Saturday, May 25, 2013

Scriptures of Recovery: 1 Timothy 1:15-16: Jesus Saves Sinners

1 Timothy 1:15-16, "Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners - of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in Him and receive eternal life."
When I first came into church, I knew that I was different. I was in a room full of people and I knew they were not like me. They had not been abused like me as a child. They had not done drugs like me, drank like me, sold drugs like me, struggled with depression like me, gone to prison like me, etc. I felt completely out of place and knew that I was being judged by them. I was extremely nervous and uncomforable at first. Then some things happened to change that. This passage is one of those things.
Paul tells us that this passage should be taken at face value. It is not only “trustworthy” but also deserves “full acceptance.” He is giving a double guarantee that what he is saying is true, and what he is saying is huge! He is saying that Christ came into the world to save sinners, not to condemn or look down on them. This is echoed in several other scriptures from Jesus Himself:
Luke 5:32, “I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”
Mark 2:17, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
Matthew 9:13, “For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
"So He has only come for the sinners and not those who haven't sinned'" was my first thought. Then I remembered Romans 3:23, which says, “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” To support that Romans 3:10 says, “There is no one righteous, not even one.”  So Christ came to save all of mankind, for we are all born into sin. The righteous and healthy Jesus talked about were the Pharisees and others like them who falsely believe themselves to be without sin. 
When Paul talked to Timothy he wanted to remind him that although Christ came to save sinners, there was no one that was not redeemable. Even someone like himself, who had hunted down and persecuted Christians, was still able to be saved. That is why Paul says “of whom I am the worst,” so that no one would lose faith in their ability to receive grace.
Paul said that although he deserved death, Christ’s grace covered him just as it did everyone else. He was sending a message to have faith and confidence in salvation, for if he could be pardoned so could anyone and everyone else.  In fact, this is evidenced over and over again in the Bible. After all, it is not just Paul that sinned:
  1.  David was an adulterer and conspired to murder a man whose wife he had slept with and gotten pregnant.
  2. Peter had anger management AND denial issues, chopping off an ear and then denying he knew Christ 3 times.
  3. Jonah ran from God when he deemed what God had commanded him to do was too hard.
  4. Thomas doubted that Christ had been resurrected.
  5. Rahab was a prostitute.
I saw this quoted on Facebook, “God doesn’t call the qualified, He qualifies the called!” That is the absolute truth. God calls us, the Holy Spirit guides us and Jesus Christ redeems us. That is good news, and that news is made extremely evident in 1 Timothy 1:15-16.
That is why I love this passage. It helped me realize that not only could I feel comfortable inside of a church, but that I was called to be there by Christ Himself. When I am at a recovery meeting, I know that I have earned my seat there. I belong there. There is not a closed meeting the world over I could not sit in. These two verses let me feel that way about church as well. I am part of the body of Christ. There is a seat inside of the church just for me. There is a seat just for you!  I am saved by grace and promised eternal life and so are you. That is great news!  

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Addict = All or Nothing

I wanted to call this blog, "Addict, All In" but I figured that might be a trigger for any gamblers who read this. Instead, I decided to call it Addict = All or Nothing. I called it that because all or nothing is the definition that I believe describes most addicts. There is also a purpose to this blog. That is to understand some of what drives me, and hopefully by proxy anyone who has struggled with an addiction in one form or another can understand a little more about themselves.

I am an addict. We will just get that out of the way now. When I say that I am an addict you should probably know at least one thing about me; I have impulse control problems. I get an urge to act on whatever my addiction might be to and I do it. I live my life by the Nike slogan, "Just Do It!" I am not saying it is right, it is simply what I do.

Once I act upon it, I go places people should not go. In fact, I go plaed most people would never go. I do not act like most people. I push the envelope with all that I do. Whether it is drinking, drugging, eating, etc. I go all out. I have trouble stopping once I begin. To me that is the hallmark of an addict.

