The use of cannabis is known go back more than 7000 years ago and it was legal to use it until the beginning of the 20th century. The hemp variant of cannabis has an incredible number of uses. For centuries, the plant has been used for food, clothing and rope. Even the Contitution of the United States and the Declaration of Independence was written on hemp paper. Only in recent history marijuana was made illegal. Not because of scientific reasons, but mostly because of racist and later political reasons.
How it all started
During the Mexican revolution of 1910, a lot of Mexicans flooded the borders in the US. Mexicans were a very cheap workforce. During the depression of 1910-1911, tensions increased between small farms and large farms that used those cheap Mexicans. Many Mexicans smokes the plant and brought the plant with them. Most likely because of this event, California passed the first anti-marijuana law. Later, more states followed with marijuana prohibition laws which tended to be specifically targeted against the Mexican population. Between 1915 and 1937, marijuana was prohibited by a 27 states. One Texas legislator even said that “All Mexicans are crazy and this stuff is what makes them crazy.”.
In 1930, a new governmental department was instated, the Federal Bureau of Narcotics. The head of the bureau was known for his controversial quotes.
- “There are 100,000 total marijuana smokers in the US, and most are Negroes, Hispanics, Filipinos, and entertainers. Their Satanic music, jazz, and swing, result from marijuana use. This marijuana causes white women to seek sexual relations with Negroes, entertainers, and any others.”
- “The primary reason to outlaw marijuana is its effect on the degenerate races.”
- “Marihuana leads to pacifism and communist brainwashing”
Only in 1937, the first national law was enacted, called to Marihuana Tax Act. It put regulations and restrictions on the sale of cannabis. Some critics believed that the point of this law was to reduce the size of the hemp industry which was primarily a threat to the paper industry. The Americal Medical Association opposed prohibition because a tax was imposed on the sale of medical cannabis. After the enactment, anyone in possession of cannabis could be arrested.
Today, Latino and especially black communities are still subject to unreasonable drug enforcement and judicial practices.
In 1971, president Richard Nixon established a commission, lead by Raymond P. Shafer, to investigate the effects of marijuana and other drugs.
The result of the commission was:
- “No significant physical, biochemical, or mental abnormalities could be attributed solely to their marihuana smoking.”
- “No verification is found of a causal relationship between marihuana use and subsequent heroin use.”
- “In sum, the weight of the evidence is that marihuana does not cause violent or aggressive behavior; if anything marihuana serves to inhibit the expression of such behavior.”
- “Neither the marihuana user nor the drug itself can be said to constitute a danger to public safety.”
- “Marihuana’s relative potential for harm to the vast majority of individual users and its actual impact on society does not justify a social policy designed to seek out and firmly punish those who use it.”
Nixon demanded that the commission changed its conclusions. Shafer ignored the demands and Nixon declined to appoint him to a pending federal judgeship.
Nixon wasn’t happy with the results of the report and wanted a larger budget for his war on drugs. The main reason why he wanted to imprison pot smokers is because these were the people that were protesting against the Vietnam war. He thought he would get the support he wanted if he could prove that cannabis caused lung cancer like cigarettes do. He gave the Medical College of Virginia the order to investigate the effects of THC. 2 years later the study was completed. It turned out that when THC was ingested in highly concentrated forms, it will attack any mutated cells in your body while strengthening and rejuvenating the healthy cells.
Nixon was outraged. He immediately classified the study.
In 1999, the National Institute of Mental Health (which is a government institution) filed patent US6630507 which is titled “Cannabinoids as antioxidants and neuroprotectants”. The patent was approved in 2003. It states that
Cannabinoids have been found to have antioxidant properties, unrelated to NMDA receptor antagonism. This new found property makes cannabinoids useful in the treatment and prophylaxis of wide variety of oxidation associated diseases, such as ischemic, age-related, inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. The cannabinoids are found to have particular application as neuroprotectants, for example in limiting neurological damage following ischemic insults, such as stroke and trauma, or in the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and HIV dementia.
The invention also includes methods for using the antioxidants in prevention and treatment of pathological conditions such as ischemia (tissue hypoxia), and in subjects who have been exposed to oxidant inducing agents such as cancer chemotherapy, toxins, radiation, or other sources of oxidative stress.
So it basically states that cannabinoids can be used to prevent and cure neurological and heart diseases. It is also an excellent drug to counter the symptoms created by so called “anti-cancer” drugs like chemotherapy.
“Sixteen years ago, when I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, my doctor told me I’d be in a wheelchair in four years and dead by 56. The only reason I’m even able to even write this today is because my doctor, a world class neurologist, recommended medicinal marijuana.” – Montel Williams
It’s a bit ironical that the US government owns a patent on the medical properties of marijuana, but makes it a Schedule I drug, which means that it has no medical properties. The current drug laws are not based on science but are the result of politics.
Pharmaceutical companies have tried to mimic the behavior of THC by making syntethic variants that do not produce the ‘high’ without any success. Natural products cannot be patented, hence cannabis is not an interesting subject for the pharmaceutical industry. Pharmaceutical companies obviously rather want to sell their extremely expensive chemotherapy drugs.
People who are not insured usually have to use all their life savings or even have to sell their house in order to pay for chemotherapy drugs. Even then, a huge part of the patients die from the damage that has been done to them.
The major reason why marijuana is not legal is the fact that big pharma will loose billions doing so. Marijuana is a safe substitute for painkillers and sleeping drugs. As a matter of fact, marijuana is successfully being used by a lot of people who have chronic pains, inflammation and oxidative stress. There is not a single drug that is as effective long term. Furthermore, most painkillers and sleeping pills are addictive. Hemp, the cannabis variant with almost no THC is a more cheaper way to produce paper.
Marijuana is not the only potential anti-cancer drug that is prohibited. Almost all alternative approaches that are a threat to the pharmaceutical industry are being surpressed or prohibited.
Here is an excellent article about vitamin B17.