Drugs

Michelle Arnold
Catholic Answers Apologist Join Date: May 3, 2004
Location: San Diego, CA
Posts: 1,268

Re: Is smoking marijuana immoral?


The Church recognizes the authority of civil governments to regulate substances for just reasons. Marijuana is one such substance that the government can justly regulate. That is why the Church would say that it is wrong to smoke marijuana: Not because it is inherently evil, but because civil society has deemed it to be extrinsically dangerous.

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I’m not sure Michelle really covered the entire point in regards to narcotics.

The Catechism indicates the following:

2291 The use of drugs inflicts very grave damage on human health and life. Their use, except on strictly therapeutic grounds, is a grave offense. Clandestine production of and trafficking in drugs are scandalous practices. They constitute direct co-operation in evil, since they encourage people to practices gravely contrary to the moral law.

The way Michelle addresses this particular question…one would assume marijuana is okay (for recreational use) so long it’s used in moderation. If this is the case…so is herion…cocaine, etc. I started a thread a long time ago about tobacco, etc…which could possibly fit within this category.

Perhaps we should re-open this debate?

There is a huge difference between marijuana and herion or cocaine. Marijuana is as addicting as cigarettes – while some people may get addicted to it and, therefore, cause grave damage to their bodies by smoking in excess, others may use it recreationally and never get addicted. Thus, they may never smoke enough to cause grave damage. Heroin, opiates, and other “hard” drugs are a lot more addictive and people who start using them will almost always develop a dependency and harm their bodies.

They constitute direct co-operation in evil, since they encourage people to practices gravely contrary to the moral law.

This is the clincher, if you buy illegal drugs you are fueling the same trade that brings “hard drugs” into the country more often than not.

On another note Marijuana has changed dramatically in the last 10 years. our current strains are 200% more potent than ones researched in the 1960’s. I am a Psych major and part of my course work is in the area of the effect that drugs have on the human body. Marijuana is more damaging that alcohol. A 3-4 time a week Marijuana user after 15 years has the same amount of brain damage (as determined by scans that read where oxygen is being used in the brain or FMRI) as a 20 year alcoholic. I’m sure as the potency has gone up so has the damage. The real scary part to me is that TCH affects the endocrine system (the system that regulates hormones) so “burnout” tends to make the individual depressed and lethargic. Add to that the fact that it takes 6 months to get your brain chemistry back on track after quitting (yes weed does have a withdrawal cycle contrary to common belief). In that six month cycle any use of Marijuana brings it all back so you really can’t wean yourself off of it. As strains become more and more potent I predict we will see more “grave” symptome resulting from marijuana use.

Compare this to cigarettes. Nicotine is HIGHLY addictive and the delivery system is flawed (I.e. it will KILL you) but your body is rid of it much faster than Marijuana. In fact when I graduated my professor was involved in a study where Alzheimer’s patients were on the nicotine patch to improve cognitive function… fascinating stuff.

Drugs are wrong inasmuch as they harm the body, change one’s state of consciousness unnaturally, and potentially impair judgement.
That is why alcohol, and even tobacco, in moderation are allowed.

Though becoming “a smoker” I think would be wrong because of the proven harm to the body…a cigar at a party every so often probably would not be wrong, though one must watch out for addiction. And drinking if you don’t get drunk and do it in moderation so as not to harm the liver is tolerable too.

Perhaps Michelle believes that marijuana, like alcohol and tobacco, can be taken in moderation if not against state law. Perhaps she is of the school of scientific though (because it really is a question of science, psychology, and society, not religion) that says that very small doses of marijuana can be taken very rarely and not harm the person or endanger others or get them addicted. Just relax them or give them a buzz.

I disapprove of it in general, but I recognize that it certainly isnt a hard drug like cocaine which can give you a heart attack the first time you take it.

[quote=Shlemele]This is the clincher, if you buy illegal drugs you are fueling the same trade that brings “hard drugs” into the country more often than not.
[/quote]

I responded to someone in this way recently (about marijuana).
They retorted, “What if I grow it myself”?
I responded, “Your body is a temple of the Lord, and you are poisoning it”.
They did not attempt further justification.

[quote=agname]Michelle Arnold
Catholic Answers Apologist Join Date: May 3, 2004
Location: San Diego, CA
Posts: 1,268

Re: Is smoking marijuana immoral?


The Church recognizes the authority of civil governments to regulate substances for just reasons. Marijuana is one such substance that the government can justly regulate. That is why the Church would say that it is wrong to smoke marijuana: Not because it is inherently evil, but because civil society has deemed it to be extrinsically dangerous.

========================================

I’m not sure Michelle really covered the entire point in regards to narcotics.

The Catechism indicates the following:

2291 The use of drugs inflicts very grave damage on human health and life. Their use, except on strictly therapeutic grounds, is a grave offense. Clandestine production of and trafficking in drugs are scandalous practices. They constitute direct co-operation in evil, since they encourage people to practices gravely contrary to the moral law.

The way Michelle addresses this particular question…one would assume marijuana is okay (for recreational use) so long it’s used in moderation. If this is the case…so is herion…cocaine, etc. I started a thread a long time ago about tobacco, etc…which could possibly fit within this category.

Perhaps we should re-open this debate?
[/quote]

I am confused by your reading of Michelle’s response - I don’t see where she ok’s the use of an illegal substance in moderation, nor do I see where it is in conflict with the Catechism. I’m not saying you are wrong, I just don’t see where she ok’s the use of marijuana in moderation. If anything, her answer is “NOPE you cannot use something that is deemed illegal by the laws of the land”.

As a former drug addict, I will tell you that being sinful did not come into my mind when I was deep in my disease. Now that I am sober, I recognize how I had to let my morals go (to do, as Father Corapi so aptly puts it, 'kill my conscience) in order to continue to live the lifestyle that welcomed the use of illegal drugs or legal drugs illegally (try saying that three times fast:whacky: ).

The horror comes from the results of killing one’s conscience. Fighting back from that is very difficult. One knows one is getting better when one can start to say “oh, no, I shouldn’t do that…” even if it is applied to something as simple as littering. That means your conscience is starting to breathe again and that means you are starting to wake up to the Word.

There are drugs I am dependent upon today - I take synthroid every day because I have no thyroid function, and I take methotrexate every week to help me battle RA. Drugs, as stated in the Catechism, are not intrinsictly (spelling?) evil.

How’s THAT for an opinion?:cool:

It’s been proven that one smoke off of a cig or joint causes irreversible dmg to lung tissue. It has been shown that nicotine is more addictive than heroin. I could also prove that heroin is safer than both cigs and marijuana due to the fact that…when injected…heroin bypasses the liver, etc.

There just seems to be a lot of grey within this area…fascinating.

I have also always found it interesting that the FDA won’t regulate the tobacco industry.

Would you want to blaze up a doobie in front of Christ?

I wonder if the question should be is smoking pot a venial or mortal sin? We know it’s sinful by default because our civil authorities have said it is against the law…unless you’re in a state that allows it to be used for medicinal pain management. I believe it’s also harmful to the body; however one could make a credible argument that used in moderation it’s not that bad. The drug trade itself which carries with it corruption, greed, violence, prostitution, and host of other evils is something we should not support.

I get back to my original question, would you be doing this infron of our Lord? What experience are you gaining from this that is better than what Christ has to offer?

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