Sadly, I am seldom that way with positive things. I once heard a guy at an NA meeting say the only thing he never did over the top was work the steps. I found that funny but true. When it comes to a lot of things in my past life such as drugs, alcohol or sex I wanted what I wanted and I wanted it right now. The only times I practiced patience (patience = procrastination) was when it might have been a positive thing.

I think the reason that occurs is because we stop liking ourselves. We run out of self-esteem and/or hope. Subsequently we immerse ourselves in something that takes our focus off of us and is quite often highly dangerous either physically, emotionally or psychologically. Quite often it is all 3. From there we become stuck in a rut where escaping, numbing or shifting focus becomes our only recourse.

That is why we work through the 12 steps. We begin to regain our self-esteem and start to like ourselves again. We accept responsibility for the good and bad things that have happened to us and that we have done. We work through our  hurts, habits and hang-ups. We accept that there are things that we have allowed to consume our lives that were negative and we set up interventions and supports so that does not happen again.

Even after I have  had my spiritual awakening, I am not cured. It does not change the fact that I am all or nothing. I still have impulse control problems. I just have to learn to find positive things to pour myself in to. Some people use one of the anonymous programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, Overeaters Anonymous, etc. Others find faith-based groups such as Celebrate Recovery or Living Free while others use SMART Recovery or Rational Recovery groups.

I am not going to knock any of the groups I just mentioned, because they have all helped others. The best recovery group is one that you go to. Find what you get the most out of and go. Then share the hope you find with others and go all out doing it. As an addict I have had to come up with a new motto for my life. Years ago it was the James Dean motto, "Live fast, die young and leave a good looking corpse."

Today my motto would be, "Finding a Better Life Exists" coupled with "Transforming Lives by Sharing Recovery." I also am partial to "From Dealing Dope to Dealing Hope." The bottom line is this, if you are living your life to not only be a better person from one day to the next but to help the people you come into contact with live better lives too, you are doing something right. If you aren't living your life that way, you are doing something wrong.

If you want to be an addict, get addicted to making yourself better and sharing your strength, experience and hope with all of those you come into contact with. Here is to going all in...........when it comes to building up the community around you!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Happy Mother's Day

I know that I often write for all audiences, but for this one I am specializing. For starters, it is Mother's Day today. Secondly, my wife Julie has been out of town the last week. She has a cousin that was graduating from medical school in Arizona so she took our daughter and went to Arizona. I miss her terribly and she was not here for me to shower love and affection upon. Instead, I have a list of reasons that I love my wife. This is a very partial list, as there are many reasons I love her. These are just the first 10 that came to my mind:

  1. She has always put Christ first in all that she does.
  2. She gave birth to my beautiful baby girl, Addison Grace. 
  3. She is an amazing step-mother to my son DJ.
  4. She makes me want to be a better person, and thanks to her I am becoming one.
  5. She sees me for who I am, not the person I used to be. 
  6. She has a beautiful voice. Seriously, she sang in Carnegie Hall!
  7. She always sees the best in everyone she meets.
  8. She supports the ministry that I do, Better Life in Recovery, and helps in every way possible.
  9. She is the most beautiful person I have ever met. 
  10. Her smile lights up the room.
  11. Her compassion is unparalleled. She is the most empathetic person I know.
  12. Her love for Christ is unlike few I have ever known! He is the drive behind every choice she makes. 
  13. She completes me. When my glass feels half-empty she fills it up, when I am down she comforts me. I am so much more with her by my side than I would every be without her.
  14. She has never read 50 Shades of Grey.
Like I said, this is a very partial list and 10 was not enough.  What I want you to do is think about the women in your life. Whether they are your mother, wife, sister or friend and whether or not they have kids is unimportant. Ask yourself this question, "Where would I be without the women in my life?" I know I would not be here!

So to my mom, my son's mother Heidi and my wife Julie; thank you for being pro-life. If not for you, I would not be here and neither would my son or my daughter. Thanks to my step-mother who stepped up and tried the best she could with a kid that at times I am sure she wanted to kill........literally! Thanks to my sister, who at times had to play mom to me when I was in my addiction. I guarantee I would be dead if not for her a long time ago. Thanks also to Becca and her mother Julie. They played a huge role in my turning my life around. 

