Research

 

An Introduction

Now I want to start this off saying I am not just another stoner trying to get weed legalized so I can get baked off my ass. I'm an intelligent person, attending college and getting above average grades, that sees the multiple angles of marijuana usage and believes that it should be legalized recreationally. There are many medicinal benefits to Cannabis sativa, the stigma surrounding usage was comprised in a form of propaganda and based on false pretenses, and the legalization could benefit the economy.

Many people are slowly opening their eyes to this reality and if the trend continues, marijuana will already be legalized in a few years from now. According to a recent Gallup poll conducted October 22, 2013, 58 percent of Americans now believe that the use of marijuana should be legal. Favorability of this has been on the rise for the past twenty years and the momentum is entirely headed towards legalization.

Medicinal History

Now this green plant is no modern invention by man; scientists believe that cultivation of the plant has been around for thousands of years, originating in ancient China. According to an article by Here to Help, a website dedicated to trustworthy information on mental health and substance use, “In the second millenia B.C.E., cannabis was cited in the Atharva Veda, a sacred Indian text, as a remedy for anxiety. In Egypt, there is evidence that cannabis has been used in medicine since the days of the pharaohs. In China, cannabis was used as a surgical anaesthetic in the second century C.E. All around the ancient world, from Babylonia to Israel to Rome, cannabis has been used as a medicine.” It's apparent that marijuana has been an extremely useful and prevalent product for ages; heck, America's founder, Christopher Columbus, brought Cannabis sativa with him in 1492 and introduced the plant to the newly discovered Americas. Both George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, America's founding fathers, grew marijuana plants on their plantations and it was considered a major cash crop during their presidencies.
There are several proven benefits of the medicinal use of marijuana and it's obvious that our ancestors had already discovered this fact. According to CNN's Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, “Citizens in 20 states and the District of Columbia have now voted to approve marijuana for medical applications, and more states will be making that choice soon.” It's been shown in several studies that the use of medicinal marijuana is highly effective in alleviating pain, nerve injury, promoting appetite, and more. However, due to the current restrictions on marijuana in the U.S., even researching the plant for scientific studies is extremely difficult. Why are we expected to morally and wholeheartedly refuse this substance when we know hardly anything about it? I guess politicians are just afraid of the unknown and change, even if it would be beneficial to virtually everyone.

Reefer Madness


Due to a misled campaign filled with “reefer madness” and based on false pretenses the use of marijuana has been extremely stigmatized. I'm sure that anyone reading this article has already thought “here we go again with this stoner logic,” as a result of decades of propaganda and lies. As I previously mentioned, research in the U.S. is extremely difficult and therefore we don't have the facts to back up these horrendous claims of the negative effects of marijuana.
Sadly, much of this “War on Drugs” was heavily endorsed by the government and was expected to be the truth and based on countless honest studies; except the government wasn't as honest as we'd like to think and based much, if not all, of the campaign on false pretenses. Dr. Sanjay Gupta went on to say, “August 14, 1970, the Assistant Secretary of Health, Dr. Roger O. Egeberg wrote a letter recommending the plant, marijuana, be classified as a schedule 1 substance... Egeberg had carefully chosen his words: 'Since there is still a considerable void in our knowledge of the plant and effects of the active drug contained in it, our recommendation is that marijuana be retained within schedule 1 at least until the completion of certain studies now underway to resolve the issue.'” Let me reiterate that last statement from one of the largest driving forces behind marijuana stigmatization, “at least until the completion of certain studies now underway to resolve this issue.” Yet the same stigma has been lingering over marijuana use for over fifty years and the studies are extremely limited to the point that they're not very useful. Something needs to change in order for us to realize what marijuana could do for this country.

An Extremely Versatile Plant


There are many other uses for Cannabis sativa. Ernest Smalls and David Marcus of Purdue stated in an essay, “Popular Mechanics magazine (1938) touted hemp as 'the new billion dollar crop,' stating that it 'can be used to produce more than 25,000 products, ranging from dynamite to Cellophane.'” Due to the era of ostracizing the use of marijuana, researchers were never able to fulfill Cannabis sativa's full potential. With over 25,000 uses for this plant, if the U.S. were to legalize this product we would see endless possibilities and the potential for a new cash crop. Many of us sit here complaining about the current state of our economy and how no one is doing anything to make it better; with how versatile marijuana is we could potentially see a new economic boom, perhaps a new industrial revolution.


References

Gupta,  Sanjay. "Why I Changed my Mind on Weed." CNN Health. Cable News Network, 8 Aug. 2013. Web. 25 Nov. 2013.

"Medical Use of Cannabis (Marijuana)." Here to Help. Centre for Addictions Research of BC, 2009. Web. 25 Nov. 2013.


ProCon.org. "Historical Timeline"
ProCon.org. 13 Aug. 2013. Web. 26 Nov. 2013. <http://medicalmarijuana.procon.org/view.timeline.php?timelineID=000026>

Swift, Art. "For First Time, Americans Favor Legalizing Marijuana." Gallup. Gallup, Inc., 22 Oct. 2013. Web. 25 Nov. 2013.

Small, Ernest, and David Marcus. "Hemp: A New Crop with New Uses for North America." Purdue University. Purdue University, 2002. Web. 25 Nov. 2013