The Instigator
guylaquit
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
Daltonian
Pro (for)
Winning
6 Points

Marijuana is harmless and is safer to use long-term than alcohol or tobacco.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
Daltonian
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/23/2014 Category: Health
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 4,968 times Debate No: 60822
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (15)
Votes (2)

 

guylaquit

Con

First round - pro's initial arguments
Second round- rebuttals and arguments
Third round - rebuttals and arguments
Fourth round - rebuttals, no new arguments may be introduced


This is an open debate, if you feel strongly that marijuana has minimal adverse effects then go ahead and accept. You may present your arguments first round, no need for acceptance.
Daltonian

Pro

Thanks to con for instigating this debate.

I am going to assume that the resolution can be altered to mean, "In general, marijuana is mostly harmless and is safer to use long term than alcohol or tobacco".

(justification: all things - from glass to scissors to grapes to anything - can be used to bring harm unto one self, making the resolution redundant without this addition)

If my opponent has issue with this, please refute it as a point in the next round, as I will consider it the resolution




Arguments

A. Proper use of marijuana
Nearly all medicines, from Tylenol to Ibuprofen to Penicilin, have a potential of adverse effects if used improperly or to a gross extent. All consumable items have a potential of being fatal if used in a fashion which is irresponsible.

Are burgers lethal? Officially, in 2012, there was only one death medically attributable to burgers [1], the public representative of "Heart Attack Grill", who died whilst attempting to eat a marathon of 3,000 calorie burgers.

Does this make burgers inherently harmful? No, only if used or consumed improperly or irresponsibly. If marijuana is used properly and methodically in a fashion on par with a government or medical standard, it has been proven to not only be non-fatal in entirety, but life saving.[2]

In order to die from a marijuana overdose, humans would need to take 40,000 times the amount of THC that it took to get them high in the first place. Using 40,000 times the regular amount can be widely considered irresponsible or incorrect.[8] This is akin to how a human would also have to eat 10-20 3,000 calorie burgers to see negative health effects.

So,
A1 - Anything is only harmful if used excessively or incorrectly
A2 - Marijuana is generally not addictive to an extent of using 40,000 times the regular amount and thus cause harm[7]
A3 - Marijuana is not inherently harmful if used irresponsibly, excessively, or incorrectly
A4 - Only the improper or irresponsible usage of marijuana can even come close to being rendered harmful because marijuana has no proven adverse effects when used to a medical standard

B. Number of deaths caused by marijuana
The exact number of deaths caused by marijuana in medical history lies somewhere between zero and fifteen. [3]
Several people have had deaths that can be possibly attributable to marijuana, but historically, no study has been able to scientifically prove that marijuana has been the direct cause of a person's death.

A 2014 study out of Germany [3], took the 15 well known cases of supposed deaths attributed to marijuana and found that of the 15, thirteen were entirely unrelated and two were indirectly caused.

One man died due to taking the drug whilst recovering from a cardiological problem, [indirect]
and the other died whilst taking the drug in a rapid fashion in secession with alchohol, [indirect]

Thus, according to the medical community, the number of confirmed or proven deaths caused by marijuana can remain solidly stacked at zero. [4]


B1 - It is medically implausible to correlate a death directly to marijuana usage
B2 - 1400 people are proven to die of adverse medical effects caused by nicotine usage every day
B3 - 75 people are proven to die of adverse medical effects caused by alcohol usage every day
B4 - 0 people are proven to die of adverse medical effects caused by marijuana usage every day
B5 - Marijuana is inherently less harmful than Alcohol or Nicoctine

C. Marijuana is a proven neuroprotectant and can protect against adverse effects on the brain caused by alcohol
A recent study put forth by the renowned health organization Science Direct found that people who had used marijuana within 24 hours of taking the study had a better overall resistance to "binge" effects related to consumption of alcohol [5]

To quote the study, [6],

"Significant between group differences were found in FA in eight white matter regions (ps ≤ .016) between the binge drink-only group and controls, including superior corona radiata, inferior longitudinal fasciculus, inferior fronto-occipital fasciculus, and superior longitudinal fasciculus. Interestingly, in 4 of these same regions, binge drinkers who are also heavy marijuana users had higher FA than binge drinkers who did not use marijuana (ps < .05). MD did not differ between groups."

I await my opponent's arguments and rebuttals.