I could go on and on about the women who have impacted my life, and played a huge role in it but I will not. Instead I ask that you contact the women who have made a difference in your life and let them know how much they have meant to you. If you want to say something about one of them on here, please feel free to share. Have a great Mother's Day!!!!!!

Friday, May 10, 2013

Happy 2nd Birthday Spiritual Spackle

The first Spiritual Spackle blog was published on May 10th, 2011. It was created to be a forum to share my thoughts and feelings on recovery, various addictions (food, drugs, alcohol, anger), living with mental illness, surviving child hood abuse, parenting, faith, apologetics and various other things to either inspire or make people think while sharing hope and faith with them. It has been a lot of fun so far.

Spiritual Spackle has my soapbox and my classroom to write about the things that read, thought, felt and seen. Based on comments and feedback some people have received hope while others have been reminded of things they need to work on. Some have gotten a dose of happiness from what they have read while others have gotten angry. People have called to thank me and others let me know they did not appreciate what I had to say. All of this is said to acknowledge one thing; people are reading the blog.

Who knew that people would actually be interested in what was written here? Spiritual Spackle is now featured regularly on the Poached Egg ( as well the Global University blog called 360 Harvest. Spiritual Spackle has been blessed with a forum that has allowed the sharing of opinions, thoughts, ideas and sometimes frustrations with all who care to read them.

Read them people have. The first year there were over 11,000 hits on Spiritual Spackle. That number was doubled in the second year, with 22,000 hits for a total of over 33,000 hits in 2 years. Small in comparison to many blogs, but refreshing because of the hope, recovery and faith that has been shared. Listed below are  the top 10 blogs of all time (number 2 and 7 are not written by me):
  1. 2012: The Year in Review
  2. 45 Seconds: Memoirs of an ER Doctor from May 22, 2...
  3. What is A Moral Failure
  4. Celebrate Recovery Lesson 2 - POWERLESS
  5. Stinking Thinking Part 1: Would You Stick Your Han...
  6. Holman QuickSource Guide to Christian Apologetics ...
  7. Does God Really Love You Unconditionally?
  8. From Shack to Temple 2013 - No More Cheating!!
  9. Joplin tornado and psychological first aid
  10. Celebrate Recovery Testimony 01/19/2012
Spiritual Spackle has had the fortune of being read in multiple countries. I would have figured that Spiritual Spackle would have been read in the United States and maybe several other primarily English speaking countries. I forgot that when you put things on the web they have a very global reach. The first year Spiritual Spackle was read in 84 countries. This year there were an additional 22 countries that were reached for a 2 year total of 106 countries. Here is the complete list off all 106 countries Below are the top 10 countries that have viewed Spiritual Spackle in the first two years:
  1. United States
  2. Russia
  3. Germany
  4. France
  5. United Kingdom
  6. China
  7. Canada
  8. Brazil
  9. Turkey
  10. Australia
So in closing, thank you very much for following me on my journey of recovery as I continue to grow in my personal, spiritual, physical and emotional life. If you ever have any questions you want answered/addressed, suggestions for me on my style of writing or feedback please get in touch with me. Thanks again, and I look forward to the coming year!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Weight Loss Wednesday Baseline - 245.2

Not going to lie, when I stepped on the scale and saw that I had regained over 25 pounds of the 40 pounds I had lost I was more than a little disappointed. Not surprised, but disappointed. I knew that it would be bad, as I have not been exercising regularly and my eating has been..................let's say it has been comforting. Translation, I have been stressed lately with various things in my life and have been comfort-eating to deal with them.

I am still struggling with an addiction. That addiction is to food. I have an on again, off again struggle that is getting to a point that I hurt because of my weight. I need to do this and stick to it. I am an addict, and my addiction has switched over the years from drugs to power/money to women to alcohol to food. Now I have one last frontier to conquer and it is now or never!!

