Things dey won’t tell you about the war on drugs and cannabis. No other plant can feed, clothe, heal, build, and provide for our world like cannabis. Yet this fact is suppressed by the DEA and other groups that portray cannabis negatively. Millions of dollars are funneled into the Partnership for a Drug-Free America and similar organizations to propagate the demonization of marijuana through advertising to brainwash the public. Much of their funding actually comes from alcohol and pharmaceutical companies (as stated on their own financial records) – because they fear increased cannabis usage will decrease their sales. But it’s interesting to see how the public’s growing knowledge of cannabis has forced the prohibition message to change over the years. They once decried cannabis as evil, but now struggle to perpetuate their myths as more and more people question their unfounded claims.
Around 125,000 people die each year from drinking alcohol (not including its involvement in 50% of all highway deaths and 65% of all murders). Similarly, more than 350,000 deaths each year are attributed to nicotine from tobacco smoking. Even legal medications contribute over 25,000 deaths each year (not including prescription errors). By comparison, it is virtually impossible to overdose on cannabis. In 1997, the New England Journal of Medicine stated that a dosage of 1500 pounds (680 kg) of Cannabis would have to be consumed within 15 minutes to reach the LD50 (median lethal dose). In all of human history, the number of deaths from cannabis is ZERO! That’s right, our society has unwittingly outlawed a safe product: cannabis; but condones the use of the true killers: alcohol and tobacco. As Bob Marley said: “Herb is the healing of a nation, alcohol is the destruction.” Bing Crosby also summed it up well when he said: “I never heard of anyone beating on their wife or kids after smoking pot.”
Cannabis is not a hallucinogen. Neither is it a narcotic or depressant, such as alcohol, that impairs motor skills and judgment. Cannabis is psychoactive, simply meaning it affects the mental process. Another substance in this same category is caffeine. Consider that the next time you’re drinking coffee, tea or soda. The three primary effects of cannabis are: euphoria, relaxation, and change in perception. Other positive effects of cannabis include: mood lift, laughter, stress reduction, increased sensory awareness, enhanced creativity, pain relief and reduced nausea. Negative side-effects include many of the same as excess caffeine, and can include anxiety, racing heart, impaired concentration, paranoia or panic, dry mouth, blood-shot eyes, difficulty with short-term memory and other temporary responses – typically resulting from over-consumption. None of the side effects last beyond the effective period (typically two to three hours) and may be reduced or eliminated by practicing moderation. Studies in the U.S. and UK show cannabis to have a negligible effect on actual driving performance (UK Dept. of Environment, Transport and the Regions Road Safety Division Report, 2000 and U.S. DOT Nat’l Highway Traffic Safety Administration Report, 1993).
The different varieties of cannabis plants produce different responses. Sativa varieties create a clear, energetic, cerebral “high”, while Indica varieties tend toward a heavier, physically “stoned” feeling. Mixed varieties range between the two. Some phenotypes have even been bred to exhibit a wide range of scents and flavors. The genetics for commercial cannabis were hybridized in the 1960’s and 70’s, just like most other crops. There is nothing in cannabis today that wasn’t in it decades ago. Some of the modern improved strains may have higher potency, but this only means that less is consumed for equal effect.
A “drug” is anything that alters normal bodily function. When classifying drugs, there are physically addictive and harmful “hard” drugs like alcohol, tobacco and cocaine; then there are milder “soft” drugs like aspirin, caffeine and cannabis. Arguably the mildest of those are cannabis and caffeine since aspirin can be easily overdosed. All prescription drugs are more dangerous than cannabis for this same reason.The fact is that virtually every person uses some type of “drug”, and moralizes their own drug preferences. It is possible for some cannabis users to develop a psychological addiction, similar to caffeine addiction – hence the importance of moderation. But extensive research has proven that cannabis is not physically addictive or a “gateway” to hard drugs (Institute of Medicine’s Division of Neuroscience and Behavioral Health, 1999 and RAND Corporation, 2002).