truth-seeking websites make me feel. I don’t know if this is true for others, but I get a little defensive.
I’m driven to find a way to disprove the article as propaganda despite that I doubt the author would write about the negative side of an issue they support because of a sudden bias. Reading comments from others who are upset makes me feel better, because I have a sense that I’m not alone.
I can read and agree with what these people are writing in response even if it’s a little hateful, and I no longer have to deal with the initial discomfort of being confronted with something that challenges my viewpoint.
I can externalize my angst by blaming the author or website for being biased or having inaccurate information, and I don’t have to explore why it made me so defensive and upset.
Is It Any Different?
Why would it bother me, a cannabis advocate who hopes to spread truth and eradicate propaganda?
We’re all well aware that cannabis isn’t the dangerous drug it’s made out to be, but is getting upset when someone mentions its potential downsides any better than parroting the idea that it’s bad because the government says it is?
Is being upset over information about its downsides any different than resisting new information about its upsides?
I choose not to externalize the defensiveness I often feel when reading these articles, because a) I want to be open to what everyone has to say, and b) externalizing it gives me an excuse to ignore the source of it, which is somewhere in me.
No matter the issue, it’s best for people on both sides to explore why they may get upset in the face of opposition.
When it comes to countering the information, I don’t recommend doing it out of the desire to discredit the source but in the interest of exploring what the source has to offer and either proving that it’s accurate, or not.
If we want to change the world, we have to work together and find common ground. This will require us to be open to what we each have to say about any given subject, and the first step is to stop being offended by things we don’t agree with and celebrate the things that bring us together.
By Wes Annac, Openhearted Rebel, May 4, 2016 – http://tinyurl.com/j2f77bx