The following article is an opinion piece and reflects the views of only the author and not those of AllOnGeorgia.
By: Ken Herron Sr.
On a federal basis, the use of marijuana is illegal. On the other hand 47 states have approved the use of Cannabis oil in the treatment of diseases. Most law officials oppose the growing of marijuana because they consider it an entry drug. Just about all of the heavy drug users started with marijuana. It is necessary to note that all marijuana users do not go on to be addicted to heavier drugs.
There are a number of chemicals in the Marijuana plant but the one that creates intoxication is known as THC. The full name is Delta-9- tetrahydrocannabinol. THC is present all through the plant. It is in the flower, leafs, and the stalk. Any part of it can be smoked and give the high that the user is seeking.
The chemical that provides the most of the medicinal benefits is found in the flower and it is called CBD. The full name is Cannabidiol. It does not have psychoactive effects and CBD does not cause intoxication. It is extracted when the flower is young and tender. The THC forms in the flower later in the growth of the plant. It is difficult to catch the growth at exactly the right time to provide medical products where any of the THC is not present. Patients sometimes experience some effect of a high.
Only two medical conditions have the approval of FDA for treatment and they are forms of epilepsy. Because marijuana is a Schedule 1 drug, researchers must have a special license to study the effects of it. CBD appears to reduce the effect of chronic pain, nausea, and vomiting particularly after chemotherapy. It also appears to reduce seizures in young children. FDA considered changing marijuana to a schedule 2 drug like Ritalin and
oxycodone but they are afraid that this would make it easier for recreational users to secure it.
Allowing Cannabis (CBD) to be used to treat diseases is noble and favorable to most of the people. The problem is how to allow the marijuana to be grown just for the Cannabis to be collected from the young flower. How can the destruction of the rest of the marijuana plant be accomplished without being sold into the illegal recreational market? It does not matter if the plant is grown in greenhouses or in controlled open fields, the flower is a minute part of the overall plant. It is not practical to consider burning the plants in an open fire. The smoke from the fire would be intoxicating to the community.
There are over 12 million individuals in the USA in the 18 to 30 year old group that are illegal users of marijuana for recreation. They do not consider marijuana to be any worse than legal alcoholic beverages and would like to see marijuana legalized for recreational use. They claim that if the marijuana was taxed on the same basis as alcohol the income would cover the cost of treating the addicts and their healthcare.
A study at the University of Michigan was conducted of 10,000 people who had used marijuana at age 18. About 60% did not continue to use marijuana. The study lasted until the subjects were 50 years old. The group was divided into three groups. About 22% of the original group stopped using marijuana by the time they were 22 years old. About 12% of the group continued using marijuana on a limited occurrence of 1 to 3 times a month until they were 28 years old. The third group had 6% who continued heavy use until they were
50 years old and went on to other drugs.
The first group that quit the use of marijuana by 22 years old quit because of religious experience, marriage, health considerations, and legal considerations. At 50 years old they still had more psychotic problems than those who did not use marijuana past 18 years old. They also had a higher occurrence of cigarette smoking.
The second group that continued moderate use of marijuana experienced more life problems. Many of them were on welfare or unemployment compensation between 35 and 45 years old. They also had problems with the use of alcohol and they smoked cigarettes heavily.
By the time the third group reached 50 years old, many of them had serious psychotic problems and other health problems that caused them to be disabled. They also had other drug additions and alcohol addictions that made life very miserable.
Colorado, Oregon, and Washington State have legalized recreational marijuana even though it is still against the law on a federal basis. It can be smoked and put into edible candies and cookies. One in every six sixteen year olds who try marijuana one time will become addicted to it. They become six times more likely than non-smokers to drop out of school and three times less likely to enter college. They also score lower on tests for IQ.
The commercialization of recreational marijuana will lead to a much higher instance of addiction. In order to be more profitable, the companies will seek to increase the rate of addiction to increase their repeat sales.
Smoking marijuana is not a proper delivery system for delivering Cannabis to those that need the medical treatment of the CBD. Long term incarceration is not a proper treatment for use of alcohol or drugs. A three day incarceration on users should be enough to impress on a user the seriousness on his or her actions. The manufacture or distribution of illegal alcohol or drugs should draw a long term incarceration.
The problem is not with the use of Cannabis Oil which is the medical part of the marijuana plant. The problem is how to dispose of the remainder of the plant without having it used for recreational purposes