Obviously some drugs are bad altogether, and all drugs are bad if abused.
But almost no one thinks all drugs are bad, all the time.
Of course caffeine is the prime example of this. Even your most heavily addicted coffee chugging friend is probably not going to pawn your TV to get their fix.
Yea you can still get too wired, or have a headache from caffeine withdrawal, but we have all pretty much accepted that caffeine is fine to be addicted to.
There’s a point to coffee! It kick-starts your day! BOOM. Go. Kick-ass. It is a little luxury, a tiny escape, a methylxanthine comfort.
And then there is food, which is filled with drugs we don’t even know we are consuming.
The spiciness of red peppers is from capsaicin, which is extracted and used as an ingredient in many pain relieving drugs. Ginger and garlic each have around a dozen anti-viral and anti-bacterial compounds. Check out The Green Pharmacy for more info.
And sugar is worse than cocaine, I can’t believe I used to eat pixie sticks. Why not just hand your kids a pack of cigarettes while you’re at it?
Okay, Cute. But what about the hard stuff?
Where do you draw the line, really?
I’ve taken 2o drops of St. John’s wort tincture, and was smiling and giggly for hours, to the point where people actually noticed. St. John’s wort is a plant that grows in most of our backyards, is anti-viral, and has been used for centuries in teas and extracts to lift the spirit and cure the blues.
Culture generally dictates what kind of drugs are okay, and the when, where, and how much are appropriate.
You won’t get fired from work because your boss finds out you have a beer every night when you go home.
You might get fired from work because your boss finds out you smoke a joint every night when you go home.
You’ll probably get fired from work if you get caught drinking a beer at work.
You’ll definitely get fired from work for hitting the bong in your cubicle.
And based on this cultural division of which drugs are okay, we end up with some scary groupings. For instance, many people may be fine with alcohol, and think marijuana is relatively harmless, but a gateway drug to harder things.
Many would consider things like heroin, LSD or acid, cocaine, and mushrooms harder drugs. But what is the problem with this grouping? The benefits versus the costs. The risk versus the usefulness.
As far as I know, there is really no benefit that can come from cocaine. But countless people report enormous spiritual and mental health benefits from consuming psilocybin mushrooms.
There are certainly risks to tripping on a psychoactive compound. But based on the possible benefits, can they really be considered bad, in the same way that heroin is so clearly entirely destructive?
Cost Benefit Analysis of Drug Use
What’s the benefit to heroin? Apparently, you feel really good for a few hours. I don’t know because the costs of heroin are having your life ruined by addiction. In a simple cost benefit analysis, it doesn’t matter how good it makes me feel for a few hours, I don’t want my life to be ruined.
But what about a beer? The cost is between $1-$5. Two beers? A little more, and maybe start looking for someone to drive you home. Three? Well you might feel a little groggy in the morning if they are IPA’s. And they do all have calories.
And then you get into the differences for individuals. Some people can have many beers without any negatives, and some people will become aggressive, sad, and make destructive decisions when they have too much to drink.
You may think there are no benefits to having a beer or two, but they make you feel good. What is wrong with using a drug in moderation if it reduces stress and the negatives are very subtle, if felt at all?
And to get back to psychedelics like mushrooms and acid, what if one night of relative risk from tripping provided the experience needed to quit smoking cigarettes? If one drug can cure harmful addictions to other drugs, wouldn’t that drug be good in those circumstances?
I would be inclined to say the benefits outweigh the costs if doing mushrooms or LSD in the proper context could treat depression and PTSD, or disrupt addictions to heroin and alcohol.
And all this doesn’t even scratch the surface of the same cost benefit analysis that should be done when it comes to prescription drugs.
Is giving legalized pill form cocaine to children worth them being able to focus at school? Is having legalized pill form heroin for pain worth the risk of addiction? Yet these drugs enjoy cultural acceptance.
So Are Drugs Really That Bad?
Yes, some drugs are really terrible, and are not even worth trying, because of the havoc they could reek on your life.
But other drugs help us achieve something beneficial. Relieving stress, and the health risks that come with it, is in my calculation, worth 150 calories of alcohol. The enhancement of introspection and creativity, and the feeling of purpose and spiritual connection, which comes with the occasional use of marijuana, are in my assessment worth the low risks.
Others may make different assessments on the proper time, place, amount, and frequency with which it is beneficial versus harmful to use particular drugs. But the point is that drugs have a use.
It is probably worse for your health to be stressed out, angry, or anxiety ridden on a regular basis, when a couple beers, or a hit of the bong would bring your spirits up.
Sometimes blanket statements like all drugs are bad can do more harm than good.
It is harmful to think of marijuana, heroine, LSD, and cocaine as equivalents. If marijuana is a gateway drug, it is only because of the lies that have been told about it, which makes some wrongly assume harder drugs are just as harmless.
And actual gateway drugs that doctors prescribe for pain are so closely related to heroin that their overuse can easily lead to an opiate addiction. Yet people often have a more positive opinion of these dangerous pills versus relatively low risk drugs like mushrooms.
Of course there is something to be said about not relying on drugs as a crutch. There is something also to be said about teaching yourself to be happy without drugs.
Both of these are worthwhile pursuits, and in my opinion, should be the end game of drug use meant to aid in goals of happiness or spirituality. Even when using drugs for an occasional boost or mood elevation, the ultimate goal should be to remember the perspective you have when under the influence, and attempt to apply the positives from that perspective when sober.
But sometimes, you need to just not worry about the small things. Is your caffeine addiction or two drinks a night reeking havoc on your life, health, motivation, or goals?
If not, don’t sweat the small stuff.
If you enjoyed this, share it with your friends!