Casual marijuana use linked with brain abnormalities, study finds…

Loren Grush

Smoking marijuana_Reuters_Feb 6 2013.jpg

REUTERS/MICHAEL KOOREN

Casual marijuana use may come with some not-so-casual side effects.

For the first time, researchers at Northwestern University have analyzed the relationship between casual use of marijuana and brain changes – and found that young adults who used cannabis just once or twice a week showed significant abnormalities in two important brain structures.

The study’s findings, to be published Wednesday in the Journal of Neuroscience, are similar to those of past research linking chronic, long-term marijuana use with mental illness and changes in brain development.  

Dr. Hans Breiter, co-senior study author, said he was inspired to look at the effects of casual marijuana use after previous work in his lab found that heavy cannabis use caused similar brain abnormalities to those seen in patients with schizophrenia.

"The interaction of marijuana with brain development could be a significant problem."

- Dr. Hans Breiter, co-senior study author

“There were abnormalities in their working memory, which is fundamental to everything you do,” Breiter, a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, told FoxNews.com.  “When you make judgments or decisions, plan things, do mathematics – anything you do always involves working memory.  It’s one of the core fundamental aspects of our brains that we use every day.  So given those findings, we decided we need to look at casual, recreational use.”

For their most recent study, Breiter and his team analyzed a very small sample of patients between the ages of 18 and 25: 20 marijuana users and 20 well-matched control subjects.  The marijuana users had a wide range of usage routines, with some using the drug just once or twice a week and others using it every single day.

Utilizing magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), the researchers analyzed the participants’ brains, focusing on the nucleus accumbens (NAC) and the amygdala – two key brain regions responsible for processing emotions, making decisions and motivation.  They looked at these brain structures in three different ways, measuring their density, volume and shape.

According to Breiter, all three were abnormal in the casual marijuana users.

“For the NAC, all three measures were abnormal, and they were abnormal in a dose-dependent way, meaning the changes were greater with the amount of marijuana used,” Breiter said.  “The amygdala had abnormalities for shape and density, and only volume correlated with use.  But if you looked at all three types of measures, it showed the relationships between them were quite abnormal in the marijuana users, compared to the normal controls.”

Because these brain regions are central for motivation, the findings from Northwestern help support the well-known theory that marijuana use leads to a condition called amotivation. Also called amotivational syndrome, this psychological condition causes people to become less oriented towards their goals and purposes in life, as well as seem less focused in general.

Given these eye-opening results,  Breiter said that more research is needed to look into marijuana’s effects on the brain – even in those who use the drug only once or twice a month.

“We need to see what happens longitudinally,” Breiter said. “What happens as you follow people over time?  What happens if they stop using – do these bad effects continue? What happens if you can intervene early?…My worry is we haven’t studied this compound and here we are looking to change legislation on it.”

Although Breiter’s team members did not examine the patients’ cognitive symptoms, they do believe that the brain abnormalities seen in their study could lead to substantial effects on brain development and behavior, especially given the young ages of the participants.  Breiter also acknowledged the problems of analyzing a very small study sample – but said that their findings should still serve as a wake-up call to others.

“This study is just a beginning pilot study, but at the same time, the results that came out are the same as a canary in a coal mine,” Breiter said.  “…The interaction of marijuana with brain development could be a significant problem.”

NEW STATISTICS FROM THE NATIONAL INSTITUTE ON DRUG ABUSE…

Revised December 2012 From the National Institute On Drug Abuse

Marijuana is a dry, shredded green and brown mix of leaves, flowers, stems, and seeds from the hemp plant Cannabis sativa. In a more concentrated, resinous form, it is called hashish, and as a sticky black liquid, hash oil. The main psychoactive (mind-altering) chemical in marijuana is delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC.

Marijuana is the most common illicit drug used in the United States. After a period of decline in the last decade, its use has generally increased among young people since 2007, corresponding to a diminishing perception of the drug’s risks. More teenagers are now current (past-month) smokers of marijuana than of cigarettes, according to annual survey data.

How is Marijuana Abused?

Marijuana is usually smoked in hand-rolled cigarettes (joints) or in pipes or water pipes (bongs). It is also smoked in blunts—cigars that have been emptied of tobacco and refilled with a mixture of marijuana and tobacco. Marijuana smoke has a pungent and distinctive, usually sweet-and-sour, odor. Marijuana can also be mixed in food or brewed as a tea.

illlustration of chemical structures showing how similar the natural brain chemical anandamide is to marijuana's THC

How Does Marijuana Affect the Brain?

When marijuana is smoked, THC rapidly passes from the lungs into the bloodstream, which carries the chemical to the brain and other organs throughout the body. It is absorbed more slowly when ingested in food or drink.

However it is ingested, THC acts upon specific molecular targets on brain cells, called cannabinoid receptors. These receptors are ordinarily activated by chemicals similar to THC called endocannabinoids, such as anandamide. These are naturally occurring in the body and are part of a neural communication network (the endocannabinoid system) that plays an important role in normal brain development and function.

The highest density of cannabinoid receptors is found in parts of the brain that influence pleasure, memory, thinking, concentration, sensory and time perception, and coordinated movement. Marijuana overactivates the endocannabinoid system, causing the high and other effects that users experience. These include distorted perceptions, impaired coordination, difficulty with thinking and problem solving, and disrupted learning and memory.

Effects on Life

Research clearly demonstrates that marijuana has the potential to cause problems in daily life or make a per-son’s existing problems worse. In fact, heavy marijuana users generally re-port lower life satisfaction, poorer mental and physical health, relation-ship problems, and less academic and career success compared to their peers who came from similar back-grounds. For example, marijuana use is associated with a higher likelihood of dropping out from school. Several studies also associate workers’ mariju-ana smoking with increased absences, tardiness, accidents, workers’ com-pensation claims, and job turnover.

