On November 6, 2012, Colorado and Washington became the first states to legalize recreational use of cannabis by voters. Since then there has been more states, Canada, Spain, Netherlands, Israel, Italy and more who have legalized it for the general public. It is accepted by the general population but still struggles in a Congress ruled by a majority of 58 year old men versus a balanced population with an average age of 38.
Cannabis is currently treated as a Class 1 drug and in the same category as a narcotic. But is it a narcotic? A narcotic is a drug or other substance that affects mood or behavior and is consumed for non-medical purposes, especially one sold illegally.
Marijuana is complex chemically and not yet fully understood, but it is not a narcotic. Like alcohol, marijuana acts as both stimulant and depressant, but it lingers in body organs longer than alcohol. So why is it treated like one?
The much-maligned marijuana plant has been suffering since the early 20th century. It was a loser in the great (and profitable) opium debates. But recently it has started being seen a savior to the opioid crisis. The Center for Disease Control sees medical marijuana as a viable, safe option to opioids (Such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, and methadone) which kill over 28,000 people a year. For reference, there has been 0 deaths related to marijuana.
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The Narcotic Drugs 2021 report presents data and analysis on the global production and use of narcotic drugs, which include opium, morphine, heroin, fentanyl, cocaine, and, unfortunately, cannabis among more than 140 internationally controlled substances, with the list being updated regularly by the INCB on the basis of scheduling.
President Biden announced in October of 2022 that it was going to look at rescheduling cannabis and it wold have a global impact on how marijuana is treated. But the President, his administration and Merrick Garland have been slowly walking the review. This hurts veterans which the Depart of Veterans Affairs changed policy to medical marijuana can help those that defended the country. In April of this year, a group of 80 human rights groups asked President Biden to change the policy. They included the ACLU, Human Rights Watch, United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, and
The American Medical Association has long advocated for comprehensive, well-controlled cannabis studies to determine its role in the treatment of disease. To advance this policy, our AMA supports removing federal cannabis research roadblocks, since we cannot generate sufficient scientific evidence without sufficient research.
On 2nd December 2020, the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND), the drug policy making body of the UN re-classified cannabis and cannabis resin under an international listing that recognizes its medical value. The CND voted on recommendations made by the WHO’s 41st Expert Committee on Drug Dependence (ECDD), which suggested that cannabis should be reclassified from its current listing alongside heroin, fentanyl analogues and other opioids considered to be exceptionally harmful to public health. The US changing policy would have a massive global impact.
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Marijuana and medical marijuana offer safer and better options than alcohol and some pain killers. They also offer proven treatments for ailments big and small. Hopefully it will be a matter of time before more research is done for a better understanding of the plant and a clearer view of its potential.