Sources
[1] - (http://eatocracy.cnn.com...)
[2] - (http://www.cnn.com...)
[3] - (http://time.com...)
[4] - CDC Drug Investigation, 2011.
[5] - (http://blog.mpp.org...)
[6] -(http://www.sciencedirect.com...)
[7] - (http://www.psychologytoday.com...)
[8] - (http://www.newhealthguide.org...)
Debate Round No. 1
guylaquit

Con

Thank you pro for some good preliminary argument.

Rebuttals:
"A3 - Marijuana is not inherently harmful if used irresponsibly, excessively, or incorrectly"
This is probably a typo but what you are saying is that if used irresponsibly, excessively or incorrectly marijuana is not harmful, while it would seem if used this way it probably would most definitely be harmful.

"A4 - Only the improper or irresponsible usage of marijuana can even come close to being rendered harmful because marijuana has no proven adverse effects when used to a medical standard"
I would like to remind pro we are not arguing for the medical use of marijuana but for use in general.

"Thus, according to the medical community, the number of confirmed or proven deaths caused by marijuana can remain solidly stacked at zero. [4]"
The lack of evidence and study in general for marijuana can largely be attributed to its illegality; most studies on are just beginning to emerge now that marijuana is becoming more popular.

"B1 - It is medically implausible to correlate a death directly to marijuana usage"
Once again, studies on the long term effects of marijuana are just beginning to be conducted, so saying that it is "medically implausible" is hyperbole.

"B2 - 1400 people are proven to die of adverse medical effects caused by nicotine usage every day
B3 - 75 people are proven to die of adverse medical effects caused by alcohol usage every day
B4 - 0 people are proven to die of adverse medical effects caused by marijuana usage every day
B5 - Marijuana is inherently less harmful than Alcohol or Nicotine"
Your argument is that casual use of marijuana causes no harm and that abuse of marijuana may cause harm. Deaths caused by alcohol are almost solely due to over drinking and binge drinking, which is not casual use of alcohol. Therefore you cannot compare using marijuana casually to using alcohol abusively. The same goes for nicotine, where we consider that if someone where to smoke as much marijuana as a tobacco smoker smokes tobacco, there would be equally as many negative effects and long term deaths.

I will now present my arguments.

1. Marijuana smoke is equally as bad if not worse than tobacco smoke.
Marijuana contains 33 separate carcinogens that are introduced to the lungs when smoked [1]. Marijuana smoke also contains tar, and it leaves up to 4 times as much tar in the lungs as tobacco [1]. In fact, "marijuana smokers can have many of the same respiratory problems experienced by people who smoke tobacco." Because of the deep and long inhales of unfiltered marijuana that smokers take, it can actually cause more irritation to the lungs than tobacco.

2. Marijuana, when taken casually by either smoking or consuming, causes abnormalities in the brain.
A study was performed recently by researchers at Northwestern University"s Feinberg School of Medicine and Harvard Medical School on 40 young adult students from universities around Boston: 20 who smoked pot casually (up to 4 times a week) and 20 who never smoked pot at all. "Breiter (a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Feinberg School and co"senior author of the study) and his colleagues found that among all 20 casual marijuana smokers in their study " even the seven who smoked just one joint per week " the nucleus accumbens and amygdala showed changes in density, volume and shape." [2] To quote the study, "These observations also demonstrate that fundamental relationships observed in covariance analyses among structural measures of controls are absent in marijuana users, suggesting that marijuana use may be associated with a disruption of neural organization in the a priori regions of the nucleus accumbens and amygdala." [3]

While I have further evidence to present, I believe I have to this point proven that casual use of marijuana is harmful to one's health and more so than casual use of alcohol or casual use of tobacco, both of which will not change the structure of the brain.
I look forward to pro's rebuttals and arguments.

Sources:
[1] http://www.lung.org...
[2] http://time.com...
[3] http://jn.sfn.org...
Daltonian

Pro

I thank my opponent for his intriguing rebuttals and points.

Counter Rebuttals


A3 -
All things can be potentially harmful if used improperly. Burgers, medication, a chair, you name it. All things can be harmful if they are not used in a way advised by either a manufacturer or a medical expert.


Arguing that marijuana is harmful because people use it improperly in the form of smoking/overinhaling it would be akin to arguing that chairs are inherently harmful because someone ripped off a chair leg and stabbed themself in the stomach with it.

A4- The medically advised/usage of marijuana on par with medical opinion is the proper way of using it. Inhalation of smoke emitted from marijuana is a popular way of consumption, but it is not the proper or directly endorsed medical methodology of taking marijuana and is thus less relevant to the resolution of "marijuana" in general.

