The proliferation of varied types of marijuana has understandingly led to confusion. There is marijuana for recreation and there is marijuana for medicinal purposes. How are they different or is there really a difference between them? If there is, what is it about? If there isn’t, what’s next?
To add more to the confusion of marijuana is its being considered a dangerous drug. Yet, studies have shown that alcohol is even more dangerous than marijuana. If that is the case, why made it illegal to use or possess one in the United States?
Why was marijuana illegalized?
During the ancient times, marijuana was considered a medicinal plant and an effective antidote for nausea, pain, loss of appetite, and more. If this was so, how did it ever become illegal in the United States?
Let’s go back a bit during the period after the Mexican Revolution during the 1900s. That Mexican Revolution started a mass exodus to the United States of Mexican immigrants. Their migration also made them carry over their own customs, traditions, and language. One of the medicines and relaxants these immigrants used were the cannabis plant. The common term they used to call “cannabis” was “marihuana”.
During that period, Americans were very well-versed with cannabis. It was an active ingredient found in almost all of their medicines and tinctures available to them at that time. However, the term “marihuana” was foreign to them. Media hype stepped in by instilling fear in Americans about the “disruptive foreigners” who displayed scary behavioral patterns with their use of “marihuana”.
This blindsided the Americans into thinking that “marihuana” was a dangerous plant or drug, not knowing that it is an ingredient of their normal medicines. The outlawing of “marihuana” was an extension of condemning Mexican immigrants. This was a replay of an earlier outlawing of opium as a way of closing American land from Chinese immigrants.
The plan to be vigilant against the Mexican immigrants worked. Court hearings were all about the unruly behavior of Mexicans soliciting sex from white women while under the influence of “marihuana”. This demonization of both the ‘marihuana” and the colored people became the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937 that made it illegal to sell and use.
During the 70s, cannabis was in still in the restricted category even when the Shafer Commission did not see it that way. Then President Nixon overruled the findings of the Shafer Commission which placed marijuana as a Schedule 1 dangerous drug.
It was California, in 1996 that approved the medicinal use of marijuana. This groundbreaking practice finally ended 59 years stigma of marijuana as a dangerous and illegal substance. While the issue is still being hotly debated, 23 states in the United States, including the nation’s capital, Washington DC have approved its medicinal qualities.
With this said, what is the difference between medicinal and recreational marijuana? Are they the same? It’s high time for us to dig deeper to end, once and for all, the confusion between the two.
One of the most popular recreational drugs used all over the world is marijuana. This includes its usage thousands of years ago to present time. The “weed” has been used for various purposes, from recreation to medicinal to spiritual.
Medicinal or not, marijuana has their own cult followers that have perfected the art of usage and strain.
Flower children or hippies made marijuana their drug of choice as they promoted the language of “peace” and “love”. Their feelings of euphoria were credited to the use of marijuana. What brings on the “high” when marijuana was smoked or inhaled?
The “high” is real when the active ingredient in marijuana known as THC stimulates the neurons of the brain. The stimulated neurons signal the release of the chemical in the brain known as dopamine. Dopamine is the “feel good” response that brings pleasure to the body like eating a delicious meal or having great sex with a partner.
The described pleasure levels are achieved at normal dopamine levels. THC creates a flood of dopamine levels that are out of the ordinary. This brings on the “high” that is highly sought by recreational marijuana users. However, the “flood of dopamine” brought about by marijuana is being questioned by numerous human research.
While the studies do not deny the release of dopamine by THC, it is only in modest amounts. Drugs such as amphetamines and cocaine are the ones that trigger a “flood of dopamine” rather than marijuana.
In a nutshell, recreational marijuana contains THC, a brain neuron stimulator that gives users a good “high” as well as increased appetite. THC is the active ingredient that separates recreational marijuana from medical marijuana. While THC and CBD are both active ingredients in marijuana, recreational marijuana contains higher levels of THC.
Medical marijuana, on the other hand, has high CBD content with very low THC content. THC and CBD are both present in marijuana but CBD is more dominant in medical marijuana. CBD does not stimulate psychosis, unlike THC that can even mimic bipolar and schizophrenic behavior.
The high content of CBD makes it safe for people of all ages to alleviate a variety of medical conditions without affecting the neurons of the brain. Children and elderly alike are given the green light to use medical marijuana based on the advice of their doctors.
Detractors or critics of medical marijuana are way out of hand with their condemnation of medical marijuana. Medical marijuana is not the typical “weed” stoners use to get their “high”. There is no “high” effect in medical marijuana because of the high amounts of CBD. Rather, it is marijuana that will cure ailments such as PTSD, epilepsy, and sudden loss of appetite.
The health benefits brought about by the use of medical marijuana have been incredible. People of all ages, gender, and social standing have been considerably helped in alleviating the physical and emotional disorders they used to face without hope before.
The line between recreational and medical marijuana is anything but thin. There is a big difference between the two. Condemning them together is unfair especially when medical marijuana could possibly be the way for people to have a better quality of living.
Using marijuana for recreational purposes can be questioned and sanctioned. It’s time to remove the stigma of medical marijuana especially when people have been given another shot in life because of it.