On humans and their choices...
As happens with almost every aspect of Marijuana, there is little clarity and much discussion about the origin of the word itself:
In theory #1, the term Marijuana derives from náhuatl "malli", refering to a herb that entwines or a herb for knitting, and "huana", a word refering to drunkness and other mental and bodily alterarions.
Theory # 2 states that Marijuana comes straight from the Arabic language: marwana means brave or tough. This word would've been spread in the Spanish language through the members of the military, which is the realm where hash was widespread back in the time of the American Colony.
Another one, theory #3 claims that Marijuana comes from Portuguese term maran guango, a spell that is drunk to intoxicate, brough also in times of the Colony by African slaves.
Other possibilities state that it is a derivation of the proper name María Juana, refering to a common prostitute, thus making reference to immediate and short lived satisfaction.
Like I said... it's a tricky subject.
Users or not, we have all wondered just how good or how bad Marijuana can really be and, for me at least, there is no amount of information out there that can provide the right answer.
I have tried it myself. All I can say about the effects is that I do not enjoy them. But of course, as you may know, most of the time it's not the drug but the user. Two very different people can smoke the same amount of Cannabis in the same social situation, one may become depressed and the other one might laugh himself into tears. Not everyone has the same levels of tolerance, self acceptance, aloofness or rightgeouness to begin with.
I ask myself this question constantly, because I have acquaintainces who use this drug either occasionally or constantly. Also, I have to make peace with the possibility that one day my son will use it, too, and I must have something to say about it.
So, is it good to use it? I don't know, is it good to drink coffee?
Among all the drugs available -and they are legion-, of course marijuana is the lesser evil, closely followed by 'shrooms. They are the natural drugs, not man made, and supposedly have been in use for millennia without there having been a noticeable decadence or destruction of society (old timers are always complaining about one thing or the other found in new generations, it's just hate talk in the end).
Are drugs medicine? I believe they are, and no sane person would be gulping down on peptobismol unless they had a serious ailment. I doubt, though, that every teenager out there smoking from a bong is doing it for the sake of his health, to relieve tension or to relax. That teenagers are currently needing help to relax is actually a terrible statement about their parents and about our society in general.
As a matter of fact, Alan Watts himself stated in his autobiography In my Own Way that we wished to take up gardening as he grew old, including caring for a huge barn filled with herbs and psychedelics. This is not something I wish for myself, but it is proof that very well adjusted people can have a knack for zooming out of this plane every now and then without turning into lesser humans.
Incidentally, the word drug comes from old arabic "hatrúka", refering to old herbal medicines and other unvaluable trinkets. In old Spanish, someone who does "aladrogas" is someone who is constantly doing stupid sh*t.
And that brings me to my point: They have the right. Everyone has the right to do drugs, even my son will have that right once he is old enough to make informed choices. Conversely, everyone has the duty to not nag or critize drug users and abusers unless they receive actual harm from them or are asked for their opinion. I don't believe drugs are a public health issue, I believe they are a family issue. If anything, lack of familiar bonds IS the issue.
Humans are bound to seek new limits to destroy; there are so few physical ones anymore, and it gets harder and harder to step out of confortable couches and chairs to actually try and enjoy the real world. The new limit is inside the brain, and poor little gray matter is getting pummeled. He can take it though, most of the time. But for how long? And to what purpose are we whaking it?
Maybe that is the answer, the final answer: purpose. Why is always a more interesting question than what. Why do you take a sip of something alcoholic every night? Why do you binge on coffee every morning? Why do you drink tea at dusk and why do you eat sweets after lunch? Why do you work 9 to 5 instead of nights?
If your answer is: because I can't help myself, it's time to draw a line.
Why, we humans are a nut case, sometimes. But we are lovable all the same.