The stigma against medicinal cannabis

However, the damage was already done

The use of cannabis for its medicinal properties is not new. There is evidence of marijuana used for healing in ancient times. During the early 60s, the “Hippie Culture” brought on an increase in the use of psychoactive drugs such as cannabis, LSD and peyote. An initial stigma was centered in racism and prejudiced opinions of users. Propaganda was built upon the adverse effects of the plant. Recreational consumers were seen as criminals who would commit acts such as murder, rape and robbery. Despite a lack of scientific evidence, opponents of cannabis spoke up for harsher laws. Political campaigns began to exaggerate the adverse side effects, and in 1937, the Marijuana Tax Act was passed. With marijuana criminalized, the DEA was able to strenuously regulate production and distribution. Today, despite the wealth of knowledge about the positive therapeutic effects of cannabis, it is still classified as a Schedule I narcotic. At the federal level, marijuana is classified with heroin and LSD. Fortunately, the public’s perception continues to evolve. The stigma is gradually diminishing. Criticizing cannabis is still somewhat of a useful political campaign. The media continues to play a role in supporting the stigma. Since most of what we know and believe is sourced from some form of media, negative portrayals of marijuana users on television or in movies has a big impact. Alcohol and tobacco are legal substances that have a greater negative impact on health. Alcohol, in particular, is seen to enhance social enjoyment. A former Presidential Republican primary candidate, Carly Fiorina, went on record as stating that there is no understanding of how medicinal cannabis interacts with other drugs. She made the case that cannabis should not be seen as a viable option for therapeutic treatment. There have been several studies that refuted her false claims. However, the damage was already done. Many people already believed her accusations as facts. With progression in scientific research, it is evident that cannabis offers amazing potential to treat a wide variety of serious illnesses and symptoms.

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