Research has shown that, in chronic users, marijuana’s adverse impact on learning and memory persists after the acute effects of the drug wear off; when marijuana use begins in adolescence, the effects may persist for many years. Research from different areas is converging on the fact that regular marijuana use by young people can have long-lasting negative impact on the structure and function of their brains.

A recent study of marijuana users who began using in adolescence revealed a profound deficit in connections between brain areas responsible for learning and memory. And a large prospective study (following individuals across time) showed that people who began smoking marijuana heavily in their teens lost as much as 8 points in IQ between age 13 and age 38; importantly, the lost cognitive abilities were not restored in those who quit smoking marijuana as adults. (Individuals who started smoking marijuana in adulthood did not show significant IQ declines.)

What Are the Other Health Effects of Marijuana?

Marijuana use can have a variety of adverse, short- and long-term effects, especially on cardiopulmonary and mental health.

Marijuana raises heart rate by 20-100 percent shortly after smoking; this effect can last up to 3 hours. In one study, it was estimated that marijuana users have a 4.8-fold increase in the risk of heart attack in the first hour after smoking the drug. This may be due to increased heart rate as well as the effects of marijuana on heart rhythms, causing palpitations and arrhythmias. This risk may be greater in older individuals or in those with cardiac vulnerabilities.

Marijuana and Driving

Because it seriously impairs judgment and motor coordination, marijuana also contributes to accidents while driving. A recent analysis of data from several studies found that marijuana use more than doubles a driver’s risk of being in an accident. Further, the combination of marijuana and alcohol is worse than either substance alone with respect to driving impairment.

Marijuana smoke is an irritant to the lungs, and frequent marijuana smokers can have many of the same respiratory problems experienced by tobacco smokers, such as daily cough and phlegm production, more frequent acute chest illness, and a heightened risk of lung infections. One study found that people who smoke marijuana frequently but do not smoke tobacco have more health problems and miss more days of work than nonsmokers, mainly because of respiratory illnesses.

A number of studies have shown an association between chronic marijuana use and mental illness. High doses of marijuana can produce a temporary psychotic reaction (involving hallucinations and paranoia) in some users, and using marijuana can worsen the course of illness in patients with schizophrenia. A series of large prospective studies also showed a link between marijuana use and later development of psychosis. This relationship was influenced by genetic variables as well as the amount of drug used and the age at which it was first taken—those who start young are at  increased risk for later problems.

Associations have also been found between marijuana use and other mental health problems, such as depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts among adolescents, and personality disturbances, including a lack of motivation to engage in typically rewarding activities. More research is still needed to confirm and better understand these linkages.

Marijuana use during pregnancy is associated with increased risk of neurobehavioral problems in babies. Because THC and other compounds in marijuana mimic the body’s own cannabinoid-like chemicals, marijuana use by pregnant mothers may alter the developing endocannabinoid system in the brain of the fetus. Consequences for the child may include problems with attention, memory, and problem solving.

Finally, marijuana use has been linked in a few recent studies to an increased risk of an aggressive type of testicular cancer in young men, although further research is needed to establish whether there is a direct causal connection.

Is Marijuana Medicine?

Although many have called for the legalization of marijuana to treat conditions including pain and nausea caused by HIV/AIDS, cancer, and other conditions, the scientific evidence to date is not sufficient for the marijuana plant to gain FDA approval, for two main reasons.

First, there have not been enough clinical trials showing that marijuana’s benefits outweigh its health risks in patients with the symptoms it is meant to treat. The FDA requires care-fully conducted studies in large numbers of patients (hundreds to thou-sands) to accurately assess the benefits and risks of a potential medication.

Also, to be considered a legitimate medicine, a substance must have well-defined and measureable ingredients that are consistent from one unit (such as a pill or injection) to the next. This consistency allows doctors to determine the dose and frequency. As the marijuana plant contains hundreds of chemical compounds that may have different effects and that vary from plant to plant, its use as a medicine is difficult to evaluate.

However, THC-based drugs to treat pain and nausea are already FDA approved and prescribed, and scientists continue to investigate the medicinal properties of cannabinoids. For more information, see DrugFacts - Is Marijuana Medicine?

Is Marijuana Addictive?

Contrary to common belief, marijuana is addictive. Estimates from research suggest that about 9 percent of users become addicted to marijuana; this number increases among those who start young (to about 17 percent, or 1 in 6) and among daily users (to 25-50 percent). Thus, many of the nearly 7 percent of high-school seniors who (according to annual survey data) report smoking marijuana daily or almost daily are well on their way to addiction, if not already addicted (besides functioning at a sub-optimal level all of the time).

Long-term marijuana users trying to quit report withdrawal symptoms including irritability, sleeplessness, decreased appetite, anxiety, and drug craving, all of which can make it difficult to remain abstinent. Behavioral interventions, including cognitive-behavioral therapy and motivational incentives (i.e., providing vouchers for goods or services to patients who remain abstinent) have proven to be effective in treating marijuana addiction. Although no medications are currently available, recent discoveries about the workings of the endocannabinoid system offer promise for the development of medications to ease withdrawal, block the intoxicating effects of marijuana, and prevent relapse.

Rising Potency

The amount of THC in marijuana samples confiscated by police has been increasing steadily over the past few decades. In 2009, THC concentrations in marijuana averaged close to 10 percent, compared to around 4 percent in the 1980s. For a new user, this may mean exposure to higher concentrations of THC, with a greater chance of an adverse or unpredictable reaction. Increases in potency may account for the rise in emergency department visits involving marijuana use. For experienced users, it may mean a greater risk for addiction if they are exposing them-selves to high doses on a regular basis. However, the full range of consequences associated with marijuana’s higher potency is not well under-stood, nor is it known whether experienced marijuana users adjust for the increase in potency by using less.

Asker Portrait
Anonymous asked:Opinion on smoking marijuana in moderation and still following Jesus Christ?

There is no definitive biblical answer to the question of whether Christians should use of marijuana. However, after a review of certain clear biblical principles, the answer to the question becomes clearer.