My body is supposed to be a temple. I am supposed to make my life a living sacrifice and I am not doing that at all. I have instead turned my body into a shack at best and my daily life is more of an amusement park than a sacrifice for anything. I need to get busy doing what is right, which is taking care of my body and not being a glutton and lazy.
Luckily, the best man from my wedding who also happens to be my workout partner from years ago contacted me about working out again. I told Robert (that's what I call him because that is his name) that having a workout partner sounded like a great idea. It is motivation to go to the gym. If I don't show up, it means that I have stood somebody up and I don't do that anymore. He said something that caught my attention. "I am almost 40, and I want to get back in the gym before it is too late." That hit close to home, as I am 40 and if I don't get into the gym soon I probably never will. So, back to the gym it is.

Robert and I are meeting to work out 4 days a week. We are going really light and slow for the first couple of weeks. We will be doing FST-7, which uses a lot more repetitions and lighter weights than we were using the last time when we did Max OT workouts. I have gotten to the age I can not afford to get hurt in the gym anymore, and lifting low reps/high weights sometimes injures me. So the focus of FST 7 will be great.

I am hopeful that I can combine the workouts with a couple of days of bike riding 10-25 miles depending on the day. I enjoy riding bicycles, and if I  have just an hour I can put in 10 miles and if I have an afternoon once I build up I can put in 25-50 miles like I used to 5 years ago. It is so relaxing, listening to worship music while riding through nature focusing on all I have to be grateful for.

Next week I will start focusing on my eating habits. I am probably going to use the Weight Watcher's points plus system. As an addict, I like to manipulate things and the way their system is set up it will allow me to manipulate numbers. I find that appealing. It needs to be a lifestyle change not diet or I will not stick to it. I feel that with the point system I can incorporate that into my life for good. It allows for cheats and you can eat a ton of fruits and vegetables!

Finally, I do not run, PERIOD! If you see me running, you had better start running too. I run for 2 reasons currently, to barbecue and from spiders. Not any spiders, either. I mean like 8 Legged Freaks type spiders. I bring this up because I plan on walking more now and when I get to 220 pounds I am going to start jogging. My goal is to jog a complete 5K next year.

Here are my goals:
  1. Lose 5 pounds by June 1st (240)
  2. Lose 10 pounds July 1st (235)
  3. Lose 25 pounds by October 1st (220)
  4. Lose 50 pounds by May 1st (195)
  5. Walk a 5K this year (no idea about time because I have never done one)
  6. Run a 5K next year (no idea about time because I have never done one)
  7. Do the MS 150 next year
In closing, I could use some help in my endeavore to get back into a shape that is not round. If you are trying to lose weight and would like an accountability partner, contact me please. I would not mind finding someone to play tennis with or take bike rides occasionally. So, if you like to ride bicycles or play tennis, get a  hold of me. If you have any advice, suggestions or feedback please get it to me.

As a disclaimer I am not interested in the supplements out there such as Genesis Pure or Visalus. I know that they have worked great for people and I will not argue that they are good products, but I want to focus on whole natural foods and exercise.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Holman Quicksource Guide to Christian Apologetics Chapter 5: Which God Exists?

I often hear people say this, "Basically, all religions are the same" and "Isn't it possible you are all right?" First, all religions are not the same. We will cover that in the rest of the blog today, as that is what this chapter is about. Secondly, if I play a game of golf with you and you say that scored a 78 and I say I scored an 80 on the course, are we both right? That would be impossible. We may not be that far apart in our beliefs about what I scored, but that closeness does not make us both right. Either I am right, you are right or we are both wrong. Those are the only options we have to chose from!

As we have seen, the cosmological and design arguments show that "God is necessary, powerful, transcendent, non-contingent, intelligent and personal. The moral argument shows that God has a moral will, a purpose for how we are to live, that he is engaged in the world and that the motives and actions of human beings matter to Him. Lastly, God is unique. If God as described above does exist, then there is nothing outside of Himself that He did not create; no other God could exist."

So now we are left with a glass slipper to fill. We have the requirements, and if a religious view does not fit one of these requirements than it gets cast out.