If marijuana is administered properly in it's medical form, it is not harmful in almost all cases - it's actually beneficial and curing! This proves marijuana is not harmful, and only can have negative side effects if used recreationally without the proper method of taking it.

B1- Marijuana is not a new fab. Admittedly, there were not as many long term studies 40 years ago as there are now, but as of the time of this debate, all of the preexisting long term studies from the 20th century have been unable to correlate long term death to marijuana usage. There have been studies capable of correlating alchohol and tobacco to deaths, however. [4] [5]

B2 - B5: My argument is that you can only overdose on marijuana if you take 40,000 times the regular amount in a reasonably collapsed period of time, which is not reccomended. This eliminates any possible argument correlating overdoses or short-term deaths to marijuana.

If marijuana is used regularly and to the medically reccomended standard, then it has no proven correlation to death. The same cannot be said for the liver problems caused by the regular consumption of alchohol and the imminent poisoning resulting in the consumption of nicotine.

New Rebuttals

1. Marijuana Smoke

The debate is over whether Marijuana in itself is harmful, not whether Marijuana smoke is harmful. Nearly all things - including plastic, wood, and water - have an adverse effect on the lungs if the offset produced as a result of burning them is inhaled in large quantities. Thus, labelling marijuana harmful because the smoke produces as an offset is harmful to the lungs would be redundant - all smoke inhalation is harmful to the lungs, not just marijuana smoke inhalation. Smoke is harmful, not marijuana. If marijuana is consumed without the presence of smoke, negative effects are either not present or extremely less so. The medically sound version and thus proper consumption of marijuana does not involve smoke inhalation.

Nicotine is harmful outside of smoke inhalation. If ingested in it's raw form, nicotine has been proven to be the equivalent of a deadly poison [1]. Thus, nicotine (aside from nicotine smoke) is inherently harmful.


Concerning the portion of the debate regarding the effects of tobacco vs the effects of marijuana on the lungs, it is untrue that tobacco causes less damage. The University of San Francisco conducted a study comparing the long term effect on the lungs of tobacco smokers vs marijuana smokers, and they actually found that minimal usages of marijuana for the purposes of controlling pain or depression, stimulating appetite, elevating mood and managing other chronic symptoms had no adverse effect on the body if consumed, and a minimal one if inhaled [2]


2. Abnormalities in the brain
The study in question does not outline the effects of marijuana in a neutral scenario, and even admits that most of it's results are using animal test subjects, and that most of it's results are not directly correlated to the far less susceptible human brain.


There was only one instance in the study where humans were studied at all, and that was in the instance of growing adolescents.

Adolescent exposure to almost all drugs and medications can have an adverse effect on the growth of their brain [3]. Marijuana is not harmful in this regard; all that this study would go to prove is that overconsumption of foreign or medical substances during puberty or time of growth is harmful.

Additionally, the study only proves that marijuana has "adverse" cognitive effects on the amygdala. This would disrupt things like like sense of awareness, learning and temporary memory in the hippocampus, and decision-making skills. These are the normal side effects associated with a high and don't really correlate to definitive harmfulness: some people seek more ease in decision making and to be less aware of the pain they are in.

[1] - (http://www.michigan.gov...)
[2] - (http://www.ucsf.edu...)
[3] - (http://kidshealth.org...)
[4] - (http://www.cdc.gov...)
[5] - (http://www.cdc.gov...)
Debate Round No. 2
guylaquit

Con

Thank you pro for your intriguing rebuttals and arguments. I would likes to remind pro that this is the last round to introduce new arguments; if any new arguments are introduced in round 4 it will result in a default. Round 4 is for rebuttals and concluding statements only. With that, my rebuttals.

Rebuttals

"Arguing that marijuana is harmful because people use it improperly in the form of smoking/overinhaling it would be akin to arguing that chairs are inherently harmful because someone ripped off a chair leg and stabbed themself in the stomach with it."

This is false, due to the fact that the vast majority of marijuana users smoke the substance rather than eat it. The reality is you will not find a marijuana user that does not at least sometimes smoke it, because most do not want a high that takes an hour to kick in and can last up to twelve hours (as in edible marijuana) but prefer the shorter instant high of smoking. Arguing that marijuana is not harmful because it doesn't have to be smoked is like arguing that tobacco is not harmful because if you ate it, it wouldn't affect the lungs. The reality is that both the substances are smoked way more than they are consumed in some other manner.

