On two separate occasion this week, influential evangelicals Dr. Ben Carson, Kirk Cameron and entertainer Carman answered questions about the advantages and disadvantages of marijuana.
First, during a Facebook live interactive event on Tuesday, Carson, a former Republican presidential candidate, teamed up with Cameron to discuss why it's important for evangelical Christians to vote, especially in the upcoming presidential election on Nov. 8. During the Q&A with callers, the men were asked about their views on the use of marijuana, and the push to make the drug legal in all 50 states.
Tweleve minutes into the Q&A, a man phoned in and asked for advice on how Christians should react to marijuana advocates pushing for its legalization, such as in his home state of Arkansas.
Both Carson and Cameron were intrigued by the question, and Carson responded by saying: "First of all, many studies have shown that when you expose the developing brain to the active ingredients of marijuana, it can have a deleterious effect, particularly on IQ. The brain continues to develop until your late 20s, and we already have enough people with low IQs, so we really do not need to be encouraging the development of that, quite frankly.
"In terms of medical use, well, it does have some useful purposes for certain types of neurological disorders and pain syndromes, etc.," he continued. "However, it can be distilled into tablet form and used as a medicine very much like other active ingredients. A lot of the medications that we use today come from plants, but we process them to still them down to the active ingredients and make them into pills or capsules and utilize them in that way. And when used in that way, I think it can be useful. When used in a way that it can be abused and people can be exposed to it who really should not be exposed, it's abusive."
Cameron, who quietly listened as the neurosurgeon explained his opinion from a medical professional's point of view, was then asked to chime in and to explain his thoughts from a parent's perspective.
"Particularly, we're hearing of some young people who are thinking, 'Well, why would I stay home and smoke pot — wondering whether or not I'm going to get busted, when I could just move to a place like Colorado and I can just grow it in my front yard?'
"That may be overstating it, but that is the attitude of some people today," the "Fireproof" actor said. "I agree with Dr. Carson, I think that clearly there are things that we have gotten out of nature that have been very helpful for surgeries and for chronic pains, all kinds of things like that that are used responsibly. But clearly, that's the kind of thing that can be used irresponsibility to the point where it is a huge danger to the general population."
Another outspoken Christian, entertainer Carman Licciardello, mononymously known as Carman, also spoke on the matter this week. In a video posted to his Facebook page, the entertainer answered the question: "Why did God place marijuana on the Earth?"
"Okay, I think marijuana is something that we learned about backwards as opposed to any other medicines. Because other medicines we knew them as medicines first, we knew them as something that was going to be a pain killer, or something for a backache, or allergy, or high blood pressure, or something that somebody would take to knock them out during surgery. We were introduced to things first as medicine then they developed into drugs or joy," Carman said.
The singer then took an odd departure from the question to play with his adopted cat who he questioned if he ever smoked pot or not.
"I think people were enjoying it as like a drug, as a recreational drug. And then, they realized 'Oh, wow, this does have medicinal purposes,' anti-anxiety all that stuff. I think if you look at the medicinal purposes of what marijuana is used for, that was probably the original purpose of that.
"Everything that God makes He makes good, He makes for a purpose. But when we use things that are designed to heal us and put us back to normal and then to be abandoned when you start to use those things as recreational, then you become addicted to it. That's what I think," he concluded.
Carman recently overcame an intense battle with cancer but his fight was not over as he suffered a string of heart attacks shortly after. Fortunately, the entertainer has since recovered and is now gearing up to do his first 5K run.