Drug prohibition in America.

Cannabis, also known as weed, ganja, hash, Mary Jane, or MMJ, is one of the most commonly used drugs in the world. It is commonly found in both recreational and medical contexts. But in the United States — where cannabis is illegal under federal law — many people are afraid to use it.

What is cannabis?

Cannabis is a flowering plant that produces an aromatic resin called cannabinoids. The resin contains chemical compounds that affect how the body’s cells respond to chemical signals. Many strains of cannabis produce different cannabinoids and terpenes, which may affect different people in different ways.

Cannabis can be consumed in many ways, including as an extract, edible, or inhaled via a vape pen. Simply put, cannabinoids are chemical compounds found naturally in cannabis. They interact with cells in the body to produce various effects. Cannabis is also known as hemp, marijuana, and/or pot. These names come from different strains of the plant.

Hemp is used to making clothing, paper, and foods, while marijuana is used to make cannabis-infused products including edibles, oils, and tinctures. So while cannabis is usually used to refer to the plant itself, the terms hemp and marijuana are more specific to the strains that are used to make cannabis products.

Why is cannabis illegal in the U.S.?

Federal laws make marijuana illegal for several reasons. Cannabis is considered a Schedule I drug under the Controlled Substances Act, making it illegal to grow, sell, or possess without a prescription. Schedule I drugs are considered the most dangerous class of drugs and are considered to have no medical value. But Schedule I is not the only reason cannabis is illegal.

While cannabis may be relatively safe compared to many other prescription drugs, it’s still a controlled substance. Criminalizing cannabis only makes sense in the context of the federal war on drugs. But the war is a failure. It has not curbed the use of other substances and it has caused irreparable damage to the inner cities of America.

Should weed be legalized?

Many experts and researchers cite a study published in the Journal of Psychosomatic Research as evidence that legalization can reduce the harmful effects of cannabis use.

The study followed 22,000 Swedish men over 15 years and found that those who reported that they used cannabis daily were almost twice as likely to suffer depression and anxiety disorders as those who did not use cannabis. These results held regardless of how much money the participants earned.

These statistics make sense because cannabis is one of the most commonly used illicit drugs in the world. It’s used by millions of people worldwide, including nearly 90% of Americans who have tried it at least once in their lives. But is it really necessary to outlaw something because so many people use it?

How does legalizing cannabis work?

Legalization takes two forms. Prohibitive legalization prevents people from using cannabis, and as such doesn’t affect the laws regarding its sale and use (like the prohibition on selling alcohol in the U.S.).

Instead, prohibitive legalization converts cannabis from a Schedule I drug to a Schedule II drug. Schedule II drugs have a high potential for abuse, but they’re used under a doctor’s supervision.

This can be a good thing. It prevents people with substance abuse issues from buying cannabis. It also allows doctors to prescribe cannabis with a prescription, as they can opioids or other controlled substances. Some states have taken the second approach. In 28 states and the District of Columbia, cannabis is legalized for medicinal purposes only. 11 states have approved recreational use.

Pros of legalizing recreational and medical use

Many people consume cannabis for medical reasons. They may have an illness that responds well to cannabis use, or they may want to reduce their daily intake of prescription drugs.

Legalizing medical cannabis has many benefits, including the fact that doctors can write prescriptions for it and patients don’t have to risk getting a drug charge if they are caught with cannabis. This can help people who have substance abuse problems, and who rely on prescription drugs to manage their conditions.

Legalization can also help the tourism industry in states with legalized recreational use. People may be more likely to visit states that allow for recreational cannabis use, and these states may receive more tourism dollars because of it.

Cons of legalizing recreational and medical use

Some studies show that cannabis use during adolescence is especially harmful. Adolescents who use cannabis often have lower educational attainment and earn less money than adults. Marijuana is often the most commonly used illicit drug, and it’s more dangerous than other drugs like opioids.

Public health experts worry that legalizing cannabis encourages heavier cannabis use and that people who start using it as teenagers may become dependent on the drug and be more likely to use other illicit drugs, like opioids, with their marijuana use.

Legalization is not a perfect solution. Some people may still choose to consume cannabis illegally, but states with a legal cannabis market see a reduction in opioid deaths.