"If marijuana is administered properly in it's medical form, it is not harmful in almost all cases - it's actually beneficial and curing! This proves marijuana is not harmful, and only can have negative side effects if used recreationally without the proper method of taking it."

Unfortunately, there is no proper form of administering marijuana in its "medical form". There is no actual medically advised form of consumption. Medical marijuana dispensaries sell the marijuana in all forms, but mostly in the smoking form. Doctors that are prescribing medical marijuana are telling their patients they can and often should smoke it.

"If marijuana is used regularly and to the medically reccomended standard, then it has no proven correlation to death. The same cannot be said for the liver problems caused by the regular consumption of alchohol and the imminent poisoning resulting in the consumption of nicotine."

Once again, unfortunately there is no medically recommended standard. Also, we are arguing that marijuana causes more damage than tobacco, not than nicotine in its pure form.

"Concerning the portion of the debate regarding the effects of tobacco vs the effects of marijuana on the lungs, it is untrue that tobacco causes less damage."

This is a very debated point and many studies have shown otherwise, even going so far as to say that one marijuana joint causes the same damage as up to 5 cigarettes [1]. While this is a debatable point, the fact that marijuana also negatively affects the brain while tobacco doesn't is not.

"The study in question does not outline the effects of marijuana in a neutral scenario, and even admits that most of it's results are using animal test subjects, and that most of it's results are not directly correlated to the far less susceptible human brain."

Not sure where it says most of its test subjects were animals, doing a word check of "animals" on the whole study only brings up one instance, where it states that the same changes in the brain were found in animals, not that most of the test subjects were animals (they used 40 young adult humans). Furthermore, the human brain is no less susceptible to harm compared to the brain of an animal. We do, afterall, share 98% of our DNA with chimpanzees.

"Adolescent exposure to almost all drugs and medications can have an adverse effect on the growth of their brain [3]. Marijuana is not harmful in this regard; all that this study would go to prove is that overconsumption of foreign or medical substances during puberty or time of growth is harmful."

Not sure how closely you looked at the study, because the average age of the university students in the study was 21. And because the human brain stops developing at 21, this study is not correlated to the effects of marijuana on the developing brain [2].

"Additionally, the study only proves that marijuana has "adverse" cognitive effects on the amygdala."

The study showed adverse effects in two areas of the brain, the amygdala and the nucleus accumbens. The nucleus accumbens is the part of the brain that controls many emotions as well as the reward circuit. Perhaps the changes in this area of the brain are why long term marijuana use is associated with various mental illnesses.

This concludes my rebuttals, I will now present my final arguments.

Arguments

Marijiuana's negative effects last much longer than those of alcohol.

Because the psychoactive ingredients in marijuana are fat soluble, they can stay in the system of the user for up to one month after last the usage [3]. The brain is mainly comprised of fat, making it one of the primary places for marijuana to stay. This is why the adverse effects of marijuana (laziness, lack of motivation, fogginess and difficulty learning) can last weeks after the last usage of marijuana while alcohol and all of its negative effects will be out of the system within 24 hours.

Marijuana's effects on the brain are far worse than those of alcohol or tobacco.

The study that I showed in my previous argument that shows marijuana use and changes in the brain is not the only study to find results like this. Australian studies done in 2008 linked long term marijuana use to brain abnormalities. Earlier studies still have shown that the changes in the brain caused by marijuana are similar to those caused by long term abuse of major drugs [4].

Marijuana produces brain patterns very similar to those of a schizophrenic

The effect of marijuana on the brain as a whole is significant. It completely disrupts brain wave activity across the prefrontal cortex and hippocampal regions. These are some of the most important regions in regards to memory and making decisions. Coincidentally, both of these regions are implicated in schizophrenia. When THC is given to healthy volunteer test subjects, it has been shown to induce psychotic symptoms, similar to those who have schizophrenia [5].

I believe my evidence above has shown that even if marijuana is not smoked, the effects it has on the brain will long term be detrimental to any human being.

I look forward to my opponent's rebuttals and final arguments.

Daltonian

Pro

Rebuttals to Rebuttals

1. Smoking Marijuana vs the Proper Usage
My opponent's argument here is, in it's entirety, an Ad Populum fallacy. The fact that more people smoke it is irrelevant: that's not the medically advised way of administering the drug and it is thus them harming themselves for not acting in accordance with the medically sound standard.

Just because the majority of recreational marijuana users smoke the drug, does not make Marijuana inherently harmful rather than the people who choose to smoke it themselves.