First, although some states have legalized medical marijuana, and a few recreational use of marijuana its use is still illegal according to federal law. Paul exhorts us to obey the law of the land under our government in this way: “Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves” (Romans 13:1-2).

In addition to the fact that it is illegal, smoking marijuana can be extremely harmful to one’s health. The most potent argument against the use of marijuana to treat medical disorders is that marijuana may cause the acceleration or aggravation of the very disorders it is being used to treat. Smoking marijuana regularly (a joint a day) can damage the cells in the bronchial passages which protect the body against inhaled microorganisms and decrease the ability of the immune cells in the lungs to fight off fungi, bacteria, and tumor cells. For patients with already weakened immune systems, this means an increase in the possibility of dangerous pulmonary infections, including pneumonia, which often proves fatal in AIDS patients. The use of marijuana as a medical therapy can and does have a very serious negative effect on patients with pre-existing immune deficits from AIDS, organ transplantation, or cancer chemotherapy, the very conditions for which marijuana has most often been suggested as a treatment. 

A study indicates that a marijuana user’s risk of heart attack more than quadruples in the first hour after smoking marijuana. The researchers suggest that such an effect might occur from marijuana’s effects on blood pressure and heart rate and reduced oxygen-carrying capacity of blood. Additionally, the smoke from cannabis—the plant from which marijuana is derived—contains compounds that can damage DNA and increase the risk of cancer just like tobacco smoke according to a recent study from the United Kingdom. In laboratory tests, Rajinder Singh from the University of Leicester and colleagues found certain carcinogens in cannabis smoke in amounts 50 percent greater than those found in tobacco smoke. They noted that light cannabis use could possibly prove to be even more damaging because cannabis smokers usually inhale more deeply than cigarette smokers. Researchers found that the smoking of three to four cannabis cigarettes a day is associated with the same degree of damage to bronchial mucus membranes as twenty or more tobacco cigarettes a day. In truth, marijuana causes short-term memory loss, distorted perception, trouble with thinking and problem solving, loss of motor skills, decrease in muscle strength, increased heart rate and anxiety—and that’s just for starters. According to the Mayo Clinic, marijuana smoke contains 50 to 70 percent more carcinogenic hydrocarbons than tobacco smoke and has the potential to cause cancer of the lungs and respiratory tract. Clearly, this is contradictory to the biblical mandate to keep our bodies pure. “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).

In short, although there remains much research to be done in this area, there are plenty of studies that indicate seriously deleterious effects of marijuana on the body. The pain-controlling or analgesic effect of marijuana is roughly comparable to that of codeine, according to the DEA. However, the effect is potentiated due to the neuropsychiatric “high” feeling or euphoria that occurs when marijuana enters the bloodstream. But marijuana is no panacea. A recent study shows that high doses can actually increase pain. There is a therapeutic window for analgesia, with low doses being ineffective, medium doses resulting in pain relief, and high doses increasing pain. It is important to note that researchers also found a significant correlation between increasing marijuana use and drowsiness, loss of control over thought and action, and transient depression and paranoia. 

The Bible teaches Christians to be sound of mind. “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8). The Greek word translated as “sober” is nepho, which literally means “drink no wine.” From this it derived a broader meaning of being self-controlled, free of confusion, clear headed, sound of mind, or keeping your head. From this verse, we can see that Christians are to avoid intoxicants that impair clear thinking. Marijuana certainly seems to cloud thinking and reaction time. According to the Kaiser study, daily marijuana users have a 30 percent higher risk of injuries, presumably from accidents. A survey of 1,023 emergency room trauma patients in Baltimore found that more than 34 percent were under the influence of marijuana. And a 2005 study showed people who drive after using marijuana are almost twice as likely to be involved in a fatal car crash.

Additionally, clouded thinking can lead to questionable moral choices. Habakkuk warns, “Woe to you who make your neighbors drink, who mix in your venom even to make them drunk so as to look on their nakedness!” (Habakkuk 2:15). The reference to “mix in your venom” is the ancient practice of adding herbs (or drugs) to wine to make its intoxicating effects more potent. Christians have a hard enough time battling temptations without making Satan’s job easier by taking drugs that alter one’s judgment and self-control. Use of intoxicants has also been closely associated with witchcraft and sorcery in the Bible. The Greek word pharmakeia, translated “sorcery,” literally means “to administer drugs.” As with our English word “drugs,” the context must be considered to determine the meaning. In biblical times, pagans incorporated the use of drugs to induce altered states of consciousness, during which they supposedly communed with their gods. This would be similar to the modern-day practice of voodoo. The apostles strongly condemned the use of such drugs to produce altered mind states because the drugs lowered inhibitions and self-control. (Galatians 5:19-21; Revelation 9:20-21; 21:8; 22:15). The Christian disciplines his body and keeps it under control (1 Corinthians 9:27), so that he is able to set his mind on things above (Colossians 3:2). 

We must also consider the impact that the use of marijuana could have on others. A person smoking marijuana may be encouraging someone else, who may not have a medical justification, to use marijuana as well. Anyone who truly wants to know the effects of legalizing medicinal marijuana need look no further than California, where Proposition 215 passed in 1996. The law was written to target “seriously ill” Californians, but the state’s Police Chiefs Association reports that marijuana use by healthy youth and adults is “at epidemic levels.” Police officers regularly find parolees, probationers and gang members in possession of both marijuana and marijuana paraphernalia. Even more disturbing are reports of children possessing physician recommendations and routinely using marijuana. One unintended consequence of medical marijuana is the promotion of its use by those who are not “seriously ill.” As Christians, we are called to avoid not only sin, but also any activity that may cause our brothers and sisters in Christ to sin (1 Corinthians 8:9-13).

