I am an alcoholic, have been for most of my life and am much acquainted with the disease. I know firsthand the destruction it can bring. Don’t get me wrong I didn’t beat my kids or wives, never got a DUI, never got arrested, none the less my disease had terrible consequences.
As a firefighter I was also well acquainted with the malady out in the real world. Off the top of my head I would venture to guess that fully 50% or more of my work as a paramedic was a direct result of alcoholism. From car wrecks to domestic violence, fist fights to rapes, and then the devious effects of the ailment on the bodies of drunks.
True misery is generated not only for the alcoholic but any and everyone we touch. What I want to focus on is not my disease, but I want to compare and contrast marijuana and booze in my experience as a medic/firefighter.
Alcohol can be found pretty much anywhere, from the garages of home brewers to the slopes of Aspen. Marijuana outside of some progressive states has to be procured in nefarious ways, illegal back street deals or so we are told.
Booze is socially acceptable from birthday parties to presidential dinners. Marijuana must be hidden and smoked in secret. Liquor has fancy names and millions of dollars are spent to promote its consumption, just ask the “Most Interesting Man in the world”. Mary Jane has some cools names and is promoted as a gateway drug, spark up a fatty one day, shoot smack the next.
Well in my considerable experience on the streets with diggety dank I have seen virtually no adverse consequences to pot. As a side note I DO NOT use weed, in fact I have an allergy to the stuff, and I am not promoting the use of cannabis, I am only sharing my expert opinion from the real world on what I saw as the effects on my job as a fireman.
I do not recall any cases of domestic violence perpetrated by a stoner that was only stoned. As another disclaimer I will limit this opinion to purely giggle weed, if a stoner adds booze, coke, heroin whatever, to the circumstances then all bets are off.
The only violence I saw at the hands of dopers was on snack foods and if fisticuffs did arise for Bogarting a joint a manikin could have avoided any punch thrown.
For the most part when dealing with dope zombies they were mellow, polite, and cooperative. They answered questions truthfully if slowly and many times the question had to be repeated as their attention did wander or because spontaneous laughter had broken out.
Traffic violations for the ganja impaired generally were in the category of impeding traffic, the wrecks associated with them were the result of the impatient people stuck in traffic behind their Pintos.
I’m sure there are homeless dopers but I am also sure that weed isn’t their only stand-alone problem. Dopers seemed to be employed most of the time. They weren’t building defense weapons as far as I knew, although I’ll bet there is someone out there building bombs that smokes.
They tend to hold jobs complimentary to the peaceful state they exist in. A career that keeps them in weed, in possession of ample snacks, a warm home, and out of trouble. They do a lot of jobs that require a numb mind and would drive an overly active mind to, well pot.
I’ll bet their lungs are in shit shape and running long distances isn’t for them, but there is a world full of shit lungs from legal sources. They don’t seem to suffer the ravages that booze brings. I never ran on a bong bandit that was in the end stages of liver failure or that was vomiting blood because pot had eroded the blood vessels in their throat to the point of rupture.
Didn’t see a bud fatty switch from marijuana to antifreeze to get high or smoke carpet fibers hoping there was a little bud in there. Were their homes the cleanest? No, but I have three kids don’t drink or smoke weed and my house is a wreck many days.
I never saw a Gunney sacker OD on weed, never had to jam big needles in their arms, and push hardcore meds into their IVs just to get a heatbeat back. Had to wake them up, had to be patient with them, but never took extreme measures to save their lives.
So I guess my point is that marijuana may be a bad thing for some just as alcohol, cigarettes, and saturated fats are. But as a paramedic/firefighter I really never worried about what would happen to me if I took care of them in the streets. I had druggies and drunks swing on me, pull knives on me and point guns at me. But never a stoner.