We Justify Anything: Medical Marijuana a good example.

by Ned Wicker

I remember the words of my sixth grade teacher, “What the mind of man can conceive and believe... it can achieve.” That is probably the only thing of value I learned the entire year. Funny how little things stick out, but of all my learning experiences I had in that woman’s classroom, that’s really the only thing I remember.

The statement has significance for me because in studying addiction and the drug use habits of Americans, I can see clearly that not only can we develop science and technology, but we can convince ourselves that up is down, and wrong is right.

Her words ring clear for me some 50 years later because I have observed how people take a thought and manipulate it to their own advantage. I’m not talking about putting a man on the moon, or developing the breakthroughs in medical science, but I am talking about the ways in which people justify their own behavior and manipulate the truth.

Marijuana IS bad for you!

I was reading articles about the concerns people have over medical marijuana and the risk of children finding eatable forms of the drug and ingesting it. That could lead them to getting sick. The online articles were fairly straight forward, but the comments attached at the bottom of the articles were where I found the most interesting viewpoints.

All you have to do is suggest that medical marijuana may not be a good idea and they come out of the woodwork to yell, scream and rant.

For the record, I believe medical marijuana is a joke. While I do believe that alternative therapies are often effective and maybe even preferable to conventional medical interventions, I believe medical marijuana is an excuse for the legalization of a drug that few people recognize as being dangerous, addictive and harmful.

The idea is simple enough—marijuana is now medicine and the idea of medicine makes it proper. I recall a scene from the movie “Walk the Line” when the Johnny Cash character tries to explain to his wife that all the drugs he is taking for recreation is “medicine.”

In the film he is busted in LAX for bringing drugs into the country. It’s an example of how people use something legitimate to justify something illegitimate.

The medical marijuana business is booming. Head shops in Colorado are springing up all over, but of course it’s all for the health and well being of the people who need this drug to get by in life. American’s can conceive and believe anything.

Like Alcohol in the 1930's

I suppose the marijuana issue is similar to prohibition in the 1920’s and early 1930’s, because as fast as the feds find and destroy clandestine marijuana crops, more are discovered. Soon the government will tax it and then watch what happens.

Everyone wants it to be true
The justification is what intrigues me. I know something is false, but I want it, so I will intentionally believe what is false and defend that position at all cost. Not only will I defend the rationale for medical marijuana, I will discredit anyone who does not agree with me. If my facts cannot support my argument, I will attack the opposite view with vulgarity, inappropriate hostility and all the while scream at the top of my lungs how I am disadvantaged. I must, however, completely ignore the science. And the opinion of experts, like those of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) must be shunned.

Americans can legitimize anything or anybody. The more disgusting a celebrity acts, the more we seem to embrace them. The more ridiculous and fantastic the idea, the more the people seem to want to believe it.

The problem with medical marijuana is not so much that the science doesn’t support its legitimacy, but that people want it to be true so they hold on tight to the lie.

Must be someone else's fault!

This is America and in America if it goes wrong for us, it’s somebody else’s fault. For years people smoked cigarettes, even with the Surgeon General’s warning on the packaging, yet if they got lung cancer it was the fault of the tobacco companies. The tobacco companies purposefully made sure cigarettes were addictive, but lied to congress saying “I did not know nicotine was addictive,” or words to that effect, even though their own research sang the evidence loudly and in four-part harmony.

We can justify and believe anything. If it is to our own, immediate advantage, we throw reason, ethics and morals to the wind.

We want it...We get it!

The earliest recorded example of this human characteristic is in the Book of Genesis, when the prophet Moses talked about the fall of man (Chapter 3) and the Tower of Babel (Chapter 11). He agrees with my teacher, and so action was necessary. Putting religion aside, those two examples are about the human condition, how we view ourselves.

We look at something, we want it and we make our plans to get it. In the cases of millions of addicts, we crave and we do anything to get it. The addict may or may not have any sense of him/herself, but deep down, they know something is wrong. They’re just trying to get by. Their lives begin a downward path, then it escalates to an uncontrollable slide into oblivion. Still, they try to justify.

Few things of my sixth grade year stayed with me. I honestly can’t remember the curriculum, other than the fact that the teacher threatened to flunk me. We didn’t get along at all well, sadly. But her words are still with me…”What the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve.” She didn’t say anything about going in the wrong direction.

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- Matthew 7:7-8


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