Finally, Satan is the great justifier. He always wants to help us rationalize and justify sinning against God, almost making it seem like the right thing to do. The same games people play in using the Bible to try to justify many other sinful activities can used to justify smoking pot. Taking verses out of context, stating a verse means one thing when it clearly means another, and making assumptions the Word does not support are all tricks the enemy will use to try to justify smoking marijuana. We must never forget that Satan is a liar. We must guard against these tactics in our own lives. Over 90 percent of the marijuana used currently in this country is for recreational use. Although many of those users have medical marijuana cards, in many cases their marijuana has been prescribed by practitioners who are employed by the dispensaries, have never examined the patient, are not qualified to treat the conditions for which the marijuana is being prescribed, and have done nothing to validate the medical necessity of the prescription. Although many people may be deceived by such practices, God is not deceived. He will not be mocked (Galatians 6:7).

Many people say it is just one of God’s plants that we can use freely, but so is hemlock, oleander, angels trumpets, rosary peas, and poison ivy.  But you wouldn’t consider ingesting any of these because they would kill you.  Not all plants are good for consumption.  God bless you!!!  :):)

Overcoming Addictions…. Help For Christians…

Will the Cravings Ever Go Away?

cravingby Yvonne Ortega
Licensed Professional Counselor
Licensed Substance Abuse Treatment Practitioner

“I can’t stop thinking about having a drink, just one with a little puff of weed.” Jim sat in my office, shrugged and said. “It would be sweet.”

I raised my brows and said, “Would it?” I sat in silence for a moment, and then said, “Somehow I don’t remember that you ever stopped after one drink and one puff of weed.”

“Because I haven’t in the past doesn’t mean I can’t.” He leaned forward in his chair and held his head up as if he were a soldier off to war.

His track record in the past indicated that he couldn’t, and each time he relapsed, he got into more trouble.

“So what am I supposed to do?” Jim smirked, tapped his fingers on my desk and said, “Go to 10 meetings a day?”

An inventory of his attitude seemed appropriate. I suggested he examine his sense of entitlement. Jim admitted he had been “good” for three months, so he felt entitled to a drink and a puff of weed. I recommended other forms of reward, such as watching a movie with his family, having popcorn and playing table games with his children, or working out at the gym with the men in his Bible study.

“What about those cravings?” Jim asked with one hand on his hip. “Will they go away at the gym?”

“If you want them to.” The mind needs transformation. That’s why Paul said in Romans 12:2: “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will” (NIV).

“So you’re saying I need a mind repair?”

With a laugh, I nodded. Jim did need a mind repair by the Great Physician who created his mind. The way of this world is to satisfy every whim without any thought of consequences and the effects on the lives of others. God’s way would be “good, pleasing and perfect.”

Jim took a deep breath and said, “Can that mind repair start here right now?”

With a smile and a nod, I agreed it could. I picked up my Bible and read 2 Corinthians 10:5: “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (NIV). 

I told Jim he would have to take captive every craving to make it obedient to Christ. “When we want our own way, we make excuses and justify what we crave.”

Jim agreed to let God do his “mind repair” and left.

2 Corinthians 10:3-4: “For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds” (NIV).

Copyright © by Yvonne Ortega August 8, 2012

The Invisible Side of an Addiction

How Addictions Affect the Brain Pt. 1

Asker Portrait
Anonymous asked:Are drugs evil? why do they tend to give people spiritual visions and what not?

Yes they are evil.   The Bible does not directly address any form of illicit drug use. There are no express prohibitions against cocaine, heroin, ecstasy (MDMA), or methamphetamines (Meth). There is no mention of marijuana, cannabis, peyote, magic mushrooms, or acid (LSD). Nothing is said about huffing, snorting, dropping, smoking, shooting, licking, or any other method of ingestion. This is not to say, however, that recreational drug use is permissible. On the contrary, there are several very clear biblical principles that place drug use well outside the realm of acceptable behavior.

To begin with, Christians are under a universal mandate to respect and obey the laws of the land (Deuteronomy 17:2; Ecclesiastes 8:2-5; Matthew 22:21; 23:2-3; Romans 13:1-7; Titus 3:1; 1 Peter 2:13-17; 2 Peter 2:9-11). The ONLY instance in which we are allowed to disobey the laws of the land is when the laws violate any divine imperatives (Daniel 3 and 6; Acts 5:29). There are no other exceptions to this rule. Contrary to popular belief, simply disagreeing with a law does not constitute a license for breaking that law.

Many have argued that marijuana does not warrant prohibition. They contend that smoking pot in defiance of the law is justifiable on these grounds and in light of (what they perceive to be) the hypocrisy of outlawing weed while allowing nicotine and alcohol consumption. Those who argue this point may be sincere in their conviction, but they are mistaken nonetheless. Heartfelt disdain for the law does not justify impunity towards it, as our Lord Himself made clear. While rebuking the Pharisees for turning the Law of Moses into an excessively oppressive yoke, Christ still required His disciples to submit to their unfairly harsh demands (Matthew 23:1-36, especially 1-4). Dutiful submission to authority and patient perseverance through unjust suffering and/or perceived unfairness (1 Peter 2:18-23) is God’s high standard for us – even if that means having to abstain from marijuana in compliance with “unfair” legislation. 

Not only are we to submit to authority for submission’s sake, born-again Christians are further constrained by a mandate to live above reproach for the sake of the Gospel (1 Corinthians 10:32; 2 Corinthians 4:2; 6:3; Titus 2:1-8; 2 Peter 3:14). Needless to say, criminality is highly reproachable.

Obviously, this first principle does not impact drug users living in nations like the Netherlands where recreational drug use is legal and permissible. There are, however, more universally applicable principles. For example, Christians are all required to be good stewards of what God has entrusted to us, regardless of our national identity (Matthew 25:13-30). This includes our earthly bodies. Unfortunately, illicit drug use is an extremely effective way to destroy your health, not just physically, but mentally and emotionally as well.

