Marijuana: The Miracle Plant
Marijuana, weed, cannabis or the miracle plant. There are many ways to call this creation found naturally in humid, tropical parts over the world. Discovered over 12,000 years ago, it has been used in many aspects of the past by ancient tribes as a medicine to help ease the pain of childbirth and toothaches (Blaszczak-Boxe, 2014, para.3). When it comes to marijuana in medicine, there is a stigma around the drug that makes people uncertain of what to think about it. In addition, the plant that produces the marijuana buds, known as hemp, can change the world for the better. Commonly used to create food products, paper or rope this plant can benefit the environment in more ways than one. Lastly, the government can tax the sales of recreational marijuana if legal, and stimulate the economy of Canada in which can benefit residents in the long run. Surely there might be some downsides of the legalisation in Canada, but the benefits certainly outweigh the negatives.
To begin, scientists have discovered that the human body (including most mammals) has an endocannabinoid system: “Endo means within, and cannabinoid referring to a compound that fits into cannabinoid receptors” (Wilcox, 2016, para.4). This system is made to keep the body in perfect balance by regulating basic bodily functions such as: sleep, appetite, hunger, mood, pain, memory, temperature regulation and many more. It also plays a part in the body’s immune system. The chemicals that react with the receptors are known as: “chemical messengers that tell your body to get these processes moving and when to stop” (Wilcox, 2016, para.9). To help patients suffering with fibromyalgia and irritable bowel syndrome, the use of cannabis can temporarily open receptors in the brain that stimulates the endocannabinoid system and improve its functions (The Endocannabinoid System: A Beginner’s Guide, 2017).
It is important to know how marijuana affect the body and the differences in chemical compounds. Not only can marijuana be used to help you relax after a long day, it can also help with multiple types of diseases rather it be to help ease the pain or cure it completely. Based on research to study its active components, it has been determined that there are two main active chemical compounds of marijuana that contribute to its pain relieving properties: tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). Tetrahydrocannabinol is the most commonly known between the two because this is what gives off the feeling of euphoria after smoking or ingesting the plant. THC bonds with the receptors knows as cannabinoid receptor 1 (CB1) which are primarily found in the brain. The body naturally produces a chemical like THC called anandamide, which also binds to the same receptors that give off a feeling of bliss but in lower concentrations. These two chemicals are almost identical in their reaction with the body but with THC being a ‘supplement’ for this natural occurring chemical has a much higher concentration in result give a stronger high. The plant produces a spectrum of bioidentical compounds that are produced within our own bodies. When THC is put into the body, it acts as a major pain reliever as it reduces pain signals that are sent to the brain because of an injury or illness, in result makes you feel less pain. As suggested by the National Academic of Medicine, Sciences and Engineering (2017): “It can also enhance adenosine receptor signaling by inhibiting adenosine inactivation, suggesting a potential therapeutic role in pain and inflammation (P.47)”. The studies done on CBD are still just scratching the surface of medical potential this chemical has on the body as it re-emerged in 2010. What we do know is CB2 receptors bond with the chemical CBD to act as an anti-inflammatory. This strain of cannabis has been made into medications for seizure patients called Epidiolex. The problem with marijuana being illegal, is pharmaceutical companies have limited access that does not enable them to do the research needed to advance this medicine. According to Patel (2017), the use of this medicine is considered compassionate use and make it so only a certain amount of it can be distributed (para.6.). Also, as stated by Rick Pfrommer (2015): “The benefits of CBD-rich medicine, with its anti-spasmodic qualities, is one the most exciting and promising areas of cannabis medical research currently happening” (para.9). The study on medical marijuana is slow progressing due to restrictions with access and the growth of this plant. With legalisation, it would simplify the process of being able to study the benefits and take advantage of one of natures many miracles.
