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“The first time I tried marijuana, I felt as if the surroundings had been as enormous as the universe and I had been a part of a great intellectual entity ”- the story of a character in the Netflix documentary “The Legends of 420”.

By PiousPublished 4 years ago 5 min read

Since Canada and several US states legalized marijuana, many documentary films about this psychoactive drug have appeared on Netflix. It is understandable that this digital content-platform is trying to reach the majority of Millennials and Z Gen users.

Given that, the marijuana-supporting documentary’s description of the drug is not an exaggeration. Marijuana can cause changes to users’ perception: becoming more sensitive to sound and lights, feeling time passes by much slowlier, seeing slow-motion moving objects, etc. These cognitive changes make the users feel as if their senses became more sensitive or focused although they are only changes to the way information is received and processed.

It is the THC compound in marijuana combined with neurotransmitter receptors that causes these changes. This mixture also causes the brain to release dopamine (aka the happy chemical), similar to what we feel when eating or having sex — still, not as much as using cocaine or meth.

In addition to THC, marijuana also contains CBD. Both have similar molecular structures that resemble a body compound called endocannabinoids. This is why CBD and THC can be bound to other nerve receptors. However, unlike THC, CBD does not cause “high” symptoms. CBD is a compound used mainly in medicine, which reduces stress, relieves pain or supports the treatment of mental illnesses such as depression, anxiety, etc. CBD is proven (until this point) to be tolerable, and no serious side effect has taken place even when taking a large dose. [1]

On the other hand, THC, besides arousing a “high” feeling, also has side effects such as red eyes, dry mouth/eyes, slow reaction, loss of short-term memory, etc.

Studies have shown that marijuana is medically much healthier than legal stimulants like cigarettes and alcohol, not to mention it is not as harmful. In particular, in terms of harming themselves and surroundings, marijuana is much safer than cigarettes and alcohol [2]. In addition, unlike other banned stimulants — cocaine, meth, opium, etc. — so far, only 1 case of fetal death due to marijuana has been recorded [3].

Thus, why has such an entertaining and medically-beneficial drug as marijuana been banned?

The question is as complicated as “why marijuana was legalized” or “why alcohol and tobacco are not banned”. According to some documents, the American society had biases about the drug as Mexican immigrants took it with them (this is also the origin of the word Marijuana — M-word), which became the center of boycotts later. But legal tensions over marijuana were intensified by the “drug war” launched by President Nixon. Accordingly, marijuana was believed to be an interconnected stimulant which leads to other dangerous drugs.

Nevertheless, these arguments no longer satisfy the 21st-century-brains. This is the reason after many struggles, Canada and some US states legalized commercial marijuana for entertainment and medical purposes — in exchange for huge amounts of taxes.

However, the legalization of marijuana has also led to other complicated problems. Because marijuana is not simply either beneficial or harmful, which is different from what people say about it. Yeah, things are always complicated.

Take medical effects as an example. CBD and THC are known as what relieve cancer patients’ pains during chemotherapy, reduce muscle pain, stress, facilitate anxiety and depression treatment, stimulate appetite, etc. Given that, it doesn’t mean that marijuana has the same benefits. The medical effects are only true when these substances are used independently and in specific doses. Whereas, new marijuana varieties are often high in THC. Plus, whilst taking such drugs, users also tolerate a lot of different substances (smoking cannabis makes the body absorb more CO than smoking, affecting the respiratory system [4]). Therefore, the claim that marijuana is harmful to health is correct.

Several studies have shown that using marijuana might evoke feelings of anxiety, depression, and distraction [5]. Other claims that regular cannabis users often have poor management ability and bad habits, etc. [6] However, these studies are controversial as (1) it is ambiguous whether such individuals use marijuana or marijuana has caused such impacts and (2) the researched subjects were not isolated from other stimulants such as alcohol and tobacco [7].

Many scientists believe that marijuana’s mechanism of action (affecting neurotransmitters) can modify the brain’s developmental structure. There have been many studies on mice before coming to such a conclusion [8]. The effects of marijuana vary between different age groups. In particular, marijuana poses a higher risk for adolescents whose brain structures are in development but is very good for the elderly (especially in the treatment of Alzheimer’s). [8].

The lack of cannabis studies is a consequence of the ban on marijuana. Therefore, it is likely that Canada’s case study will reveal more information on this plant as well as the chemicals involved. The legalization also tightens laws on cannabis production process and regulations on THC concentration.

Cannabis laws are also causing many legal negates in the US where people are jailed due to a substance that is not really dangerous. Parents of whom are tired of seeing their children locked up in the harshest prisons (where they are exposed to other addicts — including alcohol, heroin, meth, etc.). Later when they are released, it will be more difficult to integrate and find work [9].

The ban on marijuana also makes them more attractive to schemers — creating social prejudices and distorting marijuana-related survey results.

These will be solved soon after legalization takes place. Companies related to this industry will earn enough money to fund research projects (as tobacco companies have been doing).

However, there is one thing people often confuse: marijuana is not addictive. In fact, 10% of marijuana users are addicted. Marijuana, though is not physically addictive as that of heroin or meth, can possibly cause mental addiction as games, cigarettes, and alcohol do.

With its amazing therapeutic effects, marijuana is being utilized by many people as a solution to temporarily forget their unsolved problems and depression. This is called “abuse” and will soon cause addiction. Comics, social networks, alcohol, games, movies, etc. are often as “abused” albeit not as effective.

No matter what method you use to avoid the problems, they are all equally horrible, as the momentary pleasure can’t do away with your nerves when you knew you fucked up. And you know that you are nothing, at all.


[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5569602/

[2]: https://www.thelancet.com/.../PIIS0140-6736(10.../fulltext

[3]: https://www.newsweek.com/thc-overdose-death-marijuana...

[4], [5], [6], [7], [8]: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6182105/

[9]: The documentary movie: Rolling Paper on Netflix.

Other refs:

- https://www.health.harvard.edu/.../the-effects-of...

- https://www.history.com/.../why-the-u-s-made-marijuana...

- https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6179811/...

- https://www.apa.org/monitor/2015/11/marijuana-brain

- https://www.leafly.com/.../why-does-cannabis-make-you...

- https://www.history.com/topics/crime/history-of-marijuana

- https://www.health.harvard.edu/.../cannabidiol-cbd-what...

- https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5569602/


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