As Dr. Alan Leshner, Director of the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) explains, “The most immediate, extensive, and long-lasting problems caused by drug abuse, both for individuals and for society, are often medical in nature. For example, known drug-abuse-related health problems and resulting lost productivity alone cost our society more than $33 billion each year. Illicit drugs directly cause many medical problems. Stimulants such as cocaine and methamphetamine increase the heart rate while constricting the blood vessels. In susceptible individuals, these two actions together set the stage for cardiac arrhythmias and strokes. The club drug methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA, also called “ecstasy”), which many users mistakenly believe to be safe, has caused malignant hyperthermia, permanent kidney damage, and death. MDMA also damages serotonin nerve fibers in the brain. Heroin can cause a life-threatening kidney condition called focal glomerulosclerosis. The list continues: NIDA research has shown that almost every drug of abuse harms some tissue or organ.” (Addressing the Medical Consequences of Drug Abuse, NIDA Notes, Vol. 15, No. 1, March 2000; available to be read online at http://www.nida.nih.gov/NIDA_notes/NNVol15N1/DirRepVol15N1.html)

Marijuana, while being the least harmful of all of the illicit drugs, is still potentially lethal. Marijuana enthusiasts (“potheads”) take comfort in the fact that, unlike most other illicit drugs, it is seemingly impossible to fatally overdose on weed by means of normal consumption (i.e. smoking it). But this does nothing to diminish the potentially fatal risks of lung cancer, emphysema, and other forms of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) caused by marijuana smoke. While marijuana can be ingested without smoking it, thereby eliminating these risks, there still remain negative physiological and psychological consequences including damage to the reproductive system, the immune system, and cognitive ability.

Beyond stewardship, as Christians, our bodies are not our own. We “have been bought with a price” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20), not “with perishable things like silver or gold … but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ” (1 Peter 1:17-19). Having bought us with His own life, Christ has delighted to create in us something entirely new, something somewhat bizarre. By indwelling us with His Spirit, He has turned us into organic temples of sorts. So now, caring for our health is not just a matter of good stewardship. It is a matter of reverential piety. To pollute or harm our bodies is to desecrate the House of God (1 Corinthians 3:16-17). This is both wondrous and terrifying.

Another biblical principle concerns our susceptibility to deception. As fallible creatures we are prone to delusion. And since we are the objects of God’s intense affection, His enemies are our enemies. This includes THE enemy, the Devil, the father of lies (John 8:44), a most formidable and determined adversary. All of the apostolic exhortations to remain sober-minded and alert (1 Corinthians 15:34; 1 Thessalonians 5:4-8; 2 Timothy 4:5; 1 Peter 1:13; 4:7; 5:8) are designed to remind us that we must be vigilant against the wiles of the Devil (1 Peter 5:8), who seeks to ensnare us through deception. Sobriety is also important for prayer (1 Peter 4:7), as is obedience to God (Isaiah 1:10-17). 

As for drug addiction, not all illicit drugs are physically addictive. Nevertheless, they are all psychologically addictive. While most people are familiar with physical addiction – the progressive condition whereby the human body becomes physically dependent upon a drug in order to function properly – psychological addiction is less well-known. Psychological addiction is an enslavement of the mind, often characterized by obsessive tendencies and a lack of desire to quit. While physical addiction brings the body into subjection, psychological addiction brings the will into submission. Users tend to say things like, “I could quit if I wanted to, but I just don’t want to.” This attitude tends to ensure a long-term pattern of drug use whereby users become devotees in defiance of a very poignant biblical principle. The fact is, no one can wholeheartedly serve two masters (Matthew 6:24; Luke 16:13). Any time spent kneeling before the god of drugs is time spent with your back towards the God of the Bible. 

In summary, the Bible teaches us that “denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world” (Titus 2:12).  God bless you!!! :):)

Asker Portrait
kittylalalove asked:Hello, I been reading your answers and I love them, I have this problem that I just realized today.I have a drug addiction problem and I dont know what to do. God saved me and I stopped about a year ago I fell back into it blindly. Ive been repenting and really seeking Gods face but it gets harder once the temptations get stronger.I want to live for God but these strongholds are holding me down. also In a couple of days my mom is making me quit ciggerates. Im asking for prayer. God bless you <3

Drug addiction speaks of an unnatural (for the Christian, at least) obsession with anything other than God: sports, work, shopping and/or acquiring “stuff,” even family or children. We are to “love the Lord, your God, with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might” (Deuteronomy 6:5), which is, according to Jesus, the first and greatest commandment (Matthew 22:37-38). We can conclude, then, that an addiction to anything other than God Himself is wrong. God is the only thing we can (and should) occupy ourselves with habitually. To do so with anything else draws us away from Him and displeases Him. He alone is worthy of our complete attention, love, and service. To offer these things to anything or anyone else is idolatry.  I am going to give you a website where you can get the help you need to find true freedom from this:

http://www.settingcaptivesfree.com/courses/new-wine/

Of course we will all pray for you that the holy spirit will guide you through this bondage so that you can find true freedom through Christ Jesus and never be held hostage by any substance again.  In Jesus name we pray, Amen and Amen.  God bless you sister!!! <3

Lana Del Rey, an Artificial Creation?

Lana Del Rey, an Artificial Creation?


In a very short period of time, an enigmatic singer named Lana Del Rey went from complete anonymity to the front page of magazines, not to mention intense internet buzz and an SNL appearance. But along with this (almost literal) overnight success came revelations regarding the rising star: She is a total creation of her management team. When her previous artist persona named Lizzie Grant became a monumental flop, she underwent intense retooling including: A new name (which was assigned to her by her label), plastic surgery, a new musical style, a new image and a new marketing strategy. She is now signed with Interscope, Lady Gaga’s label.

The same way Stefani Germanotta was “revamped” to become Lady Gaga – a fake persona that fits the requirements of today’s music industry – Lizzie Grant was revamped as Lana Del Rey. Will this alter-persona be used to push the Illuminati agenda in the future?