Marijuana is a herb, and also a legal m
medicinal treatment for patients suffering of a variety of conditions, including the terminally ill, people with basic aches and pains, and people with severe neurological diseases. [1] To assume that it's smoked version is equivalent to itself and thus makes the herb harmful would be equivalent to assuming that Tylenol is harmful because some people take massive amounts of it and OD.
If more people (somehow) took boat loads of Tylenol and died as a result than people who used it properly, would that make Tylenol inherently harmful or the actions of the abuser inherently harmful?



1A. Abuse does not equal addiction or persistent use
My opponent falsely equivalates abuse of the drug to "addiction". Abuse of the drug, in this case, applies to taking it in it's improper form or to taking extreme quantities of it at once (i.e 30,000x the regular amount)

2. "There is no medically advised form of administering marijuana"
This is entirely untrue. Yes, medical dispensaries do offer their patients a choice to take marijuana in the smoking form as it takes effect quicker (which the direly ill may desire despite it not being the recommended form), but even entirely pro-marijuana groups [3] that regulate the sale of medical marijuana say that the edible form wields little health risks whilst the ill-recommended smoking form does. Thus, the medical community recommends either edible marijuana, vaporized marijuana, or marijuana tinctures for people wishing to use them in the proper, medically advised form, and not marijuana when considering only the adverse health effects it wields. [2] [3]


Since the proper form of marijuana usage is through vapor, edibles, or tinctures, any health risks associated with the smoking of marijuana can be attributed as being at the fault of the user for improperly administering it rather than as the fault of the herb itself.

2A. Marijuana v Tobacco in the proper usage
Much like how my opponent has claimed there was no medically advised standard of marijuana consumption, there is actually no recommended dosage amount or method of administering marijuana medically. Why? Because tobacco is an inherently lethal drug, unlike Marijuana.


Tobacco is only consumable in one fashion: smoking, unlike marijuana. The smoke inhalation is proven to have an adverse effect on the lungs and brain. [4]

2B. Marijuana v Alcohol in the proper usage
Much like tobacco, there is no medically advised usage of alcohol in it's recreational form (if we discount that alcohol is to mean alcohol as in "rubbing alcohol" or the likes). Even the casual yet regular usage of alcohol, if not used to an entirely abusive or addictive standard, is proven to cause long-term adverse effects including liver, heart, and brain damage. [5] [6] [7]


C. My opponent's study - this rebuttal applies to new arguments 2 and 3
The study in question, despite my opponent's claims, does directly cite an adverse effect on the nucleus accumbens in animals, and cites the results of these studies as having leeway in the basis of the motivational purpose of their hypothesis.


".. animal studies have demonstrated that exogenous and endogenous cannabinoids can significantly alter synaptic transmission in the nucleus accumbens (Lupica et al., 2004) and in the amygdala (Azad et atl., 2004). Third, animal studies have shown that structural abnormalities can occur in the nucleus accumbens of the THC-treated animals (Kolb et al., 2006).."

Additionally, whilst it was found that there was an increase in grey matter density in the nucleus accumbens, it was never proven that this can be directly correlated to on-balance harmful results or mental disease. My opponent has gone to a major stretch in correlating changed grey matter density to schizophrenia - the density change was not even relatively significant compared to changes associated with negative mental diseases like schizophrenia (which is scarcely mentioned in the study) as alleged. How is the information found in this study proven as being of all-around "harmful nature"? If it has the potential to treat and cure pain associated with terminal illness and sickness, then I would say it disqualifies marijuana as being "harmful" because the benefits of curing painful conditions outweigh the relatively minor changes in grey brain matter, making it on balance more beneficial than harmful.

New point rebuttal - Effects last longer

This argument does not even take a jab at attempting to prove why the effects of marijuana used in it's proper form are naturally negative, as they can include pain relief, calming of seizures, and relief of stress. "Laziness and lack of motivation", even if lasting for long periods of time, are still not as harmful as the lung cancer, liver failure, extreme vomiting, and etc that tobacco and alcohol can potentially cause. My opponent alleges that the effects of dangerous substances like alcohol and tobacco are "just temporary" and "out of the system within 24 hours" - this is untrue. Lung cancer and liver/heart failure do not "exit the system within 24 hours". [5] [4] [6]

------
I have respectfully won the debate thus far in proving in previous rounds that Marijuana, for whatever reason, has not been proven to be attributed to any deaths (EVEN if used improperly/abusively), compared to the inherent deaths as a result of alcohol and tobacco, proving that it is thus less harmful than the other two combined.



