The Health Effects of Cannabis and Prohibition

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Whether you are for or against the Prohibition of Cannabis, it is important to be aware of the facts surrounding the cannabis plant and the consequences of prohibiting its use. Since the inherent focus of cannabis Prohibition is the plant itself, that’s a fine place to focus the discussion.

The overt reason that cannabis is illegal is because of its purported effects on human health. Those who insist on cannabis’ continued placement in Schedule I (no accepted medical value and high potential for abuse) claim that smoking cannabis produces a wide range of negative health problems. The most notable are that cannabis contains far more tar than cigarettes, and can lead to the same health problems as cigarette smoking, such as cough, lung cancer, emphysema, bronchitis, and other conditions. While there is a slight correlation with heavy cannabis use and bronchitis in some individuals, there is no correlation at all for other conditions. In fact, the largest study conducted that examined the relationship between lung cancer and cannabis use found that people who smoked cannabis actually had slightly lower incidences of lung cancer than non-smokers! Also, for people who smoked cigarettes and cannabis, the rate of lung cancer was significantly lower than for those who smoked cigarettes alone. This is just one piece of evidence of cannabis’ anti-cancer effects, and dozens of peer-reviewed studies have found that tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) contain potent anti-cancer properties. It is for this reason that cannabis smokers also have a 62% less risk of head and neck cancers.

Cannabis is also claimed to cause amotivational syndrome, slowed and reduced thinking, contribute to other cancers, and lead to harder drug use. All of these claims are simply not true. There is no evidence that people who use cannabis experience sharp drops in motivation for worthy endeavors, like physical activity and their career. If that was the case, how are our last three Presidents, the late Steve Jobs, the Google founders, and some of the smartest scientists, lawyers, and doctors in the world admitted past cannabis users? There are many successful people who continue to use cannabis instead of alcohol, and are most often better off than their alcohol-consuming friends. This is also evidence that cannabis does not significantly slow thinking, and although while one is on cannabis there can be short-term memory loss and slower processing, these inhibitions leave entirely once all the tetrahydrocannabinol is fully metabolized. And as referred to above, cannabis does not contribute to cancers, it protects from them. That’s why CBD oil for sale are safe.

Finally, the gateway theory is also false (surprise!) If anything lends to its truth, it is the fact that cannabis is illegal, and that people exposed to it are exposed to other illegal drugs too. However, people don’t use cannabis and then need to find a “better high”, as so many Prohibitionists claim. Frankly, cannabis users are not stupid and will not choose a destructive substance if cannabis wasn’t doing the job anymore. There is no other “drug” like cannabis. You can’t substitute alcohol, cocaine, tobacco, pharmaceuticals, or anything else for it, because those things hurt the body. Cannabis is the only thing that does not permanently damage the body, and while there are some individuals who don’t care about their own safety and lives, the vast majority of people are not looking to throw away their futures for a quick high.

If cannabis was legal, it would greatly reduce the burden on law enforcement and reduce the size and power of prisons. It would draw in billions in tax revenue and jump start the economy. And irresponsible use would be combated with education, not incarceration, as is the case for alcohol and tobacco. The damage from Cannabis Prohibition is just too high on all fronts, and we need to end this madness as soon as possible.