Here’s an article about Lana Del Rey’s “creation” from The Guardian.

Lana Del Rey: The strange story of the star who rewrote her past

Lizzy Grant was a flop, changed her name to Lana Del Rey and was acclaimed as a new star. But the backlash from fans who felt duped has been unprecedented

You can still find traces of Lizzy Grant online. There is a video, dated 8 June 2009, that shows a young, casually dressed blonde woman in a green T-shirt and jeans singing alone on stage at a New York music show called The Variety Box. Grant’s voice was strong, but she seemed shy and spoke quietly to the audience to a smattering of applause.

Grant looked like any one of hundreds of young artists trying to make it in the clubs and bars of New York, singing their hearts out in the hope that one day they would be spotted. After all, that’s how big names from Bob Dylan to Lady Gaga got their breaks. But success never happened to Lizzy Grant. Her one and only album sank virtually without trace.

However, fame did happen to someone called Lana Del Rey, a 25-year-old sultry, seductive songstress who is the current hottest name in US music and whose debut album is one of the most eagerly awaited events in the industry this year. It comes out on 31 January.

Del Rey’s image is nothing like Grant’s. The video for her new song, provocatively called Born to Die, is slick and lavishly produced. The short film begins with her posing half-naked with a tattooed, shirtless man in front of the stars and stripes, then shows her sitting on a throne in a figure-hugging white dress flanked by two tigers. By the end of the video, she is covered in blood, wearing only a red bra. It is over-the-top and wildly eccentric.

But that suits Del Rey’s sound. Her soaring vocals and melodies, reflecting genres as diverse as hip hop and indie music, have won millions of fans. And Del Rey has quite a story to tell. After first appearing on the internet last year with an apparently home-produced video of a song called Video Games, she became a cult hit. She married her music to a mysterious image, self-styled as a “gangster Nancy Sinatra”, that paid homage to 1960s fashions and seedy showbiz glamour. In an interview recently shot poolside at the Chateau Marmont in Los Angeles, Del Rey explained her attraction to the notorious celebrity haunt. “It’s a place that has inspired so many of my videos and influenced a lot of my visuals,” she said through a mouth now framed by pouting, bee-stung lips.

Of course, Lana Del Rey and Lizzy Grant are the same person.

That revelation has made Grant/Del Rey one of the most controversial figures to emerge in US music for years. Some people feel victims of an immense confidence trick. When Video Games first went viral it became an underground sensation praised for its authentic feel. Del Rey’s amazing voice crooned the haunting song against a backdrop of grainy out-takes of home movies and Hollywood scenes. It currently has a staggering 20 million views on YouTube. The follow-up, Blue Jeans, with a similar feel, netted 6 million views. Del Rey’s few live gigs suddenly sold out. She won the Next Big Thing prize at the Q awards. She seemed set for the big time. But then questions were asked. A few critics began to wonder if, far from being some organic wunderkind, the transformation from Grant to Del Rey had been planned all along. Her stage name was chosen by her management. Rather than being an outsider struggling for recognition, Del Rey is in fact the daughter of a millionaire father who has backed her career. People were suspicious of the way Grant’s failed album, and all her social media websites, appeared to have been scrubbed from the internet just before Del Rey appeared. There has been much speculation as to exactly when Del Rey teamed up with her current label Interscope and how much influence their savvy marketers might have put into her original emergence.

“There are a lot of things that don’t seem organic about it,” said Steven Horowitz, who wrote a cover story about Del Rey for Billboard magazine. “She’s putting on a show. She’s here to entertain us.”

Suddenly, many of the fans that had boosted Del Rey turned on her in spectacular fashion. Music blogs poured vitriol on her talents. Some influential music websites, such as Hipster Runoff, have turned insulting Del Rey into an art form. Last weekend Del Rey appeared as the musical guest on Saturday Night Live. She gave a hesitant, uncertain performance – suddenly more Lizzy Grant than Del Rey – that triggered brutal criticism.

Celebrities even got in on the act. Actress and musician Juliette Lewis tweeted: “Watching this ‘singer’ on SNL is like watching a 12-year-old in their bedroom when they’re pretending to sing and perform.” Even news anchor Brian Williams weighed in, sending an email that was later published on gossip website Gawker that called Del Rey’s performance one of the “worst outings in SNL history”.

But it is not just Del Rey’s music and SNL performance that is being hauled over the coals. It is also her appearance.

Pictures of Lizzy Grant when contrasted to Del Rey have led many to speculate that she has had collagen injections in her lips and perhaps even plastic surgery. It is a charge she vehemently denied in a recent interview. “I haven’t had anything done at all… I’m quite pouty. That’s just how I look when I sing,” she insisted.

Del Rey has many defenders too. “She is just a gorgeous creature,” said Noah Levy, senior news editor at In Touch Weekly magazine. Horowitz said that whatever the truth of her emergence there is little doubt about her talent or commitment. “I think she cares about the art that she is creating. I don’t think that is fake at all,” he said.

Despite the outrage directed at her, Del Rey is employing one of the oldest tricks in the book: the creation of a stage persona. Some of the greatest names have done it. David Bowie and Madonna are notorious shape-shifters. So is Lady Gaga. Changing from Lizzy Grant to Lana Del Rey is not unusual when you consider that Bob Dylan’s real name was Robert Zimmerman and Iggy Pop was born James Osterberg. “I think Lana Del Rey is manufactured. But when Lizzy Grant came out with music it failed. So she reinvented herself and it worked,” said Levy.

In fact, Lana Del Rey’s rise says much about the nature of modern fame in the US. The internet has allowed figures like her to come rapidly to the fore of the cultural landscape, whether or not their emergence is planned by a record executive or happens spontaneously from someone’s bedroom. It has speeded up the fame cycle. It is worth noting that the huge backlash to Del Rey is happening before her first album has even been released. This reveals a cultural obsession with the “authenticity” that fans, artists and corporations all prize above all else.