References
[1] - (http://www.cancer.ca...)
[2] - (http://www.unitedpatientsgroup.com...)
[3] - (http://www.marijuanagrowershq.com...)
[4] - (http://www.quit.org.au...)
[5] - (https://www.drinkaware.co.uk...)
[6] - (http://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov...)
[7] - (http://en.wikipedia.org...)
Debate Round No. 3
guylaquit

Con

Thank you pro for your rebuttals. I would like to remind pro that no new arguments may now be introduced and that only rebuttals and concluding statements may be made.

Rebuttals

I would first like to remind pro once more that this is a debate on the topic off the effects of recreational marijuana, as opposed to medical. If we were debating the medical sides of these drugs, I would argue that alcohol is good for one's health because it can kill bacteria when rubbed on the skin.

"My opponent's argument here is, in it's entirety, an Ad Populum fallacy. The fact that more people smoke it is irrelevant: that's not the medically advised way of administering the drug"

While I would argue that this is not simply Ad Populum, but that arguing against this is simply burying one's head in the sand, I'm not going to dwell on this. I will however, repeat, that there is no "medically advised" way of administering this drug. Because there are so few dispensaries, there are no laws yet as to how the marijuana is dispensed. In fact, almost all dispensaries are supplied by small local grow-ops, with no consistency in product from one dispensary to the next. Furthermore, doctors are prescribing the smoking of marijuana as much as the ingesting and the majority of product sold from dispensaries is in smoking form.

"Just because the majority of recreational marijuana users smoke the drug, does not make Marijuana inherently harmful rather than the people who choose to smoke it themselves."

I am not going to senselessly argue that just because the majority of tobacco smokers smoke the drug, it doesn't make it inherently harmful for those of us who enjoy rubbing it on our skin.

"To assume that it's smoked version is equivalent to itself and thus makes the herb harmful would be equivalent to assuming that Tylenol is harmful because some people take massive amounts of it and OD."

This is not equivalent because smoking marijuana versus eating it is very different than moderately using tylenol versus over-dosing on it.

"even entirely pro-marijuana groups [3] that regulate the sale of medical marijuana say that the edible form wields little health risks whilst the ill-recommended smoking form does."

What I am looking for is a doctor who is specifically telling medical marijuana patients not to smoke it, not a pro-marijuana group because I seriously doubt their medical credentials. Just because a pro-marijuana group advised it, does not make it the medically advised way.

"Tobacco is only consumable in one fashion: smoking, unlike marijuana. The smoke inhalation is proven to have an adverse effect on the lungs and brain."

False, tobacco is also widely consumed in the form of "chew" or "dip" in which the user puts it in their lip or cheek. This is a way of consuming tobacco that has no effect on the lungs, however I am not denying that tobacco does cause lung cancer just because it does not need to be smoked, while you are making this argument with marijuana.

"Much like tobacco, there is no medically advised usage of alcohol in it's recreational form"

This is untrue. Moderate recreational use of alcohol actually lowers risk of cardiovascular disease, lengthens average lifespan, decreases chances of developing dementia and lowers the risk of diabetes. [1] [2] While there are some health benefits to alcohol, I am not claiming that it is not harmful in many other ways.

"The study in question, despite my opponent's claims, does directly cite an adverse effect on the nucleus accumbens in animals, and cites the results of these studies as having leeway in the basis of the motivational purpose of their hypothesis."

As I have mentioned, the brains of animals and humans and the things that harm them are very similar and much of what we know about the negative effects of substances comes from studies on animals. Furthermore, the study states:

"These observations also demonstrate that fundamental relationships observed in covariance analyses among structural measures of controls are absent in marijuana users, suggesting that marijuana use may be associated with a disruption of neural organization in the a priori regions of the nucleus accumbens and amygdala."

It speaks directly of the effects on marijuana users, which are typically human as animals don't smoke weed.

"Additionally, whilst it was found that there was an increase in grey matter density in the nucleus accumbens, it was never proven that this can be directly correlated to on-balance harmful results or mental disease. My opponent has gone to a major stretch in correlating changed grey matter density to schizophrenia - the density change was not even relatively significant compared to changes associated with negative mental diseases like schizophrenia (which is scarcely mentioned in the study) as alleged."


I should point out to you this point in the study, which directly correlates the changes of the brain of schizophrenics to those of marijuana users.