Atheism posits that God does not exist. All that exists is the physical universe. The problem here is that there are no good explanations for how the appearance of design in the universe exists or how/why said universe came into existence to begin with. Atheism also lacks a reason for why morality exists. There is only one religion that really has aspects of atheism in it, and that is Buddhism, where God is really irrelevant. The hardest concept to prove in atheism is that God does not exist. To know something does not exist requires exhaustive and complete knowledge of everything that exists. To get around this some atheists say that if God were to exist we could know nothing about Him. This again, knowing for certainty that we could not know anything about Him, requires that someone know without certainty that there might exist an unknowable thing.

Agnostic simply means lacking/having no knowledge. This view basically states that an individual does not currently have the knowledge to know whether or not a God exists or they have some knowledge but not enough to actually make a decision one way or another. I was an agnostic for most of my life, and my premise was that you could not empirically prove or disprove the existence of a God to me so therefore I would not commit either way.

In Pantheism, there are no opposites. Things either exist or they do not exist. That translates to there being no good or evil, no right or wrong and no true or false. There is no difference between malevolence and benevolence. Reason and logic don't exist, because they too deal with things that are either true or false. Pantheism also believes the universe to be eternal and unchanging, without an end or a beginning. That requires actual infinites, which are false based on the Kalam cosmological argument we looked at in Chapter 2.

Pantheism says when we die, we are all taken back into the impersonal whole. Everyone shares the same fate, Adolph Hitler and Mother Teresa. Further, we are all part of God, and God is unchanging. Yet if we realize we are part of God, is that not a change? To answer this, pantheism states that we cannot know because logic and reason don't exist. Of course, that could not be known without the use of logic and reason so it refutes itself.

Panentheism sees God as both distinct from and dependent on the world at the same time. God comes from the world and the world comes from God. It says that the universe/God has always existed will always exist, but it is always changing. If it is always changing, then moral values are also changing or they can change. There are  no grounds for morality given by Panentheism. If morals change, then there is no reason to have moral behavior because the laws could change and make the moral behavior immoral. Bottom line, panentheism does not account for the reality found in the design, moral and cosmological arguments.

Finite Godism
Finite Godism sees God as loving, personal and good but says that since evil exists, God must not be able to control or destroy it. With that being seen as true, God cannot be all-powerful. It further looks at the imperfections in the universe and reasons that God must be imperfect. God therefore is finite so we do not know where God comes from or what the source of morality is. And if God is the source of morality then morals are limited because God is limited.

Polytheism is the view that there are more than one god. Said gods either came from nature or where at one time men and women who became gods. Gods are thus finite and contingent. Polytheism states that the universe has always existed. In the case of Mormonism, there has to be infinites since gods came from gods that came from previous gods. In polytheism there is no accounting for the creation of the universe. All things come from the  universe, even Gods. Gods don't exist apart from the universe, and the beings that do exist all have limited power which causes polytheism to not meet all the requirements.

Deism basically asserts that God cannot be known through religion because the only way to know God is through nature and reason. Because we can only know God through nature and reason there is no miracles. The only way God has revealed Himself is through what He has created. Because there are no miracles we are missing the creation of the world, which was a miraculous act. If the world was able to exist without God, God would not be all-powerful since He could not step it, He would not be necessary and He would have no moral authority since there could be no  purpose for what He didn't create.
  Monotheism sees God as the creator and sustainor of all things. He interacts with creation numerous ways and reveals Himself to us through reason, nature, morality, etc. Thus, monotheism fulfills every part of the requirements stated at the top.This in turn would reduce our search to three religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

All three of these religions believe in the same God. Islam says the Old Testament is now corrupted. Christianity sees the promises of the Old Tesament fulfilled in Jesus. Judaism says that both of these stances are false. All 3 also believe Jesus existed. Judaism sees Him as a pretender, claiming to be the Messiah. Islam believes Him to be a great prophet, and  the gospels are corrupted accounts. Christians believe Christ to be the Messiah.