Cultural critics say genuine authenticity is almost impossible to achieve. “The whole idea of authenticity is elusive. It is in many ways a complete illusion,” said Professor Robert Thompson, a pop culture expert at Syracuse University. Others have simpler explanations for the stir Del Rey has caused, seeing misogyny against a female artist so willing to use sexuality as a way of selling her music. “There is a ‘mean girls’ attitude to some of it,” said Horowitz.

Either way it does not seem likely that Del Rey will be leaving the music scene any time soon. Sales of her new album are set to be astronomical. It has crept into Amazon’s top 25 in the US on pre-sales alone. She is booked for appearances on major talk shows. “Lana Del Rey can go anywhere that she wants to,” said Levy. “She’s going to one day be the cover of Rolling Stone.” Lizzy Grant may have failed to make it. But her next creation seems ready for stardom.

- Source: The Guardian

Asker Portrait
meglets asked:what are your views on christians smoking?

I am against it totally.  It is one of Satan’s greatest deceptions.   The Bible never directly mentions smoking. There are principles, however, that definitely apply to smoking. First, the Bible commands us not to allow our bodies to become “mastered” by anything. “Everything is permissible for me—but not everything is beneficial. Everything is permissible for me—but I will not be mastered by anything” (1 Corinthians 6:12). Smoking is undeniably strongly addictive. Later in the same passage we are told, “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). Smoking is undoubtedly very bad for your health. Smoking has been proven to damage the lungs and the heart.

Can smoking be considered “beneficial” (1 Corinthians 6:12)? Can it be said that smoking is truly honoring God with your body (1 Corinthians 6:20)? Can a person honestly smoke “for the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31)? We believe that the answer to these three questions is a resounding “no.” As a result, we believe that smoking is a sin and therefore should not be practiced by followers of Jesus Christ.

Some argue against this view by pointing to the fact that many people eat unhealthy foods, which can be just as addicting and just as bad for the body. As an example, many people are so helplessly addicted to caffeine that they cannot function without their first cup of coffee in the morning. While this is true, how does that make smoking right? It is our contention that Christians should avoid gluttony and excessively unhealthy eating. Yes, Christians are often hypocritical by condemning one sin and condoning another, but, again, this does not make smoking honoring to God.

Another argument against this view of smoking is that many godly men have been smokers, such as the famous British preacher C.H. Spurgeon, who was known to smoke cigars. Again, we do not believe this argument holds any weight. We believe Spurgeon was wrong for smoking. Was he otherwise a godly man and fantastic teacher of God’s Word? Absolutely! Does that make all of his actions and habits honoring to God? No.

In stating that smoking is a sin, we are not stating that all smokers are unsaved. There are many true believers in Jesus Christ who smoke. Smoking does not prevent a person from being saved. Nor does it cause a person to lose salvation. Smoking is no less forgivable than any other sin, whether for a person becoming a Christian or a Christian confessing his/her sin to God (1 John 1:9). At the same time, we firmly believe that smoking is a sin that should be forsaken and, with God’s help, overcome.

God bless you sister!!! <3

Asker Portrait
Anonymous asked:I asked a question a while ago about marijuana, but I don't think it was ever answered, or if it was, I dont feel like sifting through all the q and a's. I don't see it in the "drug" section of your blog, either. Can you post a link, maybe?

A study indicates that a marijuana user’s risk of heart attack more than quadruples in the first hour after smoking marijuana. The researchers suggest that such an effect might occur from marijuana’s effects on blood pressure and heart rate and reduced oxygen-carrying capacity of blood. Additionally, the smoke from cannabis—the plant from which marijuana is derived—contains compounds that can damage DNA and increase the risk of cancer just like tobacco smoke according to a recent study from the United Kingdom. In laboratory tests, Rajinder Singh from the University of Leicester and colleagues found certain carcinogens in cannabis smoke in amounts 50 percent greater than those found in tobacco smoke. They noted that light cannabis use could possibly prove to be even more damaging because cannabis smokers usually inhale more deeply than cigarette smokers. Researchers found that the smoking of three to four cannabis cigarettes a day is associated with the same degree of damage to bronchial mucus membranes as twenty or more tobacco cigarettes a day. In truth, marijuana causes short-term memory loss, distorted perception, trouble with thinking and problem solving, loss of motor skills, decrease in muscle strength, increased heart rate and anxiety—and that’s just for starters. According to the Mayo Clinic, marijuana smoke contains 50 to 70 percent more carcinogenic hydrocarbons than tobacco smoke and has the potential to cause cancer of the lungs and respiratory tract. Clearly, this is contradictory to the biblical mandate to keep our bodies pure. “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).

In short, although there remains much research to be done in this area, there are plenty of studies that indicate seriously deleterious effects of marijuana on the body. The pain-controlling or analgesic effect of marijuana is roughly comparable to that of codeine, according to the DEA. However, the effect is potentiated due to the neuropsychiatric “high” feeling or euphoria that occurs when marijuana enters the bloodstream. But marijuana is no panacea. A recent study shows that high doses can actually increase pain. There is a therapeutic window for analgesia, with low doses being ineffective, medium doses resulting in pain relief, and high doses increasing pain. It is important to note that researchers also found a significant correlation between increasing marijuana use and drowsiness, loss of control over thought and action, and transient depression and paranoia. 

The Bible teaches Christians to be sound of mind. “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8). The Greek word translated as “sober” is nepho, which literally means “drink no wine.” From this it derived a broader meaning of being self-controlled, free of confusion, clear headed, sound of mind, or keeping your head. From this verse, we can see that Christians are to avoid intoxicants that impair clear thinking. Marijuana certainly seems to cloud thinking and reaction time. According to the Kaiser study, daily marijuana users have a 30 percent higher risk of injuries, presumably from accidents. A survey of 1,023 emergency room trauma patients in Baltimore found that more than 34 percent were under the influence of marijuana. And a 2005 study showed people who drive after using marijuana are almost twice as likely to be involved in a fatal car crash.