"subcortical structural alterations have been reported in thalami of patients with schizophrenia (Harms et al., 2007; Kang et al., 2008; Coscia et al., 2009; Harms et al., 2010), obsessive-compulsive disorders (Kang et al., 2008), Parkinson’s disease (McKeown et al., 2008), and Tourette’s syndrome (Wang et al., 2007). Subcortical surface alterations may be more sensitive to the effects of cannabis than total volumes."

"This argument does not even take a jab at attempting to prove why the effects of marijuana used in it's proper form are naturally negative, as they can include pain relief, calming of seizures, and relief of stress."

These are medical uses of all these drugs, which we are not arguing. Alcohol can also temporarily relieve pain and stress.

"My opponent alleges that the effects of dangerous substances like alcohol and tobacco are "just temporary" and "out of the system within 24 hours" - this is untrue."

What I was referring to was the fact that if someone who had never done any drugs were to have a few drinks, smoke a cigarette, or smoke a joint, the effects of both the cigarette and alcohol would be worn off in a matter of hours whereas the negative effects of the marijuana would last up to month, even if it were the first time. I was not referring the long term use of any of these drugs.

I believe I have won this debate because I have successfully proved that recreational marijuana compared to similar amounts of recreational alcohol or recreational tobacco is more harmful overall to the human body. My opponent has not been able to directly counter my points, but has rather brought up the "medical standard" several times and skirted around my arguments. I believe I deserve the vote because my opponent didn't do sufficient research on this topic and I have clearly won.

This concludes my contributions in the debate. I would like to thank Daltonian for an excellent debate.

Sources:
[1] http://www.medicaldaily.com...
[2] http://www.dailymail.co.uk...

Daltonian

Pro

Thanks for a great debate. I'm now going to conclude. Since I will only revisit arguments I've previously made or quote things my opponent has said, this round is referenced by my past sources.

--------------------------------------

Focusing on the resolution
I am going to rebut all my opponent's responses in one final argument by revisiting and re-summarizing my original contentions from Round 1: tobacco and alcohol are more fatal than marijuana, and can cause death, whilst marijuana has not been proven as doing so.


What has my opponent successfully done in this debate? He has proven that marijuana, when used in certain ways, has potentially adverse effects. Is this inherently relevant to the resolution in itself? No. Due to lack of a definition of what "marijuana" is, and how it is properly used, he cannot claim that only one form of marijuana administration - recreational - is viable to criticize because near all things can be used harmfully by humans.


Marijuana in it's medical form and the relation to the resolution

I would first like to remind pro once more that this is a debate on the topic off the effects of recreational marijuana, as opposed to medical.

Nowhere in the resolution of this debate is medical marijuana implied as being inviable for consideration, as my opponent states. Logically, let's look at which form of marijuana should be considered when judging if it is harmful or not:

- The medically advised administration of marijuana - (as said by the creator/advocate of the product and by patient groups, sourced above).
or
- The widely more recognized alternative which is only used as a second option for scenarios in which it's benefits outweighs it's cons?

My opponent has failed to supply that tobacco has a medically recommended or scientifically validated form of usage. Thus, the only possible usage of it that can be logically considered is the widespread recreational one.

To assume that marijuana, which is little more than a medical herb in one sense, is harmful because some "dumb" human decides he wants to take a chance on ingesting smoke into his lungs as a result of using it in an improper fashion is fallacious in itself.

Marijuana v Alcohol and Tobacco
The resolution referenced long term usage, of which my opponent has even admitted that lung cancer and debilitating diseases can be attributed. These diseases lead to..

I will repost this chart. This debate did not clarify to what standard, or to what exact context, "marijuana" applied. I henceforth assumed that it referred to it's medically/scientifically recommended standard. My arguments are not illegitimatized in doing so.

A key part of the resolution was that Marijuana is more harmful than Tobacco and Alcohol. My opponent has indirectly admitted - through recognizing the "lack of studies" - that Marijuana can not be attributed or solidly proven as to having caused a single death in any form, even the improper one, but alcohol and tobacco can be attributed to having caused thousands. This makes alcohol and tobacco inherently more harmful, even if marijuana can be attributed to causing variations in the same part of the brain as schizophrenia would occur. Schizophrenia does not cause death upon long term usage, unlike lung cancer and liver cancer which my opponent has admitted can be associated to long-term usage of alcohol and tobacco.

My opponent has not fulfilled the BOP in regard to the second half of the resolution. Proving that marijuana can cause some abnormal occurrences in the Nucleus Accumbens does not come close to 480,000 deaths as a direct result of tobacco each year.

