(N.Morgan) There’s been a ton of negative propaganda in regards to the harmful effects of marijuana. A recent report released states there have been NO overdoses due to marijuana use for 2014 or 2015. Many people try to argue that marijuana is a “gateway” drug, which I’ve always found interesting, since most teens first experiment with cigarettes and alcohol. No one ever discusses that part of this issue. Can marijuana impair driving? Yes, however, just as with alcohol, this too can be monitored and regulated.
Marijuana has been used for thousands of years by many different cultures for medical relief, as we are seeing today, many people are turning back to marijuana to treat all sorts of ailments, from Cancer to PTSD. Another argument is that you can’t get the healing properties without the psychotropic effects, such as getting high, which is also false.
CBD is one of over 60 compounds found in cannabis that belong to a class of molecules called cannabinoids. Of these compounds, CBD and THC are usually present in the highest concentrations, and are therefore the most recognized and studied.
CBD and THC levels tend to vary among different plants. Marijuana grown for recreational purposes often contains more THC than CBD.
However, by using selective breeding techniques, cannabis breeders have managed to create varieties with high levels of CBD and next to zero levels of THC. These strains are rare but have become more popular in recent years.
When one brings up the statistics of alcohol abuse and the fatalities involved with its consumption, people get defensive and say, well, it’s legal. Yes, alcohol is legal, and easily accessible in our society. It’s seen as a good time and something we can drink daily to relax after work. This year, the substance has aided in killing Americans at a rate that hasn’t been seen in roughly 35 years according to the Washington Post.
Reports state that more than 30,700 Americans died from alcohol-induced causes in 2015. This number does not include those who died as a result of alcohol related deaths like drunk driving or other accidents. If it did, the number would be close to 100,000.
Drinking a mere 10 times the normal amount of alcohol within 5 or 10 minutes can prove fatal, whereas smoking or eating marijuana might require something like 1,000 times the usual dose to cause death.
But it may not be fair to say that marijuana doesn’t have downsides because clearly it does. It’s speculated that it can cause brain developmental challenges in people under the age of 25 who smoke regularly, as it affects grey matter and it can of course also lead to drugged driving which can also be dangerous. But are the dangers as bad as alcohol? And can we truly compare therapeutic values? What about when we look at pharmaceuticals?
Here are 2 graphs presented by the National Institute on Drug Abuse:
Reviewing the reported cases in the US, we see that prescription drugs prescribed by a doctor, as well as pain reliever addictions, have led to a combined 42,000 or so deaths in 2014. This is even more than alcohol! Strictly from a statistics point of view, prescription drugs, while having value in other areas, come with a great number of downsides and also happen to be the biggest business. Is there a conflict of interest in handing out these drugs when the ability to make money is attached?
Do more drugs than are needed enter our society? The obvious answer is yes, when you look at how often drugs are not only wrongly prescribed, but are also the first option to fix something fickle before we even look at the potential behind lifestyle changes.
Although the public in North America in general seems to be pushing for the legalization of marijuana, it is still opposed heavily. Some groups include the pharmaceutical lobby, who would lose big in profits, as well as police unions who would lose federal budget for the war on drugs. You can begin to see our society runs less on common sense and more on political and monetary rigidity with groups all working against each other in their own interest.
But to be honest, legalization is a whole other topic, because I believe it is not quite as good as people hype it up to be.
Some challenges that would come in include who controls marijuana growth, the quality of what is made available, and the manipulation of that product.
Interestingly enough, among all 2016 presidential contenders, Democratic hopeful Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is the only one who outright supports the legalization of marijuana. As of now the substance is classified as a Schedule 1 drug, up there with heroin and LSD. (which is a whole other topic of discussion)
In closing, shouldn’t it be up to the consumers whether or not marijuana is legal? Shouldn’t marijuana be an option for the those are ill and tired of the mainstream medicines that have been proven to cause addiction and death and typically leave the patients with more unpleasant symptoms than the disease they are fighting?