Monday, February 06, 2006

It is 2006 and you’d think American society would have a more rational understanding of how marijuana affects people. We laugh and scoff at old anti-p

The UWM Post

It is 2006 and you’d think American society would have a more rational understanding of how marijuana affects people. We laugh and scoff at old anti-pot movies like “Reefer Madness” because of their ridiculous portrayals of how people behave after smoking marijuana.

Meanwhile, large segments of the American public have regularly consumed marijuana for decades, yet society has not devolved into anarchy. The streets are not filled with marijuana-crazed zombies stumbling about moaning, drooling and giggling as they stuff their faces with Cheetos and Snickers bars.

Compared to alcohol, marijuana is relatively tame, as far as drugs go. Yet for right or for wrong, marijuana is still illegal. And if you have to undergo drug screening for that dream job, the bong hit you took three weeks ago might come back to haunt you.

Here is why: Most drug testing consists of urine analysis. A person who smokes marijuana, say, on the weekends, may have marijuana in his/her system for as long as 12 weeks. This is because THC — the chemical that gets you high — metabolizes in fat cells. However, other drugs do not metabolize in the body in the same way.

For example, amphetamines can only be detected in urine for one to four days; cocaine can be detected for four to five days; codeine and morphine, two to four days; heroin, eight hours; methamphetamines (crank), three to five days; and PCP, three to seven days! (Note: these statistics vary depending on body type and metabolism and are not one hundred percent accurate.)

If a hardcore coke or heroin addict can manage to detox for just one week, they have a better chance of passing a urine analysis test than the occasional pot smoker. The latter may not be able to detox in the span of time between applying for a job, getting the interview and finally having a drug test.

Put another way, a person could do PCP, snort coke and shoot junk on the weekend, get naked, climb a tree and howl at the moon while hallucinating, yet later that week (if they are still alive) conceivably pass a urine analysis test. The responsible pot smoker — who might have a 4.0 GPA and strong work ethic, great recommendations — will not pass the same test.

The same holds true for all other hard drug users: All they must do is resist their cravings for crack, heroin or crank for a mere week, and they can beat the drug screening. Meanwhile, the pot smoker cannot. Fair? No, but as my mother says, “Life ain’t fair!”

And here is where it gets really unfair: A raging alcoholic has nothing to worry about regarding drug screening. From the perspective of an employer, however, one would think it would be preferable to hire the person who is guilty of the occasional bong hit instead of the person who comes to work hung over everyday.

The alcoholic could “drink scotch whiskey all night long” and chain smoke, yet pass a drug test with flying colors the very next morning. But you smoke a little pot on the weekends and: “Sorry, sir, our company has strict regulations against employing drug users.”

The hypocricy is enough to drive one to drugs and alcohol!

Despite all that, a private company has every right to decide who they hire. Although non-drug or alcohol users get fired everyday for poor performance or any other number of reasons, it is understandable why an employer would not want to hire a hard drug user.

Drugs like cocaine, heroin, crank and, the legal drug, alcohol, really do destroy lives and affect peoples’ ability to function.


Blogger 800 pound gorilla said...

Yeah, The Original Drug Manual for Kids mentions the "threshold" problem close behind the "smoking" problem for marijuana. And I do mention that you can not only fail a test without BEING high, you can also fail a test without EVER being high. I'm an athlete and I didn't get high my first two times smoking [before I figured out that smoking is bad and quit over 30 years ago] pot. And doubtless, if I'd been drug tested I would have tested positive.

2/08/2006 09:25:00 AM  

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