Tomorrow, August 11 at 8 pm ET CNN will air a special named "Weed," where their chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, does an about face and mea culpa on his attitude toward marijuana.
Long before I began this project, I had steadily reviewed the scientific literature on medical marijuana from the United States and thought it was fairly unimpressive. Reading these papers five years ago, it was hard to make a case for medicinal marijuana. I even wrote about this in a TIME magazine article, back in 2009, titled "Why I would Vote No on Pot."
Well, I am here to apologize.
I apologize because I didn't look hard enough, until now. I didn't look far enough. I didn't review papers from smaller labs in other countries doing some remarkable research, and I was too dismissive of the loud chorus of legitimate patients whose symptoms improved on cannabis.
Instead, I lumped them with the high-visibility malingerers, just looking to get high. I mistakenly believed the Drug Enforcement Agency listed marijuana as a schedule 1 substance because of sound scientific proof. Surely, they must have quality reasoning as to why marijuana is in the category of the most dangerous drugs that have "no accepted medicinal use and a high potential for abuse."
They didn't have the science to support that claim, and I now know that when it comes to marijuana neither of those things are true. It doesn't have a high potential for abuse, and there are very legitimate medical applications....
Based on what I've seen on CNN, I would expect an endorsement of the use of marijuana or perhaps THC for medical purposes without an endorsement of its recreational use. I do expect to hear him say, though, that marijuana is far less harmful and dangerous than tobacco and alcohol.
(Full article here.)
I believe nicotine is the most addictive drug on the planet. Much more addictive than, say, heroin. Industrial and addictive reasons aside, marijuana should be legal based on simple common sense and moral grounds.
We can thank the cotton farmers, for their underhand assault on the competing hemp farmers - hemp being stronger and more durable than cotton, but having the side-effect of giving a 'high' when smoked or ingested. The aggression of the competition caused the cotton farmers to point at the 'high' and claim awful things would happen, so hemp (marijuana) was declared illegal and the cotton farmers flourished.
Fuck knows why the UK and then Europe chose to follow, but they did. The rest is history.
Actually, Hemp and Marijuana are the same genus, but no longer the same species. Industrial Hemp is low in THC, and high in another cannabinoid, CBD. In this article, they explain better than I can:
Two cannabinoids are preponderant in cannabis: THC, the psychoactive ingredient, and CBD, which is an antipsychoactive ingredient. Marijuana is high in the psychoactive cannabinoid, THC, and low in the antipsychoactive cannabinoid, CBD. The reverse is true for industrial hemp; when hemp was or is bred for its desirable industrial qualities, the percentage of THC is minimal, while the percentage of CBD is high.
If you were to smoke a Marijuana joint, you would start feeling the psychedelic effects of THC. If immediately afterward, you smoked a Hemp joint, the feeling would subside and you would nearly instantly sober up.
The various industries that would be threatend by this super plant are fighting it so hard, because it's a plant that will grow where it lies with no reliance on pesticides or fertilizers.
It can be made into clothing, paper, fiber pressed boards, biofuel, and the seeds are one of the most nutrionally complete foods on the planet, containing nearly all of the nutrients and minerals you need, plus a healthy supply of protein as well. One acre of Hemp will produce more paper in a single harvest than an acre of pine will, and it can be harvested annually, rather than once every five years.
Greed is really the only reason why we can't have it, because it's the equivalent of free electricity, or fuel. Because rich people might lose some of their power and money because they can't comprehend the concept of change.
I believe people say that because of how many people are addicted to nicotine, myself included. However, Tobacco is legal. If Cocain, Heroin, or Meth were legal and available to everyone over the age of 21, then I'm pretty sure Tobacco would drop back to 4th place out of that group. However, we're also talking about a product that is made in (hopefully) clean factories, verses three products that are made in third world conditions, except possibly cocain, because of the high end clientele on that one, so Who's to say that companies that made meth and heroine couldn't figure out a way to tone it down a bit, so that they don't kill their customers faster than the Tobacco companies do.
Weed is more comparable to alcohol anyway, because a nicotine buzz is only a slight tingling feeling that lasts for about 3 minutes, and you only get that if you haven't had it in a while. The high from THC, in my limited experience, is more akin to the high from alcohol, but with a more sedimentary feeling, and a spike in appetite.