A Recent Marijuana-themed Digest Results in Reader Outrage — Here’s Our Response
“I wish to unsubscribe from your publication. This is based on (last Wednesday’s Digest) which seemingly supports the legalization of marijuana.”
We received this email from an InvestorPlace Digest reader last Thursday. It came in response to last Wednesday’s Digest which featured an update on the legal marijuana trend.
To say the topic elicited strong reactions from a handful of readers is an understatement. Below are two more emails we received …
“I am mortified that you promote marijuana. It is addictive and long-term use creates many physical problems. And it is a gateway drug. When users don’t get enough of a kick from marijuana, they move on yo (sic) terribly addictive and destructive drugs. Shame on you!”
“Only pigs with no morals or regard for young people would push for this.”
In this Digest, we want to respond.
Our goal isn’t to sway anyone’s opinion as to the morality (or lack thereof) of legalized marijuana. Rather, we simply hope to offer an alternative perspective on marijuana which could further an intelligent discussion.
But before writing anything else — thank you — to the readers who wrote in. We welcome, value, and appreciate your feedback.
***To begin, please understand that here at InvestorPlace, we’re neither for, nor against, legalized marijuana
Whatever your stance on legalized marijuana, we respect it, and aren’t here to change it.
That’s because we don’t feel it’s our place to condemn or promote the morality of marijuana, or anything else, for that matter. Doing so would inevitably mean we’d censor some content based on our own arbitrary sense of right/wrong. We don’t believe that’s our role.
What we do believe is that it’s our responsibility to bring readers the most current, well-researched, thoughtful investment insights and commentary in the market today. As an extension, we believe our job is to help readers interpret and act on this information in a way that can help make a profound impact on their wealth.
Given this, at times we may inform readers about investment opportunities that don’t align with their personal code of ethics. That’s simply unavoidable.
***With that context established, let’s now dig deeper and discuss one of the key criticisms in our reader feedback
A theme that ran through the negative reader responses was that legalized marijuana hurts young people and creates physical problems.
Is this completely accurate?
Now, to avoid a misunderstanding, we too stand against the idea of our young people abusing marijuana (or any substance for that matter). We’re staunchly against it.
But is blanketly vilifying marijuana as something wholly evil, addictive, and harmful a deserved generalization?
You might not be aware, but there’s an organization called the National Institute on Drug Abuse. If marijuana was entirely irredeemable as a substance, it would make sense that this organization would make that point abundantly clear. Yet that’s not what we find …
From the National Institute on Drug Abuse’s website:
… scientific study of the chemicals in marijuana, called cannabinoids, has led to two FDA-approved medications that contain cannabinoid chemicals in pill form …
The body also produces its own cannabinoid chemicals. They play a role in regulating pleasure, memory, thinking, concentration, body movement, awareness of time, appetite, pain, and the senses (taste, touch, smell, hearing, and sight).
Currently, the two main cannabinoids from the marijuana plant that are of medical interest are THC and CBD.
THC can increase appetite and reduce nausea. THC may also decrease pain, inflammation (swelling and redness), and muscle control problems. Unlike THC, CBD is a cannabinoid that doesn’t make people “high.” These drugs aren’t popular for recreational use because they aren’t intoxicating. It may be useful in reducing pain and inflammation, controlling epileptic seizures, and possibly even treating mental illness and addictions.
The research goes on to discuss recent animal studies that have shown that marijuana extracts may help kill certain cancer cells.
I hope any marijuana skeptics will take the time to read it entirely — not because we’re trying to change your opinion, but rather, because additional facts and commentary may offer a more balanced perspective.
***But let’s take this out of the academic realm and make it more personal …
Charlotte “Charlie” Figi had her first seizure when she was just three months old. Over the next few months, the seizures grew more frequent, lasting two to four hours.
She was repeatedly hospitalized but doctors were stumped. All her blood tests and scans were normal.
As the seizures continued and her parents brought her to specialists, the worst-case scenario came to light. The little girl had Dravet Syndrome — a rare, severe form of intractable epilepsy. “Intractable” means the seizures are not controlled by medication.
By that time, Charlie was taking seven medications — some of them heavy-duty, addictive ones. They were taking a heavy toll on the little girl, despite not working for her. The 2-year old’s body began to suffer and her cognitive abilities were in decline. Her parents were running out of options.
In desperation, Charlie’s father found a video of a California boy whose Dravet was being successfully treated with cannabis. Though Charlie’s mother had consistently voted against marijuana use, her daughter was then having 300 grand mal seizures a week, and had lost her ability to walk, talk, and even eat.
With no options left, they gambled on treating Charlie with cannabis; specifically, a type that was high in CBD.
I’ll let the CNN article from which this story comes take it from here …
…the results were stunning.
“When she didn’t have those three, four seizures that first hour, that was the first sign,” Paige (Charlie’s mother) recalled. “And I thought well, ‘Let’s go another hour, this has got to be a fluke.'”
The seizures stopped for another hour. And for the following seven days …
Today, Charlotte, 6, is thriving. Her seizures only happen two to three times per month, almost solely in her sleep. Not only is she walking, she can ride her bicycle. She feeds herself and is talking more and more each day.
Please read the full article here. It’s a wonderful story of hope and redemption.
At this point, let me remind readers — we’re not endorsing marijuana. But given how truly lifechanging its therapeutic properties proved for Charlie, I hope this story will balance the emailer’s assertion that “(Marijuana’s) long term use creates many physical problems.”
***Finally, if we shouldn’t cover the legal marijuana trend, drawing a new line in the sand has its own challenges
An estimated 88,000 people die of alcohol-related deaths annually. That makes alcohol the third leading preventable cause of death in the United States.
Given this, one could make a compelling argument that our analysts should never recommend the stocks of companies that produce alcoholic beverages (or even the companies that service alcoholic beverage makers). Is that for us to decide?
Perhaps you’ll say “yes.” If so, then what about, say, fast food?
Fast food restaurants are notorious for being incredibly unhealthy, filled with high amounts of fat, salt, calories, and processed food. These factors are known to increase risk for heart disease — which is the leading cause of death in the United States, killing 610,000 people per year.
Given this correlation, should our analysts refrain from recommending companies like McDonald’s?
It’s an interesting thought exercise. There are also gun manufacturers … cigarette companies … the gaming groups behind casinos …
Our position is that making these judgments is not for us to decide. We’re simply here to bring you the most insightful investment research in the market today. And that’s something we’re committed to doing as best we can.
Thanks again to the individuals who write in. We love your feedback and welcome it anytime.
Have a good evening,