Cannabis advocates have had their hands full for decades trying to debunk myths about a plant that has both saved and changed hundreds of thousands of lives through its healing properties. Advocates are constantly hit with streams of questions from skeptics, who are curious, but hesitant to embrace cannabis because of the decades of misinformation and propaganda from the government. “What about the kids? Isn’t it a gateway drug? What about Reefer Madness? Doesn’t it just make you lazy?”
Since the prohibition act of 1937, which banned cannabis in the US, the Federal Government has been lying to the public about the plant's medicinal qualities. Luckily, there is now a plethora of scientific studies and discoveries that have been made to help dispel the years of misinformation and propaganda. One example is the discovery of the endocannabinoid system* that exists in all mammals. The benefits cannabis can have on this system and what this means for medicine, has helped fuel the green rush, leading to the legalization of possession in Canada, Uruguay, Georgia (the country not US State), and South Africa, with Mexico on deck. The Discovery of the Endocannabinoid System in mammals
48 other countries have decriminalized possession and over 45 have legal medical programs. In the USA, 15* states have legalized possession of the plant (*South Dakota is challenging the ballot question that passed in Nov. 2020) and another 36 states have medicinal programs. The new Democratic-controlled congress in the US is expected to introduce cannabis reform tied to social justice in 2021. (link to Michael Correia from https://youtu.be/CdqFMRCHMDE )
As you can see, tremendous strides are being made in the movement to legalize cannabis. The two main cannabinoid chemicals in cannabis, THC, and CBD, continue to be studied and never cease to amaze with new uses being found all of the time. Perhaps even more amazing is that more chemicals inside the cannabis Sativa plant are being discovered all of the time. Continued research on these chemicals is constantly revealing new ways this plant can benefit the medical community. Research beyond the substance abuse community is ongoing, and the US Congress is starting to think about easing restrictions so more studies can be introduced. However, it’s still federally illegal, banking regulations are still a pain, and 80 years of stigma about this plant is still out there and those in the cannabis business have to fight the misinformed stoner stereotype every day.
Now I start to see cannabis media outlets like Leafly, Marijuana Moment, Weed Week, MJBiz Daily, Ganjapreneur, Heady VT, and others start to cover the fight for the legalization of other plant medicine entities like magic mushrooms and I will admit, I am bothered by that. Can’t the cannabis community and lobbyists just focus on getting one product legalized before moving onto another one? Doesn’t this feed the gateway drug analogy?
I can hear the prohibitionists now….
“Oh, now that you’ve made progress getting cannabis accepted as medicine you have to expand your fight for all medicinal plants? Why?”
Right now Cannabis is a schedule 1 drug that is alongside others with supposedly no medicinal value or application. According to the DEA:
Schedule I may include:
LSD (Lysergic acid diethylamide)
Marijuana (cannabis, THC)
MDMA (3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine or “ecstasy”)
Ecstasy (MDMA or 3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine)
Psilocybin ("magic mushrooms")
Synthetic marijuana and analogs (Spice, K2)
Khat (Cathinone, Cathine)
Bath Salts (3,4-methylenedioxypyrovalerone or MDPV)
This drug schedule was created under the Controlled Substances Act of 1971 under Richard Nixon who started the war on drugs as a way to combat “...hippies with marijuana, and blacks with heroin.” This quote was attributed to John Ehrlichman, one of Nixon’s domestic policy chiefs. Published in Harpershttps://harpers.org/archive/2016/04/legalize-it-all/
“The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and black people,” former Nixon domestic policy chief John Ehrlichman told Harper’s writer Dan Baum for the April cover story published Tuesday 2016.
“You understand what I’m saying? We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin. And then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities,” Ehrlichman said. “We could arrest their leaders. raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course, we did.”
Ehrlichman’s comment is the first time the war on drugs has been characterized as a political assault designed to help Nixon win, and keep the White House.
The war on drugs has failed. Cannabis reform is coming, and psychedelics are right behind. Granted the effects of psychedelics have been studied for decades and I remember a popular class in the mid-1970s that was taught at my alma mater Tufts University by Professor Sam Mclaughlin called “The altered States of Consciousness.” It was so popular on campus that they couldn’t hold it in a classroom and it was given at Goddard Chapel to handle the over 300 students who enrolled.
In a tribute by one of his students in the Tufts Daily news, Ronald McNutt penned an Op-Ed: called “Spring of 1976.” In it, he explained,” ...the premise of that popular course the science and spiritual aspects of states of consciousness, such as in dream states, meditation, kundalini yoga, and those brought about when using psychedelics, like LSD, psilocybin, ayahuasca, peyote, and marijuana. We learned how different parts of the brain are active in different states of awareness and that it is beneficial for people to navigate through different moods and states of awareness. We studied the many levels of consciousness and perception, how perception plays a role in creativity and the curious role of the unconscious mind.” https://tuftsdaily.com/opinion/2019/10/16/op-ed-spring-1976/
Ok. So I get it. There are quite a few more plants with benefits out there that have medicinal qualities other than cannabis, such as psilocybin-containing mushrooms but can we just wait until our society and politicians accept the benefits of one plant, cannabis before we start moving on to a completely different realm of conscience and enlightenment?
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