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In the last century, the public image of cannabis has shifted significantly.

Cannabis is a plant that has long been utilized for its therapeutic/medicinal properties. The word cannabis can refer to any of the three species within the Cannabis family; Cannabis sativa, Cannabis indica, and Cannabis ruderalis. It comes in many forms for ingestion, each with its own benefits – these being the top three; bud (dried blossoms), hashish (THC extracted through physical agitation), and hash oil “dabs” (thick, slick fluid, brilliant amber to dark brown in shading, which is separated from cannabis with various solvents). Cannabis has been regarded highly for its medicinal properties for thousands of years, and what’s best is its all natural!

However, due to decades of propaganda and demonization of cannabis by the U.S. government, a significant portion of the general public has been led to believe that cannabis is unsafe. Fortunately, as more studies are being done, it has been shown that many claims that were used to put people off pf cannabis were either exaggerated instances or straight-up falsehoods. The general consensus that is held now is that regulated cannabis use holds greater value than simply allowing people to partake in legal consumption, it also helps lowers the frequency of other nonviolent crimes. This means that legalization not only benefits the individual consumer, but also the general public through lessened crime and significant tax revenue. The popularity of cannabis will always draw people in – regardless of its legal status – and this can be dangerous as unregulated cannabis may be bunk, overpriced, tainted, or even fake – there has been instances where fake and synthetic cannabis products have led to people getting sick and even dying.

Cannabis use was acceptable for a large portion of history up to the twentieth century. In 1906 the Wiley Act, also called the Pure Food and Drug Act, was passed in the U.S. this was a broad piece of legislature which deemed cannabis “addictive” and also officially criminalized the plant in the country. It wasn’t until Colorado passed Amendment 64 that cannabis was finally deemed legal in the state – albeit not federally recognized. California was the original state in the U.S. to allow medical marijuana in 1996 through Prop 215. Prop 215 was proposed by a San Francisco activist whose partner had used cannabis to treat his AIDS symptoms. So far, there are about 47 nations, including the U.K., where medical use is permitted.

The general consensus among the scientific community is that the main psychoactive compound in the cannabis plant, THC, is not a deadly drug. Meaning, that the side effects from regular use, extended. and overuse of the compound do not contribute to any significant consequences physically nor psychologically. Additionally, when contrasted to the the both regulated and unregulated pharmacological substances that are allowed by law, many reports show that those drugs actually elicit more dangerous effects than that caused by THC consumption – despite their legal status.

Here’s a list of conditions identified by the National Center for Biotechnology Information where cannabis may potentially offer therapeutic effects:

CHRONIC PAIN CANCER CHEMOTHERAPY-INDUCED NAUSEA AND VOMITING ANOREXIA AND WEIGHT LOSS IRRITABLE BOWEL SYNDROME EPILEPSY SPASTICITY ASSOCIATED WITH MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS OR SPINAL CORD INJURY TOURETTE SYNDROME AMYOTROPHIC LATERAL SCLEROSIS HUNTINGTON’S DISEASE PARKINSON’S DISEASE DYSTONIA DEMENTIA GLAUCOMA TRAUMATIC BRAIN INJURY/INTRACRANIAL HEMORRHAGE ADDICTION ANXIETY DEPRESSION SLEEP DISORDERS POSTTRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER SCHIZOPHRENIA AND OTHER PSYCHOSES

For these reasons, among many others, it is critical to support the reform of cannabis worldwide. There are thousands of benefits that the cannabis plant may be able to offer people. The legalization of cannabis will not only strengthen our arsenal of pharmaceutical knowledge, but will also offer people safer alternatives to the already-existent treatments that may have severe side effects (opioids, barbituates, etc.). Additionally, legalization will provide more economic opportunities for both the government and individual in addition to increased public health.

Resources:

  • https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/dope/etc/cron.html
  • https://www.huffpost.com/entry/just-say-no-to-government-sponsored-lies-about-marijuana_b_59480440e4b04d8767077a8e
  • https://www.fda.gov/about-fda/histories-product-regulation/food-standards-and-1906-act
  • https://ballotpedia.org/Colorado_Marijuana_Legalization_Initiative,Amendment_64(2012)#:~:text=A%20Colorado%20Marijuana%20Legalization%20Amendment,state%2C%20where%20it%20was%20defeated.
  • https://ballotpedia.org/California_Proposition_215,Medical_Marijuana_Initiative(1996)
  • https://www.cdc.gov/marijuana/faqs/overdose-bad-reaction.html
  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK425767/

 

 

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