@zigahzagah sent me this video, and I sent her a really long response, and I think the rest of the internet should know this stuff, too.

If you don’t feel like watching the video, it’s basically just a man from Colorado asking the chief administrator of the DEA whether heroin, meth, etc. are “worse for you” than marijuana. Chief Admin keeps deflecting the question by saying “all illegal drugs are bad,” is pretty inarticulate, and is basically cornered into saying she doesn’t know the answer to his questions.

People are mad because this woman looks likeĀ a total idiot, even though as the chief administrator of the DEA she should be knowledgeable about this stuff. However, the anger is a little misdirected. If you look at the comments [never look at the comments!] people are up in arms because marijuana is obviously better for you than heroin or meth, so why should it be more heavily regulated? This woman is obviously an idiot because she “doesn’t know” whether marijuana is more addictive than other substances!

Look, here’s the thing. Research about marijuana has been very limited (mostly because of the DEA’s policies), and as of now it doesn’t appear to have harmful, long-lasting effects for casual users. Keep in mind that we also thought the same thing about cigarettes in the 50s and 60s before extensive research was done.

And as far as the addiction thing goes… Listen, people who use marijuana (especially those who use it daily) like to go on about how marijuana isn’t addictive. While there isn’t evidence supporting physical addiction, there are people who have to go through 12 step programs in order to stop or reduce use. So, yes. Some people get addicted to marijuana. Some people get addicted to cocaine or meth or heroin.

But what is your measure for “more” or “less” addictive when it comes to a substance? How do you truly know which substance is “more likely” to lead to addiction, especially when everyone’s body chemistry is different and so little is known about a lot of these drugs? It’s possible to casually use meth or heroin or cocaine, just like it’s possible to casually use marijuana.

What it comes down to is that this guy is asking the wrong questions. What he should be asking is why marijuana is more strictly regulated than other substances if we’re not certain that it is more harmful. Instead, he’s asking questions that he thinks he knows the answers to, when he really doesn’t. And we’re mad at this woman for not knowing, either.

To be clear, I’m all for the legalization of marijuana, and I think it’s ridiculous for it to be Schedule I while meth sits comfortably in Schedule II. I also agree that the chief administrator should be able to speak more articulately about this issue. But I get frustrated when people go on this crusade against other drugs because marijuana is supposedly “way better for you,” and when they get mad at government officials for not agreeing with them on this issue, despite a sore lack of research supporting this stance.