Compare having one proven negative effect on the Amygdala and Nucleus Accumbens to these, which my opponent has admitted can occur in at least some form:







To highlight what is truly important:


The BOP is at least partially on him to prove Marijuana is more harmful than alcohol or tobacco, and he has failed in this regard.

Effects as debilitating as those illustrated above can cause fatal diseases and causes hundreds of thousands of death per year have been conceded as being possible by my opponent. The fact that marijuana has not been conclusively proven as causing a death has been conceded by my opponent due to a "lack of studies to prove it".

So, I ask you, which possible effects listed are more harmful long-term? Imminent cancer or thousands of deaths? Or zero deaths and links to increases in brain density? The answer is the foremost. Marijuana is less harmful than both alcohol and tobacco as a raw result of lack of fatality associated to it, and causes little harm when used to a medical standard in itself.

I have respectfully won this debate by fulfilling the resolution under the proper definitions.

VOTE PRO!





Debate Round No. 4
15 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by guylaquit 3 years ago
guylaquit
I realize I should've dropped the vs tobacco and alcohol part of the resolution and just focused on that marijuana is not as harmless as it is made out to be.
Posted by debatability 3 years ago
debatability
i'm almost finished with my rfd. be warned that it's probably longer than it needs to be. i basically wrote down everything that went through my mind because i love topics pertaining to marijuana.
Posted by thett3 3 years ago
thett3
Yeah, this would've been a really tough resolution if it had been evaluated that way. I think all resolutions should be interpreted in the fairest way possible though which allows each side to win which is probably why I didn't have a problem judging the debate the way I did
Posted by thett3 3 years ago
thett3
Oh, and it was hard for me to accept the card that a joint is a bad as five cigarettes when Con was making the argument that we should take all studies about marijuana with a grain of salt due to it being illegal. This undermines his own position--if I'm not supposed to look at the studies I'll look at the raw data, which Pro proves favors his position.
Posted by Daltonian 3 years ago
Daltonian
@thett - I regretted accepting the debate after I thought about the word "harmless" . My arguments about medical/proper usage were semantics in trying to get around that word in the resolution :P

If it'd been just about marijuana vs cigarettes/alcohol, I think I'd have been more in one place.
Thanks for voting!
Posted by thett3 3 years ago
thett3
If Con had offered a framework this would've been a clear Con win as Pro definitely didn't prove that Marijuana was harmless. Since he didn't and Pro really didn't either, I have to accept the standard that e
evolved out of the round itself which came down to if Marijuana is more dangerous that Tobacco or Alcohol.

Pro made some really problematic arguments that don't really get him as much ground as he thinks they are. It doesn't matter what the "suggested" way to take Marijuana is and the argument that we should ignore the adverse effects of smoking it when smoking is the way that the vast majority of consumption takes place was pretty abusive.

I vote on death.

The debate was really hard to judge because neither side really gave me good reasons why I should prefer their studies and evidence. I do think, however, that Pro did a much better job on this issue. There's only one hitch: Con had a card that literally said that a joint does as much harm as five cigarettes that gets dropped by Pro and it needs to be weighed in somehow. Pro has a good argument that Marijuana simply can't be considered more dangerous when it's led to no deaths at all, but I wasn't sure how to weigh these two points of clash together. At the end, I defaulted and awarded the win to Pro on this point because he was hitting this argument the entire debate where as Con only advanced this trump card once and then dropped it throughout the rest of the round.

Con--you could've easily won here. Pro's position basically required me to accept that marijunana didn't cause death, but if it's actually as bad as five cigarettes it certainly would.

At the end of the day this was a close round but it's hard to negate when the statistics given overwhelmingly bear out the Pro position. Had Con really hit hard on his evidence showing why I should consider these statistics invalid I probably would've bought it, but he didn't so Pro wins.
Posted by Daltonian 3 years ago
Daltonian
Thanks liz + Ajab :P
Posted by Ajabi 3 years ago
Ajabi
Will vote soon.
Posted by debatability 3 years ago
debatability
I will be voting soon.
Posted by Daltonian 3 years ago
Daltonian
Marijuana in it's recreational form is less harmful than alcohol and tobacco in their recreational form, and Marijuana in it's medically advised form is not harmful at all. That was the point I was trying to run through.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by 9spaceking 3 years ago
9spaceking
guylaquitDaltonianTied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: very tough, statistics go against pro, but IMO con didn't stress it hard enough to beat pro's refutations
Vote Placed by thett3 3 years ago
thett3
guylaquitDaltonianTied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: see comment...