Controversy has been revolving around cannabis for decades, but the plant itself has been in existence for centuries.
The plant as a whole has many different uses from medicinal, to recreational, to industrial. Cannabis uses stretch from treating glaucoma patients all the way to making durable clothing. Marijuana, as it is also known, has been in use as far back as ancient times for its psychoactive effects as well as for its great healing properties, and continues to be used to the present day. Many myths and unknowns still exist around this plant despite many years of extensive testing, especially regarding the health and mental aspects of the plants usage. According to research, smoking cannabis is healthier than smoking tobacco, and the mental affects are relatively harmless and temporary.
On the health side of the spectrum, marijuana has constantly been compared against tobacco. Approximately twenty years ago the United States Government did extensive research on the two plants in comparison to one another. However, those studies blatantly favored tobacco in the way that they were conducted in order to dampen the consumption of cannabis. Due to the efforts of various federal agencies to discourage the use of marijuana in the 1970s the government, in a fit of reefer madness, conducted several biased studies designed to return results that would equate marijuana smoking with tobacco smoking, or worse (Dudley 1999). For example, the Berkeley carcinogenic tar studies of the late 1970s concluded that marijuana is one-and-a-half times as carcinogenic as tobacco (Dudley 1999). This finding was based solely on the tar content of the leaves of cannabis plants compared to that of tobacco plants, and also didnt take into consideration the fact that tobacco is grown with carcinogenic radioactive fertilizers to hasten its harvest.
In addition, it was not considered that: marijuana smokers smoke the bud, not the leaf of the plant, which only contains 33% as much tar as tobacco; marijuana smokers do not smoke anywhere near as much as tobacco smokers; not one case of lung cancer has ever been linked to marijuana use; and cannabis, unlike tobacco does not cause any narrowing of the small air passageways in the lungs. In fact, it has been proven that marijuana actually dilates the air passages in the lungs, not constricts them. This is the reason many asthma sufferers turn to cannabis, to give them relief from attacks. Doctors have postulated that marijuana may, in this respect, be more effective than all of the prescription drugs on the market (Mendelson 1992). Studies even show that due to marijuanas ability to clear the lungs of smog, pollutants, and cigarette smoke, it may actually reduce your risk of emphysema, bronchitis, and lung cancer (Mendelson 1992). Smokers of cannabis have been shown in some cases to actually outlive nonsmokers by up to two years.
Medium to heavy cigarette smokers can live seven to ten years longer simply by smoking cannabis. Cannabis is also better than tobacco by the fact that it is not addictive. The active ingredient in marijuana is delta-9 THC (tetra-hydra-cannabinol). Nicotine is nowhere to be found in cannabis so therefore it is not addictive. It used to be believed that THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, was the cause of some brain and genetic damage. Those studies were done biasedly, however, and all have been disproved.
In fact, the DEAs own Administrative Law Judge Francis Young has declared that marijuana in its natural form is far safer than many foods we commonly consume (Mendelson 1992). Along with the potential effects on the human body, the government and people in general are also concerned with the effects cannabis has on the human brain. It is an obvious fact that marijuana affects the brain in some way, if it didnt, there would be no purpose for its recreational usage. The question is, is damage done to the brain? If so how extreme is it and is it permanent?Previous to the 1980s marijuana was believed to be in the same family as some opiates. Already included in the opiate family were drugs such as heroine and morphine.
This obviously created an immediate association with such hard drugs, and marijuana was placed on .