To begin seeing which of these claims is the correct one, we need to see whether or not the New Testament is trustworthy and accurate. If the New Testament is not reliable, then we can narrow down the choices to Judaism and Islam. If it is reliable, then we can discount Islam and narrow it down to Christianity and Judaism. From there we can look at the Old Testament and its veracity. If it is trustworthy, then we look at what it says about Jesus and see whether we embrace Christianity or Judaism.  In chapter 6 we will begin to investigate the New Testament.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Is Christianity Under Attack

I was shocked to see the latest from the Pentagon. Someone in the military who shares their Christian faith can now be court martialed and possibly imprisoned. I guess this is the new form of the military code, except now it is "Don't talk, don't tell." That said, I am just now finding out some new things about Christianity.

I didn't know that Evangelical Christianity is a form of religious extremism comparable to Hamas, the KKK and Al Quaeda according to training given to Army Reserves in Pennsylvania. For Christians in the military, it gets worse.

“Today, we face incredibly well-funded gangs of fundamentalist Christian monsters who terrorize their fellow Americans by forcing their weaponized and twisted version of Christianity upon their helpless subordinates in our nation’s armed forces.”

That is a quote from Mikey Weinstein,who is the head of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation. He has also said that Christians who share the gospel in the military are guilty of committing an act of “spiritual rape” as serious a crime as “sexual assault.” I wonder how women and men that have been raped would feel about that comparison. I know it shows me his lack of education on the issue. I was Agnostic for over 20 years and when a Christian talked to me about their beliefs it was nothing like getting molested when I was a youth.

The scary thing is that Mr. Weinstein is sitting down with the Pentagon as a consultant to help them develop new policies on religious tolerance.  There does not seem to be too much tolerance coming from Mikey. It is becoming more and more obvious that there may be issues for Christians.

For starters, Christians are held to different standards. While Mr. Weinstein can say whatever he wants about Christians, imagine if Christians spoke the same way about his organization. They would be vilified. If Christians voice opinions about the veracity of the Koran or who Muhammad was they are branded bigots. If Muslims burn Bibles it is considered no big deal.

Take Jason Collins coming out and telling the world he is gay this week. When Tim Tebow prays on the side of the field he is told by the mainstream media, "Keep that to yourself. No one cares." When Jason Collins comes out the media proclaims, "He is a hero." I would argue that both feel that the things they share are a huge part of who they are, so what is the difference?

Then Chris Broussard is asked his opinion about Jason coming out and he is called every name under the sun for giving it. I have a rule, do not ask questions you do not want answers to. That said, it was not like Chris spoke with the kind of malice those posting on his site are displaying.

Christians are facing a day when freedom of speech for them is fading. Christians are told to keep their opinions to themselves and to be tolerant of others. From what I have seen, they are. In fact, they show love and give support in the way of shelter and food to people who live lives that they do not agree with. I believe they say, "Love the sinner hate the sin." Then you have people like Richard Dawkins saying, "Mock them. Ridicule them in public," when speaking about Christians and he is applauded. That does not sound very tolerant.

A quote that I saw attributed to Voltaire said, "To learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize." Point being, it would seem that as much as the media shouts about the Christian majority, Christians do not seem to be the ones in power. They are the ones told to be tolerant while everyone else picks on them and calls them names.

Thankfully, Christians continue to give millions upon millions of dollars as well as hours of their time to help those who are struggling. I remember working the Joplin tornado doing psychological first aid and seeing tent upon tent staffed and funded by churches as well as Convoy of Hope and Compassion International semis loaded with supplies. Would have been nice to see some secularists putting forth the same unified effort.

I guess none of this should shock me. It was predicted 2,000 years ago by Jesus in John 15:18-19, "If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Smoking Marijuana for Medical Purposes is a SHAM!

I am just a little confused. I am hoping that someone can explain some things to me so I will be less confused. We want to legalize marijuana for medical purposes. Let me start by saying that I AM NOT against the use of marijuana IF IT IS TO BE USED MEDICINALLY. If there is a medical reason that someone is using marijuana, I say let them use it. But that is not the reason marijuana is being legalized.

