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The cogent premises for the legalization of marijuana debate:
- Marijuana is not addictive - It doesn't matter how many times your wife tell you it is. Science says it is not statistically accurate. Yes, some people get addicted to it, and some people get addicted to The Real House Wives of NJ
- It is not, pharmaceutically speaking, a narcotic - Again, just because the government said it was 40 years ago, does not mean that is today. Science says other wise.
- Marijuana is probably less harmful physiologically than two of our most important social drugs, alcohol and nicotine - Again this is science and math. There are zero health benefits to booze and cigarettes. There are countless benefits to marijuana.
- The marijuana high is a learned response and less dangerous socially than the alcohol high - There have been countless experiments backing up this fact.
- Marijuana use does not lead to a life of crime nor to the use of more dangerous drugs - When is the last time you saw a stoner commit a crime, other than wasting time?
- Users experience what is called reverse tolerance, i.e. they require smaller and smaller amounts to get high - So it is fiscally responsible to smoke weed.
- Marijuana holds serious promise as therapeutic in the treatment of depression, epilepsy, certain skin diseases, otitis (inflammation of the ear). sinusitis, hypertension and glaucoma - As previously mentioned, it is a healthy high.
What is Marijuana?
Those of course, are general statements and each requires explanation. But before we clarify and overview the latest research, let's get straight on what marijuana is and take a brief look at its history.
Marijuana (dope, kif, bhang, dagga. weed) is the least potent of the drugs derived from the hemp plant, cannabis sativa. Its made from a mixture of the crushed stems, leaves and seeds of the male and female plants. Hashish (hash. charras), the most potent of the cannabis drugs, is made from the dark resin secreted by the female flowers and is ten to twenty times more potent than marijuana. Ganja, made from the leaves nearest the female flowers, is the third principal drug derived from the plant. Hash and marijuana are usually smoked but are sometimes taken orally, as is ganja, often as a drink.
Cannabis is an extremely hardy plant capable of self-fertilization. It grows well in a variety of soils the world over, often to a height of 15 feet. The potency of the plant is a factor of its genetic make-up not as much its climatic environment as is often thought. Cannabis drugs have been used for almost 3000 years both for their therapeutic value, especially in the East, and for private and social enjoyment. A Sanskrit manuscript offered marijuana as a cure for gonorrhea in 330 B.C. (Parenthetically, the cannabis plant is the world's major source of hemp and its sterile seeds are a prime ingredient in bird feed.)
History of Marijuana
In 1839, Dr. W. B. O'Shaughnessy, an Irish physician, published an article in an Indian medical journal along with Drs. Aubert-Roche and Moreau de Tours in which he related that marijuana was effective in relieving pain and preventing convulsions and so introduced marijuana as a therapeutic to the Western world. The ar. ticle stirred up a lot of excitement and by the mid-1840's marijuana was widely recognized and acclaimed as a pain-killer appetite stimulant and rheumatic cure.
During the Civil War, however, doctors began using the opiates in place of marijuana as analgesics and civilian doctors switched to the opiates to treat colds, rheumatism and breathing disorders. The fact that morphine, opium and heroin were all addictive didn't seem to bother anyone. Being water-soluble (marijuana is not) they were easier to use and market. By the turn of the century most patent medicines contained one or more of the opiates. Many people were hooked before they knew what was happening and not a few, including many children, died. (Heroin, incidentally, had been developed as a cure for morphine addiction.)
By the early 1900's marijuana was relegated to a back seat, at least therapeutically speaking. When the Volstead Act was repealed in 1933 and the Treasury Department began hunting for a drug to fill the gap-and, not incidentally, a tangible cause of crime-marijuana was back in the news. Today, though still a victim of the hysteria spawned by Anslinger and others, marijuana has become a focus of medical research and Social and Scientific analysis. Scientists are beginning to call the testimony during the Marijuana Tax Stamp Act hearings counterfeit and perhaps somewhat chagrined, the U.S. Government, through the Department of Health Education and Welfare, has moved to the forefront in trying to determine the true nature of the drug.
Marijuana's Social Effects
One of the oddest things about marijuana research however particularly as regards its social effects, is that much of its already been done. The most thorough analysis of how marijuana affects the social fabric of a nation was done by the British in 1892-3. The Seven volume report, called The India Hemps Drugs Commission Report, is thick with evidence. for example, that marijuana has only an accidental and at best a tenuous causal Connection with crime. The Commission heard hundreds of witnesses, held hearings a over India for 18 months and made a superhuman effort to track down every crime associated with marijuana brought to its attention.
In the end the British Government decided not to "criminalize the drug. The report was ignored during the Tax Stamp Act hearings. Other reports which demonstrated that marijuana was not as harmful as supposed and that its causal link with Crime was without foundation-the Carnegie Report of 1942, the LaGuardia Report of 1944-have also been ignored. Copies of all three of these reports are in the Library of Congress in Washington but not being listed in the card catalog. are virtually impossible to find.
What is THC?
The U.S. Government, pressed into doing its own research because of its embarrassing presentation in 1937, did fund the Marijuana Research Project at the University of Mississippi in 1964 through the National Institute of Mental Health The project, unfortunately, has turned up little that wasn't previously documented or which did not come about through privately funded research.
Before getting an overview of current marijuana research, both pro and cons should know one more thing. The active ingredient in marijuana is delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC. Marijuana usually contains 1% THC by weight, or approximately 5 milligrams of THC per marijuana joint, of which 2.5 milligrams is usually absorbed by the user. THC content is the basis for comparison in most marijuana research. Without it, previous research is difficult to analyze because there was no such standard. THC was originally osolated 1964.