Marijuana might be legal where you come from, but in the eyes of the federal government it’s still a threat to society.
Yep, many decades ago, the cannabis plant was outlawed after Harry Anslinger convinced the powers-that-be that it was a gateway to crime and societal downtrodden. So, for the greater good of generations to come, Uncle Sam instituted a ban. Later, cannabis would be classified on the DEA’s Controlled Substances Act as a Schedule I, meaning it has “no accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.” This puts weed in the same rank as heroin.
Little did they know but society would eventually smell a rat and respond with decades of cannabis advocacy, showing the population that weed wasn’t as evil as Anslinger claimed. Now, cannabis is legal in more than half the nation. In spite of this progress, however, the federal government stands firm on its position that cannabis should remain outlawed.
Meanwhile, the legal drug epidemic (i.e. prescription opioids and the like) continues to ravage the nation. That’s right, an epidemic involving legal drugs. You won’t hear about this scourge on CNN or FOX News, but I assure you it is no less depraved as the junkie culture they often report. Despite being sold in pretty packaging, by a friendly, trustworthy face, Americans are getting twisted up in legal mind-altering substances every day that are arguably far more dangerous and destructive to their overall health than weed. No, this is not about booze. It’s a far more all-encompassing and obscure affliction. I’m talking about espresso, jack! Some of you might be thinking: You mean the concentrated coffee sold at every corner café across the country that I get several times a week to help me stay awake and productive at my boring job? Yes, that’s precisely the one I’m talking about.
The other day, I stopped by the local coffee shop before work and ordered a regular Americano – that’s espresso diluted in water. “Make that two shots, please,” I told the barista. It wasn’t the first time I had ordered an espresso, but it’s not what I normally get. My typical go-to in the morning is the Rock’s ZOA energy drink or just a scoop of pre-workout, but for reasons I can’t explain, on this particular day, I opted for the Americano instead. Deep down, I think I knew that I needed a bit more caffeine to crank out a few articles that were hanging over my head. Espresso is known for being a strong drink, so I thought what the hell, let’s go strong. I drank it down during the mile walk to the office, contemplating all the work I had to do. By the time I arrived, however, I was in deep, deep trouble. My vision was distorted. My hair felt like it was growing at a rate of approximately a half inch a second, and my hands were shaking as if I had suddenly acquired Parkinson’s. I was like a werewolf on crack. To top it off, my mind was spinning so fast that I couldn’t even begin to formulate a single thought when I sat down to start writing.
Once my heart started to sound like it was being played by a death metal drummer, I quickly realized that I was smack dab in the middle of an espresso overdose. Hey, don’t laugh.
Symptoms of a caffeine overdose include rapid heartbeat to disorientation, and it can also produce seizures and heart arrhythmias.
Although it’s rare for someone to drop dead from too much caffeine – somewhere around 100 people die from it every year – considering that I had a slew of symptoms, I thought, with my luck, I’d probably become a statistic. Here lies Mike Adams: On the espresso train to nowhere. “And this stuff is legal?” I thought. “What would have happened if I had ordered three shots?” I shudder to think.
Although I probably should have been on the phone with poison control trying to find a way to avoid cardiac arrest, I was too distracted. I kept bumping into things trying to walk off the fierceness of the buzz, knocking stuff over with every jittery step. It occurred to me that maybe I had suffered a seizure and would soon forget how to breathe… or eat. Dear God, was there such a thing as espresso induced dementia? If so, I had it! I quickly moved to the bathroom mirror to see if my face was drooping. Thankfully, it wasn’t but the dilation of my eyes said that I was no longer human and if a chicken happened to run across the floor, I’d probably pounce on it and eat the damn thing alive.
I couldn’t help but think that espresso, among a slew of other legal drugs, is what the American government has deemed fit for consumption. Yet, they’re afraid pot will ruin society if it receives legal status. How backassward is that? They’ve sold the nation a heaping load of caca. People freely purchase espresso, energy shots, etc. before work, just like I did, without any concern whatsoever that they might end up acting all sketchy around the water cooler. If there were others like me out there having a bad reaction to this drink, there would be a whole mess of people across the country on the verge of getting popped with a random drug test. Supervisor Carl, did you see how weird Steve was acting today? I think he’s on drugs. Go ahead and test him.
I tried to find one, just one, potential benefit that a drink like espresso might provide the consumer. Perhaps it was the heart palpitations preventing me from thinking clearly, but I couldn’t come up with much. Aside from perhaps keeping them fully aware of their mortality, all I could surmise was that maybe people with ADHD can drink espresso down by the gallons as a means for conquering their “look, a squirrel,” mentality and maintain focus. Can’t get a prescription for Adderall? Never fear, just head down to your local coffee shop, and grab a double shot of espresso. All your problems will be solved. But not me, man. Nope, after two shots of that hot liquid psychosis, I was acting a lot like the homeless dudes who hang around outside my office smoking meth behind the dumpster. We were now the same. Um, you fellas mind if I join you?
Listen, I don’t know who needs to hear this but there is a lot happening in this country that doesn’t make sense. High prescription drug costs, a lack of affordable health insurance, homelessness, gun violence, and the perception that common, legal drugs are somehow safer than what’s being sold on the street.
In some ways perhaps, sure, they are. It’s not like the barista who serves you coffee every morning is going to slip fentanyl or animal tranquilizers into your espresso. But let me remind you that’s precisely why many advocates argue in favor of legalizing drugs. Taxed and regulated markets prevent these products from getting cut with dangerous adulterants, a practice that is ravaging drug users all over the country. It doesn’t necessarily mean that the drugs themselves, recreational or medicinal, aren’t without health risks. Everything has a negative side – they can even sometimes go dark.
Regulations just ensure that the consumer gets what they pay for. Yet, when it comes to legal drugs, the market is ‘enter at your own risk’. Cannabis has proven worthy of legal treatment. Statistically speaking, pot kills less than caffeine, and is no more addictive than it is either. If wild drugs like espresso, alcohol, nicotine, et al are free to harass the nervous systems of Americans, then weed should be given the same consideration.
After all, if coffee shops keep cranking us up with lethal doses of caffeine, we’re going to need something to help us come down.