Find me a doctor who says that smoking anything makes it a better way to take any medication. You will find arguments for taking drugs intravenously and ingesting either in pill or liquid form, but never for smoking a medication. There are multiple reasons for marijuana in a smoke-able form to not be made legal.
  1. Marijuana contains dozens of carcinogens (cancer causing substance)
  2. Smoking marijuana has been linked to respiratory problems as well as an increase in several types of cancer including lung and testicular.
  3. Marijuana is not FDA approved
My favorite argument is that smoking marijuana does not make cancer more prevalent. That is complete crap. Are there some studies that show there is no link between marijuana and cancer? Yes, there are several studies that show this. There is a far more substantial body of studies conducted that show a link between cancer and marijuana smoking, though. Marijuana has many of the same carcinogens and chemicals that cigarettes do. It also produces more tar than cigarettes. It is also smoked unfiltered, taking huge inhalations that are held in which means more carcinogens and tar are delivered to the lungs.

Marijuana is not FDA approved for a number of reasons, and not because they are controlled by the pharmaceutical companies. There are over 400 chemicals in the cannabis sativa plant. Some of them have unknown effects. If the dangers do not outweigh the benefits than the FDA will not approve it. Also, when passing a medicine it is standardized in each dose. A 50 mg dose delivers 50 milligrams. Cannabis is highly unstable and the dosage changes from one leaf to the next leaf on the same plant.

Are there some medical uses for marijuana? There are medical uses for some of the chemicals found in marijuana, such as CBD (cannabidiol). CBD has been found to alleviate pain associated with cancer and multiple sclerosis, reducing anxiety and various other positive uses. THC (Delta 8 and 9) have been found to increase anxiety in studies. Unfortunately, in the marijuana that is being confiscated, the levels of Delta 8 and Delta 9 (substances that induce the "high:) are increasing and the levels of CBD are decreasing.

There are also some substances substances in the cannabis plant or their chemical derivatives that have been shown to stop the growth of cancer in Petri dishes as well as in some animals that have been tested. This affect has not been clinically tested and proven to occur in humans, though.

Here are several more arguments for marijuana that are not allowed. First is the income from legalizing marijuana. If legalizing marijuana was all it took to increase the economy, then California would be rocking. After all, marijuana has been legal there for quit some time and their economy at the state level sucks.

There is also the argument that legalizing marijuana would greatly reduce our prison population. A survey by the Bureau of Justice found that 0.7% of the state prison population in the United States was there for marijuana only. It does not list how many of those were people who agreed to plead guilty to marijuana charges so they could avoid more serious charges. So we let out less than 1 percent of those who are in state prisons. Yeah, that makes a huge dent. How NORML gets 1 in 8 are in prison for marijuana charges I will never know.

Finally, the last argument is that alcohol and cigarettes are legal and kill people while marijuana is not lethal. I won't argue traffic accidents, because that is too incidental to get into and there are the arguments that marijuana stays in your system long after it still would impact your driving. Instead, I want to look at the basis of the argument. This drug is not as bad as these, so it should be legal?

How is that a good argument? Not that I don't agree, alcohol and cigarettes kill a lot of people and their basis for legality is disputable. There is a causal link between smoking THC and getting into accidents just like there is a causal link between male/female intercourse and getting pregnant. Does this mean that every time you use THC you will get into an accident. Of course not, and you will not get pregnant every time you have sex.......but it happens. Why risk it if it is not even addictive, like so may argue. If it is not addictive you don't have to do it so that solves the problem right there. Case closed!

Here is a great reason why marijuana should be illegal. States that have medicinal marijuana laws have shown an increase in marijuana use of 30% for teenagers in the 12-17 year old group. Studies show that youth who are 14 or under and smoke marijuana at least once a month are twice as likely to drop out as their non-marijuana smoking counterpart. Why would we want to legalize marijuana?

I am all for the spray, oil and pill forms of various chemicals in cannabis that have been found to be helpful. I am against smoking it, though. The risks outweigh the benefits and there are far better methods to use. Any argument that says smoking medical marijuana is the best, most efficient way to use it is nonfactual. There are much better ways to ingest it. The problem is that they don't get you as high, if high at all and that is what most people want to use it for.