There is a huge misconception when it comes to hemp and marijuana. Most people believe these two are exactly alike, but, are not the same thing. Marijuana is what is used for that by recreational users that provide psychoactive effects and in medicine, while hemp is used for industrial and environmental purposes. Looking at the female plants, marijuana creates the flowers and buds that users consume which contain the THC with levels from anywhere between 5% and 20%. While the female plant of hemp, has no buds and has a very low THC content (0.5%-1.5%) which cannot give off that feeling of bliss unless consumed in extremally high quantity. Hemp has a long history. Dating back over 10,000 years it is believed to be one of the first agricultural crops. Being banned back in 1961, Canada started to reissue licences to grow hemp with less than 0.3% THC content when sold commercially (A Historical timeline of origins of cannabis, 2015, p.2).
Hemp can play a huge part in saving the environment. With hemp being able to absorb 4x more carbon dioxide than trees, it can dramatically reduce the amount emissions in the atmosphere, thus, reducing pollution and improving air quality (Facts you may not know, 2018). Deforestation can be another aspect of life that hemp can improve. Humans abuse the resources of the planet mostly trees. Used for lumber, paper, and the main component in buildings more than 919,00 square kilometers of trees are cut down for industrial purposes a year (The understory, 2017, para.2). Hemp would dramatically decrease this number as it takes much less time to grow. Opposed to trees who can take up to 20 years to mature, hemp takes only 4 months and does not need any herbicides or pesticides (Facts you may not know, 2018, para.2).
Not only can hemp more accurately and ecologically provide for materials, it also “is a very healthy food, being the highest protein crop (after soybean) and high in omega oil” (Facts you may not know, 2018, para.26). With the plants fast-growing properties, this can help provide food for developing countries who are struggling to have a healthy meal on a daily basis. It can be used in a variety of ways including hemp seeds, oils, flours, milk and many more. As body ecology (2018) says: “The list of food applications is endless. Over the years, hemp seeds have been part of the food supply in many cultures around the world. In parts of Asia, roasted hemp seeds are eaten as a snack, like popcorn” (para.5). There are many different possibilities of ways to use hemp as a food product which makes it a very versatile substance that should be taken advantage of especially in countries in need of an easy food source.
Finally, legalizing marijuana could be a major plus for the government. Although, it is impossible to determine an exact number of sales, a study by business services firm Deloitte estimates: “including growing and distribution, pot paraphernalia, increased tourism and business taxes — would amount to between $12.7 billion to $22.6 billion annually” (Tencer, 2017, para.3). In addition, making marijuana legal would potentially attract new consumers, as much as 17% of Canadians say they would try the drug recreationally if it were legal. With the sales coming from the government, means less money being put in the pockets of criminals. People would be more inclined to buy weed legally which puts drug dealers out of business making the streets safer for everyone. Sales is not the only way they can make more money. With decriminalisation, less and less people would be sent to jail for possession of the drug. While there could be laws put in place for the quantity of marijuana a person can carry, people with small amounts on them will not be charged, therefore, would avoid jail time and fines.
Police need to focus on real crime. According to Mohammad Hajizadeh (2016): “The current marijuana policy and legal framework is associated with considerable government costs of approximately $500 million to $1 billion per annum. Legalization of marijuana could lead to substantial savings in drug incarceration and enforcement costs in Canada” (para.10). Possession of marijuana is not hurting anybody. Law enforcers could be spending their time focussing on more serious problems such as; violence, robberies, or hard drugs. Arresting someone takes time. Those hours that were spent bringing someone down to the police station, making up the paperwork and more, could have been spent on real crimes to make the community safer for everyone.
While the use of marijuana can still be widely debated by anybody, there are all these questions to ask: If the human body already creates chemicals like the ones found in cannabis, why not utilise this plant for medical purpose? If ancient tribes used hemp in their everyday life, why should it be illegal? If the government can benefit from taxing the sale of weed, why not? With the benefits of marijuana certainly outweighing the negative, future generations will wonder why this miracle plant was not utilised sooner and taken advantage of. The world would be a much better place rather it be healthy, ecologically or economically. All people need is easier access to the resources needed to make the world a better place. How can this be done? Simple.With the legalisation of one of natures many miracles; Marijuana.