5 Facts about cannabis
Cannabis is one of the most non-toxic substances known to science. In 1988, DEA Administrative Judge Francis Young declared:
“In strict medical terms marijuana is far safer than many foods we commonly consume. For example, eating 10 raw potatoes can result in a toxic response. By comparison, it is physically impossible to eat enough marijuana to induce death. Marijuana in its natural form is one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man. By any measure of rational analysis marijuana can be safely used within a supervised routine of medical care.”
Cannabis has been part of the human pharmacopeia [medicinal substances] for thousands of years. The oldest known written record on cannabis use comes from the Chinese Emperor Shen Nung in 2727 B.C. Ancient Greeks and Romans were also familiar with cannabis, while in the Middle East, use spread throughout the Islamic empire to North Africa.
In 1545 cannabis spread to the western hemisphere where Spaniards imported it to Chile for its use as fiber. In North America cannabis, in the form of hemp, was grown on many plantations for use in rope, clothing and paper.
In the early 1990’s scientists discovered what is now called the endocannabinoid system – a vast network of receptors and natural compounds throughout your body governing various functions including appetite, stress, memory, immune function, pain response, sleep and thermoregulation.
Stimulating these receptors has been found to have numerous therapeutic effects ranging from pain management to neuroprotection, even to the point of being able to regrow damaged brain cells.
In 1972 the Canadian Senate commissioned the LeDain report, which concluded that cannabis use should not be prohibited in Canada. These sentiments were again reconfirmed in 2002 in another Canadian Senate report.
“Scientific evidence overwhelmingly indicates that cannabis is substantially less harmful than alcohol, and should be treated not as a criminal issue but as a social and public-health issue,” said the committee’s chair, Senator Pierre Claude Nolin. The same sentiments are echoed in other official reports from governments around the world going back more than 60 years.
By the end of 2014 Washington, Colorado, Alaska, Oregon, the District of Columbia and the country of Uruguay ended the prohibition of cannabis. Law enforcement statistics in these areas have found no increase in prevalence or use of cannabis among any age group, no increase in traffic accidents or fatalities, and a decrease in violent crime.
A report by ArcView Research Group projects that 18 more States will end prohibition over the next five years.