Additionally, clouded thinking can lead to questionable moral choices. Habakkuk warns, “Woe to you who make your neighbors drink, who mix in your venom even to make them drunk so as to look on their nakedness!” (Habakkuk 2:15). The reference to “mix in your venom” is the ancient practice of adding herbs (or drugs) to wine to make its intoxicating effects more potent. Christians have a hard enough time battling temptations without making Satan’s job easier by taking drugs that alter one’s judgment and self-control. Use of intoxicants has also been closely associated with witchcraft and sorcery in the Bible. The Greek word pharmakeia, translated “sorcery,” literally means “to administer drugs.” As with our English word “drugs,” the context must be considered to determine the meaning. In biblical times, pagans incorporated the use of drugs to induce altered states of consciousness, during which they supposedly communed with their gods. This would be similar to the modern-day practice of voodoo. The apostles strongly condemned the use of such drugs to produce altered mind states because the drugs lowered inhibitions and self-control. (Galatians 5:19-21; Revelation 9:20-21; 21:8; 22:15). The Christian disciplines his body and keeps it under control (1 Corinthians 9:27), so that he is able to set his mind on things above (Colossians 3:2). 

We must also consider the impact that the use of marijuana could have on others. A person smoking marijuana may be encouraging someone else, who may not have a medical justification, to use marijuana as well. Anyone who truly wants to know the effects of legalizing medicinal marijuana need look no further than California, where Proposition 215 passed in 1996. The law was written to target “seriously ill” Californians, but the state’s Police Chiefs Association reports that marijuana use by healthy youth and adults is “at epidemic levels.” Police officers regularly find parolees, probationers and gang members in possession of both marijuana and marijuana paraphernalia. Even more disturbing are reports of children possessing physician recommendations and routinely using marijuana. One unintended consequence of medical marijuana is the promotion of its use by those who are not “seriously ill.” As Christians, we are called to avoid not only sin, but also any activity that may cause our brothers and sisters in Christ to sin (1 Corinthians 8:9-13).

Finally, Satan is the great justifier. He always wants to help us rationalize and justify sinning against God, almost making it seem like the right thing to do. The same games people play in using the Bible to try to justify many other sinful activities can used to justify smoking pot. Taking verses out of context, stating a verse means one thing when it clearly means another, and making assumptions the Word does not support are all tricks the enemy will use to try to justify smoking marijuana. We must never forget that Satan is a liar. We must guard against these tactics in our own lives. Over 90 percent of the marijuana used currently in this country is for recreational use. Although many of those users have medical marijuana cards, in many cases their marijuana has been prescribed by practitioners who are employed by the dispensaries, have never examined the patient, are not qualified to treat the conditions for which the marijuana is being prescribed, and have done nothing to validate the medical necessity of the prescription. Although many people may be deceived by such practices, God is not deceived. He will not be mocked (Galatians 6:7).

God bless you!!! :):)

Asker Portrait
Anonymous asked:Where in the Bible does it say that boozing is wrong? and drugs if it's there?

Scripture has much to say regarding the drinking of alcohol (Leviticus 10:9; Numbers 6:3; Deuteronomy 29:6; Judges 13:4, 7, 14; Proverbs 20:1; 31:4; Isaiah 5:11, 22; 24:9; 28:7; 29:9; 56:12). However, Scripture does not necessarily forbid a Christian from drinking beer, wine, or any other drink containing alcohol. In fact, some Scriptures discuss alcohol in positive terms. Ecclesiastes 9:7 instructs, “Drink your wine with a merry heart.” Psalm 104:14-15 states that God gives wine “that makes glad the heart of men.” Amos 9:14 discusses drinking wine from your own vineyard as a sign of God’s blessing. Isaiah 55:1 encourages, “Yes, come buy wine and milk…”

What God commands Christians regarding alcohol is to avoid drunkenness (Ephesians 5:18). The Bible condemns drunkenness and its effects (Proverbs 23:29-35). Christians are also commanded to not allow their bodies to be “mastered” by anything (1 Corinthians 6:12; 2 Peter 2:19). Drinking alcohol in excess is undeniably addictive. Scripture also forbids a Christian from doing anything that might offend other Christians or encourage them to sin against their conscience (1 Corinthians 8:9-13). In light of these principles, it would be extremely difficult for any Christian to say he is drinking alcohol in excess to the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31).

Jesus changed water into wine. It even seems that Jesus drank wine on occasion (John 2:1-11; Matthew 26:29). In New Testament times, the water was not very clean. Without modern sanitation, the water was often filled with bacteria, viruses, and all kinds of contaminants. The same is true in many third-world countries today. As a result, people often drank wine (or grape juice) because it was far less likely to be contaminated. In 1 Timothy 5:23, Paul was instructing Timothy to stop drinking the water (which was probably causing his stomach problems) and instead drink wine. In that day, wine was fermented (containing alcohol), but not necessarily to the degree it is today. It is incorrect to say that it was grape juice, but it is also incorrect to say that it was the same thing as the wine commonly used today. Again, Scripture does not forbid Christians from drinking beer, wine, or any other drink containing alcohol. Alcohol is not, in and of itself, tainted by sin. It is drunkenness and addiction to alcohol that a Christian must absolutely refrain from (Ephesians 5:18; 1 Corinthians 6:12).

Alcohol, consumed in small quantities, is neither harmful nor addictive. In fact, some doctors advocate drinking small amounts of red wine for its health benefits, especially for the heart. Consumption of small quantities of alcohol is a matter of Christian freedom. Drunkenness and addiction are sin. However, due to the biblical concerns regarding alcohol and its effects, due to the easy temptation to consume alcohol in excess, and due to the possibility of causing offense and/or stumbling of others, it is usually best for a Christian to abstain entirely from drinking alcohol.  God bless you!!! :):)




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